The 8- and 16-bit games that soundtracked my 90’s youth have been going through a revival the last few years, with the likes of Koji Kondo and Hip Tanaka getting the long overdue status they deserve across a more mainstream audience. LP releases from Konami Kukeiha Club, an increase in 8-bit sampling and the brilliant Diggin’ In The Carts series from Red Bull Music Academy have certainly moved things along in this area, especially as the original Nintendo and Sega kids earn a bit more expendable income for such indulgences.
Personally my love of gaming is strictly pre-2000s, and long ago I had to choose records over games. In my mind there’s no debate as to what constitutes the greatest gaming series, composed game soundtrack and individual game of all time – Zelda, Zelda by Koji Kondo and The Legend Of Zelda: A Link To The Past.
Stoked then to receive this gold cassette release from Switched On SNES, project of one Will Patterson out of Lockhart, Texas. Patterson has faithfully recreated the soundtrack to Link To The Past with modern synths, instantly adding more depth and dimension to the sounds of Zelda purely by moving it out of the games original 16-bit composition. It sounds brilliant, and the fact that it’s released ona gold cassette mimicking the original NES releases just makes it that little bit better.
Unfortunately for those hoping to get their hands on the physical copy it’s all sold out, but the good news is that this is just the first in a series under Switched on SNES. More info below but make sure you’re following the project’s Bandcamp page so as not to miss out on the future releases.
Switched On SNES is a series of soundtracks played on analog synthesizers and drum machines. The goal of the project is to expose listeners to the musical masterpieces that have been overlooked – mostly because of the 16bit instrumentation.
Link to the Past is the first installment of soundtracks which will include: Secret of Mana, Earthbound, Donkey Kong Country, and others. Royalties from sales will go towards the composer Koji Kondo/Nintendo.
For those who want more it’s also worth checking out any recordings you might be able to find from the 25th Anniversary of Zelda celebrations in 2011, where a 70 piece orchestra was formed to play through the soundtrack for a one-off European date. They’re out there with a bit of digital digging, slightly illegal, but totally incredible.