Glenn – Electronic Secret

Fans of the classic synth music of Jean Michel Jarre may want to get familiar with Norway’s Glenn Henriksen, aka Glenn.

He sent us a copy of his 2008 album Electronic Secret, a 10-part suite of electronic instrumentals that he describes as “Nice chill Electronic music with a touch of Jean Michel Jarre, Kitaro, Vangelis ….”

In other words – his music is inspired by the late 70’s-early 80’s golden age of synth music.

Of the influences that Henriksen notes, the most obvious is Jarre. Henriksen’s obvious affection for Jarre’s music may excite some and turn off others, but, for fans of classic synth music, Electronic Secret deserves attention on its own merits. Continue reading

Various – Reinterpretations

Reinterpretations is an interesting compilation from Kanpai Records that features electronica artists doing remixes or reinterpretations of classic tracks by new age electronic music artist Kitaro.

For over nearly thirty years, Kitano has been creating relaxing new age music, using a combination of synthesizers and traditional instruments. On Reinterpretations, the artists take several approaches to reworking Kitaro’s music. Some of the artists take a remix approach, changing the mix or adding instruments to help bring Kitaro’s music to a new audience. Other artists use Kitaro’s music as a jumping off point, and create tracks that sound more like collaborations than remixes.

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For over nearly thirty years, the electronic music of Kitano has cast its spell on listeners around the world. As a composer and multi-instrumentalist, Kitaro has reached millions of people on every continent with his recordings.

Kitaro’s music is a reflection of his reverence for nature and for the world as humanity’s natural habitat. “Nature inspires me,” he says. “To me, some songs are like clouds, some are like water.”

The beauty of nature was part of Kitaro’s earliest days. He was born into a Buddhist/Shintoist farming family in Toyohashi Prefecture in Central Japan in 1953. His rural youth gave him an early feel for the simplicity and grandeur of nature. “I found a place in nature when I was very young,” he recalls. “And spirituality, I was always a universalist in my outlook.”

In high school, he discovered the electric guitar. Self-taught, Kitaro fell in love with American rhythm and blues. Kitaro says, “I love classical music, which is like pictures, and rock music, to me, means power and energy. We have music so we can feel the Universe.”

He formed the rock group Albatross, which featured his early poetry set to music, with some school friends. In the early 1970’s, he recorded with a group called The Far East Family Band, and switched from guitar to keyboards. He recalls, “I had switched over to keyboards and we were doing a rough form of the kind of impressionistic music that I would later start playing.”

“I remember when I first created the wave sound. I could create an ocean, a winter coastline, a summer beach.” The Japanese became fascinated by Kitaro’s music and the critics referred to it as ‘sound pictures’ and ‘mind music.’ In 1980, he created the music to Silk Road, an hour-long documentary about the overland trade route from Europe to Japan. The Japanese National Television program was so well received that it evolved into a series that ran on Japanese television for five years.

For many years, a small and devoted audience in America, through albums imported from Japan and Europe, knew Kitaro. By 1985, that audience widened considerably when Geffen Records simultaneously released a number of Kitaro compilations.

In 1986, came Tenku. The title, which means “Heavenly Sky,” reflects the open air environment of Kitaro’s home studio, a 200-year old farmhouse in the Japanese Alps, where the album was made. On the opening track, a child’s laughter is heard. The album’s theme concerns images and impressions of childhood.

In the fall of 1987, The Light of the Spirit was released, co-produced with Grateful Dead Percussionists Mickey Hart, a long time Kitaro admirer. Thematically, the CD includes Kitaro’s vision of life, death and rebirth, and continues his musical exploration of the life cycle that started with Tenku. Kitaro earned his first Grammy nomination for “The Field” in the category of best new age performance.

Later that year, Kitaro toured the U.S. and played to sold-out venues in many cites, including New York, Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles and Atlanta and was often required to add a second night to satisfy demand.

In 1992, Kitaro became even more accessible to pop culture in the U.S. by a collaborating with Yes’ Jon Anderson for the Dream album. And later that year, was enlisted to score the music for Oliver Stone’s final chapter in his epic trilogy about the Vietnam War, Heaven and Earth. The soundtrack to this critically acclaimed feature earned Kitaro a Golden Globe Award.

