Text Interviews » Kalafina Record – Liner Notes
Thanks a million to carlenne for translating posting this translation on her blog! These liner notes cover all songs released from ‘oblivious’ till ‘After Eden’.
Chapter III: Sound
All Song: Yuki Kajiura SELF LINER NOTES
Commentary on each of the 52 songs that Kalafina has released up until this point from Yuki Kajiura herself. Self liner notes that show just how much passion she has poured into Kalafina as a musician. The strings are untied from around the true motivations put into Kalafina’s sound.
The first song on Kalafina’s memorable first single, the groping towards Kalafina’s eventual image started from here. For Kalafina’s beginning stage I prepared about ten demos, however if I think about it now they were a comparatively excellent ten songs (laughs), all of them have been added to albums and singles at this point. This song was one of those ten. Although this was a song we did more roughly at the demo stage, the slightly mysterious chorus and arrangement, the spirit of the song which we could call a floating sensation, was all added at the arrangement stage.
– Kimi ga Hikari ni Kaete Yuku
This was the main theme for the second chapter of the ‘Kara no Kyoukai’ movies, so all the more because I made ‘oblivious’ for the first chapter, I was able to the take the plunge and create a ballad-like ballad. At the recording stage, in the first half of the interlude there was also a chorus of closely packed coined words. Before mixing it was cut out and became what it is now. Although I think it was the right decision, I am sure the members who took the trouble to sing it were surprised when they heard the mix. Things like that happen sometimes too…
Kalafina has a lot of 6/8 (tempo) songs, this song was the first of those. I really like 6/8, so if I’m left to myself I end up making nothing but songs like this, thus although to a certain extent it felt like I had patiently bided my time until the third chapter, it was not as if I just stopped holding back for the third song. The way one handles the groove of the 6/8 rhythm is different depending on the person, it is unexpectedly difficult for people who are not familiar with it, the members might also have felt at a bit of a lost at first, but now the three of them like 6/8 a lot… or so their producer selfishly believes.
– oblivious ~ fukan fuukei mix
Just as the title says, if I had a to make remix in any case, I thought I should try to mix it with the original music, it is a little overbearing but I tried to mix the original BGM with ‘oblivious’ which was the main theme. …When I listen to it now, it truly is a little overbearing though (laughs). Well, it is what it is, I think it was an interesting experiment.
– interlude 01
Because there was a strong element on this mini album of playing around, I tried to do so while making such a selfish concept as ‘secret shiritori.’ (TL Note: shiritori is a Japanese word game) ‘interlude 01’’s main hook is the melody of the chorus part of ‘oblivious’, I tried putting in lyrics from both ‘oblivious’ and ‘Kimi ga Hikari ni Kaete Yuku’ and made it so that it would connect the two songs. Although ‘interlude 01’ is a bit long for being called an ‘interlude’, I enjoyed playing with the melody in a way that I couldn’t have done for an album.
– Kimi ga Hikari ni Kaete Yuku ~acoustic ver.
The original rather grand composition of the song, which also had the band coming in, was made more simple. If I listen to it now, it might just be the sole ‘vocal only’ Kalafina song, with neither chorusing or harmonising. It is very much a song that exists as a remix.
– interlude 02
Beginning from the last line line of ‘Kimi ga Hikari ni Kaete Yuku’, ‘mirai no naka e’, there are lyrics in the motif of ‘oblivious’ and also in the last chorus the first lines of ‘Kizuato’ which are the hook of the song are the same phrases as the ending chorus (it’s hard to understand), it was that kind of shiritori-like song.
– Kizuato ~ piano2 mix
When I was told to make a remix for this song I was at a bit of a lost as to what to do. When I decided to change the instruments I thought that with piano at least once could not go wrong… and if so, I might as well try it with a combination of a four-handed piano performance + string, that was the kind of composition I tried to do.
