Best of the Best Collector's Edition, volume 1

Best of the Best Collector's Edition, volume 1. Передняя обложка. Click to zoom.
Best of the Best Collector's Edition, volume 1
Передняя обложка
Composed by Atlas Plug / Billy Martin / Chance Thomas / Chris Rickwood / Colin O'Malley / Cris Velasco / Daniel Sadowski / Danny Baranowsky / David Arkenstone / Gerard K. Marino / Inon Zur / Jack Wall / Jason Graves / Jesper Kyd / Lennie Moore / Mark Griskey / Rod Abernethy / Sascha Dikiciyan / Tommy Tallarico / Will Loconto / Winifred Phillips
Published by GameMusicCental
Release type Game Soundtrack - Official Release
Format 1 CD - 18 Tracks
Release date June 04, 2007
Duration 01:03:37
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Nowadays tributes to music of cult games won’t make much impression. Japanese musicians produce incredible quantities of such tributes in the most various forms, viz, from symphonic arrangements and rock-n-roll compositions to tracks for professional brass section. It’s noteworthy that in most cases all this is done not because of money but to render homage to eminent Japanese composers. In USA and EU people haven’t got used to such collections yet. That’s why the only things done on this way for the nonce are just first hesitant steps into the bright future of the game music.

It should seem that the initiators of an album “Best of the Best” didn’t want to give preference to Japanese (however they partly had to) considering it to be an unnecessary deal cause Japanese don’t suffer from lack of attention and furthermore there’re the initiators’ own people to be promoted in any possible ways. Therefore no wonder that among really remarkable games to which the collection is devoted completely strange projects have crept into, and some composers, whose names we see for the first time on the track list, have written their tracks under the impression of their own works. In fact everything isn't so bad as it could seem to be. Strange to say but the impression from the album depends only on the listeners themselves, those who haven't listened to the music of the composers presented on the CD before will find a lot of new and interesting tracks, the rest could be a bit disappointed.

So, twenty premium composers have presented no, not twenty, only 18 compositions induced by the great games of the last two decades. One can’t tell for sure whether the collection will be to taste of fans of symphonic or vice versa electronic music cause the material is rather motley. The first track on the CD entitled "Invertebrate Retreat (Subterranean Remix)" is a first surprise. It’s not a pathos orchestra entry at all, it’s the very real song on which the composer Tommy Tallarico collaborated with the vocalist Daniel Baranowski. We little thought we could see songs on the tracklist of the tributes’ album. The authors’ of the collection have concealed this fact with a modest air. The original version of this trip-hop composition with several rapping sections in it was released last year on the album called "Tallarico's Earthworm Jim Anthology" and it was remixed by Daniel for Best of the Best. So if you’ve already listened to the original, then the remix’ll seem to be a complete fake.

But the next track on the CD is a heroic orchestral composition named "The Hunt" and it’s really a new work of Inon Zur inspired by Conan the Barbarian, who is the powerful character of lots of games and movies. And Jack Wall, who is Tommy Tallarico’s friend and partner (Together they produce and create concerts of game music called Video Games Live), seems to have been dogged it, cause for the collection he has chosen a song "Exile" with lyrical female vocal performed by Cindy Shapiro. This composition was a bonus-track on Myst III: Exile soundtrack released in far 2001. Tom Salta hasn’t become an exception either. A driving ethno-electronic track "Around the World" is included in his debut album "2 Days Or Die" (2004) of his solo project Atlas Plug. Frankly speaking, Tom is a rather far-seeing man. He wrote an album to mass taste and that’s why the it was licensed for various arcade racing games and ads of expensive cars, and in such a way it helped the composer to enter the path to the game industry. As far as "Around the World" is concerned, we saw it last in The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift and Crackdown and this track had enough time to make us tired of it.

