Grant Kirkhope – Banjo-Kazooie Original Soundtrack (Fangamer digital edition, 164 x MP3 files)

5 out of 5

Label: Fangamer

Produced by: Fangamer

Well, you asked for it, you got it: the complete score. Every variation, and sequenced (I assume) in game order, which actually helps to clean up some of curated rearrangement that was attempted on the physical release.

The same praises apply when I first heard this score from iam8bit: it’s so silly, but so rich with melody and mood at the same time. And as with Fangamer’s LP edition, the label has looped tracks to quite the perfect length – just long enough to bop to and not get repetitive.

‘Repetition,’ is, of course, going to be the major qualifying factor for whether or not you tolerate this expanded version: you’ll be listening to 10-ish slight variations on any given theme, in a row. However, I interestingly found this to be less problematic than I would have assumed, at least given having had the score on repeat for literal days. Because it’s so much music, by the time you loop back around to the first set of themes, you’ve had plenty of time to listen to several others; and something about stacking similar but distinct takes on tracks back to back – especially when they’re from Grant, all pleasingly bouncy – is mesmeric. I’m always bopping my head while this thing is on. And it removes any judgments: if you like the score, well, here it is. There’s no cherry-picking, no attempt to present it in the best way possible (except, again, the looping, which is a big deal when it comes to game scores, so another kudos to FG on that); it’s like you literally got a rip of all of the game’s musical content. Perhaps, also, as this was a bonus to the LPs, it’s easier to just nod in approval – I didn’t pay for this, specifically, so it’s all above and beyond my expectations.

But to make it clear that there’s still a baseline of quality of music to be praised, I generally don’t have the patience for such expanded editions; I do prefer curation and someone deciding on the best version of something. The fact that, from Grant’s score, all of the versions feel of equal quality, is incredibly impressive.