Carrying on from ‘Kizuato’’s ‘yoru wo koete’, as a remix album with a strong element of playing about with the songs, I ventured to secretly put in one part of the melody and lyrics of the main theme for the seventh film here, I tried to make it while thinking it would be interesting to let a premonition for the final chapter hang in the air.
The main theme for the fifth Kara no Kyoukai film. The melody of the first few lines and the ‘kimi ni aitai’ parts where the song unfolds were made at the same time, I arranged it while thinking that the parts where the song unfolds would be the heart of the song. There is also the fact the amount of members increased, thus when I was able to truly experience the true charm of a Kalafina that was ‘not just two’, I ventured to try to emphasise the vocals and a sort of ‘jumbled together’ feeling. I also daringly tried putting in the strings so that they would become quite intrusive in the song, it was there that engineer Koiwa (Takashi)-san brought it all together in a wonderful mix.
With this song and ‘sprinter’ the number of members increased and Kalafina grew closer to its current form, I think that the depth of expression also increased. Hikaru was a new member at the time, and I think her metallic yet pure sounding voice was very effective. ‘ARIA’ is a solo vocal song, in the meaning of a song sung by one person. Even if a song sung by one person was sung by two people, it would never become a group song, even if the solitude of the two were to overlap it would still remain solitude, it was made with that kind of concept.
I really liked the poem at the beginning of the sixth ‘Kara no Kyoukai’ novel, so I was graciously allowed to image that composition when writing the lyrics. I was also allowed to use some of the same lines from the poem in the lyrics as well, receiving Kinoko-san’s ready consent, and as the amount of quoted lyrics was relatively large we were also able to give him equal writing credit. The hook is unexpectedly subdued so it was also a song that made the staff worry as to the making of the ringtone (laughs).
This was probably Kalafina’s first song outside of ‘Kara no Kyoukai.’ The bouzouki (type of stringed instrument) gives a good sensation. While the Kalafina members are lively enough while recording the Japanese parts, they seem to have more fun singing the coined words (laughs) or so I think, however they didn’t yet participate in the chorusing with this song. It is the same with ARIA. Although nowadays I make choruses such as to definitely have them participating in the recording from the beginning. Things like that are also a part of Kalafina’s history.
It connects to the last song on the album ‘seventh heaven’, it is a small piece to make one feel as if one has been able to return to the beginning.
– love come down
A song unique to the album, even if it’s a song like this, at the time I made it with a pounding heart, wondering if it was alright for Kalafina to sing such a bright song. An English chorus in the background of the B melody, a chorus such as this, is quite rare among Kalafina’s songs so the way the members sung it in such a fun way left an impression. Even now they sing it at lives as if enjoying themselves a lot.
– Natsu no Ringo
I remember being very happy the day I made this song when creating the album. Because I really like a simple melody and arrangement that adopts a folklore style such as this, it was also a song that made me realise that it had good affinity with Kalafina. I also feel that it was the starting point for the variation in Kalafina’s songs afterwards. I very much enjoy writing the lyrics for a nostalgic song such as this was, I wrote it with glee.
– Mata Kaze ga Tsuyoku Natta
A song that is a little unique, the truth is it was a song made as a demo during Kalafina’s beginning stage, when I was putting together the album if the members had not requested ‘Are we not going to do that song?!’ it may have ended up staying in storage. When we did it over again, trying to alter the demo into a longer size, I thought it was unexpectedly interesting. The way that the rhythm is ‘doppan’ (TL Note: Sorry, I have no idea what this means) is close to the way it was in the first recording, I have memories of the rhythm recording being strangely enjoyable. At any rate, if it is to be an unusual song, the lyrics tend to be about a mysterious and dark world.
This was a type of song I wanted try on the album. It feels like it has a tendency towards the hard beat characteristic to the digital sound, in the simple melody line that sways to the relatively low tone, are the high vocals that flicker in a wandering sort of way in the interlude, and there is also the coined word chorus. It became a song where I kind of put in all the kind of things I wanted to try with Kalafina at the time. Now it may be a standard form of ‘Kalafina Beat.’ It has also become a standard for lives too.
