Kalafina – Kimi no Gin no Niwa

I think Wakana looks less fat in this one.

I think Wakana looks less fat in this one.

Tracklist:

  1. Kimi no Gin no Niwa
  2. Misterioso
  3. Tsuioku
  4. Kimi no Gin no Niwa (instrumental)

———————————
1. Kimi no Gin no Niwa

An accordion welcomes you to Paris – Kalafina style. Also, Yuki Kajiura has stumbled upon the Golden Rule Of Music – tuba makes any song awesome (unless it’s not actually tuba, in which case I shall go cry in the corner). Kimi no Gin no Niwa is a light and fluffy song from the group, Hikaru starting on the vocals. She sings with a bright and cheery tone, and though it suits the mood of the song, her voice is a little nasal. Wakana takes over soon after, also using a higher tone, infused with the slightest tinge of cuteness. Hikaru and Wakana exchange lead roles in the verses, and the chorus goes to Wakana. She sings brilliantly in the chorus, hitting the high notes with aplomb, topping it off with her characteristic fluttering vibrato. Keiko takes a break from backing in time for a cameo in the bridge, which is a good place for a vocal change-up. The instrumentation is lovely, featuring a heartfelt performance by the strings section, festive accordion, subtle bells in the chorus, and a music box-like instrument. The only instrument not at the same standard was the right-panned electric guitar with its dull, clean sound. All in all, a big improvement from Alleluia!

2. Misterioso

This song might as well be called Mirai Version Two. It frustrates me when Kalafina do filler-ish stuff like this – sure, it sounds nice, but there isn’t any depth in the track. Wanna do a rock song? Then do it, instead of in-between pop-rock. Misterioso is a moderately fast-paced track, using distorted guitars and a strings section for the bulk of its instrumentation. There’s also a wobbling, Inner Universe-esque digital percussion clattering away in the background. The percussion is one of the places that should have been arranged better. It’s off-putting that the pace, set by the bass drum, is fast, yet the snare is nowhere to be seen. There’s something satisfying in a solid beat to a song, and Misterioso is lacking this (except for right at the end). The track doesn’t have much form as well, but that’s not particularly high on my priority list. Arrangement gripes aside, the Wakana-led vocals are heavenly. I especially love the major 7th harmony (I think XD) on “sekai”, from the line “sekai wa kimi wo matteru” about one-third of the way in. Overall, while it is a poppy piece, it’s a nice listen, and I prefer it to Mirai btw.

3. Tsuioku

The final track, Tsuioku, is a darker piece than the previous two. I have read various people’s work where they compare this song to previous Kalafina tracks, but the one Tsuioku reminds me of is ARIA. Mostly because of the clinking, left-side guitar sound lifted straight from the aforementioned track. Tsuioku begins with yet another spectacular Wakana/Keiko harmony. The low, powerful cello provides a strong backbone to the track, with the energy getting a kick in the behind as Hikaru’s deep, aggressive tone enters, timed with the arrival of gritty, distorted guitars. The bells in the vocal breaks add that dramatic touch, and there’s also a whirling guitar solo. Keiko gets her lead part in the bridge and sounds fiercer than usual, meaning all three vocalists get their time in the spotlight. Woo, it’s the best song out of the three!

Kimi no Gin no Niwa was a big lift from last time. It was on the experimental side too, which was a nice change! Misterioso was B-side material, but still good despite its flaws. And of course, Tsuioku was a throwback to some of Kalafina’s older, darker material. Great job Kajiura + Kalafina!

Rating: 4.5 stars

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Side note: The last two tracks and conclusion have been updated in the Alleluia single review.

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11 Responses to Kalafina – Kimi no Gin no Niwa

  1. yunaamakura says:

    This was a great single and definitely a major improvement from Alleluia. I even prefer Kimi no Gin over Tsuioku. While Tsuioku features that darker side of Kalafina that seemed to have been forgotten by Kajiura, the song per se revolves around a somewhat familiar melody (serenato/sandpiper) and it’s one of those songs of Kajiura that never get anywhere. Not to mention that I’m not really fond of Kajiura’s use of e.guitar and Tsuioku is no exception. What I really like in this song is the cello + Hikaru. As for Kimi no Gin, it also resembles an older song (Yane no Mukou ni), but the arrangement really sounds fresh and the accordion was a great addition to it. In fact, I’m overwhelmed by the fact that there is no flute in this song at all. Whenever Kajiura wants to arrange a “happier” song, she resorts to the use of flute (and for some reason I’m also not very fond of her flute melodies, go figure). And, unlike Tsuioku, the song actually gets somwhere with Keiko’s wonderful bridge and the following verses with all of them singing it. Lastly, misterioso is a mixed bag. The song feels disjointed, with some parts of it sounding really nice and others extremely bland. Also, more bland e.guitar ensues.
    Overall, I’m more than happy with this release. Let’s hope YK won’t come up with more Alleluia singles for a good while.

