Randomly select any five tracks on the Shining Ark Tenshi no Fandisc OST, and you’ll likely be delighted by a mix of gentle, atmospheric tracks and perhaps one or two more extravagant melodies expressing the danger of battle or the heights of victory. Listen to all fifty tracks (188 and a half minutes, that is), and you’ll likely come away with a different impression, an aural fatigue: every track begins to sound the same, but unlike those wines that exhaust the palate, these tracks really are all alike.
There are only two sounds on the Shining Ark Fandisc: the subdued and the boisterous. Although the latter sound tends to be less distinctive from other soundtracks, this is above average JRPG music, particularly the four opening tracks that might provide background music for butterfly watching or some other serene side quest. Starting at track five, the energy makes a tremendous leap (infusing my exercise routine with a sudden alarming urgency), but I prefer the quieter moments on this album. Each one of these noisy tracks, busy with a cluster of false, almost cheap synth sounds, begins with an almost identical orchestral stab. If I were to listen to the album again, I’d likely leave most, if not all, of these out.
From there, the OST moves back and forth from excitable village themes to loud battle themes and then back to gentle lullabies. This was likely done to give the album some sort of pacing, but somewhere before the halfway mark, everything begins to blur together. The listener perhaps enjoys a track, skips the next, and then forgets there’s music playing at all, only to be drawn back by some resonant sound or tone and then wonder: haven’t I heard this before?
I use no track titles here because names don’t much matter when a soundtrack is this monotonous. I’ll probably never listen to the Shining Ark Tenshi no Fandisc OST again, but I wouldn’t mind hearing it while playing a game. This is above average JRPG music, even if it’s safe, synthetic, and repetitive.