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Kenso: AYR (DVD)

I tasted the sweetness of the poison, so to say…
— Keisuke Komori

Japan's legendary symph~fusion band has already issued a second DVD: AYR means Are You Ready. There's little doubt the title was inspired by ex-Sense Of Wonder skinman Keisuke Komori's transition from guest to official new drummer — his predecessor was Masayuki Muraishi, who'd been a member since 1989's Sparta. The band's first DVD, Ha-re-ki, was one complete performance, but AYR is a different sort of animal, staged chapter-by-chapter with interstitial interview segments with Komori and rehearsal & concert footage, from his first dry run with Kenso on the last day of August 2003 to the concerts at Sagamihara Civic Hall and Club Citta. Komori relates his early experiences with Kenso as a fan up to meeting Yoshihisa Shimizu (guess how) to suddenly finding himself living a dream. [The DVD bonus chapter contains additional Komori interview footage edited out of the main program.]

What's that? You're not fluent in Japanese? Not a problem: turn the English subtitles on — now you can get in on the jokes! There's quite a bit of rehearsal footage; the band got together on four days from August through October, and the atmosphere is anything but tense. You'll hear rehearsed bits that didn't make the DVD cut, like "Taro To Iu Ikikata" (from Fabulis Mirabilibus de Bombycosi Scriptis), and guitarist/founder Yoshihisa Shimizu joke-scolds Komori for "running away with" a tune and making it "his own." The live tracks (listed below) take place mainly at Club Citta for a new "Ha-re-ki" installment, but first we're taken to Kenso's concert at Sagamihara Civic Hall, for the 40th Anniversary Ceremony of Kanagawa Prefectural Sagamihara High School, where Kenso was born thirty years ago.

As usual, the performances are downright smokin' — that Kenichi Mitsuda is a mutha of a pianist! At stage left is Kenichi Oguchi, burning it up on various synths and a Hammond XB2 — "Fist Of Fury" is Oguchi's piece from the Fabulis Mirabilibus album, and certainly one of my favorites. Bassist Shunji Saegusa's molten grooves light up the stage, and at the center of the proceedings is Yoshihisa, guitarist extraordinaire and resident comedian. {What's that about that porn actress, again? Kyoko Aizome? Is that her name?} A nice touch is the students' presentation of bouquets to the guys at Sagamihara Civic — Komori's first gig, how about that? And again at Citta, the lovely Keiko Kawashima materializes for "Echi Dal Foro Romano" — what a voice she has! You'll also finally learn what — or where — "Bifuka" is.

AYR may be a tad pricey, but as its running time is shorter, its price is a bit lower than Ha-re-ki. Its tag averages $35, and both Syn-phonic and Kinesis have copies in stock (but not for long, so act sooner than later). And it's absolutely worth it.


1. Akatsukini Gakushi Ga |[new composition]
2. Fist Of Fury
3. Bifuka
4. Tjandi Bentar
5. Echi Dal Foro Romano
6. A Grim Diary
7. Sora Ni Hikaru

— Bonus Clip —
|Interview with Keisuke Komori [outtakes]

Total time – 84:00

Added: October 7th 2004
Reviewer: Elias Granillo
Related Link: KENSO Official Home Page
Hits: 7755
Language: english

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» Reader Comments:

Kenso: AYR (DVD)
Posted by James D Tejada on 2005-01-24 13:09:59
My Score:


The The track that Keiko Kawahima actually appears on is "A Grim Diary".


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