– Ashita no Keshiki
The song was completely done before the lyrics were written, so I remember them taking quite a long time to write. At the beginning of the song is a slightly sorrowful tension, when the rhythm comes in in the middle, the tension is too different, it made the songwriter cry as to how to carry on the story (laughs). Together with the flute solo, I think it is a song that leaves quite a bright impression for the 1st album. …At least until half-way through.
– seventh heaven
This song was Kara no Kyoukai’s main BGM theme, with Japanese added in to it. I had decided from the first when I was making the BGM for the first movie that I would use this melody for the seventh film, when I was recording it I suddenly felt very strongly how far we had come. The album ‘Seventh Heaven’ includes 7 songs from Kara no Kyoukai, however with each of those songs I wrote the lyrics with the feeling of making a a sort of homage to express the original novels, they were all songs that I was able to enjoy making and write purely from the heart. Even now I am truly full of gratitude that Kalafina was able to complete its start with such a wonderful production.
This was a song for the TV anime ‘Kuroshitsuji’, it was born from my first impression upon reading the work. In the meantime it was quite easy to create the connection to Kalafina’s world, even now if someone were to speak of it as ‘Kalafina’s representive fifth song’ I would probably be accepting of that, I think it may have become ‘the Kalafina’ song. It has the excessive melody line and world-view, a chorus packed full with coined words, it also has 6/8 (laughs), it is probably because of those things that it is dubbed ‘the Kalafina.’
This may have been the first time I did such a simple arrangement with just piano and vocals. Although it was added as a coupling to ‘Lacrimosa’, it is not related to any work, it was created solely as an independent Kalafina song. I think of it as a song about being at ‘the height of happiness’ myself, however it seems that no else is quite able to agree…..
The original was ‘Rekishi Hiwa Historia’ (NHK)’s coined word OP theme, this was made after I had the idea that it would be interesting to try covering it in Japanese. It was curiously easy to put it into Japanese, and because it did not come out solely as a ‘Kalafina song’ I think we were able to show another side to Kalafina that had not been seen before. I think it was a solid cover.
For coupling songs, since I am able to play around with them in a different way to album songs, I do as I please with them. With this song as well, because the melody line is unexpectedly simple, so that the highs and lows would also be relatively simple, (though there is a methodology behind the importance placed on the simplicity there) I tried to make the interlude into a momentous unfolding. The phrases that Keiko sings in a sonorous low tone are parts that would normally be sung by a male bass voice. Well anyway, added to that, because the interlude of this song was pretty much a playground for me, essentially speaking I think it might be a completely unnecessary part for this song. Although Kalafina has many interludes of that type (laughs).
Although it seems when one hears the word ‘progressive’ one may unintentionally think of the music genre ‘progressive’, musically speaking there are no elements of progressive at all, it is a song with a relatively pop melody. This is a song that I wrote when Kalafina had begun to actively take part in lives, so although I did not write it specifically for lives, the fact that I wrote it in proportion to how influenced I was by seeing the girls in a new light, ‘Live Kalafina’ is certain.
As for the lyrics and melody, this was a song completely done in 5 minutes, so the one thing I can say about it for sure is that it took the shortest time to complete of all of Kalafina’s songs. During that time, I wrote the song in an unexpectedly honest way without thinking. The motif I had in mind as I wrote was probably Juukichi Yagi (poet)’s poem ‘Utsukushii mono’, I think. Because, ever since a long time ago, rather than saying that I love his poems, each time I read them they are poems that are able to gouge themselves into my heart. Even for Kalafina it is very dark (laughs), so I was not able to put it in an album, that’s why apart from playing it once at a live I thought it would remain in storage, however I was able to include it as a coupling with no problems.
‘Hikaru no Senritsu’
– Hikari no Senritsu
I am glad that I was able to write this song. Even now this is a song where I am able to think that from the heart. For the encounter with the production that allowed me to write it (TV Anime ‘Sora no Woto’) and to the Kalafina members, I am simply thankful.