    • 123 says:

      Interesting comparison with Kimi no Gin no Niwa and Yane no Mukou ni, tbh Yane no Mukou ni is the Kalafina song I always forget about. And good point about Tsuioku sounding similar to Serenato/Sandpiper as well. I guess I’m just a sucker for those types of songs haha. I do hope there’s not too much more like Misterioso though.

      I quite like the electric guitar most of the time, but that’s probably because of my love for rock music🙂.

      Let’s hope YK won’t come up with more Alleluia singles for a good while.

      Your sentiments are echoed.

  2. mk03 says:

    For a catchy song with tuba, try Renai Circulation😉

    • 123 says:

      Shhhhhhhh!!! I’m going to have to break my own rule here… I don’t like Renai Circulation. The vocals are a little cutesy for me :p

      But of course, the tuba is still awesome.

  3. Artemis says:

    I think Kimi no Gin no Niwa is definitely the strongest track here (although there’s absolutely nothing wrong with Tsuioku) – as you say, it’s something a bit different and experimental for Kalafina, and in general sounds pretty solid. Misterioso, on the other hand… it’s pretty, like everything from Kalafina always is, but there’s something slightly off about it. It doesn’t sound strong or even particularly well put together to me, and I don’t think that’s something I’ve said about any Kalafina song, ever. Something about it just feels unbalanced as far as the composition goes.

    • 123 says:

      It was pretty close between track 1 and 3 for me as well. I think I tend to gravitate towards darker material but I love the change in style, given a lot of Kalafina’s music sounds similar.

      Misterioso seems to be a case of putting together a lot of themes into one four minute track. I wonder if I might have enjoyed it more if Yuki Kajiura focused on a few of the better ones, and it ended up being a more focused song, instead of all these disparate ideas put together in one track. There are good bits and not so good bits, so it’s also a bit iffy for me.

  4. mk03 says:

    Just listened to the song for the first time just now… Ummm what can I say… Even though I’m a Kalafina fan, I haven’t listened to much of their discography yet, so I don’t know if this actually applies, but it doesn’t sound like a “real” Kalafina song. It’s probably because I’m used to their darker stuff, but it… sounds kind of happy (and given that the ending of the movie it closes is kind of dark, it doesn’t seem to fit; kind of like TORCH from Clannad After Story). Even Mirai had that Kalafina feel (but maybe because that song was based on Credens Justitiam). Being a Kalafina song it will probably grow on me (sort of how I hated Reunion at first but now it’s one of my favorite ClariS songs), but for I have to say it’s not as good as Magia or Hikari Furu (man that song still puts me to tears sometimes, it’s that beautiful).

    But if the point was actually to make a lighter and “happier” Kalafina song, then it’s still a good try, Kajiura-sensei.

    • 123 says:

      WHAT YOU HAVEN’T LISTENED TO EVERYTHING KALAFINA??? RECTIFY THIS IMMEDIATELY!!!!!

      But more seriously… Kalafina have done lighter stuff before. Take Moonfesta or Hikari no Senritsu for example, they are just as happy as Kimi no Gin no Niwa. I wouldn’t like to make predictions about the movie (and if you do know about it, please don’t say anything), but an ending theme doesn’t necessarily have to reflect the tone of the whole movie. Just the ending is fine. So yeah haha it is kinda happy but I still think it’s a solid addition to their discography.

      I reckon it’s pretty hard to beat Magia or Hikaru Furu though ^^

      • mk03 says:

        Even Hikari no Senritsu sounded like a Kalafina song. It was probably because of the flutes or the key.

        As for Kalafina’s discography, I’ve listened to a lot of their stuff online once, but I don’t download songs that I almost never listen to. I only download songs I know I will keep listening to afterwards.

      • trickydaos says:

        I don’t know about Hikari no Senritsu or Kimi no Gin no Niwa being “happy” though. The lyrics translation of HnS really evokes the feeling of ‘lonely and loss’. And Kimi no Gin no Niwa has creepy subtext to it.

        Or I’m just reading into it too much lol.

        Truly happy Kalafina songs to me (sound and lyrics wise) are Moonfesta and Storia.

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