With the recent tragic events in Huston, Texas due to Hurricane Harvey, many charities have begun to help fund efforts to rebuild and like many industries, the game industry is doing what it can to aid the victims of a natural disaster that claimed over 80 lives and affected thousands more. SPIRIT: A Game Music Charity Album Benefiting Hurricane Harvey Victims is a four track EP from label Materia Collective that features various scores from the likes of Final Fantasy VII, Undertale, Pokemon Ruby & Sapphire, and Journey remixed and rearranged by a collaborative of nearly 100 musicians, some who were even directly effected by the hurricane.
You can pick this EP up for $5 (or more if you choose to) on Bandcamp and all proceeds go to the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund, a branch of the Greater Houston Community Foundation.
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As usual with these sorts of albums, I'm going to break down each track and tell you why you shouldn't pass up this great EP and easy to help those in need.
David Ramos, Ro Panuganti - Hopes and Dreams (from "Undertale")Track one on the EP is probably the most familiar song from the Undertale OST and like many other cover albums before it, this remix makes a familiar tune sound brand new again. This collaborative effort of over 50 people features a diverse arrangement, such as a guitar/orchestral duet to a piano backed by a vocal chorus. It's a pretty interesting song and has a distinct cinematic score meets Disneyland background music feel. Definitely worth checking out.
Ruby Toung - Main Theme (from "Final Fantasy VII")Producer Ruby Toungs arrangement of one of the better songs from a game whose logo is currently tattooed on my arm gets the exact treatment it deserves here. While this cover itself doesn't deviate too far from the source material, the raw emotion and grimness this track evokes is definitely felt here, and while this cover crescendos into the backing track to a grand adventure, it still feels massive in its own way. It's an excellent track that fits in perfectly with the albums concept.
Stephen Robert Froeber - Apotheosis (from "Journey")For those of you that don't know, back in 2012 the OST for Journey by composer Austin Wintory was the first video game album to be nominated for a Grammy. For those of you that have played the game (if you haven't go do that now) you will know that its soundtrack is part of the reason why the game resonated with so many people. This cover featured over 40 artists and it shows. To put it quite simply, this song is huge. While the previous track feels almost despondent at parts, this song has a triumphant sound from the first measure onward. A wonderful retooling of one gaming's better songs.
Ending Theme (from "Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire")When I saw the track listing I couldn't help but feel that a Pokemon song felt out of place alongside the previous three tracks. As usual with these sort of things, I was wrong. While Ending Theme is a VERY different take from the source material, its all vocal arrangement makes for a fitting ending track to an album whose goal is to help inspire hope in a tragedy. I found myself listening to this more than the other tracks because of its distinct sound and sense of happiness I got from it. If you're looking to hear something a bit out of the ordinary but still familiar, then this is a track worth listening to.
In ConclusionBesides the obvious fact that this album was created entirely to aid victims of a terrible disaster, its worth listening to the collaborative effort of over 100 artists retuning and reworking some of gaming's most notable tracks.
SPIRIT: A Game Music Charity Album Benefiting Hurricane Harvey Victims was reviewed by a copy purchased by the reviewer.