There are few things that I am willing to buy immediately — Portal 2, the VVVVVV soundtrack, half price Ben & Jerry’s, a cling film dispenser — even Steam sales have trouble seducing me into their vortexes of spending. Well, add something else to that swelling list of insta-buys: XOC’s rendition of the Super Mario Bros. 3 soundtrack. I saw it, I bought it.
Multi-instrumental mentalist Jason ‘XOC’ Cox appeared on my radar many years ago in 2005 after he recreated the entire Super Mario World soundtrack from scratch all by himself (albeit in his own inimitable style). I was (and still am) in awe of it because it manages to sound exactly how my nostalgia matured memories hear SMW. That, and it was all done by one guy. A love letter to (arguably, probably, maybe) Koji Kondo’s finest score, XOC’s SMW is bristling with energy, eccentric, playful, childlike and in many places as heavy and prickly as Bowser. It’s quite frankly, fucking brilliant and is as much a testament to Kondo’s original tracks as it is XOC’s creative ninja badassery. Since its original release he’s gone on to remaster and expand upon it so there’s even more greatness to be enjoyed here. All for free. A special mention goes to the totally-off-its-rocker P-Block Special/Do The Mario (track 14 above) and the sublime End Credits theme (which I’d just love to be played at my funeral complete with Death/Game Over jingle, natch).
Anyway, to my surprise, a couple of weeks ago I found out that a couple of years ago he released his own version of the Super Mario Bros. 3 soundtrack:
I started work on this album years ago, and even had the pleasure of enlisting Chunkstyle (bassist for the Metroid Metal live band) to contribute bass parts. The years passed, the project was consistently pushed further and further into the shadows of the back burner, where it languished, nearly forgotten. …UNTIL NOW, THAT IS! Woo-hee-ha! I buckled down and went at it in the same manner as on SMW, and now here it is. Dig!
And dig I do. Or whatever. This labour of love requires a $5 donation to unlock the files but for that price it’s an absolute steal. Desert Hills and the Iced Land/Underground/P-Block and Underwater/The Clouds/Card Game medleys are worth the price of admission alone. Oh and Ocean Side. And the Game Over/End Credits. It’s all good. The icing on the cake is that the .rar file comes bundled with some cover artwork, one version of which is an SMB3 version of the Led Zeppelin III cover art — pretty sweet!
Here’s the rather brilliant ad for the album that just cracks me up every time:
A year prior to this release XOC also did a medley entitled The Beginning of the End that featured over 100 tunes from over 80 games crammed into a mere 18 minutes — an incredible feat. I was lucky enough to bag one of the hundred physical copies available on release (you can see my mug in the ‘owners club’ here) but you can download an MP3 of the whole shebang for $5 here. I’ve got to admit, I don’t recognise many of the songs because I haven’t played many of the games listed but it’s well worth checking out if you have.
There’s all sorts of stuff on Jason’s site and if you’ve any interest in game music (particularly Nintendo’s) then head over there! For a great interview with the man himself you can head over here.
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