Written by Suzuki Saeko in collaboration with music production duo TOMISIRO, the Rinne no Lagrange OST is easily one of my favourites from the winter line-up. Neither of the two artists have worked on much that I’m familiar with – most of their work seems to be confined to the Keroro Gunsou franchise which – in my opinion – makes the quality of the LagRin OST even more impressive to behold. While not as diverse in genre as some anime soundtracks, there’s still an impressive range of styles, though on the whole, the soundtrack comes across mostly as electronic interspaced with more comedic instrumental tracks.
It’s impossible to talk about the soundtrack of Rinne no Lagrange without mentioning TRY UNITE!, probably my favourite OP from the winter season. From the beautiful harmonic choices (with lots of extended chords) and flowing melody to the subtle but effective builds, it’s a joy to listen to. Stylisticly, it perfectly sets the tone for the series both thematically and musically. A lot of people have thrown around the word ‘Europoppy’ when talking about the song and, funnily enough, this is more accurate than some may have realised. Written by Saeki Kenzo (who has worked extensively with French artists in the past) and composed and arranged by Rasmus Faber, a prolific House music producer hailing from Sweden, it’s no surprise that the influences of European dance music shine through. While I could easily claim this as my favourite piece from the soundtrack, I feel that it would be unfair to pick a track written by a duo who had no further involvement with the rest of the series’ composition.
Taking a quick moment away from the soundtrack itself, I wanted to say something about how much I love hearing more and more of Nakajima Megumi, not just as a vocalist (it’s her wonderful voice on TRY UNITE!) but also as a seiyuu. It’s great to see how far she’s come since her debut as Ranka Lee in Macross Frontier.
Bringing us back on track, let’s talk about some of the more standout works on the soundtrack! The LagRin OST has many faces, each of which corresponds to a contrasting emotion. The first of these would be the slightly comedic side, generally present during the more playful and laid-back segments of the anime (of which there are many). Of these, the most standout track could well be Kamogawa energy with its energetic bossa nova vibe and charming blend of acoustic instruments with electronica (I’m a particular fan of the noise snare). Another track which deserves more than a passing mention (and will likely get me into a little trouble with Stereoman) is Jersey-bu no Uta, not just for its appeal as a marching song (which I must say fits the jersey club perfectly) but for the slightly above-average level singing by Madoka (Ishihara Kaori) and the endlessly entertaining frantic interjections by Lan (Seto Asami).
The latter half of the soundtrack is rife with darker tracks from the series. While there are many good tracks in this category, only one jumps out at me as needing to be talked about. Apocalypse emanates feelings of despair, emptiness and hopelessness – perfectly reflecting its name. The thick reverb helps emphasise the emptiness – the hollowness of the track – contributing to the overwhelming loneliness, while the constant background drone, when removed, provides a route to increase the effect. The acoustic noodling during the second half brings out beautiful soundscapes which also serve the added function of adding an undertone of chaos to the track.
Towards the end of the soundtrack are most of the tracks I consider to be the crowning jewels of the series. For me, one of the most notable is 4 411, the longest track on the OST and one of the better orchestral tracks used in the anime. The reason I single it out above many of the others is not because of the quality of the orchestral writing but because of the orchestrations of the Kamogawa melody which are wonderful to listen to. My only complaint is that the track ends on an extremely weak note, something that could easily have been remedied, even if only for the soundtrack release (editing for soundtrack releases is fairly common in certain industries).
There are far too many great electronic tracks on the OST to properly do justice to so I’ll only mention my two favourites. The first, Lagrange, is actually a hybrid track which also includes orchestral elements. The shimmering and evolving electronic harmonies, accompanied by the Kamogawa theme, are beautiful enough to give me chills, and when placed in context within the anime make for an amazing experience. The second of these is Lock on air, a great breakbeat track with some awesome synth bends and a constantly evolving soundscape.
