The hate over this album is simply ridiculous. Sure, it's not her best, it's a bit newagey and stuff, but if you have nothing else to do than bash all her poppier works (a lot of which are very enjoyable by the way), you should get a life.
It's not bad, but I personally find it hard to listen from being so overorchestrated and non-linear, when Raka (and others) had only one-mood songs. I'm not surprised to see that metalheads enjoy this album, since they're used to heavier sounds, so after all it makes sense they're not bothered by the chaotic maelstrom of sounds and influences this album constantly struggles with. Personally, I like her simpler, calmer songs best - Raka especially hit my heartstrings like very few albums did, pretty much like darkwave acts like Jack or Jive or Dead Can Dance, although Shikata's works have a strong song structure when these bands are more atmospheric, I sense something similar in the emotions they have me feel. Harmonia is sort of chaotic and weird, sure, but I'm happy if some people can enjoy it. And those who don't can always find other Shikata works that they may enjoy - I'm thinking of RAKA especially since darkwave fans generally enjoy it most, but also the OSTs, indie albums, etc.
I have a copy of this album. The booklet and cover have really beautiful aesthetics, but the music is not as great as the previous ones (Navigatoria, Raka...) Somehow, it sounds colder to me. It's not shit as some people say, but really the prior releases were night and day, there was a mystical, magical atmosphere that seems to be absent here. Nothing is done to put the focus on Akiko's beautiful voice, like with Raka. The vocals and choirs sound far away in the mix... And the songs tend to have too many stylistic twists, so it's somehow hard to digest, first listens leave incoherent and disjointed impressions... I guess I still like it, but it's for people willing to give it a chance and not just listen once and give a hasty judgment... also, not a great album to start with, as it doesn't give quite a right idea of Akiko's style. But this being said some songs on this album are really beautiful, not always a fan of the instrumentation, though, but globally it's still pleasant.
It's more orchestrated, progressive, and more complex than her other records, and for sure it's not perfect, but it's certainly not bad. I can understand all this complexity can sound a little bit chaotic and off-putting at first listen, as it was the case for me as well, but most of her albums are growers. I appreciate Akiko for her ability to create something completely different with each album, and never running out of creativity. Wokashi and caTra showcase this well.
Some of the songs never grew on me, but others did. Looking back to its release, I think it was a fairly good effort, still, but it's lacking that something that can't be expressed by words and made Navigatoria and Raka so enthralling.
Incredibly well said. I like the idea of using elements as themes, even though I think the execution of the fire element didn't reach the bar I set for it in my mind. Fire is my favorite element, and レプリカーレ nailed why I enjoy it so much. It can represent so many painful emotions most popular artists tend to stumble over or completely avoid. For those like Taylor Swift, trivial things like being dumped by some random guy is her at her deepest. With レプリカーレ, Akiko actually touched upon the dark parts of fire: despair, destruction, or hell itself. But besides that one song, all the other elemental songs sound better to me than the fire ones, particularly water and earth (the last half). Still, I adore this album.
WTF?? she was just trying something different with this album... the fact it's more complex and an eventual grower doesn't mean it sucks. Of course it takes a little time to grow on you. You want to give more than just a couple listens to come to appreciate such an album.
It's not new age at all... LOL... compare this with Enya... it's completely different. The main influence here is classical crossover, mixed with darkwave, and folk, pop, and ethnic elements. No need to be so rude by the way, let people listen to what the hell they want to.
久遠の海 and 追想花 would be masterpieces with a decent, lighter acoustic arrangement, like the one Akiko composed for Sorriso, aerial and piano-based with a focus on the vocals. The songs are beautiful, but the shitty synths and new agey instrumentals wasted all the potential. Could totally have been new Sorriso's though, what a shame.
I agree to some extent, but fortunately there's still a lot of folk instruments used here, although you can tell the violins are missing. The instrumentals are a bit over-the-top, and the sound gets messy af on the most orchestrated parts, since the album wasn't cleverly mixed at all. The vocals and choirs sound lost in all that reverb and the tacky synth strings were a pretty bad choice. On the other hand, the godly-crafted, all-acoustic instrumentals on Shikata's earlier albums (Raka, Navigatoria and even the home-recorded Haikyo to Rakuen) were perfect. Maybe that's why I can't feel the magic just as much as with Akiko's other releases, and why I almost never listen to it nowadays, but I always thought these songs deserved something better and should be recorded again with acoustic instrumentals, like Turaida, but with vocals similar to those she used in Raka.I know I can dream on, but it'd be awesome, the songs had so much potential they just can't be wasted on these shitty synths!
My first album of her and my entry into Akiko's musical cosmos. I adore its godly melodies, Akiko's "jubilant" voice(s) and symphonical arrangements a very lot. Moreover, I like the concept of that record (the 4 elements: air, fire, water, earth and their compatibility). Favourite tracks: #2, 3, 10, 12, 13, 14 and 17.
v listens to a shitload of bands that are much worse than this album. apparently grandhipster loves DCD ripoffs and isnt able to recognize original creation. tho I do admit she sounds sick on this album. maybe chako hattori recorded it instead of shikata lol.
Great concept album. The composition is flawless. So is the execution, except for 志方さま's established inability to deliver correct pronounciation of foreign languages (remember HOLLOW?) ._. I couldn't help being thrown off of the magical moments of 遥かなる旅路 by the nearly unrecognizable deliverance of the Turkish and Uyghur lyrics. (FYI, one is my mother tongue and the other is a close relative that I happen to speak a little; and I didn't even notice that until I looked at the booklet.) If you know none of the foreign (i.e. non-Japanese) languages used in the lyrics, it's an astounding masterpiece. If you happen to know any of those languages,... it's still an astounding masterpiece XD. You just get distracted by the mispronounciation in the first few listens; but then you get used to it and start appreciating the omnipresence of the beauty overall. Long live 志方さま!
This is a stunning album... I love every track, and I like the fact electric guitar is more present, that's a welcome change -it sounds great! :D (but don't misinterpret me, I LOVE her acoustic songs :)