In the following years, Kitaro earned a number of Grammy Nominations for Mandala, An Enchanted Evening and Gaia Onbashira. The accolades were made official when after an amazing six nominations, Kitaro captured the prestigious Grammy Award in the ‘Best New Age Album’ category for Thinking of You. Kitaro notes, “The Grammy Award was always an incredible dream and to actually win was truly a dream come true.”

In 2001, Kitaro was commissioned to record the accompanying soundtrack to the NHK special, Messages from the Past and inspired the music for Kitaro’s seventh Grammy Nominated album, Ancient.

An Ancient Journey takes the listener on a trip, which began with his previous release, Ancient. Merging the finest of Eastern and Western culture, Kitaro invites you to experience the life and spirit of the world’s ancient people.

Kitaro has noted that his purpose with his music is to calm the inner person: “The wars of the world don’t come from outer space. People create them, people who have a war within themselves. I want to create music that eases that war within.”

Kitaro Releases

  • 1976 – Silk Road 1
  • 1976 – Oasis
  • 1977 – Silk Road 2
  • 1977 – Silk Road Suite
  • 1978 – Astral Voyage
  • 1978 – Kitaro in Person
  • 1979 – Full Moon Story
  • 1979 – Ki
  • 1980 – India
  • 1980 – Tunkuang
  • 1980 – In Person Digital
  • 1981 – Best of Kitaro
  • 1981 – World of Kitaro
  • 1982 – Millenia
  • 1983 – Silver Cloud
  • 1984 – Asia
  • 1986 – Toward the West
  • 1986 – Tenku
  • 1987 – Light of the Spirit
  • 1990 – Kojiki
  • 1991 – Live in America
  • 1992 – Dream
  • 1993 – Heaven & Earth
  • 1994 – Mandala
  • 1995 – An Enchanted Evening
  • 1996 – World of Music series
  • 1996 – Peace on Earth
  • 1997 – Cirque Ingenieux
  • 1998 – Gaia -Onbashira
  • 1998 – Soong Sisters
  • 1999 – Thinking of You
  • 2000 – Ancient
  • 2001 – Ancient Journey
  • 2002 – Daylight, Moonlight
  • 2003 – Best of Silk Road
  • 2003 – Sacred Journey of Ku-kai

Kitaro Links

Peas Samples Synth Pioneer Kitaro For Dance Tracks

Peter “Peas” McEvilley’s new release Filters, on Kanpai Records, (Domo Music Group) is a sonic adventure ranging from downtempo to breakbeat. Each track contains a sample from legendary Japanese world music pioneer, Kitaro, which Peas seamlessly weaves into his original beats and melodies.

McEvilley, who has produced and written songs for Hollywood Records, Miramax, ABC and many others, started work on this latest album last year after co-scoring a Japanese anime, Ninja Scroll, with Kitaro. Recognizing that Kitaro is one of the pioneers of electronic chill-out music, McEvilley decided to produce a full-length CD that would incorporate samples from Kitaro’s music into new, beat heavy, electronica tracks.

Peas started DJing in the mid-nineties at some of South Beach’s (Miami) hottest clubs including: Chaos’ millennium party, Nikki Beach Club, Pearl, Rumi, Touch, and Automatic Slim’s. He also toured as a drummer for several years with the reggae band, Inna Sense. When performing, McEvilley integrates live drums and keyboard into his DJ performance.

People in northern California will be able to catch him at this year’ seventh annual Earthdance event on September 18, 2004.

Established in 1994, Los Angeles-based Domo Music Group, is guided by founder Eiichi Naito’s mission, “To provide a home for both the creators and aficionados of quality music beyond the borders of categorization.” Staying true to this mission, this month Domo is launching its new imprint, Kanpai Records ( This new label will focus on electronic and indie rock hybrids – plus everything in between. “We want to put out music that encompasses the best of all worlds… nothing too genre specific, but rather the gray space in between,” says Michelle Ogata, Kanpai’s Marketing Director. Kanpai’s first three albums are due for release in Fall 2004 and include Filters by Peas, Unconscious Ruckus by Appogee, and Reinterpretations by various artists.