Throughout the soundtrack we often hear the distinctive sounds of an ondes Martenot, one of the earliest (and possibly most unique in playing technique) synthesisers ever produced. The use of the instrument alone contributes extensively to the overall sci-fi tone of the soundtrack, having been popular in the sci-fi film and TV scene since its early days. Perhaps the most notable use would be that of the lead melody in Kamogawa in A major (and its minor counterpart) which is reminiscent of all manner of alien-featuring sci-fi movies from years past.
Unsurprisingly, as a primarily electronic soundtrack, there are many elements of minimalism present throughout – something which I greatly approve of. In addition, there are many recurring musical motifs used multiple times over the course of the soundtrack. The most notable of these would once again be the melody originating from Kamogawa in A major, though there are several others such as the shared motif between BWH and Tom-boy.
Oddly enough, if I were to try and compare the OST to others of similar genre or musical style, I would find myself dipping more into video game soundtracks than I would those of recent anime. Memoria and Axion (the latter of which reminds me a lot of a track from Final Fantasy XII), for example, are extremely reminiscent of an archetypal track style from JRPGs while Apocalypse brings to mind the style of Sakuraba Motoi. While many sci-fi anime soundtracks these days are more orientated towards orchestral music, I’m still of the opinion that electronica fits sci-fi much like this pose suits Lan (that is to say, perfectly).
Well written post Moomba: you sure know your stuff. Hope to see you do more soundtracks more often!
I personally liked the first half of this track as well: it wasnt too heavy or light in terms of instruments, and it made for great studying music for myself this semester. It’s Bossa Nova? I think I’ll have to investigate the genre more…its so chill and happy :3
Once again, congrats on getting this out Moomba, and also…pls do hen—*gets stabbed*
Oh you will, you will…
Hey wait, is this my knife? What’s it doing here…?
Congrats on getting this post out! I’m loving this new category, and I’m looking forward to your next post already!
Also, you would’ve been in trouble, but I forgive you because this post is fantastic!
Thanks! The forgiveness is appreciated! 😛
I agreed that the OP theme is excellent one of the best of the winter season, but everything else is fairly above average. It’s too bad this show was ruined for me because of a single character.
You should do one on the Last Exile OST since nothing else comes close to how epic it was.
Hmm, while OST in Lagrange is great, especially the OP, this section is perfect if started by OST of Fate/Zero, which is more well-known.
One of the reasons I picked Rinne no Lagrange is precisely because it’s underrated, especially when compared with a series like Fate/Zero. Part of my goal in writing these reviews is to bring to light sountracks that might have been overlooked and get more people interested in them!
That’s not to say that the Fate/Zero OST isn’t incredible (anything by Kajiura Yuki almost certainly is) and it’s definitely something I plan to cover!
Points taken. Then again, if you pick underrated new series based on OST, I think Senki Zesshou Symphogear is a better choice, since that anime is pretty much full of music from start to finish. Hell, the main characters themselves used music as their ultimate weapon, right?
But, like everyone else, I’m pretty pleased you made a review that focus on anime OST like this. I’m waiting your review on EVOL or Fate/Zero OST soon…
Rinne No Lagrage’s electronic and upbeat OST was one of my favorites last season, and also one of the secondary reasons why I kept watching this show! My favorite wasn’t the OP or ED, though, I found the soundtracks to be much better!
What a great soundtrack, I love it, and I’m glad to read about it here on RC, great new feature. Good Job!
Great post Moomba. You know your stuff really well 😉
My favorite track from LagRin’s OST is definitely “○”. It never fails to fill the scenes with genki energy and sets up the mood up very well for Madoka & co to overcome their various obstacles.
Another OST which definitely deserves a shout out is Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon’s. It has been on my playlist for quite some time and I’m still lovin it!
○ was a great track and is undoubtedly one of my favourites. It was really hard picking tracks to talk about – I would’ve loved to say something about all of them, but then the post would have been enormous!
