The very first Materia-related project was a tribute album to Final Fantasy VII created by musicians from around the world. That core group grew into what we now call Materia Community, which is exactly what it sounds like — a community of musicians who continue to support each other, learn from each other, and collaborate on projects today. Community albums often involve dozens or even hundreds of musicians and arrangers bringing their favorite game soundtracks to life in new and exciting ways.
Read on for a selection of Materia Community albums from over the years. These are a treat for any true fan; each album takes a deep dive into the soundtrack of its focal game or theme, revisiting favorite songs in a wide range of genres while still remaining a cohesive whole.
(And if you’d like to add any of these albums to your collection this December, use the code dd2020 on our Bandcamp all month long for 15% off any digital purchase.)
MATERIA: FINAL FANTASY VII REMIXED
MATERIA is where it all began in 2015, and it set the tone for what was to come: nearly two hundred artists, 87 tracks, an amalgamation of styles, and deep love for its source material. The success of MATERIA led to the creation of dozens more community albums (you’ll see some of them below), as well as everything else in the Materia Music family. Most importantly, it led to the formation of a strong community of excellent musicians and people, one that persists to this day. Listening back to this album, we can hear how far we’ve all come — and we hope you’ll enjoy this glimpse into our past.
Best for: JRPG lovers, from the retro PSX-era original to anyone who recently enjoyed Final Fantasy VII Remake; anyone interested in owning a piece of VGM history
FALLEN: AN UNDERTALE TRIBUTE
When it was released in 2015, UNDERTALE shook the indie game world and became an instant modern classic. Its subversion of classic RPG tropes combined with its heart-on-sleeve storytelling endeared it to gamers of all stripes, and its developer, Toby Fox, composed an accompanying score for the ages. Materia Community’s FALLEN captures the intensity of UNDERTALE fan fervor in 97 tracks of all genres and styles, from classical to experimental, from ska to big-band to fully orchestral. Like an extended concept album, FALLEN is divided into seven “discs,” one for each UNDERTALE soul (from Patience to Determination) representing an individual journey through the game’s story.
Best for: UNDERTALE lovers young and old; fans of good music who want a ton of variety in a single album
ZODIAC: FINAL FANTASY TACTICS REMIXED
Those who sing the praises of Final Fantasy Tactics do so deservedly. Its gameplay and story were unlike any Final Fantasy preceding it, and its heady political machinations and in-depth strategy keep it a standout today. Composer Hitoshi Sakimoto is a favorite among video game musicians; he may not have the instant name recognition of Yasunori Mitsuda or Nobuo Uematsu, but his stirring and sophisticated score is part of what makes Tactics so outstanding. ZODIAC contributes nearly four hours of music in every imaginable style. From metal to musical theater to tavern ballads, Zodiac speaks to the love Materia Community members have for this classic score.
Best for: RPG or strategy game lovers, fans of political intrigue, musical omnivores
TESSERACT: A TRIBUTE TO FEZ
The Fez original soundtrack is quintessential Disasterpeace: retro chiptune made dense, complex, and lush. It’s a musician’s album, showing off the many talents of a master of chiptune composition. But members of Materia Community wondered what it would sound like to reimagine this strictly digital soundtrack on acoustic instruments, and that’s exactly what TESSERACT does. The many live instrumentalists credited on TESSERACT infuse Fez’s 8-bit texture with startling warmth, breathing life into an intricate digital world. It’s like seeing a black-and-white outline suddenly take on color.
Best for: instrumentalists, fans of acoustic performance, anyone who makes their own music (or enjoys it when others do)
LAUNCH: StarCraft Reimagined
Since its debut in 1996, the StarCraft franchise has inspired a generation of devotees to strategize for hours at a time with their friends and rivals. The music has to stand up to such long play sessions, and it does so through incredible variety, with many tracks almost sounding like medleys so that the music never gets old. That variety and versatility is reflected in LAUNCH: StarCraft Reimagined, conceived as a trio of EPs that each pay homage to one of the three playable species: RUSH is driving and energetic in honor of the Zerg, VOID is acoustic and organic like the Protoss, and NUKE represents the retro, groove-oriented Terrans.
Best for: Fans of real-time strategy; sci-fi aficionados; listeners with eclectic taste but a particular love of retro and high-energy music
FATE: A Tribute to Majora’s Mask
The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask is something of a dark horse: misunderstood initially, it has since claimed its rightful place among the best of the Zelda canon. Listening through this album, it’s clear the emotions the game inspired were never in doubt. Like the game and soundtrack that inspired it, it’s sometimes beautiful, sometimes unsettling. From the goofy (Patrick Dunnevant’s a cappella Gorons) to the divine (the Triforce Quartet’s Song of Healing) to the epic and terrifying (Fredrik Häthén’s Termina’s Last Hope), FATE captures the many faces of Majora’s Mask with aplomb.
