Shortly after 9/11, Kitaro began a pilgrimage to the island of Shikoku, which has 88 temples, each with its own distinct temple bells. The Japanese keyboardist has been recording those bells and working them into the fabric of The Sacred Journey of Ku-Kai, of which this is the second volume in a projected series. The first volume unlocked a new energy in Kitaro's music, with more open spaces and instruments like the erhu and pipa (Chinese violin and lute) lending his landscapes an organic immediacy. But Kitaro is a composer who doesn't know when to stop. He takes the freshest elements of his music, like the koto-erhu duet at the core of "Shining Spirit of Water," and buries them in the same choir pads, electronic squiggles, dripping strings, and whooping synthesizers that have been his sonic signature since 1978's Astral Voyage. Even the relatively austere meditation of "Peaceful Valley," featuring Native American flute, and the darker textures of "Ka-Non," get swamped as Kitaro gilds the lily and then dips it in a treacly bath sweeter than a glazed doughnut. The thought that Kitaro's Shikoku pilgrimage has already turned into a tedious trudge doesn't bode well.