The Binding Of Isaac Piano Collection

 Binding of isaac piano Album Title:
The Binding Of Isaac Piano Collection
Record Label:
dB soundworks
Catalog No.:
NA
Release Date:
February 1st 2013
Purchase:
Download at Bandcamp

Overview

Following the success of The Binding of Isaac, Danny Baranowsky collaborated with pianist Brent Kennedy to create an official piano collection album, featuring nine piano arrangements of the most prominent and recognised tracks from the original game. The nature of the music of The Binding of Isaac lends itself well to piano solo arrangements. This album goes a step further, creating incredibly complex concert pianist level arrangements of the original music.

Body

The album opens with “Sacrificial”. Although some of the harmonies are different from the original, the arrangement works really well. The tempo shifts about as expected from a piano solo but the piece still flows naturally even without a drum beat backing it up, and the flourishes work surprisingly well, adding to the tension and keeping the piece interesting throughout. This is followed by “Respite”, which sounds like the second movement of a piano concerto following on from “Sacrificial”. Opening with big chords and following up with a flowing section, the left hand keeping the harmonies moving forward. There’s even a slightly jazzy section two minutes into the piece. The big chords in this track sound particularly fun to play.

The album then moves onto “Combat Medley” a medley of all the boss and mini-boss themes. This track is surprisingly playful at times, but I like it. Each tune is recognisable from the game even with the creative liberties taken. The next track, “Tomes”, is a perfect fit for piano solo, and this arrangement is pretty close to the original track. The calm playing creates a fantastic atmosphere and the harmonic additions and new sections of the piece add further depth and complexity to the piece. Just before the 3 minute mark the piece slows down and the speed increases into a very dramatic chordal climax. This is probably my favourite piece on the album because it works so naturally. “Serenity Interlude” follows, a simple arrangement that fits nicely between the two bigger tracks when listening to the whole album.

The title track is probably where the greatest liberties are taken when compared to the original. There are time signature changes and tempo changes aplenty, through which Kennedy manages to avoid tedious repetition this way while still capturing the spirit of the game. “Penance” throws in a few nods to “Sacrificial” and plays around with the original melodies and harmonies while still being recognisable from the original track. If I were to nit-pick here, I would’ve liked more drama from the louder, more dramatic sections, it can sometimes feel like it’s holding back a little. “My Innermost Apocalypse” carries on this trend, with an unexpectedly hurried (musically) ending. The final track, “Serenity”, uses interesting harmonies and chords to great effect, and the high notes at the end, followed by the final note on the bottom of the piano, are a fitting dramatic ending for the album.

Summary

The Binding of Isaac Piano Collection is a fantastic album and a worthy arranged album to the music of the game, taking the listener on an emotional journey through the playful, the light and the dark. Much of the music from The Binding of Isaac is naturally well suited to the piano and Brett Kennedy proves it, taking even further by creating solid arrangements that don’t drag or repeat and have enough musical variety and creative liberties to be interesting throughout.

The Binding Of Isaac Piano Collection Joe Hammond

Do you agree with the review and score? Let us know in the comments below!

4.5


Posted on February 15, 2015 by Joe Hammond. Last modified on March 11, 2015.

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About the Author

Joe Hammond

When I first heard the music of Nobuo Uematsu in the Final Fantasy series at about 17 years old, my love of video game music was born. Since then, I've been revisiting some of my old games, bringing back their musical memories, and checking out whatever I can find in the game music scene. Before all of this I've always been a keen gamer from an early age. I'm currently doing a PGCE (teacher training) in primary school teaching (same age as elementary school) with music specialism at Exeter University. I did my undergraduate degree in music at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. My main focus at the moment is my teaching and education work, though who knows what will happen in the future. I like a variety of music, from classical/orchestral to jazz to rock and metal and even a bit of pop. Also when you work with young children you do develop a somewhat different appreciation for the music they like.



2 Responses to The Binding Of Isaac Piano Collection

  1. Thanks Joe. Really nice review — didn’t realize the arrangements were so elaborate. Are you planning to write about The Binding of Isaac Rebirth? Very curious to hear your opinions as a fan of the original!

  2. Joe Hammond Joe Hammond says:

    Rebirth is next on my to review list after Final Symphony. I’m already pretty familiar with the music of Rebirth having logged 40 hours into the game.

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