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Music / Karuki Zamen Kuri No Hana

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Karuki Zamen Kuri no Hana (加爾基 精液 栗ノ花, Chlorinated Lime, Semen, Chestnut Flower, 2003) is a 2003 album by Shiina Ringo. It was released three years after commercially and creatively successful Shōso Strip. While it lost in respect to its sales it was an even greater artistic achievement.

This album embraced many genres; it is pop, rock, jazz, and Baroque Pop at the same time, with elements of folk and prog thrown in too. Its tracks are all parts of the most eclectic Genre Roulette.

This time, Shiina Ringo was eager to produce the album herself, and she managed to. She also co-arranged nearly the entire album with her frequent collaborator Uni Inoue (Toshiyuki Mori provided string arrangements for a few songs and arranged track five entirely by himself; Ukigumo, later of Tokyo Jihen, arranged the vinyl bonus track). Predictably, it took longer to record than her previous album had. She did overdubbing and multitracking herself. At times, she recorded two instruments for one track in different rooms. In the process, she played numerous instruments.

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Shiina Ringo declared this album to be her last solo effort, and afterwards, she started a band, Tokyo Jihen. She returned to her solo career in 2009 after three successful albums with that band - which, however, could not compete against Karuki Zamen Kuri no Hana - and 2007's Heisei Fūzoku, a collaboration with arranger Neto Saiko (and also the soundtrack to the film Sakuran, based on the manga of the same name), which has probably been her most acclaimed release since this one. Her solo work since 2009 has mostly had muted receptions compared to this album, though Sanmon Gossip has still been pretty well received due to its stylistic diversity. Regardless, Karuki Zamen Kuri no Hana remains her most critically acclaimed recording and is likely to remain that way.


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Tracks

  1. "Religion (宗教 Shūkyō) (5:08)
  2. "Doppelganger (ドッペルゲンガー Dopperugengā)" (3:46)
  3. "Camouflage (迷彩 Meisai)" (3:44)
  4. "Please Take Care (おだいじに Odaiji ni)" (3:01)
  5. "Rush Job (やっつけ仕事 Yattsuke Shigoto)" (5:08)
  6. "Stem (茎 Kuki)" (3:50)
  7. "Worrying Unnecessarily (とりこし苦労 Torikoshi Kurō)" (2:36)
  8. "As You Wish (おこのみで Okonomi de)" (5:45)
  9. "Consciously (意識 Ishiki)" (2:45)
  10. "Poltergeist (ポルターガイスト Porutāgaisuto)" (3:41)
  11. "Funeral (葬列 Sōretsu)" (5:12)
  12. "Fig Flower (映日紅の花 Ichijiku no Hana)" (4:32) - bonus track on the vinyl edition:


Tropes

  • Album Title Drop: A partial one with the bonus track, named "Ichijiku no Hana".
  • And Now For Something Completely Different: Shōso Strip was a huge creative success already. However this album sent Shiina Ringo to stratosphere. It is totally free from the rock album limitations and sounds gorgeous and entirely eclectic.
  • Author Appeal: Symmetry. The album lasts exactly 44 minutes 44 seconds.
    • Averted with the vinyl edition which includes "Ichijiku no Hana" and thus has a longer running time.
    • Also each pair of the opposite tracks has the same number of the characters, either kanji or katakana.
  • Baroque Pop: The album is often classified as belonging to this genre due to its eclecticism and frequent usage of chamber instruments.
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: The title of the album is rather Bread Squick Eggs. Karuki Zamen Kuri no Hana where Zamen means sperm or semen. It is flanked by inoffensive objects - chlorinated lime and chestnut flower. Ringo chose the three objects of the title because she claimed they had similar scents.
  • Coincidental Broadcast: That's why the listener can hear "Yattsuke Shigoto". In the beginning of the track the radio is switched to various channels from different countries until it gets to the the Japanese one. Then cue DJ then the song starts.
  • Continuity Nod: The lyric of the opener "Shūkyō" is the reference to the album cover.
    No matter where I go I can't find just the right cup.
  • Doppelgänger: "Dopperugengā", the second track on the album.
  • Epic Rocking:
    • Symmetrically Shūkyō and Sōretsu.
    • "Yattsuke Shigoto"
    • "Okonomi de" is the longest track here.
  • Fading into the Next Song: "Okonomi de" into "Ishiki".
  • Four Is Death: The album is 44:44.4 long (and the last song is titled "Sōretsu," translated as "Funeral").
  • Grand Finale: "Sōretsu".
  • Gratuitous German: "Dopperugengā" and "Porutāgaisuto" are both internationally known German words (Doppelganger and Poltergeist, respectively). Of course they are placed symmetrically here (the second and penultimate tracks). Coincidentally both have trope pages on this Wiki.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: The album. All tracks have similar number of characters to the one symmetrically placed (thus tracks 1 and 11, 2 and 10, 3 and 9 etc). Track 6 is in the center and it is the only one consisting of one character.
    • Also "Dopperugengā" and "Porutāgaisuto" which are words of the German origin and they both consist of 8 katakana characters.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: "Ishiki" sounds very cute but its lyrics are quite dark:
    how old do I have to get to rid myself of loneliness and fear
    if I have a child will I at last be rid of my suffering?
  • Mood Whiplash: "Odaiji ni" sounds tender after three more uptight songs.
    • "Ishiki" and "Porutāgaisuto" are two shorter and cuter songs between two epics.
  • Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly: The album's sound is very much out there. It combines art-pop, jazz, cabaret, art-rock.
  • New Technology Is Evil: Invoked by "Shūkyō"
    How is that possible when day by day
    there are more roads and buildings?
  • No Ending: "Sōretsu", which stops suddenly - and thus, the album as a whole (except on the vinyl edition).
  • One-Word Title: A few of them.
    • "Stem (茎 Kuki)" is the only one-kanji title here.
  • Poltergeist: "Porutāgaisuto", the penultimate track on the album.
  • Producers: Self-produced by Shiina Ringo.
  • Rearrange the Song: "Meisai" and "Porutāgaisuto" on 2007's Heisei Fūzoku.
  • Rule of Drama: This album is high drama which is the key reason for its awesomeness. On the subsequent releases Shiina drops the drama for the regular alt-rock sound.
  • Rule of Three: The album is named Kalk, Sperm, Chestnut Flower. Also Shiina previously planned to name it Wonder, Vulgar, Eccentric.
  • Smoking Is Cool: "Meisai" ends by the sound of the click of the lighter and the whiff.
  • Spoken Word in Music: On "Yattsuke Shigoto" and "Okonomi de".
  • Title Track: Bonus track which is named "Ichijiku no Hana" is partly that.
  • Textless Album Cover: Played with, the words can be seen on the white label while the rest of the cover is indeed textless.
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