Last Exile OST Vol. 1
Typically, I can tell if I'm going to enjoy a show just by watching the opening credits.
This is partly due to the fact that I'm easy to please.
Sometimes, however, it's because the opening song is so appealing, and I become interested instantly in seeing the rest of the series. Last Exile is one such show.
Geneon is my new best friend for quickly releasing such high quality authentic soundtracks. The only difference between this edition and the Japanese release is that this one costs about half as much, is available at most local music stores, and has an insert translated into English.
In short, Geneon has found heaven for those of us who have been clamoring for quality anime soundtracks. And they've given it to us.
So, first, we'll dive into the vocal tracks on the disc. "Cloud Age Symphony", the title theme of the show and inaugural song on the disc, gives listeners a good idea of what the rest of the disc contains. This song is techno mixed with Celtic instruments and other medieval sounds. This is the song that made me want the soundtrack.
Not everything sounds like dance music, however, as we discover with track number 5. "Prayer for Love", performed and written by Hitomi Kuroishi, is soft and ethereal. It sounds more like a church hymn than a rave tune, though it rounds out the soundtrack nicely.
"Requiem in the Air", the 9th track on the disc, is appropriately sad and haunting. At the same time, it's a beautiful song, and not quite as church sounding as "Prayer for Love".
"Skywriting", track 15, sounds a bit like a song from the British Invasion era of rock. With a harpsichord providing the main background melody, and Shuntaro Okino lending his smooth vocals to the song, it's filled with hope for the future, despite the dark times of the present.
The last track on the disc, number 19, is another song written and performed by Hitomi Kuroishi. Unlike her other songs on the soundtrack, it isn't sad or solemn. If anything, it seems optimistic. The background vocals still sound as if a choir is helping out with the song, but it's Kuroishi's most pop-like song. Modern beats and bass riffs lay the foundation for this track, and mixed with the traditional sounding vocals, the result is very enjoyable.
The orchestral tracks on the CD are also worth listening to, though they certainly aren't standard anime background music by any means. Violins, harpsichords, whimsical flutes, acoustic guitar, all of these instruments come together to create the unique aural atmosphere Last Exile boasts, and they work together well.
Track 7, "Cover Stories", is a really fun instrumental track that could easily tell a story on its own. When enhancing a visually strong series such as Last Exile, the music is especially impressive.
For a more tribal drum sound, track 8, "Flyin' to Fly" has a very catchy opening drum riff that keeps a beat that strongly conveys the image of flight.
As a show that has quite a bit of aerial warfare, the battle themes are epic, with booming drums, threatening trumpets, and little evidence of the more playful instruments that can be found in the other tracks on the disc. "Chivalry Spirits", "Advances", and "Naval Affair", (tracks 11, 12, and 13, respectively) are excellent wartime themes, though they aren't as entertaining to listen to out of the context of the show.
Overall, this is a great accessory for people who have fallen in love with Last Exile. Mostly fans of the series will appreciate this soundtrack, though I was listening to this CD regularly after only seeing the first episode. Once again, I have to thank Geneon for bringing this over here where we can enjoy it, and I look forward to their future releases.