Funny you should mention Horizon… :3
Being a total anime music geek, I could get used to seeing more OST/Singles/Albums reviews here on RC ~w~…
Thanks Moomba :D!
This is very cool, thanks for posting Moomba!
Thanks for great post 🙂 Really enjoy your music perspectives.
Ooh, this is interesting. 😀 I like it!
Chihayafuru had an amazing soundtrack. Since music is your thing, are you watching Sakamichi no Apollon? ;P
I am and it’s great! I definitely fully agree with everything Enzo has had to say about it so far. If it can keep up the high production values and great music, it’s definitely going to rank pretty high on my favourites!
Wow this is a nice addition to RC. When it comes to Rinne no Lagrange OP i really like the “Rasmeg Duo’s version” (can’t find the original in YT). As for the whole winter season Ano Natsu de Matteru ED “Vidro Moyou” is simply the best.
I loved the piano duet arrangement of TRY UNITE! – there’s always something really beautiful about vocals accompanied only by a piano.
I’ve not actually seen Ano Natsu yet (hoping Stilts doesn’t read this :3) but it’s definitely something I’m planning to do very soon!
Wow I think we have the same tastes in music. The Rasmeg Duo version is not included in the OST but it’s definitely one of Rinne’s best offers. Vidro Moyou is a giveaway since goddess Yanagi Nagi sang that. 😉
Awesome, I would like to see more soundtrack reviews/impressions on this blog if possible. Maybe some jpop/jrock stuff on the side too.
I like posts like this, I’ve also been into the soundtracks of many anime over the years. Anyway, one small note to make here is that there’s a clear absence of one song: the trance song you can hear in the battle scenes of episode 3 and 11! I was really looking forward to that one. Perhaps it’ll be released in the next ost when the second season airs.
Keep up the beats!
That track was the reason why I even noticed Lagrange’s soundtrack to be awesome. They’re definitely saving it for later since it is their winner track
Awesome =)… just what was missing on randomc. Your perspective is lovely, and you noticed quite a few things that I didn’t. Hoping to see more – with all the awesome music in the previous season (and this one), there’s a lot of material worth mentioning.
A lot of shows have been tending to use orchestral music lately, which is not always a good thing, since some shows are better off with something else. Rinne no Lagrange deserves some congratulations for the “unusual” style that fits it like a glove.
“Axion” sounded very familiar, but I couldn’t point out from where, until I read the FF XII reference… I guess it’s “The Sandsea”, though I have the impression that there’s one track even more like it.
Thanks for the compliments! I agree, we’ve had a very good few seasons for anime soundtracks recently and I definitely intend to try and cover many of them!
The track I was originally thinking about when I mentioned similarities with ‘Axion’ was actually ‘The Forgotten Capital’ but I think ‘The Sandsea’ also has some pretty strong parallels with it too.
my favorite track here, surprised it got no mention!
and is this going to be regular? You should do fate/zero’s ost. other pretty good ones would be madoka and gundam unicorn.
Yes, I intend to do this as a regular feature. Madoka is definitely one of the soundtracks I’m most looking forward to writing about. Fate/Zero and Gundam Unicorn are also soundtracks that I’d like to cover – the ‘list’ is pretty long at the moment though!
As the Editor-in-Chief of an anime soundtrack review site, let me say I’m pleased to see another site hop on board the anime BGM/soundtrack train. Looking forward to reading further thoughts and musings on such a neglected niche within the larger anime fandom!
I’m looking forward to writing more of these and contributing to that niche! Additionally, Anime Instrumentality was a great reference when making the final decisions on what information I absolutely needed to include on the soundtrack, so thanks for that!
i’ve been listening to lagrange’s OST for quite sometime and yes, i really love the way its being composed
I liked the anime and I liked the soundtrack. Unfortunately, the DVD/Blue-ray sales bombed really, really bad. Like, below 2500.
