Friday, June 8, 2007

FictionJunction YUUKA

(Originally 25 November 2006)

The thought of too much good music making me jaded briefly crossed my mind, but I chalk it up to having a short attention span. The past couple of weeks has been KOTOKO and various I've related music. My latest addiction, even though the bulk of it comes almost a year late, is the rediscovery of Yuki Kajiura.

I ought to point out for those who don't know, FictionJunction is Yuki Kajiura's solo project, almost like a corporate entity unto itself. When she collaborates with other singers, their given name appears after. The vocalist in this case is Yuuka Nanri (both names in Western order btw).

Interest really got into gear a couple days ago with Garten making a post about Kouya Routen. The full version of the PV is on YouTube. After the opening flourish with traditional stringed instruments, the percussion line that kicks in reminds me of traditional western cowboy music. Everything about it has good flow, although the breather of a mid-section is not to my liking. I like the intensity kept up throughout and the contrasting section is accomplished by dropping the tempo.

Since Yuki has an evident classical composition background, it's unsurprising that Yuuka is a talented singer. She's backed up by rich choral-like voicing (another Kajiura trait), prominent rhythmic lines and strings.

I seem to have a bad habit of forming addictions via YouTube, and I wound up developing another one by following the related video links. If you're just coming off Kouya Ruten, the breakneck tempo of nowhere hits you with that much more force, and Kouya Ruten isn't even that slow. Yuki's choral style never gets old, the short vocal motifs just push the piece along, ever insistent. Around the 43 second mark, when there is a bit of call and answer, Yuuka's answer is semi-detached in sync with the fast bass drum. The call, "any time, any place" is also semi-detached. The inflections in the words are what make the most of that effect in the whole song, and serve to drive the intensity.

I've heard Akatsuki no Kuruma (Wheel of Dawn) before, although I'm not sure why I have it kicking around since I don't watch Gundam Seed or GS Destiny. I'm quite fond of the heavier latin atmosphere in the acoustic version, though. I was very impressed with the studio performance, even if it wasn't the acoustic version. One studio performance led to another, of which there are three total. I'm most impressed with Seiya (Holy Night). Yuuka had trouble with pitching of the higher notes in Akatsuki, as well as voice timbre control, and Seiya has a better feel than Futari (not on YouTube). It is getting close to Christmas and all, and Seiya has a warm, intimate feel to it.

All of these studio performances took place last year, around the time the album Destination was released, so I've clearly missed the boat. Destination is itself a decent album, but of the previously unreleased material on there, Seiya is my favourite.