Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Marky's song #10: Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time soundtrack - "Gerudo Valley"

The spectre of Nintendo looms large over independent and underground culture. Ooooh, I made that sound much creepier than I needed to. Many a junior high school semi-outcast found some solace in video game systems. I know I did. We already have one song article related to video gaming, and I’m sure this one will not be the last.

It was only a matter of time before independent music started to incorporate video game music into their sound. Bands like The Minibosses and The Advantage (among many others) thrill audiences with rocked-out covers of 8-bit themes. On the flip side of that, Anamanaguchi and Menomena go about things in reverse – using outmoded technologies to construct modern melodies. In the realm of electronic music, you can mosey over to the OverClocked ReMix website and download for free all sorts of re-worked, updated versions of tunes from games both popular and obscure.

The point I’m trying to make here, which will most likely elicit a response of ‘duh’ from the readership here, is that access to the “situational music” of our youth is greater than it has ever been. It’s not just video game soundtracks or even orchestras playing the music of Koji Kondo, but imported soundtracks from Japanese animation series or a compiling of the music of Carl Stalling. Of course, the quality of music for video games has increased as well, as companies discovered that more and more people were paying attention to that sort of thing. In turn, the people these companies employed to compose the music spent more time crafting individual soundtracks.

Anyway, back to the topic at hand. This particular track comes from the Nintendo 64 game Ocarina of Time. There’s no way to gauge a “play count” in the game à la iTunes, but it easily was the most oft-listened to part of the soundtrack, mainly because it was easy to restart the music while I was playing. I made sure to explore the area thoroughly just to keep it playing and would even go in and out of buildings just to hear the music restart from the beginning. I’m probably not the only one.
This track has been re-imagined many times over – a somewhat large sample of these follow below. I’ll let the music speak for itself. The popularity is with good reason: it’s gorgeous, it’s simple, and it fits the portion of the game’s scene perfectly. Good music can be found in unlikely sources – even in a tribal encampment near the desert across a bridge next to a waterfall.

Gerudo Valley (original)

Gerudo Valley (JV mix): from OverClocked

Gerudo Valley (Peeples mix): from OverClocked

[Question: is anybody having trouble seeing the media players? I’m not sure if they work in Safari.]


  1. The videos work in Safari, but not the audio clips. Screw Safari!

  2. This annoys me. They work in Firefox, but the Snow Leopard upgrade causes Firefox to run slower than it did before. It's almost as if Apple is intentionally forcing us to use their browser. I need to find a different embeddable media player.

  3. 1) Try Chrome. Get the newest 4.0 beta version. Works with everything I've tried so far.

    2) Video game music, especially GOOD video game music, is greatly undervalued outside the game nerd community. The Zelda soundtrack is fantastic. I also quite like the Rygar and Metroid sountracks, too. Amazing what 8-bits and creativity can get you.