Hanakisou Soundtracks – Winter (Akiko Shikata)December 7, 2009
I was listening through a bunch of old Slightly Dark Christmas albums. Each year, SD has been creating mix albums to match the theme of the season. Once in awhile there is a track that stands out from the rest, and Akiko Shikata’s “Winter” from Hanakisou Soundtracks really caught my attention. This track was featured on Slightly Dark Christmas Volume 5, which I think will be available again through the site once Volume 6 is complete.
The mix has a style that’s kind of hard for me to place. It almost sounds a bit medieval in composition, mostly due to the instruments used – a wonderful selection of pipes, guitar, violins, piano, and percussion. The scale also seems to give it an archaic feel as well, a sense of walking through a snowscape. The high quality of the instruments is due to the soundtrack being a live recording. This has become more common now as composers have access to even small groups of musicians, not necessarily having to rely on a fullblown orchestra. I kind of like the more intimate quality that a smaller band has to offer because the musicians have a better opportunity to play off each other. The music quality is all here, and that’s something you never want to skimp on in a game.
Akiko Shikata has composed for numerous other games including Shadow Hearts and Ar Tonelico. I have to say she has quite an interesting picture. I wasn’t able to find much information on the game online, but it appears to be a PS2 title based off the manga Hanakisou, which translates roughly as “Attributable Funeral Flowers”. The anime seems to be about a prophecy for the end of the world by endless winter (I suppose the complete opposite of global warming). You’ll find it’s really quite interesting to listen to tracks from games you’ve never played before (and probably never will!). There’s a LOT more out there than just the familiar, and what you find can often be pleasantly surprising. In fact, I may have to track down some more of her work after this…