Hylian Lemon & friends - Essence of Lime compilation release and review

A few months back, An amazing album was organized and released by VG remixer Hylian Lemon. Along with a few folks from the video game remix, and cover community, they organized an expansive tribute to the music from the often overlooked Game Boy Color game The Legend of Zelda Oracle of Ages. That album is available now for free download as Essence of Lime.

Essence of Lime is a well put together album of over 40 remixed tracks covering the entire library of music from Oracle of Ages. Hylian Lemon takes the forefront of the album, remixing and contributing to nearly half the songs, which makes sense, as this was originally set to be a solo project. The other half of the album is composed of many other enthusiastic Zelda fans and musicians who, once hearing about the project, jumped on board to be part of it. Essence of Lime coming together in this way gives the album a novel, cohesive feel.

The album kicks off with the orchestral fanfare of title track Essence of Lime by Hylian Lemon. The mood starts out somber and reverent, but quickly fades into a funky adventurer's beat, with great use of sound effects that don't become distracting. Not Bad for a Diva shows Hylian Lemon take a different approach, creating a soothing piano movement that starts washed out, before leading into a slightly more ominous jazzy affair. Moving forward a few tracks, we hear from ProtoDome with one of my favorite tracks on the album, the amazing chiptune styled funk of Past, Present and Future Perfect.We hear vibrant effects and piano swirling together to create an upbeat foot tapping rendition of the well known Zelda field theme.

Bound Across Time is another stand out piece, arranged by Chickenwarlord and Hylian Lemon. The track starts out with a soft lilt of piano, then leads into a driving piano fronted piece that is equal parts catchy and foreboding. With its fading instruments and great piano work, the track really has a distinct feel. But just when you have a grip on it, you are shoved through the ages again and we are met with a comfortable melody of strings which gently lead us to the end of this piece.

At this point it gets tough deciding which tracks to decide to pinpoint in this short review, as many of them are quite good. The tracks are well produced and solid. The arrangements themselves are interesting, and add a new flair to some older Zelda tunes that have seen their fair share of remixes. The website also boasts plenty of great Zelda inspired artwork for the album, including alternate album art and wallpapers. I must admit that I am most partial to the main album art by Maverickk though, He has done a fantastic job capturing the playfulness of the Zelda series in his art, and I think it stands out as some of the best artwork I have yet seen for any album this year.

Back to the music though, we hear from Hylian Lemon again with a worldly piece simply called Really Big Tree. The track combines synths, percussion, and piano into a marching tune across the land, even paying homage to classic Zelda as the song comes to a close, resonating with the sounds of a lone piano. Things don't stay low key for long thanks to the industrial sounds of TheKrow and his arrangement Tombstone Factory which is quickly followed up by Sockpuppet's first of two tracks on the compilation, Ganon's League of Evil, a tension building fusion of violin and metal.

Cart Track Switch Back kicks off with the best track intro on the album, this quickly transitions into the rushed and hunted mood of the main track. Chickenwarlord and Hylian Lemon bring together a ton of ideas for this song, created a varied piece which still transitions smoothly through the environments and textures of the track. DJ Mokram steps in with his track Gimme Some Hearts Fairy!, a moody synth track that shifts around in an increasing panic until the maddening close.

Hylian Lemon teams up again, this time with the prophet to create Eyes in the Deep, an amazing glitched out electronic jazz piece that has a lot of layers, all appropriate to a Zelda game. The trumpet and piano slide drearily along as the percussion and effects add great variety to the piece. As we approach the end of this album, we hear Hylian Lemon going solo again in Endless Eclipse, a track with some great drum work, and an amazing ominous arrangement, continually pushed further to the edge of a great abyss (in a good, Zelda way) by the percussion.

Things take a turn for the unstable in CopiousX's contribution to the album, Horses Eat High, a swirling, psychedelic trashy effect laden rave tune that wavers in and out of consciousness before fading away into the next track. That next track is Enter The Ganon by Dj Mokram and NintenJoe 64, another guitar drenched track, which recreates the intense final battle within the world of Oracle of Ages.

Waves of nostalgia hit us thanks to Sockpuppet, and his track Linking the Legends the genre blending fusion gliding song through a classic Zelda theme. This is another stand out track on the album, and well worth the wait. The finale is an amazing rock epic, Essence of Melon by none other than Girlz Melon. He lays down another one of his well known blistering guitar tracks, paying homage to another classic Zelda tune. Girlz Melon invokes a kind of Hyrulian anthem mood with the tracks marching like drums and crashing cymbals. With a smash of drums and a bit of feedback and this album has come to an end.

I am sad to say that I did not have the chance to listen to this amazing album the moment it appeared online, which is what prompted me to do a review on it now. Hylian Lemon has culled a great stable of musicians to work with, and has created an immense, cohesive album thanks to them, as well as his mastery over several genres and styles. The album was also able to maintain the mood of the game, and the tracks, which is something that can sometimes be lost in rearranging music. Though I may not be as big a fan of the Oracle of Ages game as Hylian Lemon appears to be, this album has definitely made me a bigger fan than I was before. Diving into this sometimes overlooked classic and recreating the amazing soundtrack definitely brings the game into a grander perspective that belies the tiny Gameboy game. Once again, Essence of Lime is available free, so download it, and let the sour sounds of limes and lemons fill your ears.

