Friday, June 8, 2007

KOTOKO - Re-sublimity Single

(Originally 23 December 2006)

I've been meaning to rave about how awesome the Kannazuki no Miko OP and ED tracks are. Time, and a host of other tracks, has probably blunted my enthusiasm, but these are keepers.


Re-sublimity, the OP, is typical KOTOKO/I've Sound form, right down to the consistency and placement of instrumental-only passages. The only thing that differentiates this track from basically every other I've Sound/KOTOKO produced track is plenty of open-ended driving power in the melody and accompaniment. Short motifs carried by either KOTOKO or the synth are contrasted with long string lines overhead. The synth's motif in the instrumental-only sections alternate (relatively) slower detached notes with rapid staccato. A pervasive ticking snare keeps pace like, well, clock work.

Despite the lyrics, Re-sublimity is generally upbeat and passionate.

Agony, the ED, uses a darker atmosphere to create and build tension. In the verse, KOTOKO runs along with a short rhythmic figure with lead-in, then switches to a longer line as she transitions into the bridge, which continues into chorus. In the chorus she uses a sweeping line, but switches into the same short rhythmic motif once more to build to the end. In the middle section there's a breather, but it's short. At the end, the track breaks out into a bright, syncopated synth piano, in a major key. A quieter, but equally bright, acoustic piano comes in after the accompaniment fades out.

The lyrics describe a much darker passion, delving into despair and desperation.

Suppuration -core- is an image song that appears in two places, I think. My DVD's are currently on loan, can't be bothered to YouTube episodes to confirm. But I'd like to think one of scenes is where Chikane is kicking ass and taking names. Suppuration -core- is angry and violent, as evidenced by the intro with its jarring guitar, pounding bass drum. It's still danceable, like most other KOTOKO tracks, but it inspires stiff, jerky movement. KOTOKO's voice is distorted when she's using recitative, and the distortion is switched off when she goes to constrasting, longer and higher range lines. Violence motivated by desperation is what I feel emanating from the alternating distortion and soaring vocals.

It seems that all three tracks are written from Chikane's point of view, specifically her thoughts (confessions?) regarding Himeko. They track (har har) her descent into darkness from the beginning to up to the last episode of the series. She initially plays her cards close to her chest, but the viewer gets to see more into her as the series progresses, and her complete collapse in episode eight.

On their own, the tracks in the Re-sublimity single are solid and represent stand-out execution in an otherwise formulaic production by I've Sound. Suppuration -core- is indicative of KOTOKO's own rock-ish style, and she makes heavier use of guitar in her independent debut album, Hane. Rarely is a KOTOKO track so dark, apart from Collective, which is also an excellent dark, guitar-heavy track.

In the context of Chikane's character, these tracks offer insight into her motivations and thoughts, and add a lot more impact to her actions in the series. A must listen for any Chikane fan.