The venerable Yasunori Mitsuda gets the tribute treatment with the Epoch: A Tribute to Chrono Trigger album, which features 60 remixed songs based on the original SNES JRPG that changed the way gamers experienced role-playing games back during the golden age of gaming.
The album features contributions from a range of recognized and independent artists, including but not limited to the Videri String Quartet, The Game Brass, String Player Gamer, John Robert Martz, and Jordan Chin.
Some of the tracks feature fully mastered remixes of the popular songs from the game while other tracks consist of recordings from live performances that took place in front of eager-eared audiences.
A few of the songs feature full lyrics, which really took me by surprise. A sort of Broadway rendition of “The Trial” is definitely a standout piece from John Robert Matz. You can listen to it below from the Bandcamp page.
A couple of other standouts include Chris Porter’s rendition of “Millennial Fair”, and the compilation piece including several tracks in one from Catboss called “To Far Away Times ~A Voyage Crossing Eras~”, which is the kind of the track you’ll likely find yourself listening to time and time over again on repeat.
Lauren the Flute’s “Sealed Door” rendition is another standout, which features a wind section tackling the tune in a very unique way, much like “Robo’s Theme” by XenoKeyz, which actually features vocals. It’s one of those songs you have to hear to believe. Thankfully you can preview it from the Bandcamp page.
Part of what makes the album such a pristine listening experience is that it stretches genres and styles, mostly within the contemporary and classical fields but there are also chillstep renditions of some songs, as well as some techno, jazz, and big band takes on Mitsuda’s iconic work.
As explained by producers Jeff Brenneman and Daniel Romberge, it was all about creating a new kind of listening experience based on these well known tunes within the world of video game music…
“Chrono Trigger is one of our favorite games of all time, so there was no question in our minds that we wanted to pay tribute to its beloved music. When crafting our vision for EPOCH, we thought a lot about how the characters in the game combine their skills to create unique and powerful tech combos. We wanted to honor this spirit of teamwork by encouraging musicians of different skill sets and backgrounds to band together in a similar fashion in order to make each performance one-of-a-kind. Everyone put a tremendous amount of work and love into this album, and we are proud to present our take on this timeless soundtrack.”
From bossa nova to chamber music and everything else in between, there’s a little bit of something in there for every type of connoisseur of these classic tunes.
The accordion and electric piano-laced rendition of “Wayfarer” by Zach Kohlmeier will make you want to grab a dance partner and do the tango, just as much as “Light of Silence” by Ian Martyn will nearly force you to hymn along during the clarinet movement, or close your eyes and soak in the cantata.
If you want to get your hands on the digital album you can do so for just $15.
Epoch: A Tribute To Chrono Trigger is available right now on Bandcamp, Spotify, Apple Music, Google Play, and the iTunes Store.
You can learn more about the album or grab a digital copy from over on the Materia web portal.
Also, if you get a chance just at least listen to Michael Hoffman’s take on “Schala’s Theme”. The cello is sublime.