Also, because I love the artwork for this album so much, here is a picture of the also amazing second disc cover art!

KK Setlist - An Unfinished Animal Crossing Remix Project release

I recently spoke of the phenomenal Bound Together album both here and in length on The Start Screen which was originally compiled and overseen by Joe Cam. Well unknown to me Cam had been hard at work on an Animal Crossing tribute that has sadly remained unfinished for well over a year. Joe Cam has decided to make the best of the situation by collecting the finished tracks along with some WIPs and releasing them for all you Animal Crossing fans to enjoy.

The album is an all star collection of VG Remixers and musicians all coming together to pay tribute to the Animal Crossing series and the fictional musician KK Slider. The album is available via torrent or thanks to KyleJCrb and kngi.org you can Download the RAR file for the full album which includes proper id3 tags and artwork by Red Kinikacha from the OCR forums.

Speaking of the forums, be sure to pop in the official thread and toss some thanks to the Joe Cam and the awesome collection of musicians and contributors if you enjoyed the album as much as I do!

The album has lots of high quality stand out songs like Sixto Sounds over the top metal in Rockin' the Crossing or the classy laid back vibes of Mustin and Anthony Lofton's rendition of KK Soul known as I Got Soul. Another stand out is what may be Benedikt Terhechte's final song ever in the very somber stringed sounds of Kristina. Perhaps the biggest highlight and the way to best tell that this was a Joe Cam organized album is the return of the Crazy Crackaz alongside GM4A favorite Chico Ray in 7am (feat. Chico Ray) which catchily blends the very NSFW styles of everyone on this track. That is just a very small sampling of the large collection of tracks.

Below is the tracklist as compiled by KyleJCrb and Joe Cam's thoughts on the release.

"This is what remains of a planned Animal Crossing remix project I set out to organize. One specific remixer was unable to finish his task which would have been a huge chunk of the project. After waiting on him for over a year, I gave up and aborted the project. These are the finished (and unfinished) tracks from what was to release.

Enjoy what could have been." -JoeCam

1. K.K. Cruisin' - Bruce Bonebreak 2. Clock Part 2 V2 MIX - Christian Pacaud 3. Clock V5 MIX - Christian Pacaud 4. bossa00 - Joshua Morse 5. nilli00 - Joshua Morse 6. rainy00 - Joshua Morse 7. K.K. ReMix - Less Ashamed of Self 8. Slidin' & Cruisin' Live - Less Ashamed Of Self 9. 4 A.M. (v6) - Monobrow 10. K.K. Dirge - Nutritious 11. K.K. Western (WIP2) - Sixto Sounds 12. Get Out of Town (rough demo) - Sixto Sounds, The Crakaz 13. Rockin' the Crossing - Sixto Sounds 14. KKmusic Dj - FFmusic Dj 15. Safari - Mazedude 16. Purdie Old Days - Posu Yan 17. Shimmering in the Dark - Level 99 18. T.S. Aria - Tim Sheehy 19. I Got Soul - Mustin, Anthony Lofton 20. 7am (feat. Chico Ray) - Crazy Crakaz 21. Rider's Bewailment - Vampire Hunter Dan 22. Acetone - Sixto Sounds 23. Enjoying the Rain - Salluz 24. Good Old Days - Posu Yan 25. Just a Summer Drizzle - POCKETMAN 26. Only Me - Girlz Melon 27. Kristina - Benedikt Terhechte 28. K.K. Sex-A-Peel - Mustin 29. Letting Go - OA 30. Mr. Soccerball - Theory of Nonexistence 31. Camrade - Diggi Dis 32. 1 AM Smile - Tim Sheehy 33. 7 AM (Instrumental) - DCT 34. KKmusic Dj (alt) - FFmusic Dj

Girlz Melon VS Nanaki's View music video for Here Comes a New Challenger II Turbo

Last week we announced our next compilation, Here Comes a New Challenger II Turbo. To keep the buzz going, I would like to introduce an awesome music video made by Girlz Melon, a contributor to both last years HCNC as well as this years. He worked together with Nanaki's View and they both created an incredible guitar driven track called Battletoads and Double Dragon Medley. Watch the video below and head to the youtube link to check it out in fancy widescreen HD quality. This song will of course be on Here Comes a New Challenger II Turbo when it is released next month!

Heavy Troopa is Ready to Launch! teaser track

I am glad to announce that we have a sweet but short feast for everyone's eyes and ears in regards to our forthcoming Super Mario RPG compilation Heavy Troopa is Ready to Launch! We have some preview art for the compilation, which you can see to the left! I also present you with our first teaser, which includes six songs from the compilation. Enjoy, and spread the word!

Download Link: Heavy Troopa is Ready to Launch teaser

This preview includes clips from the following tracks, in order
CygnosiC - Barrel Volcano
Videogame Orchestra - Rose Town
Girlz Melon - Sad Song
The OneUps - Booster Tower
Matheus Manente - The Starlight's Flower
Dan Park - Bring the Hammer Down (I am the King)

Special thanks to Hex Warrior for helping me out with the teaser, Alex Atchley and Hotdogstorm.com for hosting, and Leo of Push Start for the epic art!
More Heavy Troopa is Ready to Launch! related info through this link.