Rozen, the man behind Zelda fan arrangements “May We Meet Again” and “Under Twilit Rain”, has released a new five track mini-album titled King of Light and Shadow. The album tells the story of Ganondorf, from his triumphant return to Hyrule to his eventual defeat in Twilight Princess.
From the outset, the album is filled with familiar themes, albeit with Rozen’s own twist. The first track, “Thief Reborn”, outlines Ganondorf’s return to take over Hyrule, and is filled with both Ganondorf’s Theme and Hyrule Castle’s theme. The piece goes from being very soft and light to incredibly frantic very quickly. As things become even more intense, there are a number of various layers presented in the music that contrast with each other wonderfully. By the end of the track, there is a very soft and somber version of Hyrule Castle Theme, if almost to lament Hyrule’s takeover by Ganondorf.
Ganondorf’s next order of business is to take over Hyrule Castle during “Redecorating the Castle”, and this is where Rozen’s music really shines. It begins with a very solitary version of Hyrule Castle’s theme, reminiscent of the version of the theme that played in Twilight Princess, with a very lonesome tone. The theme then expands a bit and incorporates pieces of Ganondorf’s Theme. Eventually, the two themes play side by side, beautifully clashing and contrasting against one another creating a very interesting dichotomy. With Ganondorf’s conquering of the castle complete, the second track ends with a triumphant version of Ganondorf’s Theme, signaling his return to Hyrule Castle.
The rest of Rozen’s album tells the end of Ganondorf’s tale, using familiar music from Twilight Princess, including arrangements of the battle with Puppet Zelda and the final battle with Ganondorf. Both are brilliant orchestrations and the track “Dark Lord Ganondorf” mixes the tribal-like nature of the original with a more traditional approach, including the version of Ganondorf’s Theme from Ocarina of Time. One of the coolest aspects of this track is that it actually incorporates a guitar into the theme, which was a really unique twist on one of Zelda’s most classic pieces of music.
What is so impressive about the album is that musically, there are so many things going on at once. So many bass lines and motifs contrast against one another at the same time, and it works beautifully. Rozen puts his own spin on classic Zelda themes, and at times the music arguably improves upon the original work.
One of the most unique aspects of Rozen’s newest mini-album is the fact that throughout, it is telling a story. It combines music and storytelling and excels at both. Each track builds upon the next, finally climaxing in the last track, “Dark Lord Ganondorf”. The album is highly recommended for any Zelda fan, music fan, or even both. It is only five tracks long and short enough at roughly 20 minutes to where it is an incredibly easy listen and well worth your time.