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KiRite :: Review by Don

KiRite Album Title: KiRite
Record Label: Sleigh Bells
Catalog No.: SBPS-0008/9
Release Date: May 18, 2005
Purchase: Buy at VGM World


Collaborating with Masato Kato to compose music to accompany a story he had written, Mitsuda brings yet another masterpiece to his resume. As some of you may know, Kato was the mastermind behind Chrono Cross and the style of music Mitsuda chooses to compose is very reminiscent of the soundtrack to this game and similar to his Xenogears arranged album Creid.

Track-by-Track Reviews

1) Is KiRite Burning Up?

This track starts out with a slow acoustic guitar solo and is soon accompanied by poignant vocals. As the track progresses, it takes an extreme shift in tempo. Percussion, piano, violin, electric guitar, and shakuhachi all take the stage and create a rhythm that makes you wonder if KiRite really is burning up! The electric guitar and shakuhachi are the basis for the melody while the violin creates a bass line that stays refreshing throughout the piece. The same poignant vocals enter the piece again and create a sort of lulling melody before the tempo speeds up again and climaxes with the electric guitar and shakuhachi. For an opening track, this really grabs your attention and doesn't let go. (10/10)

2) The Market in Volfinor

This track starts out with a high pitched flute introduction which is reminiscent of something that would play at the beginning of the day. It is soon replaced with a xylophone carrying a nice bass line while an acoustic guitar shortly joins it. The main melody of this piece is played using a flute and violin. It sets an atmosphere of hustle and bustle, something expected of a marketplace. The melody itself is very playful which lends itself to help enforce the atmosphere at the marketplace. The melody played by the flute after about 75% of the theme is through really sets up an almost last call sort of scenario. The postlude in the piece invokes the beginning xylophone bass line and brings about the idea of the market closing. Overall, this track is very effective in creating a marketplace setting. (10/10)

3) Promise with Winds ~ Petal's Whereabouts

"Promise with Winds ~ Petal's Whereabouts" is the first vocal theme of the album. It's a very mellow piece. The main instruments used to create the accompaniment to the vocals are the acoustic guitar, percussion, and piano. All three sections mesh quite well together with the singer Eri Kawai. The vocals themselves are quite strong. While not as poignant as in "Is KiRite Burning Up," sincerity is felt as the words emanate from the singer's mouth and lingers into the listener's ear. To finish up the track, a small solo by an electric guitar is not overbearing and seems to find its place in finishing up the melody. (9/10)

4) The Forest of Lapis Lazuli

This track opens up with an interesting mixture of chimes, piano, and bird calls. As the nature sounds die down, a violin and flute are introduced invoking a feeling of serenity. A melodic chant interrupts the serenity for a brief moment in time. This allows for a more percussion heavy bass line to be introduced. This is one of the more peaceful tracks on the whole soundtrack. The violin and flute do wonders as they take the main stage in a battle of exchanging solos. This track really gets the listener immersed in a forest full of precious gems. (10/10)

5) The Azure

The second vocal piece of the album, "The Azure" has an introduction more reminiscent of his Creid vocal songs. The singer, Eri Kawai, once again shines in this piece. Her voice seems to accompany the percussion and the acoustic guitar so well. The violin that plays the melody while the singer is absent is strikingly beautiful and only helps to create a beautiful harmony with the percussion as well as the singer later in the song. The bass line itself can have wonders said about it. The acoustic guitar and percussion are used in a fashion that only exudes brilliance. Compared to the first song of the soundtrack, this one shows a higher level of maturity. (10/10)

6) Scorning Blade

This track is quite haunting. A piano and acoustic guitar plays a simple bass line melody while an almost Gregorian chant accompanies it. Soon the piano itself takes the role of the melody producer and shines through the use of the acoustic guitar. Halfway through the track, Mitsuda pulls a 180 on us and eliminates the use of all instruments except for the piano. It's a haunting melody that showcases the main theme of the album "Circle of Eternity." The poignant nature of the piano creates a somber effect on the listener's ears. Overall, this track is definitely a winner. (10/10)

7) Upon the Melodies of the Moon

When it comes to very organic sounding compositions, Mitsuda's a cappella pieces really strike the heart of the listener. There is an intrinsic beauty to the composition of "Upon Melodies of the Moon". This beauty comes the emotion displayed by Eri Kawai's voice. By layering her vocals to create a strong melodic vocal line and a subtle accompanying vocal line, Mitsuda is able to craft a piece that makes you feel warm inside. For nothing but an a capella piece, Eri Kawai really helps to carry this piece to new heights. (9/10)

