Aria of the Spilled Sand
Aria of the Spilled Sand
April 25, 2012
Buy at CDJapan
Koboreru Suna no Aria is the third album in the original concept Tindharia saga by Hakura Shimotsuki, taking place between Tindharia no Tane and Griotte no Nemuri Hime. It features all the composers responsible for contributing to the latter album (Michiko Naruke, MANYO, Noriyuki Iwadare, and Yoshitaka Hirota), alongside the returning vocalist. Interestingly, the release was produced as a suite, featuring an overture and five movements that blend with one another seamlessly. How does this album turn out compared to the other albums in the series?
Let me just state it now. Throughout the album, Haruka Shimotsuki’s performance is stunning, ranging in a variety of styles, and her voice really lends strength to the compositions. The album opens up with the short “Overture”, composed by Michiko Naruke, featuring mystical piano and chimes with Haruka Shimotsuki narrating over the music, setting up the tale. Following that, Naruke contributes the first song, “First Movement: Nightmare,” the longest on the album. Throughout its duration, it goes through a variety of tones and emotions, ranging from soft acoustic settings, to minimalistic electronic tones, to pop rock passages, and, of course, some hauntingly beautiful atmospheres. One section even captures the image of a nightmare. However, the most striking part to me, emotionally, is the last third of the composition, where the main melodic motif is introduced. This Celtic-influenced passage is simply musical magic.
MANYO’s contribution “Second Movement: Chance Meeting” is a much lighter affair, starting with narration to set up this portion of the story over chimes and acoustic guitar. Once the actual music begins, the combination of acoustic guitar, piano, and synth backing lend itself to the next portion of the track, providing a very dreamy atmosphere. The subsequent portion of MANYO’s track is a brief festive affair, featuring an increased tempo and a larger focus on acoustic guitar. The last section of the track is perhaps the most beautiful. Before the singing begins again, there is a short narrative portion of the track that features an exquisite piano line before the track picks up again with instrumentation featured in the first portion of the song.
The next contribution “Third Movement: Homecoming” by Iwadare is one of the most beautiful compositions he’s done for this Tindharia series. It’s another track that has a bit of everything: a gushing orchestral introduction in waltz format, a celebratory section dominated by heroic brass, a sinister section focused on guitar riffs, and even a guitar solo inspired by classic rock. While quite a mishmash, Iwadare ensures everything comes together to create a convincing narrative. Also excellent is the way the artist synchronises his movement with other additions to the suite. One section takes on the main motif introduced in Naruke’s track, exquisitely expressed through romantic strings and layered choral accompaniment. The track ends with a very chaotic blend of vocals, electric guitar, and strings, foreshadowing the next movement.
“Fourth Movement: Madness,” by Yoshitaka Hirota, really lends itself to madness as the track title suggests. It incorporates plenty of sinister sounds and has an inherently disjointed nature. The exchange between beautiful passages featuring powerful woodwind and violin passages, to more intense passages featuring industrial bass and sinister vocals, is a thing of wonders. Some sections really tug on the heartstrings, while the insane violin solo by Akihisa Tsuboy is another highlight. Further tying together the series’ narrative, the track twice incorporates the choral melody featured in Griotte no Nemuri Hime, “Kingdom of Irregularities”. But certainly the most creative portion is the conclusion, where Hirota takes tracks from both Tindharia no Tane and Griotte no Nemuri Hime and shifts through a few seconds of each, as if tuning through a static filled AM radio.
The album ends with “Final Movement,” composed and arranged by Haruka Shimotsuki. The music here is quite dreamy, focusing on ethereal synthesizer and choral sounds to start. It moves into the main melody motif presented on charming acoustic guitar and piano lines above an ethereal Celtic soundscape. It’s an extremely powerful piece of music and a great way to ease the energy after Hirota’s tension filled tune. The inclusion of motifs from the previous works is also a nice touch. The final portions of the track are extremely radiant and exude emotion, especially as the music crescendos before ending on a light, instrumental note.
Although this album is shorter than the previous two, I think it is definitely the strongest of the three albums. Despite its storytelling approach that includes moments of narration, these are far and few between throughout the duration of the album and even though each movement features a variety of atmospheres and tones, the music manages to flow quite nicely within each movement and into the movement that follows it. The fact that each composer also utilizes the main theme in some way helps to unify the album as a whole. From start to finish, it’s a magical album that fans of this series and these composers will most likely enjoy.
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Posted on August 1, 2012 by Don Kotowski. Last modified on January 22, 2016.