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Awesome Music / Banjo-Kazooie

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The start of an amazing adventure.

What did you expect from an Adventure Duo named after musical instruments?

Banjo-KazooieNot only does the original game boast irresistibly catchy melodies that have many players almost subconsciously singing along, but Grant Kirkhope is a master of the Variable Mix, with the hub theme and all nine level themes shifting instrumentation and tone to fit different areas. Interestingly, all of the main level themes have either C major or C minor as their main key.
  • The Banjo-Kazooie theme is the first tune you hear when you fire up the game, and provides the series with one of its most prominent Recurring Riffs. Its arrangement here for banjo and kazoo from the title characters, piccolo from Tooty, and saxophone, xylophone, and violin from Mumbo Jumbo dials up the energy level to get the player excited for the adventuring and exploration that awaits our heroic bear and his loudmouthed avian companion. From Masafumi Takada, the guy behind the music for the first two No More Heroes games and the Danganronpa franchise, we get this remix for Ultimate.
  • A game where you spend a lot of time exploring a hub level needs to give that level music that keeps the player interested, and Banjo-Kazooie more than delivers with the Gruntilda's Lair Theme, which you hear each time you start your game after completing Spiral Mountain. The standard version is appropriately sinister, punctuated by Grunty's Evil Laugh echoing from the distance, and there's an underwater version that uses heavily echoed vibraphone to create an air of mystery. But that's just for starters: Grant Kirkhope changes the orchestration for each of the game's ten levels whenever Banjo and Kazooie are near either the puzzle or the entrance for one of them, often showing the darker side of the level's theme.
    • Mumbo's Mountain gets a version reminiscent of traditional African tribal music, with reed flutes, drums, and chanting that perfectly suits the shaman who has turned against his former student and has decided to help our heroes defeat her.
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    • The Treasure Trove Cove remix gives us ocean wave sound effects and re-scores the melody for squeeze box; all that's missing is a grizzled old mariner singing a song of the evil witch who dashed his ship on the rocks, leaving only him to tell the tale.
    • Clanker's Cavern strips down the tune to just the melody, arranged for synthesised tuba, a few chords, and dripping water sound effects that make the player feel as though the condensation from the foetid water in the cavern is starting to engulf them.
    • The arrangement for Bubblegloop Swamp gives the melody to a synthesised baritone sax with accompaniment by synthesised trombones and tuba, punctuated by frogs croaking, just the thing the player needs to imagine a swamp full of mucky water, intense humidity, and tall cypress trees.
    • Freezeezy Peak uses a music box-like arrangement, accompanied by sleigh bells and howling wind sound effects, to create a mental picture of trekking through a blizzard, unable to see anything but snow in any direction.
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    • Gobi's Valley gives the melody an Arabic atmosphere with wind instruments, drums, and sound effects of desert wind, birds, and snakes, creating a sense of unease for the trek through the arid level that awaits.
    • For Mad Monster Mansion, the theme goes full Ominous Pipe Organ, accompanied only by howling wind sound effects, creating an atmosphere straight out of a black and white horror film that's perfect for the desolate, haunted graveyard surrounding the entrance to the level itself.
    • The nautical atmosphere returns for Rusty Bucket Bay, but now the melody is played on a synthesised marimba over brass accompaniment and ocean wave sound effects; far from a sandy beach, we're now in a grimy harbour, with music to match.
    • Click Clock Wood re-arranges the melody for calliope, recorder and birdsong sound effects, as though the player is trying to navigate a forest that is getting ever darker and thicker even as the end goal gets ever nearer, though it also has something of a relaxing overtone.
    • Grunty's Furnace Fun gives us the jauntiest version of the lair theme, but there's enough of a dark edge to it that the player knows the quiz show Banjo and Kazooie are about to enter is like no quiz show they've ever played, or would ever consider playing, before...
    • And there's a final variation that plays in the antechamber before the final fight and dials the sense of dread up to full. The music makes it emphatically clear that the final confrontation with Gruntilda awaits, and there's no turning back for our heroes now.
    • The Re-Jiggyed remix opts to turn the song into a foreboding orchestral piece that doesn't seem out of place in the likes of Fantasia.