Quiet songs such as this are easy to write in a sense, in that I was able to try various things, however in the event of choosing which of them to record for Kalafina, I intended to stress in particular the strength of impression of the melody of the first few lines. Thinking that the harmonising of the two at the beginning of this song was beautiful, I decided to add this song.
– red moon
This was a song where the moment I completed it I was able to think of putting it in as the first song. On Kalafina’s second album I did many trials to find out how much I could play around with a slightly symphonic and fantastic Kalafina sound. There was also a lot of experimenting with Kalafina as a chorus unit. Not very melodic, more like the chord choruses one often hears in soundtracks, it may have been the first time that I added chorus work into a Japanese song where the appeal was the change in the rhythm and chords rather than in the melody. I tried to make this song Kalafina-ish in the contrast with the heavy chorus section and the melody section sung at the top of their voices in a heartfelt yet mellow way.
– Te To Te To Me To Me
If I am to spoil it, ‘I wanted to do something like Asian Dub Foundation (hereafter ADF) with Kalafina (laughs)’ (It was only as a sound image though, so even if you were to search among ADF’s songs there would not be one that was like this, just to be sure here……). It was fun trying out a forceful mixture such as this was. However when I went to have Korenaga (Koichi)-san play the guitar, ‘It might suit if we did it like ADF!’ (Korenaga) ‘I’ve been found out….’ (Kajiura) and, so saying, let the cat out of the bag (laughs). Well, in any case, I have often tried playing about creating a song from a sound image like that before.
The image for the lyrics was ‘Sleeping Beauty.’ Sort of like, to enter into a place where love will awaken from a state where a heart has slept not knowing love, a little courage and preparation are needed, that kind of story. Although in this song, with the hook where it suddenly becomes bright sounding, I did start to hesitate for the first time… (laughs) When I had the girls themselves sing it for me however I thought that part too might be interesting, so with that I decided to try putting it in the album.
– Haru wa Kogane no Yume no Naka
There wasn’t a lot of melodies in this one, it is a simple ballad. I think the feeling of the first few lines are good. It was like this because I thought that I would like to continue doing songs with Kalafina where you would be able to simply listen to each of their voices together with the melody, and because of this song I have become able to think that way.
I think that this is a very Kalafina-like song. The three of them fully join their voices together and sing the hook’s melody. This was probably the first time that Kalafina had a thoroughly ‘vocal trio’ hook. For the three of them to have become able to do that, this song was also something of a turning point. This song may also have been one I was able to have the members feel from the bottom of their hearts the true charm of the ‘melody of a vocal trio’, in that meaning. All of it, including the interlude’s chorus is their singing. It was something that I did not try with the first album, however, it was at this point that they were all already completely Kalafina members.
– Yami no Uta
When the demo for this song was being recording it was a song that even amongst the staff opinion was divided as to whether or not to include it on the album since ‘No matter how you look at it, it might be a bit much.’ Even so, in any case, because the singing of each of them was so good, I thought that in the end that I would like to have it included. The Kalafina that had this sort of somewhat extreme thing accepted as part of its ‘style’ is truly a fun field for me as the composer.
– Hoshi no Utai
Since this was a song I made for a game (Nobunaga no Yabou Online ～Shinsen no Shou～), I thought that I would try to make the melody and lyrics sound a little heroic, and the sound somewhat soundtrack-like. The flute gives off a sound a little like that of a shakuhachi.
A short piece unique to this album. It was in the image of an opera theatre I often went to see as a child….. Although with opera it is probably not ‘harlequin’ but ‘pagliacci’, I’m not sure how to explain it, but it was if I made a collage of various things to express a yearning for the slightly dark world of heavy velvet curtains. In addition, although the correct reading for 幕間 (TL Note: this means ‘interlude’ or ‘intermission’ in English) is primarily ‘makuai’, I ventured to have it sung as ‘makuma.’ This was as I wanted to make the expression a little softer, and I also thought that the ‘makuma’ reading had grown relatively more popular of late, if that is understandable.
