Game Music, Reviews

Monaco: The Gentleman’s Private Collection (Review)

December 9, 2013 | | Comment? Share thison Facebook Monaco: The Gentleman’s Private Collection (Review)on Twitter

Monaco Gentleman's Private Collection

Listening to arrange albums is always an interesting experience. Having a group of artist arrange  another musician’s work can produce fascinating results, especially when said artists have very different styles of music arranging. Monaco: The Gentleman’s Private Collection is an album featuring arrangements of Austin Wintory’s soundtrack Monaco: What’s Yours Is Mine. In addition to arrangements, the album includes some unused pieces by Wintory that didn’t make the cut for the OST. The trickiest thing about reviewing an arrange album like this is that you’re bound to find a track in a genre that you have little knowledge about or that doesn’t particularly resonate with you. So inevitably, there will be tracks that you will prefer due to preferences for certain genres. With that said, I’d highly recommend giving a listen to all of the tracks on the album. You will easily find something that suits your tastes.

A majority of the arrangements focus on the main theme,”What’s Yours is Mine”, from the original soundtrack. Tina Guo, the featured solo cellist from Journey, and The Vederi String Quartet take drastically different approaches to arranging the piece for strings. Guo’s “The Dark Heart of Monte Carlo” is a slow and somber approach to the material, featuring some wonderfully expressive cello playing. Meanwhile the Vederi String Quartet’s “A Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing” sticks with a tone similar to that of the original soundtrack, switching suddenly from an energetic pace to slow and stealthy tempo before speeding back up for the finale. Chis Gale’s “Song Of Banque” and Tomoki Miyosh’s “The Gentleman’s Partita” take a simpler approach to covering the track, using the ocarina and violin respectively for the melody with a simple piano accompaniment in their arrangements.

For those of you who prefer electronic and rock arrangements, fear not. Chiptune artist Chipzel, who you may know from the soundtrack for Super Hexagon, has an brilliant Chiptune arrangement of “Discothéque Rogue” titled “Discothéque Rouge, After Hours”. There is also William Kage’s dark and atmospheric arrangement “Your Life Is Mine” that sounds like it came straight from the 16-bit era. For you metal fans out there, Viking Jesus has a lively rock arrangement of the Monaco themes, titled “The Thrill of Thievery”, performed on electric guitar and drums.

The song “Can’t Resist” is another track from the OST that receives a number of interpretations in this arrange album. Peter Hollen’s “They Never See Me Coming” is an a cappella version of the tune, Mega Ran and Jermiside’s “Stick ‘em” is a hip-hop remix of the same piece, and Austin Wintory even provides his own solo piano version with “Identity”. While I enjoyed all of these interpretations, my personal favorite take on “Can’t Resist” is Malukah’s “Shadows”. The echoing vocals and simple guitar accompaniment are a haunting and beautiful take on the song. Serving as the last track, it provides a melancholic end for the album.

Of the various arrange tracks on Monaco: The Gentleman’s Private Collection, my favorite from the entire album is Laura Intravia’s “As The Sun Sets In Monaco”. This Latin-Jazz arrangement features the Monaco main theme, as well as some brief references to other tracks from the game. Intravia’s flute playing takes center stage, with the piano accompanying and taking an occasional solo. The inclusion of string section, bass, and percussion to the ensemble gives the piece the sound of a modern spy thriller soundtrack, reminiscent of the James Bond or Mission Impossible movies. Great rhythmic variation, a well arranged ensemble, and excellent solo work on the flute made this a track that I kept going back to for additional listens.

Monaco: The Gentleman’s Private Collection features excellent arrangements by a diverse group of artists, with a good sampling of genres throughout the album. While many arrangers opt for orchestral variations on Austin Wintory’s music, there are a handful of great arrangements in other genres, including chiptune, electronic, metal, and hip-hop. The inclusion of some of Wintory’s other work, that didn’t make it into the final cut of the OST, is a nice bonus and helps round out the arrange album. Even if you’re not a fan of every genre present, it’s definitely worth a listen. Monaco: The Gentleman’s Private Collection is available on Austin Wintory’s Bandcamp site, on Loudr, or on iTunes.

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