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Benzaiten

9 customer reviews

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Audio CD, August 17, 2010
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Vinyl, 1976
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Benzaiten + Masterless Samurai + Osamu
Price for all three: $41.97

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Editorial Reviews

His debut album in the United States on Antilles (Island Rec.) released in 1976, Benzaiten, was a mix of progressive rock and traditional Japanese music, and was well received in US, captured numerous "underground" radio airplay and sold moderately well, in addition it was released abroad later including Japan.
And the album was chosen as #1 special mention album on the major music trading paper WALRUS at that time.
"One of the year's most significant recordings ..... A true unification of Eastern and Western music, the kind that enhances both .... for breaking new ground .... Osamu must be considered extraordinary." - WALRUS

The song #1 "Benzaiten" was produced by the late Hal Yoergler who was one of the greatest producers of all-time in American pop music history.
This short version of "Benzaiten" does not exist without him. What he has done for Osamu is greatly appreciated.

This product is manufactured on demand using CD-R recordable media. Amazon.com's standard return policy will apply.


1. Benzaiten - God of Music & Water
2. Taiyo - The Sun
3. Tengu - A long Nosed Goblin
4. Benzaiten (Reprise)
5. Whoma - Immortality

Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 17, 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: East Quest
  • Run Time: 40 minutes
  • ASIN: B003ZUYI00
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #57,243 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Oliver N. Ward on October 5, 2011
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
first found this album in a half price bookstore in austin,texas in1979. it blew me away! The title song is is very energetic. Great energy and soul. l

Lost the record in 1984. Looked for it for years. Found it in the inter net and record wad selling for upwards of 120 dollars or more. No cd. ..till now. And it is on cd. I

am super happy. Gonna buy another copy, just in case. Track number 5 is supernaturally awesome. If the other song the album were total dogs, and the are not, I would

rate the album 5 stars. Tracks 4 and 5 take me to another place and time. Open your ears and soul. Feel this music and be transported to realm of Benzaiten. Totimo edesu yo!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By B. E Jackson on May 14, 2014
Format: Audio CD
If it's true that Benzaiten was often placed in the bargain bins in the 70's that's absolutely a crying shame. If given the proper amount of attention and the appropriate amount of dedication, you'd probably believe this is a unique listening experience in a category of its own. I can only hope that the amount of quality music taking over music stores back in the day is the main reason this Osamu Kitajima album isn't being fondly remembered like it should be.

What exactly is Benzaiten like you ask? Well it takes Japanese and Middle Eastern sounds and creates a very rhythmic and meditative album mostly appropriate for a late night listening experience so you can fully absorb the creativity and rich variety of arrangements. These are slow-moving, almost hypnotizing (and often melodic!) grooves with sitars, acoustic guitar, drums, percussion, flutes (lots of flutes) and other interesting instruments doing a great job encouraging the listener to feel like he or she is somewhere far, far away. Anywhere in Asia in fact.

This feels really authentic too. That's another benefit. If I had to pick a favorite song I'd probably pick either track 2 or track 3 titled "Taiyo (The Sun)" and "Tengu (A Long Nose Goblin)" respectively because the guitar soloing is really wavy and dreamy on these particular occasions, and the crunchy King Crimson Larks Tongue in Aspic-like guitar riff serving as the rhythm is pretty awesome. Some of the stuff that jams in the second half of track 4 ("Benzaiten (Reprise") is surprisingly comparable to any kind of authentic Middle Eastern music you've listened to before. "Benzaiten (God of Music and Water)" actually sort of reminds me of mid 70's jazz/fusion Jeff Beck for some reason.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Steve Holtje on March 25, 2014
Format: Audio CD
I enjoy Kitajima's more pop and new age albums too, but this is his masterpiece. It's got the edge and distinctively different style from everything else ever done by anyone that his later albums lack. An amazing and unique fusion of rock and traditional Japanese music. First I had a tape copied from a friend's LP back in the early
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By zen-fro on November 24, 2014
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I have been waiting almost 40 years for a digital version of this most original release from Osamu Kitajima, a fusion of western rock, folk, and jazz (with a little funk thrown in) with traditional Japanese music. Osamu went in more "New Age-y" directions for a long time after this; I found that music pleasant but much less compelling. This album stands out as its own style.

Coming from an era when jazz-rock fusion was making headlines and when Isao Tomita made more headlines with his synthesized versions of western Impressionist music, Osamu made his own unique fusion. The short version of the title track (probably a remix of "Benzaiten (Reprise)") blends numerous Japanese percussionists with western funk--very catchy. Despite the combination of electric guitars and drum machines with traditional instruments, the rest of the album feels more serious, and (to this Westerner) very Japanese in character. The slow, almost hypnotic, compositions certainly are neighbors to what would become known as New Age music, but the instrumentation and compositions feel like much more than pleasant background; rather, it is a very successful and interesting blending of musical traditions and styles. In a way, this fusion of a classical Japanese music with guitar is parallel to (and predates) John McLaughlin's amazing and successful work with Shakti, a fusion of jazz with classical Indian music. Osamu is not the same guitar virtuoso that McLaughlin is (well, few are), but his playing here, acoustic and electric, is very well done. His use of traditional instruments seems very respectful and appropriate. No wonder, as the liner notes assert, he was able to entice some master percussionists to this project.

Note that this is a CDR of a fairly short LP.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
My roommate had this record in 1977, and I listened to it over and over. The blend of western and Japanese instruments wasn't just for show. It introduced new musical ideas that blew me away, and took familiar sounds in new directions. I remembered it, but hadn't found it until recently. Playing it now after all this time, I remembered why I loved it: it is as fresh now as it was then. My favorite is 'Tengu - A long Nosed Goblin' - there are at least three songs lurking in that track. Rock, jazz, world music - it's all here.
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