Those of you who are keen followers of musical trends may well have heard of the site Pitchfork. It's been going for a good few years and is viewed by many to be one of the best music sites on the web – and the fact that it has chosen to review Koji Kondo's amazing soundtrack to The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time only serves to enhance its standing in our eyes.
The review comes as part of the site's ongoing attempt to give exposure to "any record not in our archives" by delivering an in-depth look at what makes it so special.
The review touches upon the lay of the land when the game was released, as well as Kondo's history within Nintendo. It's well worth a read, and digs deep into what makes the soundtrack so special:
Initially, Kondo resisted morphing his beloved bleep-and-bloop game music into real life music. So he rebelled by keeping things unreal. He would spend days rifling through global curios in Kyoto’s record stores before merging his finds into combinations that broke with chronology, geography, and anthropology—combinations that couldn’t plausibly be found outside of a console. Vocal from as far back as 1990 about the changes sweeping through his profession, Kondo eventually embraced them, forging links to the past and casting forward imagined futures.
The music needs no introduction, but it's interesting to note that the game also marked something of an ending for the legendary composer:
Ocarina of Time was to be Kondo’s last full soundtrack. He was responsible for most of 1999’s Majora’s Mask, drawing inspiration from Chinese opera in line with its mask-based aesthetic, but had a much-diminished role when it came to the Gaelic sea shanties of 2002’s The Wind Waker. He remains in charge of Nintendo’s music department, but as a composer, Ocarina of Time was his way of leaving it all out on a field that was in the process of being aggressively returned. Nintendo’s latter-day scores for Zelda and Mario skew more orchestral, but so do most big-budget titles now. They lack Kondo’s uncanny ability to bind feelings of happiness and sadness into an immediately nostalgic whole, so that your first listen feels like your thousandth.
We'd recommend you give the full review a read; let us know if you think the praise is justified by posting a comment below.