{single} Shikata Akiko – Katayoku no Tori

November 30, 2009 at 11:19 am | Posted in Music, Shikata Akiko | Leave a comment

Shikata Akiko – Katayoku no Tori
志方あきこ – 片翼の鳥

(released August 19th, 2009)

1. 片翼の鳥 [Katayoku no Tori]
2. VII
3. 片翼の鳥 -instrumental-
4. VII -instrumental-

Shikata Akiko’s first single on a major label. The title track is opening theme for the anime adaptation of Umineko no Naku Koro ni. I suppose this is her entrance to the anison world – she’s quite prolific in the doujin music and game music circles.

If I had to sum up Katayoku no Tori in one word, it would be majestic. The Italian choir entrance already set the song up for something epic, and I was holding my breath to see if it would hold through. Shikata Akiko exceeded my expections in more than one ways than one. Shikata’s singing style is very unique and can even border on ‘wailing’ in some cases, but it really suits the nature of this song. I loved her mysteriously floaty manner during the verses, and her crying out in the breathtaking choruses. The layered backing vocals are used tastefully and don’t overpower the song. As for the instrumentals, they aren’t anywhere near the focus for the song, but I loved the bells before the final chorus, and the tambourine keeping the beat in other parts of the song. The chorus is even catchy – this song wins on so many accounts!

VII reminded me a bit of Wakeshima Kanon’s work due to the orgel and cello in the beginning. Shikata’s vocals sound like a more playful, sinister version of KOKIA. VII is rather slow for just about first 2 min, then the music changes and the pace picks up. I liked the contrasting moods in this track – the first section reminded me of a girl singing alone to herself while dancing with her dolls (why am I thinking about Ushiromiya Maria?) and the second part makes me picture some occult summoning ritual with a big banquet  and it’s creepy when Shikata sings “Saa, asobimashou!” (“come, let’s play!”) VII ends on a very spooky note, with the sound of a winding pocket watch (or doll/puppet joints moving), an orgel that seems to be slowly breaking down and going out of tune, and some footsteps.

Overall Grade: A+


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