Zelda & Chill by Mikel
Take a break from slaying Bokoblins and solving dungeons this week with Zelda & Chill: A Tape by Mikel. Pressed on heavy weight black vinyl by Materia Collective in collaboration with GameChops, this lo-fi trek through the world of Hylia is the perfect time to pour a nice tall glass of Lon Lon Milk and relax with your memories of adventures a cartridge away. Lay back, drop that needle, let your table spin, and whisk away to a simpler time. You and your pal Link deserve a much needed rest -- trust me, Ganon can wait!
Emerging from what seemed like nowhere, Mikel, a hip-hop producer based out of Germany, has brought the world of Zelda to its Epona-fashioned heels. Mikel has a YouTube channel where he posts his lo-fi video game covers, and it is a small treasure trove of amazing content! As his first vinyl foray into the video game music scene, Mikel has set the tempo low and the bar high for his signature take on the iconic music from Koji Kondo and team! The way in which he preserves the original music that has been ingrained into our collective DNA is unique and stylistic in it’s own way, and is one of the reasons this album is so fun to listen to. While seemingly simplistic in nature, Mikel's work is genius in its execution.
You won't be bored by long-winded owls or badgered by a blue wisp that won't shut it here -- this is album has all the trappings needed for a good time in a memorable world. Sit and bask in its transic beats, get lost in the woods, or dance along while it spins. There's no wrong way to enjoy this album, and that's what I think makes this piece of work so appealing. The iconic melodies we’ve all grown to love are here in all their splendor, all while having this flair and love poured into them that you just can't help but groove along with the whole time. There’s a contagious mood that this album puts you in. Quite frankly, it’s just fantastic easy listening, and it’s the reason I can’t stop spinning this thing.
The added bits of record fuzz from the original digital album are present here and is something that might be a contention point for some people. However, it’s not something that I noticed as being off with my listening sessions. It’s an artistic decision from Mikel, and how the album was originally intended to be heard, so I am glad it is preserved here. The mastering for this album by Dj Cutman is super crisp and clean, which allows the noise floor to be very quiet, giving room for the added artificial noise to be an accent of Mikel’s design and not a distraction in the slightest. This album packs a huge punch in it’s bass, but it’s always just right and never detracts from the melodic musings throughout this record. The cassette sounds on the last track is a beautiful touch as well, and harkens back to the album’s sub title of it being a tape!
Materia Collective have definitely solidified themselves as being the de-facto arrangement and cover label, and I absolutely love it. They fill this niche so well in their own loving way that I don't think could be done differently. Materia Collective have proven time and again that their care and respect for their artists and the music they create is carried into the products that they distribute. The art work here designed by composer Mikel, Chris Davidson & Cindy LaBreacht is really neat in its own minimalistic way, and fits the overall theme of this album in my opinion. Chilling in a coffee shop while it rains beats is totally an aesthetic I would use to describe this album, and may or may not have been something I’ve experienced with the digital version! The accents of neon really illuminates off the jacket and translate very well in the photos. It’s positively glowing!
From the wind swept fields of Hyrule to your turntable at home, what Mikel and the team at GameChops and Materia Collective have achieved here is pure Zelda bliss. I can't wait for more collaborations between these fantastic and talented people!
Where to Buy?
What was supposed to be a 500 copy pressing was quickly moved up to a 1,000 record pressing within the first day of pre-orders, one could say the demand for this album was and still is through the roof. The first pressing of this release has already sold out, however a second pressing is set for release in June of 2019. Orders for this next batch of records can be placed over on the album’s Bandcamp page. Orders for this vinyl album also includes a high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more. Definitely pick this one up!