Shikata Akiko

Name (Japanese) 志方あきこ
Name (Romaji) Shikata Akiko
Occupation Singer/Composer
Gender Female

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.

Contents

Career

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 NavigatoriaNavigatoria 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).

Circles

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.

Albums

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.

External Links

Responses

  1. A little question… do you have any impressions from Shikata’s orgel albums?
    I personally like some of these melodies (and I get all emotional when listening to Luce, from the Wisteria album).

  2. Hm… I guess you could sort of tell I am not too big of a fan for her orgel albums since they are not listed here haha.

    They are okay, I listen to them casually, but I can’t say I have a strong liking to it. The hymmnos orgel is the only exception, but I guess I am just too bias when it comes to all the Hymmnos music.

    Did you check out Shimotsuki’s doujin music? People tend to see most of her commercial stuff, which are just normal j-pop usually.

    And don’t forget about Shikata’s new album Harmonia coming out soon too.

  3. Yeah, I’m also anticipating her Harmonia album.

    And I’ll have to check more in depth Shimotsuki’s music, since I have only listened to her Lip-Aura, Tsukioi no Toshi and Tindharia no Tane albums (and liked what I heard so far).

  4. Maple Leaf Box and Yuragu Sora, nao :)

  5. Listened to Yuragu Sora today, and it’s a great song (I understand what you said about getting the feeling of getting sent to other world). And I’m going to listen to the rest of the album later on.

    And I forgot to say I also listened to her collaboration single with Revo (Kiri no Mukou ni Tsunagari Sekai), and both Weiβ and Schwarz are very beautiful pieces (Schwarz being my favorite), and Schwarzweiβ is not bad either, though I don’t like it as much as the other two.

  6. Yeap yeap, although the other songs in Yuragu Sora aren’t as good, it’s still a very good album in general.

    Yea love kirimukou a whole lot myself. Did you play Atelier Iris 3? Schwarzweiβ is the opening theme.

  7. I’m playing through it currently (and I have liked it so far, even if I feel it like a downgraded version of Mana Khemia (understandable being its direct predecessor)).

    And it’s funny the references to the game itself (even if unintended) that are on the lyrics of Schwarzweiβ (such as “riding the gust, would it reach the atelier?” Or “black edge… white ash…”). Of course, these could be only my imagination at work.

  8. Nah it is referring to the game, and it is intended. They make a theme song for the game (not borrowing it from existing songs), so there’s no reason why they wouldn’t put fitting lyrics into it.

  9. Oh, OK. And about the Atelier games songs, did you know about the Atelier Vocal Historia collection that Gust will be releasing very soon?

    Here’s the official site: http://shop.salburg.com/product/vocalhistoria/

  10. Yea I am aware of that, although I didn’t quite enjoy the previous 2 atelier vocal albums they have released (volkslied and volkslied 2) so I didn’t mention it.

    With that said, I’ll still give it a try when it’s out and probably make a post. 3 discs of Atelier theme songs, that’s a lot ><

  11. With the content being mostly songs we have already heard, and three new original ones. However, for any Atelier fan, a recollection of the theme songs from all the games is something really tempting (I would have ordered it if I wasn’t under so many limitants).

  12. Don’t think I’ve heard most of it, since I’ve only played AI1, 2 and 3 (and only touched a little of Mana Khemia 1). There are heaps of titles that I don’t recognize, probably from the older Atelier series…

    I usually don’t buy albums until after I listen to them and like it. I am tempted to preorder Shikata’s Harmonia because of the hot stamping cover though….

  13. Well, knowing Shikata I don’t think we can get disappointed (specially with the new versions of Singing Hill and Umineko, and who knows what other great songs may be included in it).

  14. Indeed, but that’s why I was tempted!

    *resists*

    But in the end, if I do end up liking it, I’ll buy it just like the other albums.

  15. Speaking about Harmonia, looks they are including more info about Rhaplanca’s tale in it, based on what says in the Salburg.com shop:

    http://shop.salburg.com/shop.php?mode=19293;start

  16. Yea the newsletter also mentioned it will include like Mio’s director comments etc. Ah it’s more and more tempting…

    Meh I failed, I pre-ordered Harmonia….

  17. Well, at least it will be worth it. And I hope you enjoy it, too! (I’m getting double-anxious about it now!)

  18. Hi! How do I download these songs. I’m sorry but I don’t understand …. xD

  19. The site doesn’t host the albums directly, but you can download the sample songs by clicking on the “(sample)” link.

    If you are looking for the full album, have a check at the Download/Buy section. For Shikata Akiko there’s a thread on ffshrine that has a solid collection of her music, direct download too.

  20. nii~
    Now I know a little bit more about her.
    I like your comments on the albums and songs. (Do you know the I-Like-every-single-song-of-her-and-i-love-her-very-much-people? xD)

    Everyone has their own taste. ( Can i say so? My English is not very good :/)
    Unlike you, I like “La Corrolle” very much.
    And I love the musicbox arrangements. They are so cute :3

    okay . Liebe Grüße…oh ehm xD Greetings

    Sol~Salacast

  21. […] consistently stunning work (Hanakisou Koukyoukyoku is performed by the Moscow Symphony Orchestra, some samples are here) Help a brother […]


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