On his follow-up to last year's Grammy-winning Thinking of You, Kitaro returns to the days when it was just him and a roomful of synthesizers.

On his follow-up to last year's Grammy-winning Thinking of You, Kitaro returns to the days when it was just him and a roomful of synthesizers. Except for the London Philharmonic on two tracks, it's all Kitaro. Yet even in sounding like earlier Kitaro records, Ancient sounds not so different from just about every Kitaro record. Ostensibly inspired by ancient civilizations from around the world, you would never know Kitaro had traveled anywhere other than to his Colorado studio. He has always employed world-music influences, but there is little to set Ancient apart from any of his other grandiose space operas. All the Kitaro trademarks are here: weeping synthesizer melodies, swooping keyboard orchestrations, space-warp sound effects, meandering sitar, and bombastic wadaiko drum orchestrations. Ancient is a typical Kitaro album, and that's the problem. He had a great idea 23 years ago. Now it's time for another one.—JD

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