May 18, 2005
Buy Used Copy
Collaborating with Masato Kato to compose music to accompany a story he had written, Mitsuda brings yet another masterpiece to his resume. As some of you may know, Kato was the mastermind behind Chrono Cross and the style of music Mitsuda chooses to compose is very reminiscent of the soundtrack to this game and similar to his Xenogears arranged album Creid.
“Is KiRite Burning Up?” starts out with a slow acoustic guitar solo and is soon accompanied by poignant vocals. As the track progresses, it takes an extreme shift in tempo. Percussion, piano, violin, electric guitar, and shakuhachi all take the stage and create a rhythm that makes you wonder if KiRite really is burning up! The electric guitar and shakuhachi are the basis for the melody while the violin creates a bass line that stays refreshing throughout the piece. The same poignant vocals enter the piece again and create a sort of lulling melody before the tempo speeds up again and climaxes with the electric guitar and shakuhachi. For an opening track, this really grabs your attention and doesn’t let go. It’s a very vivid introduction to the album and the book it accompanies.
“The Market in Volfinor” sets an atmosphere of hustle and bustle, something expected of a marketplace. The melody itself is very playful, which lends itself to help enforce the atmosphere at the marketplace. The melody played by the flute is deeply evocative and thee postlude in the piece invokes the beginning xylophone bass line, brigning about the idea of the market closing. Another setting piece, “The Forest of Lapis Lazuli” invokes a feeling of serenity with its exchanging solos on violin and flute, though features occasional shits in intensity. It really gets the listener immersed in a forest full of precious gems. Other highlights include “As Autumn Passes Away”, a folksy composition that creates an image of falling leaves in a local village while a harvest festival is being celebrated. “The Snow Howling” meanwhile blooms from its ambient opening towards its traditional centre, inspiring pictures of a light snow falling over a small Japanese hut with a fireplace in full effect in order to keep the occupants warm during the cold and harsh winter.
“Scorning Blade” is quite haunting. A piano and acoustic guitar plays a simple bass line melody while an almost Gregorian chant accompanies it. Soon the piano itself takes the role of the melody producer and shines through the use of the acoustic guitar. Halfway through the track, Mitsuda pulls a 180 on us and eliminates the use of all instruments except for the piano. It’s a haunting melody that showcases the main theme of the album “Circle of Eternity.” Later in the album, “Fated Encounter ~ The Fall of Darkness” starts off quite strong. The acoustic guitar creates a nice bass line, while the supporting vocals add a layer of sophistication to this entire piece. The woodwinds and strings in the piece create a beautiful harmony that carries the main melody throughout the song. When all the different types of instruments are intertwined, a feeling of awe and accomplishment overcome the listener. The most striking aspect of this entire song is the transition between fast and slow. At times the vocals add a haunting texture to the song, while at times they are used as a melody strengthener.
“Promise with Winds ~ Petal’s Whereabouts” is the first vocal theme of the album. It’s a very mellow piece that accompanies the vocals with acoustic guitar, percussion, and piano. All three sections mesh quite well together with the singer Eri Kawai. The vocals themselves are quite strong and, while not as poignant as in “Is KiRite Burning Up,” sincerity is felt as the words emanate from the singer’s mouth and lingers into the listener’s ear. To finish up the track, a small solo by an electric guitar is not overbearing and seems to find its place in finishing up the melody. The second vocal piece of the album, “The Azure”, has an introduction more reminiscent of his Creid vocal songs. The singer, Eri Kawai, once again shines in this piece. Her voice seems to accompany the percussion and the acoustic guitar so well. The violin that plays the melody while the singer is absent is strikingly beautiful and only helps to create a beautiful harmony. Compared to the first song of the soundtrack, this one shows a higher level of maturity.
When it comes to very organic sounding compositions, Mitsuda’s a cappella pieces really strike the heart of the listener. There is an intrinsic beauty to the composition of “Upon Melodies of the Moon”. This beauty comes the emotion displayed by Eri Kawai’s voice. By layering her vocals to create a strong melodic vocal line and a subtle accompanying vocal line, Mitsuda is able to craft a piece that makes you feel warm inside. The last vocal piece on this album, “The Name of Our Hope”, is Eri Kawai’s strongest performance on the album. Before I get to the vocals, let’s describe the actual instrumentation. The piano is used to create a wonderful melody while the acoustic guitar only lends its strength to boost the piano’s usage. Kawai’s voice in this song can only be described as ‘indescribable’. It’s so powerful that this song would be fantastic a cappella. When combined with the effect piano/guitar accompaniment, her vocal strength is only heightened.
“Nocturne” is my favorite piece on the entire soundtrack. Reminiscent it is comprised of mainly piano and violin to create an extremely sad atmosphere. The piano and violin mesh so well that it sounds like Yuki Kajiura may have lended a hand with this track. While the piano itself creates the accompaniment to the violin, it plays beautiful passages that could stand up on their own.That being said, the violin is really the star of the show. It creates the often sad atmosphere associated with a slow ballad, yet also is strong enough to create a series of melodic tangents in the latter half of the song. Moving to the closure, the brief “Prayer Tree” creates a sense of tranquility using percussion and piano. he electric guitar which plays the main melody is a subtle addition to the piece while the addition of female vocals creates a sense of holiness. Finally, “Circle of Eternity” reprises the melody of the latter half of “Scorning Blade” in a simple yet effective way. It’s easy to listen to this piece as time passes without a care in the world.
Coming out after Moonlit Shadow, in which Mitsuda also played a part, KiRite had big shoes to fill. In this album, he succeeds in creating one of the best albums he’s ever composed. While his standard fare of Celtic inspired music may draw some listeners away, I assure you, this is not quite the same as his others. In fact, I think he’s learned to harness the power of the Celtic music, in a way that shows his maturity as a composer and that any other Celtic influenced albums in the future will garner a bit more maturity and stylistic writing. For an album created for a book project, Mitsuda succeeds in immersing the listener into the world created by Kato. A definite must for all Mitsuda fans in the world.
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Posted on August 1, 2012 by Don Kotowski. Last modified on August 1, 2012.