Product Reviews

Blake Robinson Synthetic Orchestra – Video Game Orchestrations Review

Blake Robinson Synthetic Orchestra - Video Game Orchestrations Review
Video game remixes are a dime a dozen these days. Fueled by nostalgia, it seems like anybody with a copy of Garage Band and a love for the classics is cranking out melodies based off of the games of old. However, the Blake Robinson Synthetic Orchestra is upping the ante by bringing out the big guns: a full-blown orchestra made up of samples and synthetic interests.

In his debut video game tribute album “Video Game Orchestrations,” Blake Robinson performs 13 covers of the most memorable gaming tunes out there today. Major releases like Gears of War, Minecraft, and Super Metroid are present and accounted for, but a number of more obscure titles are represented as well. The New Zealand Story and Rule of Rose might seem like odd choices, but they are welcome additions that help to differentiate this album from the countless other ones on the market today.

But how do the remixes hold up? Rather than go the dubstep or electronica route, each song is made up of a composition of multiple instruments made up of percussion, wood winds, and string-based instruments. This leads to a more grand composition that achieves the unthinkable: it creates something even more majestic than its source material.

However, this is also a double-edged sword. While each composition improves upon its source material, the atmospheric nature of these arrangements causes some of the original essence to be lost. There are some songs in particular that I could not immediately recognize due to its new arrangement. That’s not to say that these are inferior to the original; rather, it is simply a change from the established standard.

This also goes the other way as well. Some MIDI-based tracks from the days of the Nintendo 64 era manage to have their potential fully realized in these remixes. Treasure Trove from Banjo-Kazooie in particular easily steals the show in this regard, creating something that shows what this platformer would sound like with the advanced technology available today. Listening to the song, it becomes apparent that the original developers’ vision is more fully realized in Blake Robinson’s grandiose remix.

Those who would like to listen to the album themselves can download the entire album for $9.99 on iTunes here.

Casey Scheld

Drawn to the underground side of gaming, Casey helps the lesser known heroes of video games. If you’ve never heard of it, he’s mastered it.
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