A man who needs little introduction to many. Japanese composer Koji Kondo has created the scores for Super Mario Bros, Mario 64, and his most notable works would be on The Legend Of Zelda series. Here, on vinyl, Eric Buchholz & The Slovak National Symphony Orchestra bring his Ocarina Of Time music from the N64 chip sound into the fully orchestrated realm.
- Double LP £39.49
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- 8BIT8054 / 180g green and purple rupee coloured vinyl 2LP on iam8bit. Housed in die-cut gatefold and gold foil stamped sleeves. Performed by Eric Buchholz & Slovak National Symphony Orchestra
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I know it and you might too: Koji Kondo’s score for Ocarina of Time holds in store some of the most beautiful music ever made. We’re not just talking video games; this soundtrack, the most exhaustive Kondo had made for a Nintendo game to its date, presides over the atmospheres of the game while extending out from them, delivering a classical masterpiece. Kondo’s melodies are some of the video game world’s most famous; in Ocarina of Time he formed the media’s most magical soundworld. It is so good, so classic, that it makes total sense someone would try and grass it up on vinyl -- here, it comes through a pressing of video game aficonadio Eric Buccholz’s interpretation for the Slovak National Symphony Orchestra.
There’s not much an orchestra can do wrong with these pieces, and here they’re arranged with a keen eye for the warm, symphonic schmaltz of their source: the drifting chords of “Hero of Time” re-establish Kondo’s start-up screen overture with that same blend of calm fending off dread. “Hyrule Field” is a wonderfully respectful version of the original environmental piece, expanding through its larger orchestral resources into something appropriately dramatic, with the same mix of joy and trepidation Ocarina of Time time and time again dealt in.
Some pieces might strike as out of place with this grandiose symphonic rephrasing: “Princess Zelda” has always been perfect in its quiet, intimate form, as the first love song between its two characters. In its form here it feels too big and relates to no one. It’s a risk worth taking, overall, as many of these reworks benefit from their idea of a blockbuster score: “Seven Years” is breathtaking in its bold dynamic maneuvers, while the five pieces that tribute each of the game’s temples broaden the implications of their original snippet pieces, giving a feel for every story that unfurls in these worlds.
What Kondo did with this game is stunning: there are an endless amount of melodies and motifs that I could consider this game’s iconic moment, and here they all sound off with a different kind of intensity. I’m probably just going to go home and listen to the original now, since it’s a stone cold 10/10, but this is a lovely and passionate tribute.
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