– I have a dream
If ‘Lacrimosa’ is ‘the Kalafina’ song, then I suppose one could say that this song that embellishes the end of the second album was the furthest from Kalafina’s style at the time. If I had not come across the ‘Eve no Jikan’ film production, I probably would not have thought to make a song with Kalafina such as this that was…. if I must say, close to being an everyday type of song. Although I did worry that the album would end up becoming inconsistent, unexpectedly that was not the case at all, it is a song that made me think that a Kalafina like this was also possible. And also, if I think about it now, this song that was the last on the album also fulfilled the role of being something like a preparation for the next album ‘After Eden.’
*Translator Note: ‘Harlequin’ means a clown (English). One mainly calls the clowns in English pantomime this, it is also easy to use in subjects of mystery and horror in English with the consequence that clowns have a slightly mysterious image. On the other hand, although pagliacci is the same in denoting clowns, it is an Italian word. There is also a popular Italian opera of the same name, image-wise it also has a strong connection to opera.
‘Kagayaku Sora no Shijima ni wa’
– Kagayaku Sora no Shijima ni wa
This was a song I wrote as a continuation for the anime ‘Kuroshitsuji II.’ Although I think there may be many meanings in the word ‘shining’ I wrote this song with the image of a ‘shining sky’ such as the light falling from the heavens pictured in a nearby fresco painting that had faded to monochrome.
The popular Smashing Pumpkins’ song ‘Adore’…. has absolutely no connection whatsoever to this song, however, ever since I had gotten the album I had thought that ‘I really like the word ‘adore’’ so perhaps it does have somewhat a connection? The image in the lyrics ‘as if shining like love’ feels as if I had tried to do a somewhat artistic collage. I sometimes write Kalafina’s lyrics in that way. It is as if I try to paste together various pictures without trying to make an overall story. I think that the reason this is also ‘possible’ is because Kalafina is the unit that it is.
Because I probably would not have thought to do this song if I lost Hikaru’s vocals, and because there is a feeling of power to it because of Keiko’s low harmonising, while Wakana’s voice adds a transparent feeling, it was a song that made me realise the things I could not do without the three of them, and also that the breadth of the things the three of them could do was gradually increasing. Anyway, at the time I had been listening to nothing but Nine Inch Nails so it is also possible that this song became this way because of that..…. Particularly in the guitar sound parts.
– snow falling
This song took shape when I covered the ED theme of the last ‘Kara no Kyoukai’ film into Japanese. It wasn’t necessary for the song to be in Japanese in the animation itself, so although I chose to have it play in coined words, it was a production in which Kalafina had sung all themes up until the seventh film. I wanted to make a Japanese Kalafina version. With that sort of selfish wish, I was allowed to make this cover. With the snowy landscape in the anime in mind. It became the way it is because I wanted to have the lyrics end with the same words as in the ‘Kara no Kyoukai’ novel no matter what. From my heart I am grateful to Kinoko-san for giving his ready consent. Thank you very much.
– Magia magic mix
Because there was an anime edition to be released with just the song ‘Magia’ in it, I tried to make another ‘Magia’ in doing a slightly simpler, slightly more mysterious remix.
I had already made up my mind when making this album that firstly ‘symphonia’ should be the last song, while ‘Eden’ which I had made a step ahead, would be the first. That is why I think that maybe this time around the album was like making the story of a movie that already has an opening and ending. This is a song that takes a step forward into the world of the album that leads to ‘symphonia’, it was with that sort of nuance to it, thinking that I would like to make it into ‘a song of beginning’, that I wrote the lyrics. I think that maybe nowadays that which is the most necessary ‘courage’ for us to have in our daily life is a motto such as ‘in the meantime, let us laugh’, something just as simple as that.
The lyrics and melody both are probably ‘Kalafina enka.’ (laughs) With the oud and the other stringed instruments, it sounds otherworldly. Because the beat is one that is supported very comfortably in regards to live performances, all the band members say ‘(A young person) in their twenties probably couldn’t stand more than four bars in this tempo.’ That is completely right. I am thankful for the valuable years and months each of the band members have accumulated!
