3. sprinter (instrumental)
fairytale is Kalafina’s third single, released on December 24th, 2008. It reached #10 on Oricon. The title track was used as the ending theme to the fifth installment of Kara no Kyoukai (boundaries on emptiness). As usual, all songs were composed and written by Yuki Kajiura. This is the first single where only three of the four girls originally forming Kalafina are present. Whether the missing one has left the band or not has not yet been announced.
While it may not seem so, fairytale is definitely a Christmas song. It has Latin chants, the title itself is an allusion to the so-to-say “fairytale” of the birth of Christ, and it’s a gentle song, as opposed to oblivious and sprinter, who both used dance beats. And while this song may not be quite as interesting as the two previous singles, I think it is their best A-Side so far. It does have a few flaws, in particular the sloppy ending, but otherwise I think it’s in a completely other league than oblivious and sprinter/ARIA.
serenato is Kalafina’s best song, and there’s not questioning. While fairytale sampled Latin choir music, serenato has hints of Chinese music, in particular the high-pitched chants in the back. This song reminds me a lot of what Kajiura wrote for the soundtrack of Madlax (a pretty interesting series, if you like anime), with its exotic feel. A must hear for anyone in to Shimatani Hitomi’s crossover style or string ensembles.
Published October 27, 2008
*REVIEWS , Kalafina
Tags: ARIA, Kalafina, Sprinter
3. Oblivious – Instrumental –
spinter/ARIA is Kalafina’s second single, released on August 30th, 2008. It reached #9 on Oricon and has sold 23 309 copies. ARIA was used as the theme song for the fourth installment of Kara no Kyoukai (boundary of emptiness).
sprinter is a very powerful track to say least, even more powerful than Oblivious. It makes wonderful use of powerful guitar riffs during pretty much all of the song, but they are really striking during the chorus. The combination of a powerful voice and a chorus of smaller voices ad-libbing in the background creates a great effect, but toward the end of the chorus, there is a vocal canon which I really didn’t like. It also includes a sort of annoying false ending in the middle, which was a really nice touch.
The second A-Side, ARIA, isn’t as overwhelming. It opens with Latin (maybe) chants in the back and bleeps of synth as it has become their trademark, and then just good low-key for the first verse, which is nice, but not exactly what I was expecting from a song called ARIA. The chorus is better and manages to save the song, and focuses on very powerful vocals and drums. Not as good as sprinter, but good.
2. Kimi ga Hikari ni Kaeteiku
Oblivious is Kalafina’s debut single, released on January 23rd, 2008. It reached #8 on Oricon and has sold 38 695 copies. Kalafina was founded by famous composer Kajiura Yuki in order to provide the theme songs for the seven chapters of the series Kara no Kyoukai (boundaries or emptiness). All the songs on this single were used in order of appearance for the first three movies.
Oblivious makes it quite obvious why this single reached #8 on Oricon. It opens with lines of synth and ad-libbing, before adding a concrete beat in the back with a gorgeous voice (I can’t tell which one of the four girls is singing, Keiko perhaps?). The verses are absolutely fantastic of the highest quality, but then comes the just plain gorgeous and catchy chorus. The relatively lengthy bridge was very nice and helped make this song even better. As with all their songs, the combination of four beautiful voices creates something very beautiful. The lyrics of this song are sort of weird, but the first installment of Kara no Kyoukai helps understand what they are about.
Kimi ga Hikari ni Kaeteiku (you become the light) opens with a deeper voice and a modest piano playing the same not almost the entire time, while the vocals take control of the melody. The piano slowly affirms itself a little more in the song later, but until the middle of the song, it stays relatively bland. After that comes a slightly more upbeat part with a more powerful beat and strings, which I thought wasn’t bad, but could’ve been done well without. I’m still not a big fan of the canons which come so frequently in their songs, but I guess it’s not so bad here.
Kizuato (scar) is halfway between Oblivious and Kimi ga Hikari ni Kaeteiku: it’s dramatic, yet more low-key than the A-Side, but features a more outgoing ensemble of instruments than the first B-Side. I’m not sure which of the two B-Sides is better, but when I look back, I think the first B-Side was better. There’s nothing particularly catchy or beautiful about this one to make it stand out from the rest of the songs on this single, but it’s still a more-than-decent B-Side.