Aria the Animation x OST and Milieu-sic

Aria the Animation is available for streaming on Crunchyroll and, oddly enough, legally on YouTube.

That opening tag up there is getting a bit hypocritical again, as Aria is another one of those shows that I love the idea of, but I’ve not watched a single episode of. (That I can remember, at least.)

Instead, like Last Ranker, I’ve thankfully run across its fantastic musical score through other means.

It’s not long or diverse – its entire run consists of laid-back pieces that lean into gentler instruments like plucked strings, airy woodwinds, and measured piano performances. While there are a few more somber or offset sections, they’re rarely-if-ever particularly dramatic, instead deepening a feeling carried through from previous tracks:

Gondolas.

aagondola.png
Gondolas, I say!

Aria the Animation is, apparently, a science-fantasy series aimed at young adults that revolves around gondoliers on the canals of Mars’ utopian Neo Venice.

Yep, it’s a logical conclusion of the fun-but-totally-fictional canals that Ray Bradbury, Robert HeinleinH.G. Wells, and Edgar Rice Burroughs (among many others) wrote of throughout the early 20th century. Way to carry that classic sci-fi torch!

Back on the main topic, it’s quite impressive that a soundtrack can double down on something so specific, creating an hour-long string of variations on the same thing. Gondolas evoke a very specific imagery, after all: mild Mediterranean weather, calm waters, a relaxed pace, and generally the type of setting that feels like it hasn’t a care in the world.

It’s a laser-focused sort of mood for the calm, clear-skied says of late summer – especially for those lucky enough to live near a lake, a river, or the sea. The score to Aria holds that feeling strong from start to finish, drifting more than shifting from one track into the next.

Previously I’ve pointed to a consistent core tempo and theme as a key feature of study or work music – and that’s definitely true. I’m listening to it right now as I write this post, and it’s definitely not the first time I’ve used it as music to write to, either. Aria, though, feels more at times like it’s better not to work to – rather, it’s more a sedative. So in equal measure, I’ve set it on while doing nothing of consequence:

Leave the window open.

Feel a nice breeze.

Let your mind wander.

Slip in a little nap.

So much of music tries to pique our emotional responses and move us strongly in various ways, which is the driving reason why people latch onto it so strongly and come to fold it into their own identity. But in other ways, it’s nice to have a counterpoint like Aria around as a soothing force.

We all need a good lazy afternoon every now and then, after all.

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