Switched On: Secret of Mana by Switched On SNES
Switched On: Secret of Mana by Switched On SNES pressed on green and white marble & transparent gold vinyl by Subtropic Records
“Time flows like a river and history repeats…”
Fear of the Heavens
Let’s get right into the thick of it this week as we discover the wild and wonderful analog synth cover of Hiroki Kikuta’s beloved soundtrack to Secret of Mana -- Switched On: Secret of Mana by Switched On SNES (Will Patterson). Pressed on green and white marble & transparent gold by Subtropic Records, Will’s own publishing label, this release is also available on standard black vinyl. Right out of the 16bit era to your turntable, this love letter to one of the greatest RPGs on the Super Nintendo is here to enamor you once more. From cartridge to turntable, this is one nostalgia trip that you do not want to miss.
Into the Thick of It
Secret of Mana is quite possibly one of my favorite games ever. It’s soundtrack is something that I know holds a special place in the hearts of many, including my own. Make no mistake, the compositions on this album are something of an entirely different breed. The work that Will has achieved here is extremely and absolutely special. The composer has given the listener the ability to relive the music in a new way, all while being so wholly familiar. This additional care and craftsmanship will be noticed even for first-time listeners. From smooth and fluttering tones to pulse pounding bass, the definition and character that is added to Mr. Kikuta’s original arrangements creates an entirely new and prismatic facet that truly lives up to and respects the momentous and, quite frankly, generation-defining music that it is.
Will Patterson’s work with the Switched On SNES project is well-known and loved by now. His previous work on Switched On: A Link to the Past is something I covered a couple of months ago (Click here for that review). This new album is no different in the quality and precision we’ve come to expect with Will’s work. You can tell that the composer respects and cares for the music he covers. The love he pours into every aspect of this project practically oozes from your speakers as his arrangements hypnotically revolve around and around.
Calm Before the Storm
This album covers the wide array of Mr. Kikuta’s momentous and beautiful work. From the opening theme, you will instantly be whisked away to faraway memories and adventures. The warm yet apprehensive track, Into the Thick of It, leads right into the Mystic Invasion, allowing the album to open up into a trip beat and melodic syncopation of nostalgia that will completely blow you away. This album hides all of its wonderment behind every revolution of the grooves, waiting to be explored. Every dark cavern, abandoned castle, dangerous grove, and treacherous desert you remember is adorned in beautiful analog fashion.
As Subtropic Records’ first vinyl release, I have to say this was handled beautifully. The quality of these pressings are superb; the 180g records are heavy and carry an incredible tone within their grooves. The colors represented here look great, and fit the Secret of Mana theme perfectly. The green record is vibrant and encapsulates the adventurous feeling of the music it holds. The gold variant of the second pressing is super unique in its own right. The way it looks when exposed to light makes its shiny swirls pop from all angles -- it’s gorgeous, to say the least! Honestly, I have never seen such an interesting use of gold on a vinyl before. The sound quality here is top notch and super clean, the warm tones complementing nicely with the heavier analog portions of the album. The added poster with each copy is a cool touch and helps to accentuate the album’s artwork. All in all, this is a fantastic release that anyone who is a fan of Secret of Mana or Will’s work would make no mistake in owning.
What are you waiting for? Head over to Neko now and grab a copy before it sells out!
I Closed My Eyes
I want to give a huge thanks to Will for providing codes for me to give away to celebrate this release and for this review. I have hidden some throughout the site and will be posting them over on my social media pages. See you on the flippity flip!
Hiroki Kikuta & Arranged by Switched On SNES (Will Patterson)
Remastered for vinyl by:
Vinyl produced & distributed by:
Where to Buy?
The first pressing green and white marble pictured in this review is unfortunately sold out. However, the second pressing on transparent gold and black vinyl is still available to order now directly from Switched On SNES’ Bandcamp page in limited quantities. This is definitely a release that you do not want to miss out on! There is also a limited cassette version of this album available to purchase. Each vinyl or cassette purchase will include an immediate download of the album in your choice of high-quality MP3, FLAC, and more!