8) Fated Encounter ~ The Fall of Darkness

This track starts off quite strong. The acoustic guitar creates a nice bass line, while female vocals, mainly used like an instrument, add a layer of sophistication to this entire piece. The woodwinds and strings in the piece create a beautiful harmony that carries the main melody throughout the song. When all the different types of instruments are intertwined, a feeling of awe and accomplishment overcome the listener. As a track, I feel this is one of the stronger pieces on the album. The most striking aspect of this entire song is the transition between fast and slow. At times the vocals add a haunting texture to the song while at times they are used as a melody strengthener. I recommend this track to anyone if they aren't able to purchase the album. (10/10)

9) Nocturne

"Nocturne" is my favorite piece on the entire soundtrack. Reminiscent of "Sakura #4," from Xenosaga II, in the fact that it is comprised of mainly piano and violin, this track creates an extremely sad atmosphere. The piano and violin mesh so well, it sounds like Kajiura may have lended a hand with this track. While the piano itself creates the accompaniment to the violin, it isn't without its merit. It creates a beautiful piece that can be played as its own melody. That being said, the violin is really the star of the show. It creates the often sad atmosphere associated with a slow ballad, yet also is strong enough to create a series of melodic tangents in the latter half of the song. Overall, this track is extremely effective in getting its message across. (10/10)

10) As Autumn Passes

This track is very folk-like in its composition. The use of stringed instruments, woodwinds, percussion, and piano create an extremely catchy tune. As the track progresses, all the elements of the piece seem to become as one. The style of this track is very reminiscent of "Is KiRite Burning Up?" Its fast-paced melody and strong accompaniment create another piece that reels the listener in and doesn't let go. It creates an image of falling leaves in a local village while a harvest festival is being celebrated. "As Autumn Passes" is a great piece to have right before it transitions to "The Snow Howling" as there is a sharp contrast in style between the two songs as well as the seasons themselves. (10/10)

11) The Snow Howling

This track starts off as quite ambient. With mainly percussion to introduce the piece, we get a feeling that this track may be a downer. When the violin kicks in, a feeling of feudal China or Japan is brought to mind. As the track starts to pick up, the flute creates a beautiful melody. Its serene effect on the listener's ears conjure up pictures of a light snow falling over a small Japanese hut with a fireplace in full effect in order to keep the occupants warm during the cold and harsh winter. While the flute is the track's main event, the piece wouldn't have done nearly as well if it weren't for the percussion. The simple percussion helps as well to conjure up the same images. This track is another great addition by Mitsuda on this album. (10/10)

12) Prayer Tree

"Prayer Tree" is a track that marries percussion and piano quite well. The combination of the two creates a very calming effect. The electric guitar which plays the main melody is a subtle addition to the piece while the addition of female vocals creates a sense of holiness. While this track is rather short in length, it's quite poignant and heralds the sense of tranquility. (8/10)

13) The Name of Our Hope

The last vocal piece on this album, "The Name of Our Hope", is Eri Kawai's strongest performance on the album. Before I get to the vocals, let's describe the actual instrumentation. The piano is used to create a wonderful melody while the acoustic guitar only lends its strength to boost the piano's usage. Kawai's voice in this song can only be described as 'indescribable'. It's so powerful that this song would be fantastic a cappella. When combined with the effect piano/guitar accompaniment, her vocal strength is only heightened. By far my favorite vocal track on this album, this is one that I wish could have gone in the 'Best Vocal Song' contest Square Enix Music Online recently just finished, but alas, this didn't come from a game. I highly recommend this song to anyone. (10/10)

14) Circle of Eternity

This track can be heard in the latter half "Scorning Blade." Its simple melody is strong yet effective. As of this moment, it is Mitsuda's "Waterside" or "Zanarkand." It is an extremely moving piece that brings about inspiration and as its name implies, a feeling that time will never end. I, myself, could listen to this as time passed away and I wouldn't have a care in the world. (10/10)


Coming out after Moonlit Shadow, in which Mitsuda also played a part, KiRite had big shoes to fill. In this album, he succeeds in creating one of the best albums he's ever composed. While his standard fare of Celtic inspired music may draw some listeners away, I assure you, this is not quite the same as his others. In fact, I think he's learned to harness the power of the Celtic music, in a way that shows his maturity as a composer and that any other Celtic influenced albums in the future will garner a bit more maturity and stylistic writing. For an album created for a book project, Mitsuda succeeds in immersing the listener into the world created by Kato. A definite must for all Mitsuda fans in the world.

Overall Score: 10/10