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Project Destati
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An orchestral re-imagining and celebration of the rich musical score from the Kingdom Hearts games.
An orchestral re-imagining and celebration of the rich musical score from the Kingdom Hearts games.

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"Dearly Beloved II" is our second version of Shimomura's iconic "Dearly Beloved" melody, following the one we first created in LIGHT. For DARKNESS, we decided to write a theme and variations of all the different "Dearly Beloved" arrangements that we've been given throughout the games, melded together in a way that tracked the history of the series. Of note: every single character in Kingdom Hearts is quoted somewhere throughout this piece in some form--we thought it might be fun to hide them around! You may also notice an additional original melody that we often paired with "Dearly Beloved" in order to help link the arrangement together as a cohesive whole.

Thank you for listening to DARKNESS; we hope you enjoyed the stories we told in the various tracks throughout this collection!
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This thundrous battle anthem of Birth by Sleep first appeared during initial confrontation between Terra and sharpshooter Braig, possibly thereby earning its interesting title. However, more importantly, it closes Terra's character arc with a showdown between him and Master Xehanort. In our final collaboration with the Youngstown Scoring Stage, we pull out all the stops to take you through Terra's final moments in his valiant but ultimately doomed journey. Opening with a hint of "The Key of Darkness" and moving swiftly into battle shortly thereafter, you'll hear that Terra's thoughts never stray far from his friends as their themes dance with his in a "Fate of the Unknown" interlude. The fight ends with both sides exhausted, until "The Key of Darkness" bursts forth in its completed form, aligned with Xehanort's planned manipulation and possession of Terra. This may be the end of a battle, but it's only the beginning of the war...
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"Darkness of the Unknown", a track we always considered to be the final culmination of all the fights against Organization XIII, is presented in DARKNESS as an anthology of Organization themes: "The 13th Struggle", "The 13th Dilemma", and "The 13th Reflection" all make a brief appearance, as well as a few familiar characters connected to Xemnas. A new brass melody, introduced early in the track, serves as a recurring motif throughout that ties all the pieces of this arrangement together. Along with all the fun character references, we also shifted some of the instrumentation around to better deliver the power we felt this track deserved.
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"Dark Impetus" is a fan-favorite, and our take is equal parts true to the original and venturing into new territory. The instantly-recognizable violin solo throughout, performed by Patti Rudisill, is highlighted while orchestral accompaniment ebbs and flows underneath with more fitting reharmonizations of the original track. Halfway through the arrangement, the violin meets with our vocal soloist--Laura Intravia--who briefly describes this unknown force with the following: "Et audi famam illius cucurrit quaeque tetigit destruens. Impetus tenebris." The track finishes as Aqua, Ventus, and Terra face this newcomer in succession, ending as it began with a final hint to the hooded figure's true identity.
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"A Fight to the Death" is our take on the iconic battle track as a full remaster on Shimomura's original melody. By fusing explicit statements of "Dearly Beloved" and "Organization XIII" with the sinister drive of the original track, we aimed to prepare the listener for their final confrontation with the DARKNESS that lies ahead.
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If there was one piece of music you knew by the end of 358/2 Days, it was this one. Once that shimmery celesta began to play, you knew that one or more of the Seasalt Trio was eating seasalt ice cream atop the clock tower in Twilight Town. We aimed to capture those suspended moments in time - a break from the stress and strain of the daily grind, where you can just sit back and enjoy the sunset. Got it memorized?
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"The 13th Struggle" is arguably the most famous of Organization XIII's battle themes, and while it represents more than a handful of conflicts, it's been unofficially regarded by fans as Axel's personal character theme.

Our arrangement takes you through his story in Kingdom Hearts II while giving brief glimpses of the motives that fueled him - beginning with his final, futile attempt at preventing Roxas' death, to embracing his own in order to save Sora - and, by extension, what was left of his best friends.
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Intended as a medley of Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, "Lord of Castle Oblivion" is a collection of various melodies and themes the player encounters throughout their ascent of the castle. Beginning with the lofty "13th Floor", the arrangement soon descends into chaos with sul pont strings assisting the eerie "Castle Oblivion" melody. Statements from "Just Wondering" pop up throughout as transitional elements, eventually leading to "Scent of Silence" and the finale: "Lord of the Castle". Many other melodies from CoM show up in one form or another throughout the last minute or so of the arrangement, and you'll have to keep your ears open to catch them all!
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Thanks for sharing, VGMO!
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Darkness.
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