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: 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.
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: 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?
Jam of the Day: Toberu mono (Instrumental) by Nobuo Uematsu (THE LAST STORY Original Soundtrack)
When I first booted up my import copy of The Last Story, I was greeted with a classy white title screen and the part of above song that starts at about 2:49. Needless to say, it left a great first impression.
Nobuo Uematsu is a legend and while none of his newer OSTs have grabbed me as much as a whole as his earlier works, there are enough individual gems in The Last Story’s soundtrack to be a worthy addition to his discography. Let’s hope we see the game come to North America someday.
Jam of the Day: Stickerbush Symphony by Michiko Naruke (Super Smash Bros. Brawl Soundtrack)
I could make this blog nothing but tracks from the Super Smash Bros. Brawl soundtrack and I would still be able to update with a lot of great, very diverse music for a long, long time.
I love the tracks that really show off the arranger’s style. When you listen to the Brawl version of David Wise’s Stickerbush Symphony, it is immediately apparent who the arranger is. Michiko Naruke’s trademark style takes the track in a direction that would fit seamlessly into one of her Wild Arms soundtracks, giving it a new flavor that wasn’t present in the original instead of just updating the instruments.
Jam of the Day: Planet Wisp Act 3 by SEGA (Sonic Colors Soundtrack)
I’m just listing the artist as SEGA for now because the Sonic Colors OST has not been released yet and I have a list of 8 or more people who might be responsible for this track.
I started playing Sonic Colors (Wii version) today. I’m too early to say much about the game itself, but there have already been a handful of enjoyable stage themes. Like many sonic games, each stage theme has a few variations of the same tune to be used in the different levels of a single world. Planet Wisp Act 3 is mixed up quite a bit from its Act 1 counterpart. I enjoy both variations, but Act 3’s more complex groove makes me favor it a bit more.
Jam of the Day: Magoichi Saika’s Theme by Kow Otani, Masahiro Aoki, Chamy Ishi, Rei Kondoh, Yasutaka Hatade, and/or Sara Sakurai (Sengoku BASARA 3 Original Soundtracks)
This is one of those instances where a lot of people are credited for a soundtrack, but I can’t actually find who is responsible for each specific song.
I just started playing Sengoku Basara: Samurai Heroes, a game based on Japanese history, but with magic and robots. Much like the how the game’s concept meshes real history and absurd fantasy, the soundtrack blends traditional Japanese instrumentation with more modern styles of music.
Throughout the soundtrack, you’ll find classic Japanese styles mixed with rock, electronica, jazz, and in this case, flamenco. It creates some interesting hybrids that are worth checking out.
Jam of the Day: Close to the End by Masato Koda (Rockman 10 Image Soundtrack)
The arrange albums for Mega Man 9 & 10 have some very mixed reception. I personally enjoy both quite a bit. While there are definitely some odd instrumentation choices in the albums, “Close to the End” is a track that’s hard not to love.
Masato Koda’s take on the theme utilizes a wide variety of sounds, combining electronic and acoustic instruments brilliantly. The track seamlessly goes back and forth between electronica, industrial, and jazz to name a few of the genres represented. It’s really a fantastic arrangement.
Oh, and for the super nerdy: there are several accepted spelling variations of Masato Koda’s name, so sorry if I didn’t pick the one you use.