Kingdom Hearts has some amazing music thanks to Yoko Shimomura. I’ve enjoyed the piano collections, both official and unofficial, that have been released alongside Project Destati too with their orchestral versions. Now RoboRob takes Kingdom Hearts onto the dancefloor with EDM remix album Kingdom Heartbeats.
Opening with a banging version of ‘Simple and Clean’ we’re off to a fantastic anthemic start. All three big vocal tracks are here, complete with new vocal renditions. ‘Simple and Clean’ follows possibly the most straight forward route, turning the J-Pop breeze into a bendy bassline dance machine. ‘Passion’ takes a lesser walked line mixing childlike vocals with more a darker tone of synths and ambient percussive loops. It all comes together into a heavy bass line and glitchy bleep tones from your Commodore for the final moments but it feels slightly at odds with the 80’s synths running underneath. ‘Face Your Fears’ is the absolute standout though. One minute it feels like a Lamb song, then we smash into a Skrillex section, return to dreamy piano sections and then burst into happy hardcore. It’s beautifully ablaze and RoboRob holds nothing back.
It’s that no holds barred approach that I really enjoyed in the other tracks too. ‘Tension Rising’ takes symphonic moments from the original and places it to a whopping beat. It sounds so grand and cinematic and the clever use of clock ticking as the beat in quieter moments is fun. ‘The 13th Struggle’ messes with form and tempo as the track sounds like its throwing itself backwards and forwards around a throbbing bass beat. Think evil circus meets end boss in a Shoot em up and you are kind of there. There is also the comical b-movie tones of ‘This Is Halloween’ that is woven perfectly into a high-speed dubstep track. The way the drums are tuned to sound like a broken bones machine is inspired. Throughout the album, you’ll be thinking ‘what’s that sound?’ but here my ears were alive with wonderment.
With the darker tracks covered, the lighter tracks also need some love too. ‘Sora’s Theme’ feels a little like a remixed Sonic track at times whilst ‘Dearly Beloved’ feels like a lost Royksopp track from their ‘Junior’ album. Both ‘Traverse Town’ and ‘Sinister Sundown’ have just the right album of chiptune hiding behind their choppy beats and happy smiles to make a party of things. Both tracks do have moments of euphoria and ‘Traverse Town’ in particular is pretty much made for Kingdom Hearts Kart Racer. Mark my words!
EDM may not be everyone’s cup of tea but by ensuring he mined deeply with excessive layers of sound and production, RoboRob has made a gem of an album; Kingdom Heartbeats? Hold my beer, I’ll see you on the dancefloor.
Recommended track: Face My Fears
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