{single} Revo & Kajiura Yuki – Dream Port

August 25, 2009 at 10:12 pm | Posted in Kajiura Yuki, Music, Revo | Leave a comment


Revo & Kajiura Yuki – Dream Port
Revo & 梶浦由記 – Dream Port

(released June 18th, 2008)

1. 砂塵の彼方へ… [Sajin no Kanata e…]
2. sand dream

Kajiura Yuki’s 1st collaboration single with Sound Horizon composer Revo. The song doesn’t seem to have any particular tie-ins except it was used as the ending performance at a joint Kajiura Yuki and Sound Horizon live. Been meaning to review this one for ages, and finally decided that a summary was needed in order to understand the songs…

Warning: really long post for one song. I’ll try to keep the fangirling to a minimum XD

Like most Sound Horizon works, Sajin no Kanata e…seems to tell a story and also has a verbal narrator. “Sajin no Kanata e” means “beyond the sandstorm” and uses the sandstorm metaphor to tell of parting with someone close to the character in the song.  Sajin no Kanata e…begins with light acoustic guitar (played by Revo) and then the orchestra comes in with some English narration. Kasahara Yuri begins the vocal portion with her operatic note and the rest of the girls sing the chorus. When the verses start, the girls alternate on solos – I believe Wakana, Keiko, Kaori (Kajiura’s FictionJunction girls), and either Remi or Yuuki from Sound Horizon get solos throughout both verses. I prefer Keiko’s deep voice to the shriller Sound Horizon girl who sings the same part in the second verse. I kind of wish that Yuuka got more of a solo since her voice would have been wonderful, but I guess since she’s Kajiura’s main vocalist, it’s a chance for the others to shine (probably why Chiaki wasn’t even present…). Structure-wise, it’s chorus-verse-chorus-verse-chorus and the first portion concludes. This first part tells about parting with a close friend, and yearning for their voice, likening the parting journey to searching for an oasis in a sandstorm.

We get a short piano solo performed by Kajiura Yuki herself followed by wispy backing vocals and the narrator saying “dream port”. There’s a small pause, and here’s my favorite part. The vocalists re-enter slowly at first with just acoustic guitar then the music quickly builds up as they overlap each other. This is a bridge linking the more melancholy first part to a happier, major-key melody. The lyrics say that despite what happens, the characters “continue to sing the song of love.” I love the build up of emotion and it’s one of the best transitions I’ve ever heard – I almost wish it was longer, but transitions are meant to be short and sweet. Vocalists and orchestra come back in full blast for the new chorus, which tells of a hopeful “I know we will meet again.” There’s an instrumental bridge with wonderful solos featuring violin, electric guitar, and…either some wind instrument or synth in one part I can’t identify. The music builds up, and then falls away for the real treat – Revo and Kajiura Yuki singing a short solo part with only piano accompaniment. I was rather surprised by Kajiura’s singing voice – it’s light and sweet, not as powerful as the women she writes for, but it’s got this slightly breathy, operatic tone to it that’s really lovely. I always knew she did backup for Chiaki back in her See-Saw days, but I’ve never heard her sing solo before. *ahem* Well, after the solo, the rest of the vocalists just sing the “happy chorus” on “la la la” without any lyrics. Sajin no Kanata e…then closes with the same acoustic guitar solo it opens with.

Sajin no Kanata e…is a masterpiece collaboration, in my opinion. I knew both Kajiura Yuki and Revo had very different composing styles despite their similar fantasy-like quality – Kajiura’s more fond of her mysterious anison stuff, and Revo’s works are more theatrical and meant for stage rather than pure audio. I was impressed by how well they mixed their styles – you can hear the Kajiura sound in the violin solo and the vocal parts, but there’s a distinct Sound Horizon flavor in the composition, the way the song progresses, etc. This CD single also came with a DVD of the live performance of Sajin no Kanata e…I’m not going to review the video in great detail, but it’s even more impressive live than in the studio. The energy of the musicians is amazing, and my favorite “transition” part can be heard a lot more clearly (Keiko’s alto line has more power to it) and the harmonies are more prominent. I suggest you all watch the live – it’s on YouTube, for now at least.

And I got so caught up in Sajin no Kanata e…that I almost forgot to review sand dream, which is Kajiura’s own arrangement of the main track. The melody starts out on a flute solo, and then is followed by some percussion. There’s a bit more of an ethnic feel to this version…I can’t pin the exact word down (tribal doesn’t seem to describe it – it reminds me more of some gypsy dance). There are vocals on this track too, but they’re in the trademark “Kajiuran” language (there’s no actual meaning, it just sounds cool) and I believe Kasahara Yuri and Kajiura herself are singing them. The strings, guitar, and vocals also get a chance at the melody. I liked the fact that some of the vocal bits were in a counter melody not featured in the original – the entire tone is different. However, there wasn’t as much transition between the first and second portions of the “story” and Revo’s guitar solo at the end felt a bit out of place but those were minor aspects that didn’t bother me too much. While I still prefer Sajin no Kanata e…due to the magnificent live performance, sand dream is rather heavenly in it’s own way. Both tracks clock in around about seven and a half minutes, and they’re the only songs that long that I can sit through completely almost every time without getting bored. Please collaborate again, both of you!

Overall Grade: without a shadow of a doubt, A+

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