A track written by smart guys Cris Velasco and Sascha Dikiciyan aka Monarch Audio and Sonic Mayhem bears a proud name of "Silent Hill Theme", but in fact it isn’t a remake of the famous theme of the Japanese composer Akira Yamaoka, it doesn’t have even anything in common with “Silent Hill” music. Money has triumphed over Cris and Sascha minds, they usually work on games AAA class games (that have almost unlimited budgets and are media events), create music of different styles and always compose music of high-quality but absolutely soulless as if they don’t want to work flat out. The variation on a “Silent Hill” theme is quite a typical track for these guys. Though they tasted fame as far back as 1999 with Quake III: Arena soundtrack release, however they haven’t been able to repeat its success one more time. As for the composers’ duets let’s fast-forward to the 9th place where techno-track "Zanarkand" (in which there’s a real tinge of a theme from Final Fantasy X) written by fellas from studio Rednote Audio is. But the situation with their music is just the same as with the previous guys Velasco and Dikiciyan, i.e. everything is cheerful and sort of a top-class but it doesn’t overwhelm you.

The theme from Super Mario Bros., the legendary game melody of all times from the other Japanese composer Koji Kondo, seemed to be impossible to be remade in an off-beat way but an American lady Winifred Phillips succeeded in it. In many ways her own voice funnily mixed with the original sound effects helped her. No doubt, "Go Mario!" is one of the sunshiniest songs of the collection and it’s a great catch for Mario’s fans. A ninety second sketch which is a sort of hurriedly combined drafts composed by Jesper Kyd will other way round let down the listeners, who have expected another masterpiece from the composer. The first part of "Beneath the Surface" is written in a fantasy style of The Chronicles of Spellborn, as for the other one it adopts a medieval beat from Assassin's Creed, to make a long story short, no originality at all.

A groovy remake based on active using of voice samples, entitled "A Premonition and Chrono Trigger" by Gerard Marino continues the theme of tributes to Japanese composers. A song called "That Was Then (This Is Now)" written by Billy Martin under the impression of Kingdom Hearts appears to be lively as well and includes a smooth blend of acoustic guitar and sax solo. "The Legend of Zelda" by David Arkenstone logically prolongs Billy Martin’s composition, changing at first from the acoustic sound to the orchestra and in the end fused with electric guitar riffs and live drums. Lennie Moore takes up David’s mood and introduces rock’n’roll guitars and shrieking synths. His live performance of the original theme of Duke Nukem sounds really old school and wickedly cool. The following futuristic composition called "Super Metroid Theme" by Will Loconto is a similar track with a dominating electric guitar.

Finally nothing remains for us but to pile all the rest tracks about which we haven’t said a word yet. "The Vengeful Spartan" (God of War) stands the dramatic pace of Inon Zur’s track. "The White Horse" inspired by The Lord of the Rings scored by Colin O'Malley who is a video game and film music composer debuted in the game industry last year with the epic track for Superman Returns. A piano improvisation on Medal of Honor Theme performed by Chance Thomas means nothing else but the fact that The Videogame Pianist isn’t the only man who skillfully masters this instrument. The closing track is an electronic composition "Retro Bitz 2070" which Daniel Sadowski wrote under the impression of his own soundtrack from RoboBlitz.

So, in general the album Best of the Best has been evidently planned as an advertisement for the just created website According to the authors’ conception this resource should gather all the fans of game music in one place, however, from practical experience we can say that people stay in places where they can download albums for free, i.e. in forums of great game music archives. Although warez isn’t the only thing that attracts masses. There’s a big community of players who rip the music from the games’ resources as well. They aren’t unwilling to pay for it, they do it just because lots of really decent soundtracks have never been published separately from the games.

The authors of the album in their turn are not going to give up, now through their efforts all the above-mentioned composers answer user questions in special threads. At the opening there weren’t a lot of volunteers to communicate that’s why threads were either blank or full with senseless messages by Lennie Moore like “Hey, Sascha Dikiciyan! I see that this thing with questions for you bothers you a lot and it is the last on the list but that doesn’t mean that we don’t like you. You’re a real man, I know it for sure. We all know it” or “Cris Velasco, dude, what are you working on at the moment? Will you tell us or if you tell you’ll have to kill us then?”, etc.

No wonder but most of advanced music addicts were angered. “It’s not the best of the best, it’s a dirt to all the industry”, - the listeners concurred. – “It’s a shame upon the composers who have simply remade their own works.” And it's so damn true, cause instead of dated tracks written by Tallarico, Wall and Salta, and groddy tributes by Velasco-Dikiciyan and Jesper Kyd, there could have been completely new and really awesome compositions on this CD. It’s most strange that Castlevania, Metal Gear Solid, Diablo, Max Payne, Tomb Raider, Fallout and other legendary games with fabulous music were skipped. And only a phrase “volume 1” in the title says that this project is rather young and the better things are yet to come.