Luckily they do not cancel split-cour anime, but I wouldn’t expect much from the second cour – at this point they are basically producing it at a loss, with no way to turn it around.
Madoka would be another great OST to cover.
All together now!…
Lag rin! Lag rin….
Jersey no onna no ko nanika motteru
CHAKKU wo hazushitara nani ni demo nareru kara
*continuing where The Moonndoggie left off*
taisetsuna koto sagashite umi no soko ni mo ikeru
takamari ga do wo sugi RIBON mo tokeru
sugu ai ni iku yo
kimi no hijou SAIN ga
“MARU~!!!” (makes circle sign)
mawaridase unmei wo
On A Brighter Day
shita wo dashi fumidasu
kiken nara moetekuru
Maybe the RC writers (you guys can take turns) should do something like an anime song collaboration, kinda like what these guys do on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t_wIg4LCxzo&feature=plcp
Even better: Let’s all sing one song ea and put it in a collection marked “RC’s fave hits!” LOL….
Dibs on Stardriver 1st OP.
maybe i should pick this up..just to watch it for the great soundtrack.
I am quite surprised you didn’t link ○ or talk about it. IMO its the best orchestral composition. But that’s ok, I’ll just link it myself.
Fun fact: ○ can be translated as “Maru”. Which makes this track even more appropriate when it starts playing in the series.
Very nice segment, my kinda stuff, what other soundtracks do you consider your favourites and ones where you love all the music?
Some of my other favourite soundtracks are Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon, Macross F, Fam and so many more that I couldn’t possibly list them all! Horizon is currently my number one most listened to OST though.
As someone who had been collecting OST’s for a long time and a huge fan of music in general, I hope to see more of your writing in the future. 🙂
Now, about the Rinne OST, I will agree that it was probably the one that stood out the most out of the winter line up, though more on the Winter shows not being that strong on the musical side than anything else ^^; If I were to pick a favorite, InuXBoku would be mine out of the last season (though I will admit that they might have cheated a little by including Andre Gagnon lol)
I will say that TRY UNITE! was my favorite part of the show, part of the reason was the stylish opening but also the music was really nice on the ears.
Of course, now that I had a listen, I do agree that 4 441 is absolutely the best piece out of the OST, and I do think it’s a pretty good indicator of the strength of the composition here.
As a whole though, I don’t know. It’s certainly good all around, but outside of a select few, I’m not sure if I can say I thought it was that great.
Nice Arabesque, Inu x Boku definitely was a close tie with Amagami in my books of last season
TRY UNITE! is one of the best OPs I’ve heard in recent memory, and the OP animation only makes it even better. It’s a thing a beauty I will remember fondly for a long, long time.
Oh and i must say…. Kamogawa in a minor sounds extremely desolate and full of despair
Wow, an OST review! Please continue doing this, my suggestion would be Aoi Eir’s Fate/Zero Image Song Album, Prayer. (though it’s technically not an OST, you may want to consider due to its awesomeness :D)
Anyway, I’ve listened to the whole package of the Rinne OST and it sure is underrated, just like the series. I love collecting OSTs and this is one of the best I’ve heard. I’m sure I won’t able to forget Kamogawa in A major that easily.
A big MARU~! for Rinne no Lagrange OST and for you, Moomba! 🙂
Soundtracks get a category but Visual Novels don’t?!
Ah, well. Wan!
I dun think our blogmasters are VN players….
I must chime in with Arabesque, collecting OSTs has become an addiction and for Rinne it truly enhanced the show. I would never have picked the way they did it, and yet from the OP I was charmed.
After Ishihara Kaori’s singing during ep 4 (I think) I was completely in, so I’m glad they included some of her vocals on the OST.
Can’t wait to see what other music you cover! I’ve searched out almost all the OSTs mentioned in the year reviews you guys post and they’ve been fantastic too.
I love this OST! There are lots of great tracks <3