The Missing Link
A fan of both The Grand Adventures and ZeldaBlog wrote me the other day asking me if I could talk a little bit about sites hosting some really nice Zelda music for you to enjoy. It really was a good article idea because it’s a branch of Zelda that is usually rarely seen within the Zelda community, even more so because I draw uncountable amounts of inspiration from video game music. This may sound rather nerdy or geeky of me, but I hardly listen to any of music on the radio these days; rather, almost exclusively I listen to about 45 hours’ worth of video game soundtracks and remixes ranging from Super Mario Bros. to Halo, spanning The Legend of Zelda in all its forms.
If you’ve ever even heard of the Video Game Pianist, you might just know what I’m talking about, and you’ll definitely know that there are some gifted people out there. (If you haven’t heard of him yet, then why are you still reading this article? Go there now and watch his stuff; he’s really good!) Let me tell you, I played piano for eight years, complete with private lessons and all, and this guy could beat me blindfolded in a musical duel to the death, quite literally as well. (Yes, he can play blindfolded. And backwards. I’m scared to see what this guy could do were he to be the next secret character in Super Smash Bros.) This guy has performed at E3 (Electronics Entertainment Expo) this past year, and he played for the Penny Arcade Expo as well.
If piano solos aren’t your cup of tea, then perhaps you should be heading over to the very popular OverClocked Remix and the slightly less well-known VGMix. These two sites are dedicated to mixing up the original soundtracks of virtually every video game every created, in turn transforming them into something absolutely unfamiliar yet surprisingly familiar at the same time. My library of MP3s from these two websites could easily clock in at bigger than two CDs themselves, and I haven’t full explored their sites yet! One of the advantages of these sites is that there are thousands of artists performing these remixes, and so you have music from all walks of life. (There’s the Gerudo Valley theme as a R&B song, the Ocarina shop theme played by a Hawaiian street band, and the battle music from Super Mario Bros. 3 in jazz, just to name a few.) There are a few misses here, just to warn you, but it’s a very good resources for those of you who love the music in video games.
One of the best homebrew projects within the Zelda community for this has been Zelda Music, formerly known as ZREO (Zelda REOrchestrated). This may look a lot like OCRemix and VGMix at first, but they’re very different. Zelda Music is not about remixing songs but just orchestrating (or reorchestrating) the songs within the Zelda series. Imagine the songs from Link’s Awakening translated from the beep-like soundtracks of the Game Boy into a full orchestra environment; that’s what we’re talking about here. The project will never be complete to reorchestrate every song, but there are a good number there to pull. The fair weathered warning about this site is that this site will likely close its doors at the end of the year, so if you’re interested in this music, you’ll want to get there very soon.
For those of you interested in really pushing the limits on music, how about a concert? Video Games Live is a concern spreading throughout the US and Canada over the course of the next month and a bit with video game music live on stage by a full orchestra. I personally am planning on going to the Columbus show with a few of my good friends, and it promises to be a blast. For those of you who aren’t into the whole concert thing, they’ve got CDs and videos for sale so that you can enjoy the experience straight from home. For those of you still unsure, there’s a preview trailer on their website that will give you a feel about what it’s all about. If that doesn’t sell you, Elijah Wood (you know, Frodo?) gives it his thumbs up!
The music of video games is a very powerful element, an element that largely gets overlooked. I believe it was said once that the best video game music will always go completely unnoticed by the player because bad music will be picked out right away as being disharmonious to the rest of the game. Music, while it isn’t the biggest portion of the gaming experience, is still a big thing, and there are some good songs out there that stand out and deserve notice.
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