{single} Ceui – mellow melody

August 15, 2009 at 11:16 pm | Posted in Ceui, Music | Leave a comment

Ceui – mellow melody

(released May 23rd, 2007)

1. mellow melody
2. 敏感な風景 [Binkan na Fuukei]
3. 敏感な風景 (Zafi’s Rain Mix)

Ceui’s 2nd single. mellow melody was the ending theme to the anime Sola, while Binkan na Fuukei served as an insert song. Compared to her later works, mellow melody seems to focus more on her vocals than the floaty atmosphere she so favors.

mellow melody is…well, exactly what it says. A mellow melody. Nothing particular that stands out, except that it has a bit of a more indies sound compared to the likes of Kamigami no Uta. Even though I prefer the more Rurutia-esque songs she puts out later, I like the fact that her voice tone is clear here. And yes, she does have the vocal chops. Her voice reminds me a bit some of the more classical, old school anime singers – think Ghibli films’ Inoue Azumi but with a wispier, less operatic high range. While I usually like strings in the background, I think mellow melody would have done better as a simple acoustic version with only guitar…and maybe add some piano.

We see Ceui’s trademark style emerge a bit in Binkan na Fuukei which is, to my surprise, even mellower than mellow melody. Binkan na Fuukei is a gentle piano ballad which puts me in mind of the typical serene hillside anime scene. “Binkan na Fuukei” means “sensitive scenery” and her voice is like wind softly ruffling the grass and flowers. My favorite part is the instrumental bridge with the violin solo and the addition of sparse acoustic guitar. It’s a perfect nostalgic lullaby, and probably of the most heartfelt song of hers I’ve heard so far.

Ending the single is Zafi’s Rain Mix of Binkan na Fuukei. I envisioned more rapid accompaniment that sounded perhaps like rain falling. However, the remixer must have been thinking rain forest instead. This mix adds some wind instrument (?), a light beat in the background, and the substitution of electric guitar in place of the acoustic. The instrumental solo meanders lazily and I don’t like it as much – it feels a bit out of place. The overall feel is a bit jazzier and the whole tropical effect seems at odds with Ceui’s voice and the melody.

Favorite Track: Binkan na Fuukei

Overall Grade: B


{single} Ceui – Kamigami no Uta

April 8, 2009 at 11:52 am | Posted in Ceui, Music | 1 Comment

Ceui – Kamigami no Uta
Ceui – 神々の詩

(released November 26th, 2008)

1. 神々の詩 [Kamigami no Uta]
2. Prayer
3. ティタニアの森 [Titania no Mori]
4. Prelude ~運命の欠片~ [Prelude ~Unmei no Kakera~]
5. 神々の詩 <instrumental>

Ceui’s 3rd single, and the image song for the sixth anniversary of Ragnarok Online. I’ve never listened to Ceui before, even though I’ve heard her name tossed around in random reaches of the anison realm.  Ceui’s trademark lies in her dream-like style – both her voice and the music accompanying it.

Kamigami no Uta had me from the get-go, from the “ahhh” intro. Though I generally don’t want to compare artists, I couldn’t help but get some strong Rurutia vibes from this song – only Ceui’s style seems to be a lot lighter and sweeter. The strings and the bagpipe solo in the middle reminds me very much of the background music you’d find in a fantasy RPG (I think Legend of Zelda comes to mind for me) – which is what the single was for anyways! Melody-wise, this song is rather forgettable, but not because it’s bland – it sort of puts the listener into a dream, and after the song is over, we awaken. Ceui’s breathy vocals on the high notes are definitely the high point of this song, pun intended. *shot for lameness* I do wish that the backing vocals and the keyboard were brought out more though…

We do get a slightly more mainstream J-Pop sound with Prayer, which brings in the acoustic guitar. Ceui’s vocals are also a lot less wispy and floaty in this song. The RPG BGM trademarks still remain – the delicate high notes on keyboard (or are they harp? I can’t tell here…), the soaring strings, and the bagpipes. I can also hear the use of tambourines somwhere, and the choir vocals on the offbeats are a pleasant enhancement. The melody still has the same dreamy, wandering quality as the title track but the song’s image is different. Kamigami no Uta was like floating on clouds, while Prayer has a more earth/forest feel to it.

I wonder if Titania no Mori was inspired by Shakespeare’s “Midsummer Nights’ Dream” because that a starry midsummer night is the first thing that comes to mind when I hear this. Titania is also the name of the fairy queen, and “Titania’s forest” captures this song’s setting very well – the keyboard & marimba notes during the intro and verse make me think of dancing fairy lights…or something along those lines. Ceui’s sings a bit playfully (much like KOKIA in “song of pocchong ~ Shizuku no Uta”), further reinforcing the ‘fairy’ image. The accompaniment in general is a lot sparser in comparison to the previous two tracks.

Despite its title, Prelude ~Unmei no Kakera~ sounds very much like an epilogue or ending. It has a bit of a farewell song mood to it – not a sad, ‘goodbye forever,’ but the more optimistic, going on a journey, ‘let us meet again someday’ tone. Maybe it’s because Ceui puts more emotion into this song than in the others, but I also like Prelude’s melody best (perhaps it’s the structure – since there’s more of a peak in the chorus? who knows). As far as instrumentals go, my favorite aspect is the marimba line. They could have done without that RPG-esque string line in the middle though. Prelude ~Unmei no Kakera~ is the most fast-paced song on the single.

Favorite Track: used to be Kamigami no Uta, but since I’ve heard it too many times, I would have to say Prelude ~Unmei no Kakera~.

Overall Grade: A

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