Review Summary: "What is it like to be a real Pokémon trainer?" - the answer lies here and more.
Before you continue reading, unless you played Pokémon Red, Blue, and/or Yellow as a child or have some kind of appreciation for classical music, this record will mean nothing to you. On the other hand, if the original Pokémon games absorbed hours of your time, you collected the cards and boasted over how many holographic Charizards you had on the playground, and had Jigglypuff smashing tournaments with your friends in the original Super Smash Bros.; then later in your life, you jammed to Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring (or whatever your favorite classical work is), this record will mean everything to you.
With that out of the way, let’s get to the topic at hand. Pokémon Reorchestrated: Kanto Symphony is the first full-length release by Braxton Burks, otherwise known as Skotein. Burks is amongst a crowd of several fans who have taken it upon themselves to “re orchestrate” the soundtracks of classic Nintendo games; Nintendo themselves recently held an official tour for an orchestra dedicated to the twenty-fifth anniversary of The Legend of Zelda. Pokémon Reorchestrated, while not an official project of Nintendo’s, is a fully licensed fan project that has achieved moderate success since its release in October of last year.
The opening track, Shelf of Memories, is a short, blissful prelude that acts as a perfect beginning for this nostalgic tour. However, the real fun kicks off at 0:54 seconds of Red and Blue (Opening Theme) with the main theme of the Pokémon series. It’ll hit you with a blast of memories that’ll have you holding back tears while your heart joyfully leaps within your chest. This will be a fairly consistent feeling as you continue on through the remaining songs, however it’s the more thematic tunes such as the Battle! themes, Bicycle, Ocean Waltz (Surfing), and Evolution that will really strike a chord with fans of the series.
The final quartet of tracks, beginning with Present Your Badges is possibly the greatest accomplishment of emotion on the record. The last eleven minutes or so will have you reliving every moment of your first trek to the Pokémon League and your subsequent defeat of the Elite Four; an epic, empowering and historic moment in all trainers’ lives, old and new.
Composed largely from electronic samples, though you wouldn’t ever know otherwise, Kanto Symphony is an amazing first step in the Pokémon Reorchestrated project. While it is primarily for fans of the popular videogame series, the excellent arrangement and composition here leaves something to be admired by all who indulge themselves in classical music, as well. For fans, this is an experience that offers a tear-jerking answer to a question many of us asked ourselves as children; what is it like to be a real Pokémon trainer?