I’m not sure why since this was a song that I made relatively easily, but without my realising it a month had passed with the title remaining as ‘Kugatsu (Temporary)’ since I had not yet decided it. In the end I came to the conclusion that the simplicity suited it so taking the ‘(Temporary)’ part away, I settled on this title.
– in your eyes
It has a danceable beat. When recording the band and percussion, somehow or other it was just so fun I couldn’t hold back. Although I had originally added the sitar sampling phrase into the interlude in the temporary song for just until the guitar was recorded, in time it completely became part of the song so in the end it remained until the mix. I then tried to overlap the chorus and the relatively simple phrases to join with it.
– destination unknown
When I was creating the melody as I was doing the arrangement in the first stage of recording, upon changing the rhythm to become double half-ish, the comparatively cool sounding vocals would flow gently… that was the kind of plan I had, however, when we tried recording the temporary song, in a good meaning, it became quite energetic. It became a song that held mysterious energy. Added to that energy in the second half, I thought a somewhat nostalgic chorus of the type typical to heavy metal from years past would be interesting, so I tried putting it in.
In the final stages of the album’s production, there was a period when no matter what I did I was unable to write any more songs, at that time, I resolved that I would stop expecting that ‘I must create such and such songs for the album’ and purely and simply try to create the songs I wanted to create at the time. Suddenly the tension in my shoulders loosened, and in an hour’s time I had swiftly written the entire song and lyrics. I think that in as much as there was no room for any planning, it was very honest and unaffected, and although to a certain extent it contained motifs and themes that I had already worn out in my own music, in the end it was if I had returned here, that this is (one type of) the scenery that exists inside my own ‘neverending’, I have a self-consciousness that this is such a song.
Since this is an autumn album, I thought that I would like to write a short autumnal piece. The kotonoha that isn’t quite coloured in the way you would like it to be, just like the autumn that is completely dyed by fallen leaves = the same way one tries to overlap and join words, it was with that kind of intention that I tried to write it.
Although on this album I had been thinking to tackle a band sound with Kalafina, this song was the only one that I had no choice but to do with a digital beat. There exists a kind of white flower, not the small kind that bloom in clusters, but a kind which blooms individually and boldly gives form to a single world that always amazes and stabs at your heart with their dignified beauty.
– Mune no Yukue
This might have been the first time Kalafina did this sort of open sounding chorus work. Rhythm and chorus work included, there were many elements of the song that were a relative first challenge for Kalafina, on top of the considerable preparation done for the song, we also had to deal with the recording. I think that because it was necessary for the vocals to be done very well, we were able to do this song all the more because it was the 3rd album. Originally, besides this, the interlude was actually a lot longer, when we went to arrange it it became intolerably long, and so, as one would expect we eventually cut it down to this size.
This was a song I wrote as the ED theme for ‘Rekishi Hiwa Historia’ (NHK). The said program told anecdotes about historical personages, people who are no longer alive, and that being the case no matter what I could not help but think about ‘the moment a person passes away.’ People don’t know how they will die since they have never died before, but what if one could, in the moment one’s life is spent, be sent off at the last with the sound of ideal music unable to be heard above the earth in the midst of beautiful scenery such as that only seen in illusions, how lovely that would be, and even though something like that is impossible, but just like that, if one could greet that moment with a feeling like welcoming the dawn that continues on to the next horizon, how wonderful that would be. I cannot help but dream of something like that. For myself, and for all people who regretfully die. That’s why, in the lyrics of this song, outside of the intro, it is as if one is somehow or other looking back on one’s own life, as well as the lives of others inside a revolving lantern, that is the feeling with which I wrote it. Although in the beginning the second lyrics had ‘the quiet sound of a bell will surely see me off to the finality of dreams’, I thought over many things, and thinking that I would like it to have a brighter nuance, revised it to ‘to where dreams go.’