Shikata Akiko’s 3rd album Harmonia is released today, and to my surprise, the album is sitting silently in my mailbox.
I’ve never bought music that I haven’t listened before, because I might just not like it, but Harmonia made me broke the rule. Shikata’s recent work has been nothing but impressive, and I thought if there were any artist who would not let me down, it would be her. And so I pre-ordered it in a heart beat. Oh the hot-stamping cover is also an attractive feature.
After spending some time with the album, I’d say I am very satisfied. Shikata’s classical influence is still heavily portrayed in the album, although in the recent years (post Raka), she has been experimenting a different type of music, featuring a little more rock’ish and “anarchy” type of arrangement (eg. Umineko), and the abundance of this new style can be felt in this new album.
The style, feelings, inspiration and arrangement of the music in Harmonia can be divided into 4 themes:
- Wind, lighter tracks with less instruments. Usually arranged with strings.
- Fire, her “rebellious”, “chaos” oriented music. Lyrics are usually dark and depressing.
- Water, her healing or sadder type of songs. Arranged with acoustic guitars.
- Earth, her older doujin style music with the focus on folk instruments.
- Chouwa ~Fuurai no Shirabe~ (調和～風来の調べ～) (sample) http://sites.google.com/site/depthcharge101posts/media/090318harmonia-chouwa~fuurainoshirabe~.mp3?attredirects=0
- Harukanaru Tabiji (遥かなる旅路)
- Kiseki (軌跡) (sample) http://sites.google.com/site/depthcharge101posts/media/090318harmonia-kiseki.mp3?attredirects=0
- Kaze to Rashinban (風と羅針盤)
- Chouwa ~Homura no Kyoumei~ (調和～焔の共鳴～)
- Uzumebi (埋火)
- Replicare (レプリカーレ)
- Umineko no Naku Koro ni ~Rengoku~ (うみねこのなく頃に～煉獄～) (sample) http://sites.google.com/site/depthcharge101posts/media/090318harmonia-uminekononakukoroni~rengoku~.mp3?attredirects=0
- Chouwa ~Utakata no Komoriuta~ (調和～泡沫の子守唄～)
- Kuon no Umi (久遠の海)
- Aoiro Kandzume (アオイロ缶詰) (sample) http://sites.google.com/site/depthcharge101posts/media/090318harmonia-aoirokandzume.mp3?attredirects=0
- Tsuisouka (追想花)
- Chouwa ~Daichi no Sanka~ (調和～大地の讃歌～)
- Utau Oka (謳う丘) ～Salavec rhaplanca.～ (sample) http://sites.google.com/site/depthcharge101posts/media/090318harmonia-utauoka~salavecrhaplanca.~.mp3?attredirects=0
- Amnesia (sample) http://sites.google.com/site/depthcharge101posts/media/090318harmonia-amnesia.mp3?attredirects=0
- Chouwa (調和) ～Harmonia～ (sample) http://sites.google.com/site/depthcharge101posts/media/090318harmonia-chouwa~Harmonia~.mp3?attredirects=0
- Harmonia ~Mihatenu Chi e~ (～見果てぬ地へ～)
The change of theme is introduced by the Chouwa tracks. Enough with the technicalities of the album, compared to Raka, the album is considerably less classical, less despressing, and uses contemporary instruments more. The good thing about Harmonia is that it offers a variety of styles because of the themes, but at the same time it has a weaker impact or impression due to the spread. Nevertheless it’s a beautiful album.
The album will get a permanent entry on Shikata’s page in the near future. Enjoy the samples.