Kingdom Hearts - Where Dreams and Fan Music Come True
You knew this was coming. Passionate fandom has existed for ages, and us video gamers are quite good at it. When you see a game series like Kingdom Hearts combine the existing fanbases of Disney characters, Final Fantasy style story-telling, and create something wholly new.. it’s breathtaking and exciting! Given the release of its long-awaited sequel, Kingdom Hearts III, I think it’s appropriate and even inevitable that I share some outstanding works of fan music by.. well, fans of the game. As with my usual write-ups, I try to showcase unique arrangements by a range of musicians in terms of their existing audiences, subscribers, etc, and bring out the best of the community. There are hundreds of brilliant remixes/covers out there, so be sure to find it in your heart to enjoy more than these…
Upon searching for Kingdom Hearts covers I was granted access to this stunning video - a cover by Simon Sandnes and The Audioloft group. “Night of Fate” is a battle theme from the first installment, featuring odd time-signatures and battling pianos and string-sections. This arrangement brings a mixture of lively drums, tight low-tuned electric guitar, and of course the aforementioned piano and violin performances that fit incredibly well in this progressive rock/metal take on the signature theme.
If you’re searching for more iterations of the poppy and gorgeous vocal theme songs of the franchise, you’ll have to enjoy the thoroughly warm cover of “Sanctuary/Passion” from Kingdom Hearts II by VGmPeeta. The musician rocks fusion stylings in a rock/blues hybrid with licks so expressive that John Mayer and Guthrie Govan might drop their jaws. While the original is carried by Utada Hikaru’s reversed and fx-heavy vocals, VGmPeeta uses his twangy Suhr guitar to absolutely shred and sing throughout the tune. Beyond the very jam-friendly atmosphere he sets up on bass and drums, we get treated to rounds of solos and prickly fast runs with his biting guitar tone.
Willfox Piano is more than a pianist and chiptune artist, but a skilled hybrid arranger who mashes tones and styles into something very unique! “Xion’s Theme” is a dazzling collection of piano, chiptune sounds, and even “FL Studio” instruments that bring this song into a half-and-half swirl. Towards the middle of his cover, we receive a cascade of 8-bit chip sounds acting as a pseudo-percussion while the piano and strings complement the whole affair with richness and almost 80s/90s electronic touches.
As I alluded to, the Kingdom Hearts franchise is blessed with caring fans and showcases upon showcases of talent. To assist in your own hype, or perhaps introduction to the series’ range of compositions, check out this awesome playlist compiled by Alex Moukala with covers ranging from progressive metal (like my own!) to symphonic giants Project Destati and more.