Music in game



Invertebrate Retreat (Subterranean Remix) (1) - Inspired by Earthworm Jim 2 (Tommy Tallarico)
Composed by: Tommy Tallarico & Daniel Baranowsky
Vocals by: Daniel Baranowsky
Guitars by: Vig
Rap by: Waleed Hawatky

The Hunt (2) - Inspired by Conan the Barbarian (Inon Zur)
Composed by: Inon Zur

Exile (3) - Inspired by Myst III Exile (Jack Wall, Doug DeAngelis, Kevin Dompe)
Composed by: Jack Wall
Vocals by: Cindy Shapiro

Around the World (4) - From The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift and Crackdown (Tom Salta)
Composed by: Atlas Plug
Produced by: Tom Salta
Guitars by: Tom Gioia

Silent Hill Theme (5) - (Akira Yamaoka)
Composed by: Cris Velasco & Sascha Dikiciyan

Go Mario! - Super Mario Brothers (6) - (Koji Kondo)
Composed by: Winifred Phillips
Vocals by: Winifred Phillips
Produced by: Winnie Waldron

Beneath the Surface (7) - Inspired by Alone in the Dark (Jesper Kyd)
Composed by: Jesper Kyd

A Pemonition and Chrono Trigger (8) - from Chrono Trigger (Yasunori Mitsuda)
New recording by: Gerard Marino

Zanarkand (9) - from Final Fantasy X (Nobuo Uematsu)
New recording by: Rob Abernethy & Jason Graves

That Was Then (This Is Now) (10) - Inspired by Kingdom Hearts (Billy Martin)
Composed by: Billy Martin
Vocals by: Kristen Holmes Martin
Cello solo by: Steve Velez
Sax solo by: Billy Martin

The Vengeful Spartan (11) - God of War (Gerard Marino)
Composed by: Mark Griskey

Medal of Honor Improvisation (12) - Piano meditation on the Michael Giacchino theme (Michael Giacchino)
Composed by: Chance Thomas

The Legend of Zelda (13) - (Koji Kondo)
Composed by: David Arkenstone

Grabbag (14) - Duke Nukem (Lee Jackson)
Composed by: Lennie Moore
Guitars by: Ken Lasaine

Super Metroid Theme (15) - (Kenji Yamamoto)
Composed by: Will Loconto

A Call to Arms (16) - World of Warcraft (Jason Hayes)
Composed by: Chris Rickwood

The White Horse (17) - Inspired by The Lord of the Rings (Colin O'Malley)
Composed by: Colin O'Malley

Retro Bitz 2070 (18) - Inspired by Roboblitz (Daniel Sadowski)
Composed by: Daniel Sadowski

Executive Producer:
Bob Rice
Compilation Producer:
Billy Martin
Mastering Engineer:
Rob Beaton

Special Thanks to: Lisa Rice, Elisa Silva, Rick Loconto, Krys Martin, Jim Chance and Patti Zimmitti.

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Album was composed by Atlas Plug / Billy Martin / Chance Thomas / Chris Rickwood / Colin O'Malley / Cris Velasco / Daniel Sadowski / Danny Baranowsky / David Arkenstone / Gerard K. Marino / Inon Zur / Jack Wall / Jason Graves / Jesper Kyd / Lennie Moore / Mark Griskey / Rod Abernethy / Sascha Dikiciyan / Tommy Tallarico / Will Loconto / Winifred Phillips and was released on June 04, 2007. Soundtrack consists of tracks with duration over more than hour. Album was released by GameMusicCental.

CD 1

Invertebrate Retreat (Subterranean Remix)
The Hunt
Around the World
Silent Hill Theme
Go Mario! - Super Mario Brothers
Beneath the Surface
A Premonition and Chrono Trigger
Zanarkand - Final Fantasy X
That Was Then (This Is Now)
The Vengeful Spartan - God of War
Medal of Honor Improvisationn
The Legend of Zelda
Grabba - Duke Nukem
Super Metroid Theme
A Call to Arms - World of Warcraft
The White Horse
Retro Bitz 2070