Oh, man. I'm still recovering. What a great, great job Takagaki Ayahi 高垣彩陽 does with two character songs as Feldt Grace from Gundam00. (click photos to enlarge)
The two songs, 祈り† ("Prayer") and Justice, are written and produced by KOKIA, she of the soaring voice and sweet melodies. And Ayahi does her justice, for sure.
30-second samples here.
In these days of magical audio processing, I guess I can't be sure, but as far as I can tell, the only other seiyuus who could sing this music are Sakamoto Maaya and Mizuki Nana. That's amazing company to keep for the 23-year-old comparative newcomer, Ayahi.
I think Hayami Saori approaches similar quality as a singer, but she doesn't have the vocal power that Ayahi brings, with her opera-trained voice.
The CD is called come across. Here are product details from Amazon Japan. Officially released today.
The fact that this CD is ranked 52nd on Oricon today shows once again that name, and possibly musical style, count more toward popularity than quality does.
I'm not sure how they got together, but KOKIA did an OP and ED for Phantom ~Requiem for the Phantom~, in which Ayahi starred. And this CD comes out on the JVC (Japan Victor) label, while KOKIA's most recent CD is on Victor, which is an associated label.
In her blog today, Ayahi is effusive: "Today I'm SOOOO happy!" She loves the picture on the cover. She loves Gundam00. She loves Feldt Grace. She loves KOKIA. She loves having had the opportunity to be together with all these people. "It's really a miracle of fate!"
On 2channel, only one person has heard the songs so far, but s/he says: "I am just listening to now, and I'm at a loss for words.... She approaches every job she gets with a sincere attitude and an unplumbed depth of expressive power...."
On KOKIA's blog, she has a couple of posts about this CD, saying it is the first time she has produced someone other than herself. I laughed at a comment indicating that Ayahi brought very clear ideas about the character and how she should sing. Sounds as if she caused KOKIA a bit of trouble, lol.