|Name (Romaji)||Shikata Akiko|
Shikata Akiko’s songs are not easy to get into or very “user-friendly”, ie. the first time you hear it you might find it really weird. One factor would be her unique voice, which could put some people off easily. Also a lot of her songs carry an air of melancholy, despair, sadness and sometimes even chaos, not to mention some of them are quite classical. Sometimes I wonder if liking Shikata’s music is an acquired taste – you have to listen for quite a bit before you start to enjoy it. In any case I really recommend trying out a single album at a time slowly, and listen with an open mind :)
Generally, Shikata prefers to do everything herself that she’s involved (except lyrics). She composes, arranges, sings and also does the choruses most if not all the time. And because of that, she has built a very firm style to her music, which has a double-edged effect – if you enjoy some of her songs you’ll generally like most of her other stuff, but the converse applies as well. Genre wise, Shikata’s songs are generally a mix classical, traditional, and very rarely, metal. Shikata also tends to employ overdubbing to generate the effect of multiple tones or vocals in her music, and folk instruments are frequently used.
- External Links
Shikata started her career in 2001, under the doujin circle “VAGRANCY”. Her first doujin album, Midori no Mori de Nemuru Tori (緑の森で眠ル鳥) contained only 4 track and didn’t get much attention. The situation changed and looked brighter in 2003 when Shikata released her second doujin album Haikyo to Rakuen (廃墟と楽園), where she started getting a small fanbase. Over the next few years, Shikata released several original instrumental and music box albums, and also did a little composing for game soundtracks.
In 2005, she joined the record label “HATS UNLIMITED” and released her first commercial album Navigatoria. Navigatoria received both positive and negative feedback, where her doujin fanbase criticized Shikata’s restrain on using on folk instruments for being a commercial album had caused her to lose her distinct style of music. Although in general Shikata had started to gain broader recognition.
In 2006, she took part in creating the Hymmnos music for the game Ar Tonelico (PS2 game) and in the same year, she released her second, and possibly her most influential commercial album, Raka. Raka was very well received, without repeating the same mistake she did in Navigatoria, the album was highly praised by her doujin fans and new listeners.
A year later, she released a collaboration album Istoria~Musa~ and once again took part in doing the music for Ar Tonelico 2 (PS2 game).
Shikata’s involved in only one circle – “VAGRANCY”, a circle she made in 2001. All her doujin music is released under this circle, it consists of various members for managing the site but Shikata is the only member involved in writing for the music.
This section details some of Shikata’s doujin and commercial, vocal and instrumental albums. Note that this is not a complete discography for her, it’d be long to list them all and there wouldn’t be much of a point. Each album listed contains a few handpicked sample tracks that I personally adore. Also, the albums are sorted by personal favourites. Unless specified, you can assumed the tracks are composed and arranged by Shikata herself.
Note: Additional “sample” link is included if the stream doesn’t work.
- Raka (October, 2006)
- Daichi no Kodou (大地の鼓動)
- Kinkanshoku (金環蝕)
- Haru Tsuge (春告げ) ~Raggi di primavera~ (sample) http://sites.google.com/site/depthcharge101shikata1/media/raka-harutsuge~Raggidiprimavera~.mp3?attredirects=0
- Mahoroba (まほろば) (sample) http://sites.google.com/site/depthcharge101shikata1/media/raka-mahoroba.mp3?attredirects=0
- Souheki no Mori (蒼碧の森) (sample) http://sites.google.com/site/depthcharge101shikata1/media/raka-souhekinomori.mp3?attredirects=0
- Reimei (黎明) ~Aurora~ (sample) http://sites.google.com/site/depthcharge101shikata1/media/raka-reimei~aurora~.mp3?attredirects=0
- Inori ~Monram~ (祈り ～モンラム～)
- Luna piena (sample) http://sites.google.com/site/depthcharge101shikata1/media/raka-lunapiena.mp3?attredirects=0
- Utakata no Hana (うたかたの花)
- Haresugita Sora no Shita de (晴れすぎた空の下で)
- AVE MARIA
- Utau Oka (謳う丘) ~EXEC_HARVESTASYA/.~ (sample) http://sites.google.com/site/depthcharge101shikata1/media/raka-utauoka~exec_harvestasya~.mp3?attredirects=0
Picking a few to sample is hard, when you like everything ><. I suppose I’ll first talk about my favourite, Mahoroba. Starts with a gentle mix of piano and ocarina, the song moves on with the expressive voice of Shikata while keeping a light touch of koto from time to time, the arrangement and the composition… are just beautiful, I guess more so if you like Chinese instrumental music. Souheki no Mori follows the similar style, although less sorrowful compared to Mahoroba.
