Sunday, February 4, 2007

Osamu Kitajima-Benzaiten, LP, 1974, Japan(NWW list!)

While not gaining the recognition of pop idols or distinctive alternative rockers, Osamu Kitajima has quietly become one of Japan’s biggest selling artists internationally with his traditionally tinged new age music. Kitajima was born and raised in the beach town of Chigasaki, not far from Tokyo. As a young man he studied classical guitar and piano. His first band was the Launchers, led by his cousin, pop idol and actor Yuzo Kayama. The group disbanded in the late 1960s, after which Kitajima began to work on his own. He graduated from the prestigious Keio University in business, and also studied traditional Japanese instruments such as the biwa, koto and taiko drum. His first solo album in 1974, Benzaiten, was a mix of modern pop and traditional Japanese music, and was well received in Japan and later released abroad. It was released in the United States on Antilles, where it received some “underground” radio airplay and sold moderately well. Also in 1974 Kitajima relocated to the Los Angeles area and later opened the East Quest Studios there. In 1978 Kitajima’s Masterless Samurai was released on Alfa in Japan and MCA in the States. 1979’s Dragon King was also released in both countries. However his most highly acclaimed album was 1986’s The Source, which won rave reviews around the world, including being called a “major masterpiece” by Rolling Stone magazine. Osamu Kitajima also expanded his work to include commercial and soundtrack work. He provided part of the music to the blockbuster mini-series Shogun and contributed to the soundtrack of Sharkey’s Machine. He also seems to be the “go to guy” for Asian themed movies, including the 1986 Pat Morita vehicle Captive Hearts and 1993’s Samurai Cowboy, which starred Hiromi Go. Kitajima has also done work for PBS documentaries on Japan, created the soundtrack to the Chinese/Japanese film Mandala and produced a number of like-minded artists. Kitajima also founded East Quest Records, where he now releases his own albums, both new and re-issues, as well as work by other artists. In 2004 Kitajima released two albums, The Sound of Angel, on which new age leaning jazz pianist David Benoit appears, and a dance and world music influenced album called Beyond the Circle, which was released by Higher Octave’s custom label Cyber Octave. Osamu Kitajima is featured on a number of compilations available in the States and Europe, and is generally considered a contemporary of Enigma, Deep Forest, Vangelis and Ottmar Liebert. In addition to his being a recording artist, producer, studio owner and label owner, Kitajima somehow found time to earn a doctorate in music therapy in 2004, and is thus now sometimes referred to as Dr. Osamu Kitajima. Kitajima is married to retired actress Yoko Naito. Their daughter Mai Kitajima married former Hikaru Genji member Mikio Osawa in 1996.
A Masterpiece!


Mystery Poster said...

Also can download from SENDSPACE

This one is very good.

mutantsounds said...

oops sorry Mystery poster....did not notice yyou have posted it earlier...if you want i can delete my post

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this. Looking forward to hearing more music from the elusive "Justin Heathcliff."

sri sarcastic said...

yeh! what a sick album! amazing..