Mario is an ordinary plumber from Brooklyn who really has done it all. After exploring the Mushroom Kingdom and Super Mario World, going to 3D in Mario 64, about the only place left is, well, outer space! Super Mario Galaxy (2007) is one of Koji Kondo’s best compositions, and it’s my favorite Mario game of all time. The music is powerful, full of wonder, danger and adventure, just the kind of things you would expect to have in outer space. To top it off, the soundtrack was recorded by a live orchestra (the Super Mario Galaxy Orchestra), which as far as I know has been a first for in-game Nintendo music and one I’d like to see a LOT more of.
“Wind Garden” is one of my favorite tracks from the game. It is so open and free, the airy strings giving a sense of floating in the breeze, the high notes of the main theme give a sense the motion of leaves floating in the wind. The guitar in the first section gives it a more intimate, folksy feel for the intro area while the brass in the third segment is adventurous and explorative, the big jumps in the notes giving a sense not only of Mario’s jumps but also of the distance between the small planets that compose the Wind Galaxy. And again, the beat of the snare drums provides the engine that keeps the song moving forward. This is Kondo’s best with the music emulating the structure and feel of the level down to the T.