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This is the archive for 28 March 2007

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

This is what the sublime talent of Shimamiya Eiko has produced.

This song, named "O", from the French "Eau" (water), has a very intense and complex lyrics. It's a story that resounds of ancient myths, and that talks of the endless life cycle of the water. As the water in the song is compared to a woman (the singer), or better, as the singing voice is shaped in the form of water, it is impossible not to think to the endless cycle of life and reincarnation that is theorized by Buddhism and Zen. But both the sound and the cut of this song, talking of Gaia and Malaika (respectively the Mother Earth goddesses in the ancient Greek mythology and in Swahili) leads us to think more about a new pan-world spiritualism. More than Zen, this song is quite leaning on the new-age slope.

In fact, this song is a bit complex even when you think it's Japanese poetry. I may not have a perfect grip on poetic English, but I have quite a grip on poetic Italian, which can be quite synthetic if correctly employed. By the raw length comparison between the Japanese text and the Italian translation, you can have a precise idea of how much this song is synthetic. Also, translating it in a western language deprives it of some of the various meanings that some sentence have. The original is "more" fluid than it can be rendered with our languages.

On the musical side, the song is a masterpiece; the melodic line is giving the impression of being easy to sing along, but actually it's quite difficult. The melodic structure is sophisticated and elegant, always changing yet staying the same, very ... liquid. Also the rhythmic structure is quite complex; it sounds solemn, but it's eager to be tapped along.

On the downside, the arrangement of Kazuya Takase seems a bit too synthetic, at times. At spots, the wonderful harmonic structure invented by Eiko (invented, as I never heard such a progression before) is almost overwhelmed by excessive glamor of synth strings; other times, it is a bit blurred by excessive insistence on the same bass loop, while it could have been underlined by some subtle changes in one note of the bass riff per chord. I hope to hear another "version" of this song in the future, because if this one has kept me stuck for 2 days on my headphones with repeat on, who knows what a better arrangement may do...

Hey, I may even try one ;-)