DK Jamz: The Original Donkey Kong Country Soundtrack

DK Jamz: The Original Donkey Kong Country Soundtrack. Front. Click to zoom.
DK Jamz: The Original Donkey Kong Country Soundtrack
Front
Composed by David Wise / Eveline Fischer / Robin Beanland
Arranged by Yoshiyuki Ito
Published by Nintendo of America
Catalog number DIDX-026334
Release type Game Soundtrack - Official Release
Format 1 CD - 50 tracks
Release date March 1, 1995
Duration 00:49:40
Genres
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Overview

Donkey Kong Country, known in Japan as Super Donkey Kong, was one of the legendary platformers of the Super Nintendo era. It was the first Donkey Kong game not created by Shigeru Miyamoto and was instead designed by British developer Rare. While in few ways innovative, the game was a major success, gaining rave reviews and selling over eight million copies. Led by Dave Wise, the catchy and diverse music for the game was a big part of the overall charm. The soundtrack was released in multiple versions in America, Europe, and Japan, each with their own track listings. The American release, DK Jamz: The Original Donkey Kong Country Soundtrack, will be acceptable for those looking for just the original music.

Body

Inspired by great platformers like Super Mario Bros. and Sonic the Hedgehog before it, David Wise put the emphasis on the Donkey Kong Country on the feature most guaranteed to win listener's hearts: strong melodies. Practically every piece on this soundtrack exudes a certain lyricism that has become a representative feature of Rare's games. There are all sorts of classics and even short and superficial tracks like "Cranky's Theme", "Candy's Love Song", and "Bonus Room Blitz" are highly whistleable all these years later. However, easily the most enjoyable tracks are those such as "Simian Segue", "Theme", and "DK Island Swing" that integrate the series' infectious jazz-influenced main theme for the game. Interestingly, Dave Wise greatly elaborated on Yukio Kameoka's jingle for the original Donkey Kong in these pieces to create a worthy main theme for the series.

That said, the soundtrack is still one with plenty of depth. For example, it's fascinating how the "DK Island Swing" evolves from its upbeat tropical introduction into a mystical and haunting piece. It makes the rather expansive locations in the game all the more multifaceted. "Aquatic Ambiance" meanwhile is a stunningly beautiful example of soundscaping — David Wise blends the synth pads and percussion in an artful way to achieve a feeling of floating in the sea. While ambient in name and nature, it still features a charismatic synth melody from the 1:25 mark, making it no doubt a favourite with fan arrangers. Further delights come in the form of the unpredictable percussion of "Cave Dweller Concert", the fierce thrust of "Mine Cart Madness", and the horror scoring of "Misty Menace", all of which pushed the SPC sound chip to the limits.

The action themes on this soundtrack are among the less memorable contributions. "Bad Boss Boogie" certainly gives the impression of being confronting by a formidable enemy, but also focuses a little too much on a few chord sequences. The final boss theme "Gang-Plank Galleon" meanwhile is a little strange for the way it evolves from a sea shanty into an action theme, though it works quite well in context. The rocking climax also secures its place as one of the Super Nintendo's most memorable final battle themes. In SNES tradition, there is also a relieving ending theme, though it's neither as expansive nor memorable to compare with Nintendo or Square favourites. Finally, it's of note that "Jungle Groove" is an arranged track created by Yoshiyuki Ito, taken from the more expansive import release of the soundtrack. It's a fairly enjoyable jazz interpretation of the main theme, though suffers from clunky synthesis and little development.

Summary

In summary, Donkey Kong Country features one of the best soundtracks for a platformer. It combines the memorable melodies and rhythmical impetus of classics such as Mario and Sonic with the artistic soundscaping and stylistic diversity that only expert synthesis on the Super Nintendo could offer. The result is a suitable accompaniment to the goofy characters, varied levels, and swinging antics of the game. This soundtrack ought to belong in the collections of all classic game music collectors and this particular domestic version is excellent for revisiting the original music. Some may prefer to import the Super Donkey Kong Jungle Fantasy to listen to some bonus arrangements, though they're frankly not of sufficient quality to be particularly worthwhile.



Album
8/10

Music in game
0/10

Game
0/10

Chris Greening

Composers:

David Wise: 1, 3-8, 10-12, 17, 20-23
Eveline Fischer: 2, 9, 13-15, 18-19
Robin Beanland: 16

Track 5 arranged by Yoshiyuki Ito, from PCCG-00328.
Album was composed by David Wise / Eveline Fischer / Robin Beanland and was released on March 1, 1995. Soundtrack consists of 50 tracks tracks with duration over about 50 minutes. Album was released by Nintendo of America.

CD 1

1
Theme
01:25
2
Simian Segue
01:57
3
DK Island Swing
03:01
4
Cranky's Theme
01:17
5
Jungle Groove
02:23
6
Cave Dweller Concert
03:08
7
Bonus Room Blitz
01:00
8
Aquatic Ambiance
03:28
9
Candy's Love Song
01:17
10
Bad Boss Boogie
01:59
11
Mine Cart Madness
02:25
12
Life in the Mines
02:11
13
Voices of the Temple
02:11
14
Forest Frenzy
02:01
15
Treetop Rock
01:58
16
Funky's Fugue
02:16
17
Misty Menace
02:28
18
Northern Hemispheres
02:28
19
Ice Cave Chant
02:04
20
Fear Factory
02:09
21
Gang-Plank Galleon
01:50
22
K. Rool's Cacophony
00:22
23
The Credits Concerto
02:16
24
00:04
25
00:04
26
00:04
27
00:04
28
00:04
29
00:04
30
00:04
31
00:04
32
00:04
33
00:04
34
00:04
35
00:04
36
00:04
37
00:04
38
00:04
39
00:04
40
00:04
41
00:04
42
00:04
43
00:04
44
00:04
45
00:04
46
00:04
47
00:04
48
00:04
49
(unlisted track) - End of Turn
00:20
50
(unlisted track) - End of Stage
00:06
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