Tunes of Magic II – Fantastic Edition

When I started the “Tunes of Magic” series a while ago on this blog, I explained how hard it is for me to take soundtrack picks from my vast themes library. I have so many favorite game and movie tunes with such fond memories attached to them, that it’s hard to judge objectively how “good” or interesting a tune really is for others. Who would want to hear a track from the 32bit era today with no connection whatsoever? I know I wouldn’t.

Music is such a beautiful medium; it is not just a complex yet simple art form, a carrier of sound, melody and harmony that couldn’t be more accessible; the best of tunes convey a whole world of mental imagery, tell epic stories and, similar to smells and odors, carry memories with them that can hit you full force when you least expect them. It is music like this I try to hold on to.

In my introductory post I explained what “types” of tunes I adore most and I didn’t really make a selection in terms of genre or topic there. Since then, I have been attempting to order groups of tunes into their own sections though, so I can present some of them in more orderly fashion soon. For today though, indulge me with another pick of 6 random MMO/game- and movie-soundtracks that I’ve chosen over one common denominator: my “all-time top 3+”.

I present to you my three most beloved fantasy tunes and epic story-tellers, plus another three more random but no less beautiful songs to continue with a set of six. If I ever got asked the “deserted island question” for music, the first three pieces here presented would be my personal picks, no doubt. These are mostly quiet and pensive tunes that keep changing and truly come alive after a while (so you really want to listen to the whole thing). I hope you enjoy them as much as I do and that they bring some sparkle to your day!

Final Fantasy X – Ending Theme
What to say about this tune…while FFX was not my favorite installment of Square’s popular series (despite featuring Lulu), famous house-composer Nobuo Uematsu has utterly out-done himself with this piece, taking up the no-less stunning piano intro of FFX once more. I love this tune with all my heart. I think it sums up the spirit of the beloved JRPG franchise beautifully.

Wrath of the Lich King: Mountains of Thunder
Exploring my way across Northrend after WotLK’s launch, this tune came up as I passed the first mountain range for Stormpeaks. I was spellbound and spent an entire hour or more sitting next to the minefield there, listening to the music under the light of the pale moon. I still get goosebumps hearing this – and so very mushy over memories past in WoW. Those were the times.

Conan the Barbarian – Orphans of Doom
Not exactly a huge fan of the Conan films and their aesthetic in general, I consider the soundtrack composed by Basil Poledouris in 1982 the finest, most stunning and achieved score of any fantasy film up to date. The whole album of the first Conan movie is a revelation, epic and beautifully capturing the soul of “high adventure”. Highly recommended listening!

Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – “From Past to Present”
Having extensively praised the game in last week’s posts, I cannot possibly deny you a piece of its beautiful music either. The soundtrack is the perfect match for Skyrim’s vast world of adventure and adds immensely to its immersive atmosphere. Apologies should this link be down again soon (I have had to replace these several times now).

Lineage II – Call of Destiny
While I’ve never played either of the Lineage games for various reasons, both MMOs sport a large variety of exquisite soundtracks that can easily compete with more popular titles. It’s well worth browsing youtube sometime for Lineage music to see what other gems you might discover for yourself.

Chocolat – Main Title
Chocolat is a special little movie gem with gentle magic and a very french esprit. I remember hearing the opening in cinema for the very first time: I was so delighted that I hurried home to buy the soundtrack right away. I love the Elfman-esque first half as much as the merrier, up-lifting ending of this piece.

To be continued. And as always, do let me know your personal favorites and recommendations, no matter how old or new!

10 comments

  1. Wow I was surprised to see Chocolat there haha I love that theme. On a somewhat related note it reminds me Amelie had a great soundtrack with work by Yann Tiersen.

  2. Very true – I always think of AmΓ©lie and Chocolat together somehow, it’s such a beautiful movie as well (and very french). πŸ™‚

  3. At first I was like hmmm.. Spelling error in TITLE?!

    Think I have common ground with you here. I LOVE soundtracks, especially epic gaming ones =D

    Keep them coming!

    – Jamin

  4. I really like that list. πŸ™‚

    I also agree that Final Fantasy X had great music. That might be one reason why it is my favorite FF. Ok, out of the limited number of FF’s I played. I did play 7 though, and found it overrated. Graphics killed it for me. But then, it just has a hugely inflated reputation to carry around.

    WotLK had a very very nice soundtrack overall. I totally agree that Stormpeak’s theme probably was the best of them all, but I always also liked Grizzly Hills.

    Do you plan to make more lists like this? Because so far, it seems you have a similar taste, and I’m waiting for new stuff to find that way.

  5. Glad you enjoyed it! And yes, as announced this is an ongoing blog series – I’ve many more tunes to share and enjoy the opportunity to re-order my stuff a little. if the odd visitor here is a music monkey like me, the better. =)

    also, I really appreciate commenters sharing what game/fantasy OSTs they love, so be sure to let me know. Grizzly Hills would be my second pick from the WotLK stuff, btw!

  6. Mmm… FFX. I still prefer the simple beauty of the piano “To Zanarkand” track, but yeah, the ending theme is fantastic, too (especially the parts that riff off of the Zanarkand theme with a full orchestra).

    I think I recommended it last time, too, but the Chrono Cross OST is far and away my favorite set of game music. In general, it’s hard to go wrong with Mitsuda or Uematsu. (Gotta say, though, the Black Mages side of Uematsu just doesn’t work for me.)

  7. I do love the piano intro myself! =)
    And ofc I do know the CC OST – Radical dreamers ftw! I’ve listened to one of Uematsu’s recent symphonic concerts where he does a lot of medleys and such, and not all of it is to my liking either. I would certainly still go though if it ever came to town here or were close by.

    p.s. This here version of One-Winged Angel is epic.

  8. And still u miss the best piece of little music ever.

    The Gerudo Valley Theme from Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time

    I would just enter the zone as I ran past it just to hear this little piece of music πŸ™‚

  9. Hehe…well, you will hate me now, but I am not the biggest Zelda fan. I loved Link to the Past and Ocarina, but the music in general wasn’t my thing in Zelda; too one-dimensionally merry and bouncy (hello Hyrule theme) and the more serious tunes aren’t remotely creepy or frightening either. πŸ˜€

    Besides that Nintendo somehow never managed to get away from the “8bit-flair” with their Zelda tunes, I don’t know why that is. Gerudo is a nice tune, but the orchestrated version only.

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