About the Music
I really wish I had a lot of information to include here, but even searching the web didn't help me find more about Dolce Triade, the group behind Last Exile's two OSTs, or anything about the vocalists Okino Shuntaro and Kuroishi Hitomi, who sing the opening and ending songs. So the best I can do is tell you why you should go buy the soundtracks.
The music in Last Exile is wonderfully varied. There's pop vocals, Irish/Celtic-inspired music, symphonic scores on the epic scale to rival any Lord of the Rings soundtrack, instrumentals that are energetic and upbeat and others that are more melancholy. For anime fans, the closest equivalent I can think of is the soundtrack for the movie version of Escaflowne, which was produced by Yoko Kanno, one of the most respected musicians in anime (if you're new to anime, she's best known for her work on Cowboy Bebop.)
Best of all, both CDs are available domestically, which means they're inexpensive for US buyers and can be purchased at online retailers that sell Anime-related merchandise, like AnimeNation, RightStuf, Anime Castle, etc., or at biggie 'net stores like Amazon.com and Buy.com.
About LAST EXILE
The flagship of Gonzo's 10th Anniversary celebration, Last Exile is an original 26-episode series that aired in Japan in 2003 and was released in the US/Canada by Geneon.
Last Exile tells a classic story of good vs. evil, where the good guys battle a corrupt empire in order to restore the balance of power. The action takes place on an Earth-like world called Prester (Prestale) and is set in the future, although that future looks a lot like a mix of 19th Century opulence, Pre-Industrial Age grittiness, and Art Deco sleekness (i.e, "steampunk.")
The all-powerful Guild, keepers of advanced technology, control the territorial battles that break out between Disith and Anatoray. War is played out as "chivalrous" matches with a time limit -- except people die, so it's not chivalrous at all. The battles are waged between air-borne fleets comprised of massive airships filled with troops of musketeers, and messages are delivered by speedy courier vanships, which is what main characters Claus Valca and Lavie Head do for a living.
Or at least that's what they do until they rescue a mysterious little girl named Alvis Hamilton and find themselves onboard the renegade airship Silvana, commanded by the enigmatic Alex Row and his elegant first officer, Sophia Forrester.
As it turns out, Alvis is the key to EXILE, a mysterious entity that Maestro Delphine Eraclea (Elaclaire), leader of the Guild, wishes to control in order to maintain her sovereignty over Disith and Anatoray. In the past, Delphine successfully pitted the people of Anatoray and Disith against each other, but now that conflict threatens to destroy both nations. In order to survive, Disith and Anatoray forge an alliance and initiate plans to force Delphine to surrender -- and possessing Exile is crucial to the success of their plan.
The fleets of Anatoray and Disith team up with the crews of the Silvana and its allied ship the Urbanus, commanded by the coffee-loving Vincent Alzey, to locate and capture EXILE. Also joining this force are two unexpected defectors from the Guild, Lord Dio Eraclea and his bodyguard, Lucciola (Lucciora).
In short, Last Exile is a war story about people from different backgrounds uniting to fight for a common cause, and somehow they nearly all end up on the Silvana or, in the case of Vince and the Urbanus, allied with the Silvana. During the course of the story, the main characters evolve and change as they discover what is truly important to them. They also face challenges and find themselves having to make sacrifices, some small and some large. This is a wonderfully imaginative and exciting series, and if you haven't already checked it out, please consider giving it a try.
The site title is from the third track of the second CD (although spelled "Fleet of Littleships" there) and the main image is from a wallpaper I found at the Geneon official Last Exile site. AbsoluteTrouble is hosted by DreamHost.