Fans of video games are capable of pretty amazing things. From full-on remakes, to mods, to fan games, to fan fiction, to fan art, to fan music albums, game fans have proven themselves capable of making works of art that are sometimes even better than the original content that inspired them. Songs of the Sirens is a remix album made by the fan community on OCRemix, inspired by music from the Game Boy classic The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening, which is perhaps the greatest Zelda game ever made. The tunes in Link’s Awakening are amazing, but the Game Boy hardware held the music back. OCRemix’s musicians liberate this Zelda game’s songs from the limited Game Boy sound chip and make an album that is breezy, electronic, jazzy, and even a little prog rock. It’s hard for me to pick a favorite OCRemix album, but this one is in the top three.
Rather than go through every track on the album, I’m just going to mention the most notable tracks. The CD certainly opens with a banger, called “The Legend of Marin”, a remix of the Main Theme of the Legend of Zelda by WillRock and DaMonZ. It starts out sounding like EDM and moves in a progressive rock direction. The beat is very danceable. Moving on, “Head South to the Beach” by Tom Janes, featuring PROTO-DOME, starts out with a slow, tropical vibe, and moves on to a Django Reinhart-inspired rendition of the same song. “Domain of Darkness” by DDRKirby(ISQ) takes a haunting track from Link’s Awakenings’ forest, and turns it into a club song.
“Tal Tal Future” by bLiNd is where things get interesting. It feels like drums and bass music. I’m not going to say “danceable” again, but there is a beat for sure. The best track on the album is “To The Finder…” by WillRock featuring XPRTNovice. If “Dancing Mad” is Nobuo Uematsu’s epic song, this song is WillRock’s epic. It’s an eight minute exploration of organ melodies and guitar riffs with great drums, too. “Le Mystère du Poisson-Rêve” by Doc Nano is 100% piano, and takes some liberties with the song it’s based on. “Wind Fish Limbo” by Yoann Turpin starts out sounding like the Talking Heads song “This Must Be the Place,” and takes a samba twist from there. Finally, “Why Is the Island Gone?” by WillRock is true to OG Game Boy’s sound, and is more of a remixed greatest hits from the game, rather than a truly original track. It also borrows from Pirates of the Caribbean and Cowboy Bebop of all things. It’s a nice way to end the album.
The best thing about Songs of the Sirens? It’s free. Back in the earlier days of OC Remix, I found myself getting overwhelmed by all the individual tracks on the site. With these OC Remix albums, I have renewed interest in the music. I like to listen to full albums rather than just individual tracks , dating back to when I worked around the corner from a record store, and would buy physical albums. It’s easy to be critical of decisions made by monopolistic corporations who make games for profit, but what about when people get together in their free time to create free music inspired by, what in my opinion, is the greatest Zelda ever made? What’s not to like about that? This comes highly recommended.