Community Spotlight: February Favourites

Hi there! I haven’t posted in quite some time.

I’d really like to post these community spotlights on a monthly basis. These monthly posts will not be dedicated to one particular project or album, but rather will contain several shout-outs to cool creators and their awesome creations that were recently released that month! Without further ado, here are my favourite video game covers, remixes, and arrangements from this February:

ClefferNotes – “Dark World Theme Orchestra”

Alright, so I already wrote up an article about ClefferNotes’ fan-made The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild arrangements – you can read that right here. Just recently, ClefferNotes did a livestream showing his process of composing. The track he orchestrated this time was the fan-favourite Dark World theme from A Link to the Past. This track is a personal favourite of mine: it’s a great example of the amazing music this game offers, and I personal consider it one of the best from the game.

ClefferNotes’ arrangement doesn’t disappoint. It has an amazingly adventurous feel, complete with militaristic march-like percussion, cinematic brass, epic choral build-ups, and those classic ClefferNotes woodwind runs. Fans of Zelda, this arrangement is a must-listen. I honestly think it’s one of the best fan interpretations of this classic tune. Don’t miss out on the ending either – it’s just gorgeous.

The Second Narrator – “Battle Against a True Hero”

If you haven’t heard of The Second Narrator, do yourself a favour and check him out. He’s one of the best. I’ve really been enjoying his series of Undertale orchestrations – this time he’s taken on one of the most musically exciting and intense songs in the game, “Battle Against a True Hero”.  I love the original song, it really pumps you up for battle.

The Second Narrator’s orchestration is simply phenomenal. It cycles through many different musical acts, providing a rollercoaster of emotion. It’s a glorious 10 minutes of epic cinematic Hans Zimmer-esque music. My favourite part (in the original, as well as this rendition) comes at around 3:39. This arrangement is just spectacular – such a treat for fans of Undertale.

UntoldStoriesProductions – “Zelda’s Lullaby”

UntoldStoriesProductions is another great creator of orchestral video game covers. Please, check him out! This particular song is an arrangement of “Zelda’s Lullaby”. It’s such an amazing arrangement, and plus, you can’t go wrong with some Zelda’s Lullaby.

The delicate piano, angelic harp, and lush strings all come together in a very pretty rendition of this nostalgic theme. It’s just real lovely.

Stevie Pilgrim – “Character Select”

This one’s a change of pace from the orchestral pieces I’ve spotlighted so far. Stevie Pilgrim is a video game music remixer with such a unique, catchy style: he takes classic video game songs and turns them into really chilled-out, groovy hip-hop / electronic remixes!

This recent track of his has stood out to me: the Character Select theme from Super Mario Bros. 2, an underrated game with an equally underrated soundtrack. Stevie takes this song in pleasantly surprising places, creating a laid-back piano groove with a little hip-hop flair. Those who listen to Stevie’s covers know that he likes to include musical references to other games. In this piece, he references the happy-go-lucky music of Yoshi’s Island, and the quirky soundtrack of Little Big Planet. Take a listen for yourself!

insaneintherainmusic – “Mii Channel Theme”

I’m a huge fan of insanetherainmusic: his channel is a treasure trove of extremely high-quality jazz covers of video game tunes! He’s amazingly talented so please watch some of his videos if you haven’t already!
Joined by two other saxophonists, insaneintherain creates a fantastic jazz arrangement of the iconic Mii channel. I have to say, I’ve listened to this particular cover more than ten times now. It’s just so good, I can’t stop replaying it!
It begins as an almost perfect keyboard recreation of the memorable Mii Plaza tune. This is soon decorated with some percussion, and then a swanky sax overtakes the melody. What began as a simple little tune on the keys blossoms into an infectiously catchy Latin-inspired jazz number. It’s well worth a listen, trust me!

Further Listening

Here is a little selection of some other tunes I’ve enjoyed from these past few weeks. The list is certainly not exhaustive, but it showcases a few pieces that have stood out to me from the video game music community.

eflat – “Title Screen” (Kid Icarus)
insaneintherainmusic (feat. 8BitBrigadier & Kenny Stern) – “Wii Shop Theme
NoteBlock – “Romance in the Air” (The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword)
PoopPoopFart – “Spiral Mountain” (Banjo-Kazooie)
Stevie Pilgrim – “Map Theme” (Yoshi’s Island)
String Player Gamer – “Trailer Theme” (The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild)
Swarmviper – “Dragon Roost Island” (The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker)

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pixelchips “Behind the Scenes”: Undertale Winter Medley (Holiday Song #4)

Hi! Merry Christmas Eve!

Today I uploaded an orchestral Undertale medley as the final tune for my holiday video game music EP. Have a listen to today’s tune here! Yesterday I uploaded a winter-themed teaser for my upcoming album, Kirby & the Amazing Mirror Arranged, which you can listen to here. I won’t be posting a “behind the scenes” for that one just yet, as I will be discussing it in detail later on when the album is finished.

Anyway, on to the Undertale Christmas Medley:
For the introduction, I used the very beginning of the main theme of Undertale, Once Upon a Time. It starts soft, just a double bass and piano, but then full string ensemble and a choir gradually emerge. The tubular bells really help give it a holiday feel.
The swelling of the orchestra leads into the soft and light theme of Snowy. I sped it up quite a bit, so that the tempo of the medley would remain consistent throughout. I aimed to create a light and carefree feeling with the instrumentation: a piano for the lead, quiet pizzicatto strings for the chords and accompaniment, and a piccolo and viola for harmonization.
Then comes the theme of Snowdin. I added more layers to the instrumentation: the double bass returns from the beginning, and a solo violin takes over for the melody. I included a playful xylophone and a twinkling celesta for a cheerful vibe. The tubular bells and sleighbells keep things feeling festive. The string ensemble returns for the section leading up to the next part of the medley…
…the Shop theme, a very lovely tune! The piano continues the tune of Snowdin over top as a sort of counter-melody, which I thought made for a very nice mash-up effect.
I tried to make the tune have an overarching build-up of instrumentation, starting with a simple piano/piccolo duet that leads into a full Christmas orchestra. I wanted all of the gradual build-up tune to amount to a climactic ending: the music stops, leaving only the echoing ring of a single tubular bell.

Hope you enjoy the tune! I’m quite proud of this one, personally. Hopefully it’s as fun to listen to as it was to create!