Reimei ~Aurora~ is a slow and gentle song, hymned delicately with the power calm anyone’s mind. Luna piena, just like Reimei ~Aurora~, is also sung in Italian. I think I probably felt healed after listening to these 2 magical tracks.
Generally the whole album gives the same sort of atmosphere, or at an even higher level, this is the style of Shikata’s music – semi-classical and traditional, chants and multiple layers of voices, melancholic and also a little dark at times, but ultimately touching if you do get into it.
- Hoshiyomi~Hoshiyomi~ (星詠み～ホシヨミ～) (January, 2006)
Album is detailed under Gust Sound Team’s page at here.
- Mio~Mio (澪～ミオ) (October, 2007)
Album is detailed under Gust Sound Team’s page at here.
- Hanakisou Koukyoukyoku (花帰葬交響曲) (March, 2007)
- Kyuuseishu -Hanashiro- (救世主-花白-) (sample) http://sites.google.com/site/depthcharge101shikata1/media/hanakisou-kyuuseishu-hanashiro-.mp3?attredirects=0
- Kaikou~Shiroku Furitsudzuku Mono (邂逅～白く降り続くもの) (sample) http://sites.google.com/site/depthcharge101shikata1/media/hanakisou-kaikou~shirokufuritsudzukumono.mp3?attredirects=0
- Shirofukurou no Theme (白梟のテーマ)
- Machi no Ibuki~Shijou no Fuukei (街の息吹～市場の風景)
- le lacrime~Hakumei~Shuumatsu e no Haguruma (～薄明～終末への歯車)
- Kuroto no Theme (玄冬のテーマ) (sample) http://sites.google.com/site/depthcharge101shikata1/media/hanakisou-kurotonotheme.mp3?attredirects=0
- sorriso~Memoria (sample) http://sites.google.com/site/depthcharge101shikata1/media/hanakisou-sorriso~memoria.mp3?attredirects=0
- Hakoniwa no Soto de (箱庭の外で)~Agnus Dei
- Kenkyuusha no Theme (研究者のテーマ) (sample) http://sites.google.com/site/depthcharge101shikata1/media/hanakisou-kenkyuushanotheme.mp3?attredirects=0
- Aru K-shi no Kareinaru Shokutaku~Boukyou (或るK氏の華麗なる食卓～望郷)
- Ginshu no Theme (銀朱のテーマ)
- Se l’aura spira (sample) http://sites.google.com/site/depthcharge101shikata1/media/hanakisou-sel'auraspira.mp3?attredirects=0
- Hanakisou (花帰葬) (sample) http://sites.google.com/site/depthcharge101shikata1/media/hanakisou-hanakisou.mp3?attredirects=0
Ah, another hard one to sample ><. Hanakisou is an orchestral arranged album, but it’s not classical. Each and every track is filled with “epicness”, and I’d find it hard for anyone to dislike this album… All songs in the album are favourites :p
- Umineko no Naku Koro ni (うみねこのなく頃に) (August, 2008)
- Fukkatsu no Hi (復闊の日) ~Prologo~
- Umineko no Naku Koro ni (うみねこのなく頃に) (sample) http://sites.google.com/site/depthcharge101shikata1/media/uminekononakukoroni-uminekononakukoroni.mp3?attredirects=0
- Kiniro no Chousou ~Uruwashii no Bansan~ (金色の嘲笑 ~麗しの晩餐~) (sample) http://sites.google.com/site/depthcharge101shikata1/media/uminekononakukoroni-kinironochousou~uruwashiinobansan~.mp3?attredirects=0
- Katakoi (片恋) (sample) http://sites.google.com/site/depthcharge101shikata1/media/uminekononakukoroni-katakoi.mp3?attredirects=0
- Kuro no Liliana ~Melancholia~ (黒のリリアナ ~メランコリア~)
- Umineko no Naku Koro ni (うみねこのなく頃に) – Alternative Instrumental Suites –
Some people would classify Raka as a “healing” album, and by that analogy, Umineko no Naku Koro ni would be the exact opposite – a “harming” one. Umineko is an album made for a PC game of the same name, which revolves around a murder mystery plot with dark atmosphere, if anything, the album’s theme would be “anarchy”. Shikata’s singing and arranging style remains the same, but the atmosphere and the feeling it brings is entirely different. I think Umineko would be a love-or-hate album for most people.
