Taking on beloved works and arranging them can be a daunting task but as part of a Kingdom Hearts 15-year celebration Peter de Vroom has taken on four tracks to give twists to the Kingdom Hearts themes by mixing in character themes and some original flair too.
“There’s A Light That Never Goes Out” is a piano duet that gives us Sora’s theme as a militant chugging theme of regal qualities. Whilst I’d have liked the big riff payoff to be bigger and bolder since its a piano duet, the track itself is well performed and put together. “I’m Always With You” is a relaxed but fluid version of Kairi’s theme and it’s utterly gorgeous. From the rolling fading pianos, the warm flute lead and warmth of the soft bass notes – it oozes all the emotion of the original and improves on it with its rolling tides of chords that remind me of Final Fantasy X-2’s piano arrangements. “Inside Us” plays with Roxas’s theme. I like the play on the mirror worlds that feature so often in Kingdom Hearts by having the song playing in reverse in sections whilst the piano and strings add the gothic-tinged gravitas the track deserves. It’s such a simple switch about but it means that when the track explodes into its shining bright passage towards the end, it feels like the track absolutely soars. Riku’s theme becomes “I’m Not Afraid of the Darkness” and closes the EP out with a brooding piece with lots of low octave strings cuddling rolling piano and sweeping you into ambiguity.
I really enjoyed how Peter de Vroom took character themes and made them into something similar, but quite different too – it’s the kind of arrangements I often like best. Although the official Kingdom Hearts Piano Collection has a wider scope, there is definitely room in your game music collection for this EP’s labour of love too.
Recommended track: I’m Always With You
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