Single review: “Kimi no Gin no Niwa” by Kalafina

Kalafina is a Japanese neoclassical pop trio produced by composer Yuki Kajiura, currently under Sony Music Entertainment. Kimi no Gin no Niwa is their 14th single.

Release date: 6th of November, 2013

Track list:
1. Kimi no Gin no Niwa
2. misterioso
3. Tsuioku
4. Kimi no Gin no Niwa -instrumental-

1. Kimi no Gin no Niwa
The song opens with a light metallic koto-like instrumental melody over a music box tune, shortly replaced with a whimsical, European-esque blend of percussion, accordion and tuba, creating a breezy and playful folk song. The first few lines are sung in a pleasantly animated manner by Hikaru, but the spotlight soon switches to Wakana’s sweet vocals, all while Keiko takes to the low harmonies. As Hikaru holds a low note and the percussion rhythmically pounds, the song transitions into the lovely Wakana-led chorus and out with her transient vibrato. This repeats until the middle eight section, in which the focus is first on Keiko’s strong singing, and with a short and smooth vocal line from Wakana, the instrumentation swells up into a dynamic section of the same European-esque blend of instruments from the beginning, albeit with melodic variations. The final chorus entertains us with an even brighter atmosphere, and with its end, the song reaches full circle, ending with the same metallic koto-like instrumental melody over a music box tune.

2. misterioso
A musical swell alike to that of Mirai‘s welcomes Wakana on lead and Keiko & Hikaru with their individual parts, accompanied by a fairly fast-paced arrangement consisting of electric guitar, percussion and strings. The verses are powerful and contain a very full sound, but the flow is constantly broken by different elements, such as a flute in one instance, a slow strings section in another, and a fleeting and toned down instrumental part as the final example. The vocals from all three ladies, however, are glorious, and are enough to make up for the inconsistent nature of the instrumentation. In terms of sound, misterioso is a fusion of consolation and Mirai, in that the pace and energy takes from the former, and the mood is alike to the latter. And as a song, it’s (of course) worth a listen, and I enjoyed it, but as mentioned, there are certain details that stop it from being better.

3. Tsuioku
Beginning with a piercing frequency, we immediately hear some lovely harmonizing between Wakana’s silvery vocals and Keiko’s lower register, before unravelling into a dark and slightly unsettling track. Underlying rhythmic plucks of the electric guitar, a tense percussion pattern, along with dark cello à la Kanon Wakeshima (perhaps somewhat like the cello in L’espoir ~Mahou no Akai Ito~?) make up most of the track. The instrumentation is made strikingly dramatic from about onwards from the halfway point (in which we hear chanting reminiscent of that of obbligato, 20 seconds into that particular segment), as well as for Hikaru’s passionate vocal deliveries. Keiko gets her part in the limelight during the bridge, giving us a deliciously intense performance, also adding to the unnerving ambience of the track. Alike to Kimi no Gin no Niwa, Tsuioku ends how it began, closing with another piercing frequency.

This was my first Kalafina review, and I hope I did well enough in writing this! Everybody knows this single is a definite step-up from the rather disappointing Alleluia, and this is me reiterating that fact. Kimi no Gin no Niwa and Tsuioku were both excellent songs (I’m torn between which one is better), and while misterioso was also up to standard, it felt a bit disorganized. I thoroughly enjoyed this single, nonetheless.

Rating: 4.5/5