- Navigatoria (July, 2005)
- Navigatoria (sample) http://sites.google.com/site/depthcharge101shikata1/media/navigatoria-navigatoria.mp3?attredirects=0
- Suiren (睡恋) (sample) http://sites.google.com/site/depthcharge101shikata1/media/navigatoria-suiren.mp3?attredirects=0
- Nishikaze no Okurimono (西風の贈り物)
- Hanakisou (花帰葬) (sample) http://sites.google.com/site/depthcharge101shikata1/media/navigatoria-hanakisou.mp3?attredirects=0
- Carnaval (カルナヴァル)
- Sorriso (sample) http://sites.google.com/site/depthcharge101shikata1/media/navigatoria-sorriso.mp3?attredirects=0
- Sora no Akane Sora no Ao (空の茜 空の蒼)
- La Corolle
- Makeda ~Queen of Sheba~ (sample) http://sites.google.com/site/depthcharge101shikata1/media/navigatoria-makeda~queenofsheba~.mp3?attredirects=0
Shikata’s first commercial album, released not long after she joined the record label “HATS”. There are 2 tracks that stand out a little – La Corolle and HOLLOW. HOLLOW feels like alternative metal, not something you’d normally hear in Shikata’s music, probably something new she wanted to try, but I still can’t get to like it after listening for a while… La Corolle on the other hand has a jazzy arrangement, which in my opinion doesn’t go very well with Shikata’s voice.
Don’t have a strong favourite on this album, I generally like most of the tracks besides the 2 aforementioned. As I have talked a little in the career section, Navigatoria uses less folk instruments and the arrangement is comparably more contemporary.
- Kalliope~Piano Concert~ (January, 2007)
- Kioku no Zanshi (記憶の残滓)
- Itsumade mo (いつまでも)
- Yuuen (悠遠)
- Sorriso~Venitelo a vedere ‘l mi’ piccino~ (sample) http://sites.google.com/site/depthcharge101shikata2/media/kalliopepianoconcert-sorriso.mp3?attredirects=0
- Yuumei (幽明)
- Yurameki no Shirabe (ゆらめきの調べ)
- Boukyou (望郷)
- Yasashii Uso (優しい嘘)
- Hakoniwa no Soto de (箱庭の外で) (sample) http://sites.google.com/site/depthcharge101shikata2/media/kalliopepianoconcert-hakoniwanosotode.mp3?attredirects=0
- Doko e (何処へ) (sample) http://sites.google.com/site/depthcharge101shikata2/media/kalliopepianoconcert-dokoe.mp3?attredirects=0
- le lacrime (sample) http://sites.google.com/site/depthcharge101shikata2/media/kalliopepianoconcert-lelacrime.mp3?attredirects=0
- Hanakisou~Taisetsuna Kimi ni~ (花帰葬～大切な君に～) (sample) http://sites.google.com/site/depthcharge101shikata2/media/kalliopepianoconcert-hanakisou~taisetsunakimini~.mp3?attredirects=0
- Radio Yohou (ラヂヲ予報) (sample) http://sites.google.com/site/depthcharge101shikata2/media/kalliopepianoconcert-radioyohou.mp3?attredirects=0
- Meimu (迷夢) (sample) http://sites.google.com/site/depthcharge101shikata2/media/kalliopepianoconcert-meimu.mp3?attredirects=0
A piano arrangement album for some of Shikata’s previous work. I think the album would be more enjoyable if you have been listening to her songs and are familiar with the melody. If you appreciate simple piano music, give it a try.
