It’s been less than a week since the release of Double Team, and it’s already hit the front page of iTunes. And for a very good reason. If there was any doubt the music of Pokémon could sound amazing – beautiful even – orchestrated, Double Team one-hit KOs that doubt. Double Team is Pokémon Reorchestrated’s third album and its second to be successfully funded on Kickstarter. It’s also Pokémon Reorchestrated’s first to use only live instruments and the first jointly composed, with Pokémon Reorchestrated’s Braxton “Skotien” Burks and Eric “ebuch” Buchholtz, formerly of Zelda Reorchestrated, working together. It was also the conducting debut for Eric.
The album clocks in at half-an-hour long of orchestral goodness and features two tracks from each generation of Pokémon for a total of twelve tracks. Naturally, the album starts off with Pallet Town, which is then followed by Trainer Battle, Ecruteak City, Golden Horizons (Ending from Gold/Silver/Crystal), Aqua and Magma, Abandoned Ship, Twinleaf Town, Rise to Victory (Route 206 from Diamond/Pearl/Emerald), Reflections (Unwavering Emotions), N Suite (N’s Castle/N’s Farewell from Black/White), Waltz of the Sea (Surfing Theme), and Mélancolie Path (Route 15 from X/Y).
Double Team features the third version of Pallet Town released by Pokémon Reorchestrated, and it sounds absolutely fantastic with the triple-tracked strings and solo piano. If Pokémon were to be remastered in HD, I don’t think Nintendo would have to do a recording of Pallet Town for it, Double Team already has it covered.
Trainer Battle kicks things into to high gear, and proves that an epic battle theme can, in fact, use only strings and a piano. It swings back and forth from a fast, aggressive tempo, to very short periods of a slow down, before revving back up. This is a fight to the death after all.
If you can survive the battle, Ecruteak City is waiting for you, with its peaceful strings and piano. If you have a subwoofer, crank it up to 11 because the bass is excellent. But don’t overdo it; you’ll want to be able to still hear the solo piano and violin.
Golden Horizons at first comes off as an odd choice, being an ending theme as the fourth track in Double Team, but with the instrument solos, it becomes immediately clear why it was chosen. They build up wonderfully to an increased tempo with all the instruments playing together, before ending with what could have easily served as an excellent ending to Double Team.
But, as Aqua and Magma reminds us with its immediate aggressive opening, our adventure is not yet over. It also begins to turn a bit spooky with the strings becoming slightly eerie at exactly a minute into to the track.
Abandoned Ship takes things even more eerie. In fact, things become downright chilling. While Abandoned Ship in the original games sounded epic, like a proud ship, even despite being abandoned, Double Team’s rendition goes completely the other direction, making it sound sad, perhaps even haunted by something. Hopefully the physical release of Double Team will come packaged with spare underwear.
Thankfully, we make it out of the ship alive, and are greeted by the much more welcoming Twinleaf Town. The solos take the cake again here, with Twinleaf Town sounding like a quiet, calm town. Perhaps it would be a good place to settle down…
No! We’re a Pokémon trainer! There’s – god what is it now? 500 something Pokémon to catch? Rise to Victory reminds us we’ve come a long way, but there’s still much to go. My personal favorite, and according to Eric, his least favorite to conduct, Rise to Victory is easily the most epic sounding of all the tracks in Double Team. It truly feels like you’re on your way to the top, all the way to the last note.
Reflections takes things down a step. We’re reflecting after all. The piano is predominant in Reflections, backed up appropriately by the strings, to build one of the most emotional pieces in Double Team.
N Suite is the longest piece in Double Team, and rightfully so. I didn’t actually complete Black and White, but damn was N one creepy guy. So was his theme, which is excellently reproduced in the first part of N Suite. Now, I don’t know how things end with N, but son-of-a-bitch is the last part of N Suite a tear jerker. Someone fetch me a tissue please. I’m not sure if things end on a happy note or not (NO SPOILERS THANK YOU!), but I’m lead to believe they don’t.
Waltz of the Sea is easily my second favorite. The beginning reminds me of certain track from Super Mario Galaxy (three, actually), and the moving intro continues into a beautifully moving waltz with the strings. Crank your entire sound system up to 11 for this one and loop it a few times. It’s majesticness goes so perfectly with Melbourne’s E-Class tram, I’ve [unofficially] made it the official theme of Melbourne’s trams (to the point I hum it every time I’m on one).
As we finish crossing the sea, our journey comes to an end with Mélancolie Path. It’s based off of Route 15 from X/Y, which surprised me given that it’s the last of the track in Double Team. Why not a credits track? Well, because we apparently need another slightly spooky track, that’s why. I can only assume Route 15 is through a forest or something (can you tell I haven’t played X/Y?) Nonetheless, Mélancolie Path is no ending credits and it leaves one wishing Double Team was longer, but instead it is the end of our adventure for now.
In closing, it’s clear why Double Team has been creeping up and down the iTunes charts for Soundtracks, occasionally beating out the official soundtracks for the Pokémon games themselves. It’s a beautiful thirty minutes of music that leaves you wishing for more. But, orchestrating everything would be damned expensive and this was funded on Kickstarter after all. Hiring talented musicians takes money, as does (what I’m going to have to make a guess on here) a shiny physical album that should be released soon. Hopefully, Double Team will continue to do well and will encourage Braxton and Eric to team up again for another thirty minutes of pure eargasming.