Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance - Upgraded Instrument Same Enchanting Music

Written by Narz.

I fell in love with Kingdom Hearts’ battle system, story, characters and graphics, but what really stirred me to the core was its awesome music; never have I been so moved to shed a tear to a tune. Yoko Shimura , composer and writer for first three Kingdom Hearts games says, “When I create, music, my approach is to put things together to see hot is feel, and then go with what works. That’s my style.” In the Japanese version of Kingdom Hearts, its theme song, “Hikari”, was the pre-intro movie to the English version but not its theme song. However, it didn’t change the fact that it was a magnificently compelling piece that did so much more than just open the game.

Opening with a subtle but beautiful serenade as the lyrics begins with “thinking of you, wherever you are” and ends with “there are many worlds, but they share the same sky- one sky, one destiny” that stimulated a reflective sensation as it brought me back to a the warm fuzzy feeling when you watched a Disney classic like Beauty and the Beast or Cinderella.  As the orchestra exploded in cymbals, violins, and drums it instilled a meaning that you are on a mission to do something fun, exciting, and liberating as the scenes of all the worlds are shown before you. The violins gave a profound rendition of the harsh trials and as the melody marched along until its climax to a high unison octane that exploded in cymbals until it suddenly stopped and transitioned into “Dearly beloved.”This in turn begins with the same notes that “Hikari” ended as the cellos and violins play croon to the sound of ocean waves until the piano solo began softly as if hypnotizing you to forget to press the start button and become lost in the moment. Never did you play a game that stimulates the beginning of a mysterious adventure so fantastic by simply using music.

When first opening the game, “Simple and Clean” written and performed by Hikaru Utada was a techno pop tune played with the opening credits that threw you into the world of the characters foreshadowing the events that would transpire in the entire game. The music represented the characters’ persona so much so that it seemed to complement their clothing styles and mental state of mind. Just the beginning of the tune, as you hear the heartbeat to the percussions until it explodes in a fast pace melody was so exhilarating to hear that it stamped a profound experience in gaming for me.
Listening to the music of the new additions in the series, Dream Drop Distance and Birth by Sleep, Square has not lessened on the depth they portray in their music accompanying their games. With songs attributed to another Square Enix games called The World Ends with You, it is a relief to know that the urge to produce exhilarating music hasn’t been changed but added to. With the new additions we get more bop to our beats. Most of the songs are originally composed by Takeharu Ishimoto who remixed them for Dream Drop Distance. The interesting aspect of these songs is the introduction of lyrics to the music which at first seems to defy the laws that made KH spectacular, but ingeniously the vocals almost uplift the music to newer heights. The punk and magical tune of “Calling-Kingdom Remix”, gives an almost eerie mysterious connotation to the KH series that is highly embraced. Had I been told the next installment would include vocals into the music, I would laugh and outright demand it to be removed, but after hearing the songs it seems almost too artistic.

“Twister- Kingdom Mix” is another track from The World End with You remixed for KH. The melody is such a hip hop country amass trip that I started bopping to the female rapping and was quite stunned to the psychedelic “Beatles” like interlude that was followed by an imaginative guitar solo with more female rapping. It reminded me of something I’d hear from Cowboy Bebop and with that I was sold! By the end of the song, I was almost converted but it wasn’t until I heard “Someday- Kingdom Remix” where I was given a heartwarming euphoric serene feeling and let go to become a fan.  The song reminded me of my favorite Asian band Asobi Sekusu mixed with the same serene meaningful music connotations “Dearly Beloved” and “Simple and Clean” gave. With that, I accepted the innovative transformation Kingdom Hearts became and remain a devoted fan of its music.

If you’re a fan of Kingdom Hearts, are you content with the new additions? What’s your take on the old ones versus the new?Let us know on our facebook or twitter.
Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance set to release July 31st, 2012.

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