- Kara*Cola ~Hymmnos Orgel Collection~ (August, 2008)
- Utau Oka (謳う丘)~Harmonics EOLIA~
- EXEC_CHRONICLE_KEY/. (sample) http://sites.google.com/site/depthcharge101shikata2/media/karacola-exec_chronicle_key.mp3?attredirects=0
- Tsugau Inochi no Koe (つがう命の声) (sample) http://sites.google.com/site/depthcharge101shikata2/media/karacola-tsugauinochinokoe.mp3?attredirects=0
- EXEC_PAJA/.#Misya extracting
- EXEC_HARMONIOUS/. (sample) http://sites.google.com/site/depthcharge101shikata2/media/karacola-exec_harmonius.mp3?attredirects=0
- Hoshiyomi~Hoshiyomi~ (星詠～ホシヨミ～) (sample) http://sites.google.com/site/depthcharge101shikata2/media/karacola-hoshiyomi~hoshiyomi~.mp3?attredirects=0
- Utau Oka (謳う丘)~Harmonics FRELIA~
- Koi Moyou~Haru~ (恋模様～春～) (sample) http://sites.google.com/site/depthcharge101shikata2/media/karacola-koimoyou~haru~.mp3?attredirects=0
- METHOD_IMPLANTA/. (sample) http://sites.google.com/site/depthcharge101shikata2/media/karacola-method_implanta.mp3?attredirects=0
- Zawameku Douki~Chroche~ (ざわめく動悸～クローシェ～)
- EXEC_over.METHOD_SUBLIMATION/.~omness chs ciel sos infel (sample) http://sites.google.com/site/depthcharge101shikata2/media/karacola-exec_over.method_sublimation.~omnesschscielsosinfel.mp3?attredirects=0
- Forgotten waltz
- Pepen (ペペン)
- Pepen no Uta (ぺぺんのうた)
Kara*Cola is a music box (orgel) re-arrange of the Ar Tonelico songs, mostly composed by Shikata originally. I am not too sure if Kara*Cola could be considered a Shikata’s album, since the re-arrangement is done by L-M-P (Lost Music Planet), but I guess she’s claiming the credit because she wrote the original music.
Lots of mixed feeling when I first listened to this album. Ar Tonelico Hymmnos songs are known for its heavy chants, instrument rich and emphatic melody, and a music box arrangement has the opposite effect of turning them entirely into simple and gentle tunes. So is it good? There’s no universal answer but personally I think the best way to enjoy them is to not treat them like their originals, expecting flowing emotions emanate from the melodies, but to take them as light alternative versions. Overall I find the album decent, I’d imagine it must have taken some effort to do the arrangement, while trying to keep to the original.
- Midori no Mori de Nemuru Tori (緑の森で眠ル鳥) (November, 2001)
- Meimu (迷夢) (sample) http://sites.google.com/site/depthcharge101shikata1/media/midorinomoridenemurutori-meimu.mp3?attredirects=0
- Yoimoribito (宵森人) (sample) http://sites.google.com/site/depthcharge101shikata1/media/midorinomoridenemurutori-yoimoribito.mp3?attredirects=0
- Sacrifice (サクリファイス)
Shikata’s first doujin album. The start of Shikata’s music career and definition of her music. Her earlier work has a simpler arrangement and puts more focus on her voice. I didn’t quite enjoy the album myself, but that’s just me.
- Haikyo to Rakuen (廃墟と楽園) (August, 2002)
- Come raggio di sol (sample) http://sites.google.com/site/depthcharge101shikata2/media/haikyotorakuen-comeraggiodisol.mp3?attredirects=0
- Roma no Musume (ロマの娘)
- MARE (Andante molto espressivo)
- Se l’aura spira (sample) http://sites.google.com/site/depthcharge101shikata2/media/haikyotorakuen-Sel'auraspira.mp3?attredirects=0
- Radio Yohou (ラヂヲ予報)
- Haikyo to Rakuen (廃墟と楽園) (sample) http://sites.google.com/site/depthcharge101shikata2/media/haikyotorakuen-haikyotorakuen.mp3?attredirects=0
- Doko e (何処へ) (sample) http://sites.google.com/site/depthcharge101shikata2/media/haikyotorakuen-dokoe.mp3?attredirects=0
- Iuripuka (イゥリプカ)
- Inishie (古)
- MARE (Allegretto grazioso)
Shikata’s second doujin album, also the one that gained her some attention. Overall the album style isn’t too different from her first one, although I can’t say I am a big fan of the album ><.
- Wikipedia (English)
Shikata’s English Wikipedia, contains a good amount of information and her discography.
- Wikipedia (Japanese)
Shikata’s Japanese Wikipedia, contains similar amount of information compared to the English counterpart.
- Official website (Japanese)
Shikata’s official website, contains information on her discography, live, career history, blog, etc.
- VAGRANCY Official website (Japanese)
Shikata’s VANGRACY official website, news and updates are synchornized with her official website, contains other information related to the doujin circle as well.
- “HATS” profile (Japanese)
Record label “HATS” profile page for Shikata.