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Hands-On: SOUND WAVES: A Tribute to Ecco the Dolphin

Genre: Music Developer: Patient Corgi Publisher: Patient Corgi Released: 2016

Just when it seems like everything related to Ecco the Dolphin must have been covered by now, we keep finding new discoveries as the years drift by, through the tides of time!

I was recently swimming around Caverns of Hope, the best Ecco-themed website, and I finally checked out something that was posted back in January of 2016. Caverns of Hope was excited about a new music album called SOUND WAVES: A Tribute to Ecco the Dolphin. They described it as “a full-fledged Ecco the Dolphin remix album, featuring 39 totally new remixes, composed by 140 musicians.” Any fans of the classic series will know how exciting this is, because as great as the original soundtracks are, they should hold an ocean of potential for new interpretations by new musicians from around the world using different instruments and synthesizers!

The album spans three CDs, apparently, with three hours of content, but we don’t need a physical copy to enjoy it. SOUND WAVES is generously available as a free download – talk about a labor of love! (The songs can also be streamed from the album’s website). Click here for Patient Corgi’s official website of the album, which includes artists’ comments, and instruments used, for each song! Also, click here for Caverns of Hope’s description of the album. Songs are familiar and recognizable from the games, while they’re interesting as new versions of the old classics.

All the tracks are great, but I’ll mention my personal favorites: The first song, “Tranquility,” keeps close to the relaxing New Age synthesizer that we love from Sega CD. “Goodnight Sweet Ocean” is a lush, full remix of Ecco Jr.’s cheerful theme. “Corals Bass” nicely recreates music from Dreamcast Ecco; as does the song “Defender of the Future.” “Four Ways of Mystery” features some pretty wild drumming, with wailing electric guitar. “Eccos” is a medley of classic songs, with NES chiptunes, and nature sound effects (which sound deliberately electronic). “Tides of Time” is amazing; a full vocal performance by a choir singing in a church, accompanied by only their pipe organ piano! “The Globe Holder” rocks familiar tunes with keyboard and grinding electric guitar. “Sound Test 19” is beautiful and relaxing, with quiet guitar and keyboard (based on an unused track in the Genesis game). “Tube” brings in smooth jazz, with a trumpet singing like a saxophone, keyboard that sounds like a barroom piano, and a deep bass line (which is not credited to an instrument, for whatever reason, and which makes me wonder if the bass guitar was actually produced from a keyboard?!). “Turning Time Backwards” is notable for sounding just like Pink Floyd, with gentle singing behind psychedelic rock music and synthesizer. “Two Tides” is a nice relaxing jam that includes the obligatory samples of water splashing, plus there are quotes from the game, which sound quite funny when we hear them spoken out loud. (The song ends with that eternal question: “If we breathe air, why do we live beneath the waves?” I don’t dislike any songs, but I was surprised that about half of them are full of driving electric guitars and energetic drumbeats, with a lively dance vibe, which is certainly a new direction to take these old songs.

Every fan of Ecco the Dolphin should swim over to the album’s site, and download all 39 songs into a nice folder on their computer. That folder will then serve as a complete copy of this album, to be enjoyed with your digital music player of choice. And being on your computer lends this album to background music in your office, or even bedroom music to help you sleep better. The livelier songs should be good for when we’re doing something active, like driving or exercising, or even for hosting parties.

Ecco the Dolphin’s legacy never seems to end, as we can hear in this 2016 album, which is guaranteed to wash over your senses, and soothe your soul.

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