Game Music, Reviews

Hiroki Kikuta’s Soft Side: Kaijinki (Review)

October 4, 2009 | | 2 Comments Share thison Facebook Hiroki Kikuta’s Soft Side: Kaijinki (Review)on Twitter

It was back in 2006 that Hiroki Kikuta emerged once again with his first official album release in ages, Lost Files. Since then, he has released a number of albums on his Notrillia record label, many of which we’ve covered on OSV. There were, however, a number of Nostrillia releases that most game music fans never had the pleasure of hearing due to their limited printings that resulted in rapid stockouts.

Kaijinki is one of those releases. Kaijinki was unleashed in December of 2006, and I don’t think I’ve really heard people talking about it. I guess I can understand that, given that the disc contains only a single track, but I do find it to be an impressive piece of music from the Kikuta we knew at the time.

What exactly do I mean by that? Well, you’ll just have to read our brief review of the single after the jump.

While Soukaigi was definitely a “mature” release from Kikuta, most of the music we’d known from him was more upbeat and whimiscal, as heard in 2005’s Sakura Relaxation (later re-released as LOVE RELAXATION) and the previously mentioned Lost Files. The music on Kaijinki is certainly more in line with his work on Soukaigi, and even his later release, Concerto, with its dramatic orchestral style. I would have certainly been pleasantly surprised by it if I had heard this back in 2006.

The piece features trailing strings, deliberate chords and melody on piano, and of course, Kikuta’s signature chromatic bell instruments. The piece crescendos with a flurry of percussion and cymbals into a contemplative yet beautiful piece of music. A brass section joins the strings in the background, and the toy percussion adds a nice touch, but the piano remains in the foreground as the star, keeping up the song’s steady pace. I really enjoy the characteristically “Kikuta” melody that comes in about midway through, with its distinct ethnic flair.

The piece is really brimming with emotion. The fact that the disc reads “dedicated to yoshihiro yonezawa” adds an element of mystery to the track, as I find myself wondering who this person is and what Kikuta is trying to say with it. While it’s beautiful on one hand, it’s measured and contemplative on the other. [UPDATE: Yonezawa is apparently the father of the Comic Market, and is therefore a pretty inspirational figure to a lot of people out there.  He passed away in 2006 when Kikuta wrote this track.  Now it all makes sense!  Thanks Chris.]

Anyway, although the album doesn’t come with a jewel case, it’s only 500 yen, so I highly recommend picking it up if you can find it. Most people couldn’t even get their hands on it when it was first released in 2006, so you’re likely thinking there’s no way you’ll ever find this one, but Kikuta has been known to stock this CD at his booth at doujin events, and you just might be able to convince your friend in Japan to pick it up for you next time Comiket rolls around.

Do you have a preference when it comes to Kikuta’s dramatic or super upbeat side?  Are there any Nostrillia releases that you’ve been dying to get your hands on?

[photo via VGMdb]

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