Review: Hero of Time (Hardware)
By now, you might have realized that I am a big fan of video game soundtrack vinyls and love bringing them to your attention by reviewing them. Today I have the pleasure to introduce you to one that easily became my favorite of them all because today, I bring forth the music from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time in vinyl format: *treasure chest opening sound* Hero of Time!
A Timeless Piece
Following a successful Kickstarter campaign last year, Materia Collective materialized (see what I did there?) the music piece of the iconic video game in vinyl format.
While this officially licensed, one-hour arrangement album is based on the legendary Koji Kondo's composition, it has been remastered by the 64-player Slovak National Symphony Orchestra exclusively for this production. Don’t expect the retro N64’s sound quality but do expect glorious, melodious, symphony masterfully conducted by the Slovak National Symphony Orchestra.
Recorded live at Studio 1 in Bratislava, Slovakia, the orchestra professionally recreated Ocarina of Time’s most iconic melodies with their classical music touch. No wonder since Seattle-based arranger/orchestrator of video game music, Eric Buchholz was on board for this production’s arrangement and composition. He has been involved with the production of video game music concert tours including The Legend of Zelda 25th Anniversary Symphony, The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses, and Pokémon: Symphonic Evolutions.
The 2x LP record span 22 titles and while it does not feature all of the game’s soundtracks, it does an excellent job at capturing the feelings behind its key moments. Take some time out while listening to the mellow tunes of the Lon Lon Ranch track on Side B of Disc 1 or get pumped up with the more upbeat Spirit of the Valley track on Side A of Disc 2. Even if the tracks can be enjoyed individually, the experience is much more satisfying by listening the records from beginning to end.
Rather than have me ramble on and trying to make you understand how well performed the whole piece is, here is an 8 minute preview on Soundcloud, courtesy of Materia Collective.
Ever since they took the vinyl scene by a storm, video game soundtrack vinyls came packed with nostalgia-infused soundtracks but they’ve also had a tradition of coming along with impressive artworks. And Hero of Time is no different.
The album features Ryan Brinkerhoff‘s work and it is full of subtle cues and attention to details that will marvel Zelda fans with a keen eye for details. Right from the jacket’s front is a die-cut Ocarina window that imparts part of the Disc 1’s sleeve design. Shift your gaze a little to the right of the jacket and you’ll notice a triangle-shaped cut that exposes the inner sleeve’s golden triforce. Now open the gatefold jacket and you’ll see a minimalist, yet majestic depiction of Hyrule’s Light and Dark sides and the back of the jacket proudly houses a gold foil-stamped triforce in a tunic-green background. To top it all, the green and purple rupee-pressed vinyl records’ sides are indicated with heart pieces! Side A has a quarter full piece, Side B half full, Side C three-quarter full and Side D is a full heart piece!
The only thing I have to deplore is the material of choice for the jacket and sleeves. While they hold impressive art, they seem to be made of a relatively thin carton material that might easily get damaged if they get into contact with water or are handled by careless moist/wet hands. In comparison, Mondo’s video game soundtrack vinyls’ jackets are always made of a sturdier carton. I haven’t experienced any damages to my Hero of Time copy and neither should you, so take great care while handling this precious piece!
It's dangerous to go alone! Take this!
At $40 on iam8bit's store, Hero of Time is almost a steal. By acquiring a copy, you'll hold in your possession a masterful music piece, brilliant artwork and most probably, a piece of history as a celebration of one of the most iconic video games in gaming history.
No vinyl record player? No problem! Following interest in formats other than vinyl, the founder of Materia Collective, Sebatian Wolff himself, requested to have the following alternatives get to your attention:
- The $14 digital album includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
- There is also a $30 physical premium 6-panel digipak album featuring stunning panoramic artwork by Lekso, one disc with cutout artwork, and a 16-page full color booklet. It includes unlimited streaming of Hero of Time (Music from "The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time") via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
You can purchase either of these right here.
+ Quality music piece
+ Great artwork with subtle details
+ Apt ode to a venerable game
- Material quality of jacket and sleeve
out of 10
Not the vinyl you want, but the one you need right now.