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Perfect Selection Gradius – Introduction ~ King of Kings (arr. Nazo² Project)

November 7, 2009

Well, today was my big trip to Boston, which included a layover in Chicago. Kind of a crazy trip, but I made it! Checked out MIT’s GAMBIT lab where they were playing abstract shooters (games like Rez and Everyday Shooter). I’d like to celebrate by sharing a track from a classic shoot ’em up (shmup), Gradius, specifically “Introduction ~ King of Kings” from Perfect Selection Gradius, an equally classic album.

Perfect Selection Gradius – Introduction ~ King of Kings (arr. Nazo² Project)

“King of Kings” is the ambitiously named title theme for Gradius III. The song may be referring to the series’ status as one of the top shmups of all time, but it’s also possible it has something to do with the narrative. In any event, the track is a march, and so continually rolls forward like the Gradius war machine. While the clarinets help make the track feel a little humbling, but it has a great sense of the depth of space with the bells in this section as well. This also captures the feel of the arcades.

Perfect Selection Gradius was arranged by the Nazo² Project, a group of electronic synth musicians including Hideki Matsutake, Jun Irie, Nazo Nazo Suzuki, and Willie Nakao, who play sax, violin, and cello. They have produced a whole collection of “Perfect Selection” albums for Konami. The album was arranged by Jun Irie, whose other works include the Gunstar Heroes soundtrack. An interesting note is he also played for Akihabara Electric Circus, which was famous for producing some early Nintendo remix albums.

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