Best for: Zelda lovers; fans of instrumental music; anyone with a quirky, offbeat sense of humor
EIDOLON: A Tribute to Final Fantasy IX
Materia Community took its name and inspiration from a Final Fantasy game and continues to hold special love for the series. In keeping with Final Fantasy IX’s themes of friendship and cooperation, each track was created by multiple Community members, many of them working together for the first time. The resulting album is incredibly innovative, featuring things like authentic Renaissance counterpoint, an ocarina septet, and arguably EIDOLON‘s crown jewel: a fully dramatized, four-track musical theater reenactment of the entire play-within-a-game I Want To Be Your Canary.
Best for: Final Fantasy fans, lovers of classic high fantasy or early music, people delighted by creative reinterpretation
EXILE: A Tribute to Supergiant Games
Supergiant’s pre-Hades oeuvre is no less brilliant than its 2020 Game of the Year contender, and the studio’s composer, Darren Korb, is an integral part of its success. Like the games, his scores traverse genres from trip-hop to country western, unified by their emotional core and Ashley Barrett’s soulful voice. EXILE stretches that palette in this album of arrangements from Bastion, Pyre, and Transistor. As befits any tribute to Supergiant soundtracks, the vocal talent on EXILE is a particular highlight — this is an album for you if you want to hear the singers of Materia Community (including Laura Intravia, Darby Cupit, Sirenstar, and many more) at their best.
Best for: fans of Hades and/or the rest of Supergiant’s brilliant games; appreciators of vocal music
EPOCH: A Tribute to Chrono Trigger
Yasunori Mitsuda’s Chrono Trigger soundtrack is an undisputed classic of gaming history. Its innovation and beauty have inspired generations of musicians, including many current video game composers who got their start as young fan musicians. EPOCH‘s producers iterate on perfection by assigning a single OST track to each arranger and presenting them in their original order. The end result covers the entire Chrono Trigger soundtrack, but even those who know the original by heart will be surprised and delighted by what they encounter. For an introduction, try Videri String Quartet’s “Memories of Green,” insaneintherain’s “The Day The World Revived,” Hassan DuRant’s powerfully unsettling “The Summoning Circle,” and John Robert Matz’s sly music-theater rendition of The Trial.
Best for: Yasunori Mitsuda fans; lovers of the classics who like to hear a new take on old favorites
MENU: An Homage to Game Title Themes
Gamers inevitably get attached to main menu themes — after all, they’re the first thing we hear on booting up a beloved classic. That was the inspiration for MENU, which is a rare Materia Community album featuring music from many different games across genres and eras. This album of title theme arrangements leaps from Katamari to Kirby to Doki Doki Literature Club and beyond. The stylistic range is similarly wide: a lush symphony for Stardew Valley, big band for Mario Kart 64, even bluegrass for Assassin’s Creed IV. No matter the genre, it’s clear that each track is an expression of nostalgia and love.
Best for: Lifelong gamers; those looking for remixes of AAA tracks and/or obscure indie tracks (some games on this album are real underrepresented gems!)
FLAMESGRACE: A Tribute to Octopath Traveler
Octopath Traveler’s acclaimed soundtrack was the perfect choice for a Materia Community album: like the game’s eponymous eight routes, the arrangements exhibit an incredible range of genres and styles that come together into something more than the sum of their parts. For FLAMESGRACE, Community members were encouraged to team up and collaborate, forging new friendships as they inspired each other to try bold new ideas. Live instruments throughout the album recreate the classical-folk flavor of the original, with some tracks expanding into jazz combos, brass ensembles, and full choir. With the variety on display, there’s sure to be something for everyone here.
Best for: Classic JRPG fans, people with truly eclectic musical taste, acoustic music-lovers
OTHERWORLD: A Tribute to Silent Hill
OTHERWORLD revisits Akira Yamaoka’s groundbreaking Silent Hill soundtracks, plunging deep into the emotional depths of the original games. The result was an album that differs from its Community predecessors in tone: ambient, edgy, and dark. It maintains that atmosphere over its nearly fifty tracks, its cohesive flow as focused as a concept album. Fans will be especially pleased by the renditions of Silent Hill’s many sung tracks, with musicians like Ashlee Busch, Luci Holland, and M. Garrett Steele voicing the anguish at the series’ core.
Best for: Horror fans; those who love dark, industrial, or gothic music; electronic musicians of all kinds