California producer Monty mixes two of the best parts of contemporary culture together
In the past many producers have tried mixing computer game music with pop/hip-hop/metal/techno and the results have been patchy. For every awesome Doctor Spin-Tetris we get a woeful H.W.A.-SuperSonic and the least said about SFX-Lemmings the better… But now Californian producer Monty has made possibly the most inventive computer game mixtape in a long time by sampling The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and giving it a gritty LA Hip-Hop make over. And what’s more it sounds amazing!
Anyone who has ever played a Zelda game will know how luscious the soundtracks are. It doesn’t matter if you’re playing the original NES game, if you are everyone at thisyearinmusic salutes you, the GameBoy version, arguably the best and most taxing edition in the series, or any of the later versions you know the score will be we enjoyable as the game itself. Luscious melodies and hectic motifs swirl around Link as you explore the world, solving puzzles, defeating baddies and ultimately rescuing Princess Zelda.
What makes Monty’s mixtape so in keeping with the original source is how much respect he has taken with it. The ten tracks that make up Beats of Time are made exclusively from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time soundtrack and sound effects from the game. The album opens with Title Theme, which pretty much does what it says. Through subtle and poignant beats, Monty gives us all the majesty and beauty of the original theme, but gives it street smarts. Deku Tree follows on this exquisitely, albeit with slightly harder hitting beats. It isn’t until we get to Epona’s Song that things really start to take off and Monty starts to show us what he’s capable of. A tender guitar and gentle kicks things off, before SFX from the game keep things moving forward until its delightful outro. It’s beautiful, but it also has a sense of humour, which is something the games have always possessed. Song of Storms and Master Sword have a bounce that wouldn’t be out of place on a Non-Projects or Brainfeeder mix album. The beats are crisp and sharp while the samples juxtapose this perfectly. Ganon’s Castle Bridge brigs the story to a close you Link defeats the villain of the piece Ganon, in his castle. The album, like the games, ends with Staff Roll that brings everything to a logical conclusion.
What Beats of Time does incredibly well is mixes seamlessly two of the largest parts of contemporary culture, hip-hop and computer games, and ends up with something that is greater than the sum of its parts. Whether Monty will tackle another game in the future will remain to be seen, but given how inventive Beats of Time was the chances might be high.