Anime, Japanese, Reviews

Kanon Wakeshima’s Debut Album: Shinshoku Dolce (Review)

September 12, 2009 | | 1 Comment Share thison Facebook Kanon Wakeshima’s Debut Album: Shinshoku Dolce (Review)on Twitter

Hi everyone! I’m back with another review for an artist that I’ve had the wonderful privilege of interviewing. Kanon Wakeshima, in case you didn’t know already, is a cellist who has been playing since she was 3 years old. She’s also the first female vocal project of Mana. Followers of J-Rock may recognize this name, as he is the driving force behind Malice Mizer, who also gave birth to Gackt’s popularity, and his current group, Moi dix Mois.

First debuting with singles for the anime Vampire Knight, she quickly gained popularity. Shinshoku Dolce, her first full length album, debuted in Japan in February of 2009. Having already covered her debut performance at Otakon 2009 in Baltimore, MD and having sat down to discuss her work, I figured it was about time to tackle the album.

So, what can you expect? You’ll just have to check the jump!

The album opens up with “sweet ticket,” a soft instrumental cello piece that introduces some marching percussion. It has a very whimsical flair to it and sets up the tone of the album quite nicely. Following this piece, “Shinku no Fatalism” starts off the album with a bang. In fact, it’s my favorite piece from Kanon Wakeshima. It’s got that classic Malice Mizer sound, for those familiar with it. For those unfamiliar, it has a very classical air offset by an awesome tempo and some electronic influences. Kanon’s voice is extremely powerful here, as is her cello work.

The album follows with “Kagami,” a piece featuring some very classical cello work. Overall, it has quite a haunting atmosphere, some fantastic string accompaniment, and also demonstrates the more intricate side of Mana’s compositions. “Maboroshi” is another whimsical piece featuring something akin to a French air. The xylophone adds so much to the entire piece, where as the string work, cello included, really reinforce the playful styling of this piece. One of the standout pieces on the album is definitely “Ennui Kibun!” As mentioned in my concert write up, it’s a very bubbly electronic piece, with a very carnival-esque sound, with a very creepy atmosphere at times. Another favorite of mine is definitely “Kunoi Torikago.” This one mixes electronic and baroque sound styles to create a very powerful performance. Hauntingly beautiful, Kanon’s cello work adds so much to the entire piece. Despite its dark sound, it’s quite exhilarating!

However, most people familiar with Kanon Wakeshima know her for her work on the anime Vampire Knight. “Still doll” features a very creepy atmosphere complete with some ethereal choir samples, some fantastic cello work, and a very classical air about it. It’s a fantastic theme and one of my favorites on the album, particularly the gripping and emotional cello solo. Her other contribution to Vampire Knight, “Suna no Oshiro,” keeps the same atmosphere, but the cello work stands out so much more. Frenetic cello work pairs wonderfully with Kanon’s soft vocals while managing to keep a very gothic sound. Overall, I think this is also another one of her stronger performances on the album.

I definitely think this is a pretty awesome album. While the styles featured on the album are limited, each theme is quite unique. There are the bubblier themes, the more gothic influenced pieces, but each manages to retain a very individual sound. Fans of Mana’s more classically oriented works from his previous projects would do well to pick this one up. He really picked a winner with Kanon Wakeshima’s beautiful vocals and ability to play the cello. Do yourself a favor and pick it up at CD Japan or Play Asia if you can!

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