{album} Rurutia – Water Forest

October 21, 2009 at 7:31 pm | Posted in Music, Rurutia | Leave a comment

Rurutia – Water Forest
ルルティア – Water Forest

(released February 26th, 2003)

1. パヴァーヌ [Pavane]
2. 朱雀の空 [Suzaku no Sora]
3. オール [Oar]
4. 星のたましい [Hoshi no Tamashii]
5. サンクチュアリ [Sanctuary]
6. ゆるぎない美しいもの [Yuruginai Utsukushii Mono]
7. 幻惑の風 [Genwaku no Kaze]
8. シャイン [Shine]
9. 満ちる森 [Michiru Mori]
10. 思季 [Shiki]

Rurutia’s 2nd album. It’s been a while since I’ve reviewed any of Rurutia’s works, so it’ll be interesting going through her again and seeing if her style has changed much since R°.

*some songs have already been reviewed, and are linked to their reviews

It’s too early to say whether Rurutia is continuing the trend of having a signature album-opener like Elements on her previous album, but Pavane is a wonderful contrast piece to begin Water Forest with. The poetic lyrics speak of sin and the speaker’s search for redemption (I get this whole image of the Seven Deadly Sins and an indulgent feast in which the people are surrounded by grim reapers). Pavane is like some mad dance – the verses’ calm movements compared to the frenzied storm of the chorus. I really like the instrumentals – they set up this whole “palace” atmosphere – not a majestic one, but one that’s past its glory and is fading into corruption.

And we get hit with a single track next, Suzaku no Sora. After Pavane’s dreamy haze, Suzaku no Sora is a wake-up call. I still like Suzaku no Sora as much as when I first heard it, so it brings back a lot of fond memories for me.

Oar brings us back to the land of dreams – or more accurately, rows us through it. The pulsing guitar chords are the rowing motions one makes with an oar, and Rurutia’s voice are the waves carrying us through. I think about rowing through one of those slow rivers in which the willows are really low and draping over the passengers. I love the vocalizing (sighing) throughout the song. The song just sounds very lonely – and indeed, Oar is about missing a beloved person, and just sighing and continuing to row through life alone.

So now we’re floating among the stars and clouds in our dreams with Hoshi no Tamashii, the first happy song on this album. The title means “star’s soul” – and reminds me of a little girl looking up stars and not wishing on one, but just looking. It uses similar accompaniment to Oar, but sounds less trippy. It’s also full of hopeful feelings and I guess it might just be me, but I think this is the first time I’ve heard Rurutia sound cutesy.

Given that Sanctuary‘s lyrics are about someone willing to die to be with someone else for eternity, I’d been expecting something dark and depressing, but what I hear is actually a lot better. Instead of resignation and despair, there’s this calm ache of longing, and a hint of madness. It’s as if the woman is entirely convinced that what she is doing is the perfect thing to do. The instrumentals alternate between serene and foreboding, creating a disorienting atmosphere. I keep thinking of a sunset over the edge of some dark cliff – which could be looked upon as either beautiful or spooky.

The album then piles four previously released tracks in a row. Yuruginai Utsukushii Mono, Rurutia’s 3rd single, sounds out of place after Sanctuary, and would belong more placed next to Hoshi no Tamashii, but I guess alternating moods works too.

And alternate they do, since we get the windy Genwaku no Kaze, the B-side of Suzaku no Sora. right after. I still love this song, but it seems to have lost the impact it used to have – maybe I’ve just gotten more critical, but I’ve also noticed that Rurutia sings a bit off pitch in some areas. And it doesn’t have the same amount of impact as the A-side.

Ah, Shine. How fondly I remember your flute part. It’s track that stands out most on the album, since it doesn’t seem to go with the style of the rest of the songs. Although I can’t help noticing this time that Rurutia seems to have trouble hitting the lowest notes…

Michiru Mori, the B-side of Shine, is yet another strong track. I like it even more after revisiting it, because it’s a strong, driving track – a lot of this album seems limp in comparison to it. Would be a great way to end the album except…

…there’s Shiki. “Shiki” means “seasons”, and I thought it would be a song that takes us through the seasons musically – instead, it seems to focus on summer, with its lazy feel and the cicada/cricket-like sounds. Rurutia’s singing just sort of meanders about without any direction. It’s a decent album outro, fading out as the end of summer arrives, etc.

Final Thoughts: Despite my excitement to review Water Forest, it was definitely a bit of a step down from R°. Rurutia’s album originals feel very lacking in comparison to the singles, which were stuck mostly in the second half by some bad tracklist compiler. The three singles preceding the album had good variety, but the new material sounded pretty much the same. Rurutia seems to be adding a bit more rock and trying to make the songs more mainstream-friendly, but all we get is this non-catchy, in-between, watered-down shmuck – aside from a few moments, the emotion was flat. While I still liked Water Forest somewhat, I hope Rurutia doesn’t fall into a rut that artists like her usually do – a unique overall style that sets her apart from other singer-songwriters, but sounding the same within her style. If it weren’t for the inclusion of the single material, I would have given this album a much lower rating.

Favorite Track(s): the singles by a long stretch, but I also really like Pavane and Oar.

Overall Grade: B


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