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志方あきこ

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Akiko Shikata (志方あきこ) is an folk artist and composer. She has a very personal music style, basically a mix of and , in which she likes to use her multi-faceted soprano voice as an instrument, among other oddities. Known for her eclecticism that can be confusing at times, she has covered many styles that go from experimental rock to jazz, symphonic metal, ambient, progressive pop, industrial and classical music, as well as many subgenres of folk, just to name a few. However, most of her songs have in common an ethnic vibe, a non-linear, progressive structure with stylistic, tone and rhythm changes, quirky dissociated choirs and/or layered vocals at some point or another, simultaneous use of low and high vocals, and a lot of them could be labeled as neoclassical.

One of the pillars of her style and most interesting aspects of her music is that she likes to switch between very different vocal styles, sometimes within the same song: a deeper, ominous low-pitched voice (contralto); a high-pitched, child-like voice; and her regular, unique soprano voice, of which a more operatic variant can also be heard, for instance in her performance of “Oh smania! oh furie! ~ D’Oreste e d’Aiace” from Mozart’s opera Idomeneo.

As for the lyrics and album concepts, Akiko usually draws inspiration from themes such as nature, mythology, pagan rituals, fantasy worlds or ancient legends, and sometimes more “common” themes such as death, love, traveling, melancholy or nostalgia.

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  • AfezeriaMiku

    Ah, really nice cover! Hope it stayed for a while!

    30 Jan 1:48pm Reply
  • StrayDogInDelhi

    By the way, anyone knowns the names of the musicians who appear in the Laylania concert DVD? They were pretty good, especially the guitarist and pianist (who really seemed to enjoy being there haha). And what's the name of the baroque flute quartet who played during the interlude? I'd be interested checking their albums out, if they have some.

    25 Jan 3:45pm Reply
  • StrayDogInDelhi

    I like this ethnic stuff, but somehow miss her medieval style. Stuff like Navigatoria, Hairaku, or Haresugita sora no shita de. It was something audacious and well above everything else in J-folk at the time. But it's my Dead Can Dance nostalgic soul who's talking.

    22 Jan 5:44pm Reply
  • otavioasimoes

    Wow, Akatsuki sounds really amazing! Can't wait for its release. Hanamoyu didn't get me much excited, though. Thanks for sharing them.

    22 Jan 1:00am Reply
  • LeCoinNawak

    Another brand new song by Akiko, Japanese-flavored this time! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hfKhPe33TE4 Single comes out on April 29th and the B-side will be Ibitsu. (thank you, Maruko =)

    20 Jan 10:53pm Reply
  • LeCoinNawak

    New song: 花燃ゆ (Hanamoyu): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sRTGGVH5wYw theme to this series: http://www.nhk.or.jp/hanamoyu/

    17 Jan 11:01pm Reply
  • caramelmilk

    this woman is amazing.

    5 Jan 11:03pm Reply
  • StrayDogInDelhi

    Cross Ange OST is absolute beauty.

    31 Dec 2014 Reply
  • LeCoinNawak

    The Cross Ange soundtrack is incredible! I wasn't impressed when it aired, but it sounds a lot more memorable when listened just by itself. Sadly, I feel they didn't use the right tracks with the right scenes... but it's amazing, all of it. What a waste this soundtrack is not even getting an official release, that's insulting for all the work she's done. The only way to get to hear those tracks is to download them illegally. How sad. :(

    28 Dec 2014 Reply
  • max_milko

    They're taking the Hobbits to Isengard

    20 Dec 2014 Reply
  • LeCoinNawak

    Yeah it's no longer announced on Vagrancy's site. Expect at least some of them to be postponed...

    7 Dec 2014 Reply
  • ama-ri

    When are the release dates exactly? I couldn't find anything...

    21 Nov 2014 Reply
  • LeCoinNawak

    She had announced a sequel to Istoria ~Kalliope~ some time ago, yet another concept album centered around Greek mythology... you have to expect some beautiful artwork coming with this record :) Also like you said, she will be releasing a traditional folk EP called Okashi, as well as the Cross Ange OST (hasn't been confirmed yet but it seems there will be 2 CDs, a shame they're not getting a standalone release, the tracks are rather hit and miss but the OST does deserve it still...) Oh and on a side note, Akiko also released the second soundtrack album to Ciel nosurge very recently, and it's awesome just like the first one (and more coherent than the Cross Ange OST, IMO).

    20 Nov 2014 Reply
  • MarukoKun

    @LeCoinNawak One is Cross Ange OST, another one is probably the japanese-style mini album, but the third one...?

    15 Nov 2014 Reply
  • Azalin

    Really? That's great news!

    5 Nov 2014 Reply
  • LeCoinNawak

    Damn, three new releases in December! That's nothing to complain about, but sometimes I wonder if she actually has a life besides composing.

    23 Oct 2014 Reply
  • LeCoinNawak

    How in hell won't you expect to see Legolas in a LOTR-themed video? =)

    6 Oct 2014 Reply
  • foreverfriendsg

    Why do I see Legolas? [5]

    5 Oct 2014 Reply
  • LeCoinNawak

    Akiko is really special. There's always a gem to discover in her many old soundtracks. For instance this song that most people don't know.

    29 Sep 2014 Reply
  • Mari_Auri

    First artist in my library to reach 3000 scrobbles~ Akiko-sama, you are forever in my heart & soul ♡ You are my goddess & your music will always stay by my side.

    24 Sep 2014 Reply
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