Jam of the Day: Stalfos (The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword)

I’ve been diving into Skyward Sword a lot lately. The fact that it doesn’t use fully orchestrated music all the time makes it all the more powerful when it does. There is a lot to be said about the game’s clever use of layering elements to the situation, especially in dungeon music.

But one of the songs that really stuck out to me was the music that plays when you encounter Stalfos knights. It sounds downright evil, but a bit playful at the same time thanks to its rhythm. And since it comes practically out of nowhere to interrupt the more ambient location music, it perfectly plays into the surprise of suddenly being trapped in a room with a midboss. I can’t wait to hear what else the game has to offer.

While Hajime Wakai is in charge of the game’s music, series veteran Koji Kondo also contributed. However, I have yet to see any individual song credits.

Jam of the Day: Norfair (Brawl Version) by Yuzo Koshiro (Super Smash Bros. Brawl Soundtrack)

I’ve been writing a lot about Metroid music this week. Not just here, but in a long form piece I wrote on the series’ music as well. But hey, somebody’s gotta celebrate Metroid’s 25th anniversary if Nintendo won’t.

This remix comes from the Brawl soundtrack courtesy of Yuzo Koshiro (Streets of Rage, Actraiser). Norfair’s theme in the original Metroid has always been a strange tune. Koshiro’s take on it does a good job of modernizing it without losing the original weirdness of Hirokazu Tanaka’s version. Yet another great arrangement from the Brawl soundtrack.

Jam of the Day: Super Metroid performed by the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra (Game Music Concert 4 ~ Live Best Collection)

This is probably one of the earliest arrangements of game music I heard. From the fourth Game Music Concert album, this eight minute Super Metroid medley was arranged by Toshihiko Sahash, conducted by Kosuke Onozak, and performed by the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra. It’s worth every minute of your time.

Jam of the Day: Magma / Ice Spawn Boss Theme by Lawrence Schwedler and James Phillipsen (Metroid Prime Hunters Soundtrack)

I’m really not crazy about Metroid Prime Hunters. Between the overly FPS feel and the constant boss fights with stationary pillars, I found it a hard game to love. However, some of its music kind of fascinates me.

It isn’t that it’s especially remarkable, but that some of it is so different from what you’d typically hear in a Metroid game. This is mostly found in the drum tracks, which seem to take inspiration from more popular electronica styles. In fact, this theme in particular almost seems like it could be a song by The Prodigy.

Jam of the Day: Full of Life by Protricity (Relics of the Chozo: A Super Metroid Musical Collaboration)

I’ve decided to feature more Metroid music this week since the 25th anniversary just happened.

Relics of the Chozo was the very first full album put out by OverClocked ReMix back in 2003. I was very excited when it came out. Albums covering an entire game’s soundtrack were not common in North America at the time. To make things even better, the tracks flowed into each other giving the album a very cohesive feel.

Full of Life is one of those arrangements that perfectly captures the spirit of the original. You could argue its lack of ambition, but sometimes I enjoy a good “update” style of remix. It would fit along seamlessly in an HD version of Super Metroid. Speaking of which, somebody should make that.

Jam of the Day: Phendrana Drifts performed by Metroid Metal (Varia Suite)

Today marks the 25th anniversary of Metroid. Metroid has always been one of my favorite game series of all time. I still consider Super Metroid to be the greatest game ever made and Metroid Prime isn’t far behind. Other M certainly was a mixed bag, but hopefully the series will continue on strong.

It’s been a great 25 years. Here’s to 25 more!

Buy Varia Suite

Jam of the Day: The Night Before the Decisive Battle by ACE+ (Xenoblade Original Soundtrack)

I gave in and imported Xenoblade from Europe. Of course, it isn’t quite out yet. I really look forward to experiencing the game’s music in context. I am a big fan of the Xenoblade soundtrack. I’d go so far as to say it’s one of the best RPG soundtracks I’ve heard in years.

Last time I featured one of the rock tracks. This time, I’d like to highlight one of the more moving themes in the game. It feels weird to highlight 2 songs without getting into any of the Yoko Shimomura pieces, but ACE+ (Tomori Kudo, CHiCO and Kenji Hiramatsu) did such an outstanding job that I felt like highlighting their work again.

Jam of the Day: Shotgun Kiss (Vegas Palace) by Hidenori Shoji (F-ZERO GX/AX Original Soundtracks)

The F-Zero GX/AX Soundtrack might not be as melodically driven as the previous games, but Hidenori Shoji (known for the Yakuza series) really excels at what he does. His music has that electronica feel that fits so well into futuristic racers, but he combines it with a variety of other genres to make it really stand out. While most songs have tinges of rock accompanying punchy beats, Shotgun Kiss throws a little jazzy vibe into the mix creating something really memorable.

Jam of the Day: Southern Face Shrine by Kazumi Totaka, Kozue Ishikawa and/or Minako Hamano (The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening)

There are very few video game songs that have managed to creep me out as much as the Southern Face Shrine from Link’s Awakening. It always amazed me that the song could evoke such an incredibly effective eerie feeling with the limited sound capabilities of the Game Boy hardware. Even today, the song is still haunting.

Jam of the Day: Wrestler Interview by TSUNKU (Minna no Rhythm Tengoku)

After a friend showed me this song from the new Rhythm Heaven, it got stuck in my head. I’ve listened to it quite a few times, usually when its overwhelming catchiness creeps back into my brain to a point where listening becomes mandatory.

Since songs were changed in the last Rhythm Heaven localization, I really have to wonder what a song so focused on Japanese syllable sounds will come out like in North America. I’m sure they’ll do a fine job with it, but will it be as catchy?