I have never been a fan of the Gerudo Valley section of Ocarina of Time.
I will admit to being an incredibly impatient gamer — I love to get from point A to point B as quickly as possible, so skulking around behind boxes and sniping respawning guards in the Gerudo Fortress and winding my way through the pre-set path in the Haunted Wasteland is not my idea of fun.
That being said, there’s a wonderful silver lining to the level in the soundtrack. Gerudo Valley is a fantastic piece of music, and this acoustic cover by English guitarist, Tom Winter, is just splendid.
Removing the brass from the original piece and replacing it with guitar riffs gives this version a very Hispanic feel — it’s a little flamenco in style and also reminiscent of roaming adventures in dusty Western movies. (As an aside, it also reminds me very much of one of my very favourite pieces of videogame music of all time in the Wild Arms theme — I very much recommend you give it a listen if you’ve never heard it before!)
By finger-picking the song, it gives the notes a lovely, rounded, soft tone that lends itself so well to portraying the shifting sands of Gerudo Valley — it’s particularly notable during the bridge at 1:25. Perhaps I’m putting too much emphasis on it, but I honestly don’t think it would be as evocative had it been played with a plectrum.
I also note that this version is played at a slightly slower tempo from the original, and I have to say that I prefer the piece a little slower — it feels less frantic, with more control and consideration. Playing the percussion on the side of the guitar is a nice touch too, adding a real ‘street performer’ feel that, again, suits the hardy Gerudo down to the ground.
All-in-all, this is a wonderful arrangement that does a great job of drawing you into the desert world of the red-haired thieves. I’ll be sure to save this one to bring a little sunshine to my life when the dreary winter days draw in soon.
We were late in delivering Music Monday to you guys this week, but we’re back on track, so expect Music Monday (as well as Throwback Thursday and Fanart Friday) to be on schedule next week!