  • Spiral Mountain. Such a happy theme that's just filled with nostalgia. The remix from Super Smash Bros. Ultimate sounds even better, with other tracks from the game mixed in as well. By far the best rendition is the remix from Re-Jiggyed, which incorporates all the instruments from the intro cutscene and adds in an incredibly catchy clap backing.
  • Mumbo's Mountain:
    • The stage's main track is a great theme to accompany the beginning of a great adventure in Gruntilda's Lair.
    • The Re-Jiggyed variation ends up reversing the song's instrumentation to provide a lighter feel, and proves that the base composition works great under any sort of orchestration.
  • Treasure Trove Cove:
    • The main theme boasts steel drums and a real sense of fun. If beaches had soundtracks, this would be it.
    • If you're near Captain Blubber's ship, the tune changes to a version for concertina and flute that conjures up images of standing on a wooden deck breathing in the salty sea air.
    • The remix on Re-Jiggyed uses multiple 8-bit soundfonts to replicate the rhythm of the song, making it sound like a masterclass composition straight off the Commodore 64.
    • Who would remix this song for Ultimate? Yoko Shimomura!
  • Clanker's Cavern marks a shift in tone for the levels after the greenery of Mumbo's Mountain and the seaside frolics of Treasure Trove Cove; the dirtier aesthetic of the level is well matched by a tune that is equal parts jaunty and gruesome.
  • Bubblegloop Swamp:
    • Despite looking a bit somber, the stage has a surprisingly cheery sounding theme that starts by growing out of croaking frog sound effects and then builds in energy from there.
    • Although the Mr. Vile minigame is one of the game's most frustrating (unless you've been to Gobi's Valley and learned how to use the Turbo Trainers), its music is so insanely catchy that you may find yourself singing along with it even if Mr. Vile is kicking your tail all over the screen.
    • With additional compositions from Tim Kellett of Simply Red fame, the remix on Re-Jiggyed provides a nice, reserved tune that sounds as if you're watching the stars in the bayou, while also keeping up the pace of the original song.
  • Freezeezy Peak:
    • The sheer joy of the main level theme sounds like Christmas personified and is just a great thing to listen to if you want to smile. And if you want your theme extra festive, try the version that plays when the Twinklies have been switched on, with added tubular bells. Holiday merriment in video game musical form.
    • The Twinklies' Journey, which plays during their minigame. As if the Twinklies, being living Christmas lights, weren't cute enough, their music is equally adorable.
    • Bizarrely, the Re-Jiggyed version ditches all sense of Christmas wonder in its composition. Instead, it turns the song into a snazzy ska tune that'll make you bang your head in catchiness.
  • Gobi's Valley. A very catchy theme that will make you want to Walk Like an Egyptian. Even more so with the Re-Jiggyed rendition, where an intimidating chorus is overlapped with gnarly guitar riffs to emphasize the scorching sands and unearthly pyramid traps.
  • Mad Monster Mansion:
    • The main level theme makes first rate use of Ominous Pipe Organ and stock horror film sound effects (hooting owls, howling wolves, croaking frogs) to complement the Gothic horror atmosphere of the level beautifully. If that's not creepy enough, how about a variation with a bit more For Doom the Bell Tolls? The Super Smash Bros. Ultimate version swaps the stock-horror noises with a faster percussion and a haunted chorus to give your brawls some extra "boo"!
    • The cemetery version scales back the instrumentation to almost the bare minimum to evoke the sense of fear at being in a darkened, misty graveyard. And then the gravestones themselves come to life and chase after you...
    • The chapel theme is perhaps the apex of the game's use of Ominous Pipe Organ, haunting in its beauty. In a bit of Genius Bonus, the music manuscript that appears over the organ features an eight-bar excerpt from this tune.
    • Initially, the rendition from Re-Jiggyed goes for an atmospheric approach, making it sound like a song that would befit Banjo-Tooie. Halfway through, however, and it explodes into a heart-pounding, devilish track that highlights how dangerous the Mansion really is.
  • Rusty Bucket Bay:
  • Click Clock Wood has different themes for each of the four seasons, every one a winner. The lobby version is great too, what with how it contrasts with the seasons stages for its calmness.
    • The Spring theme is all flutes, recorders, and boundless energy, fitting the perception of spring as a time of rebirth and new beginnings, getting the player fired up for the marathon level to follow.
    • The Summer theme re-imagines the level's main theme as a gentle waltz, with heavier use of bird and insect sound effects, and just as summer heat usually causes people to slow down a bit, so the music feels as though it has lost some of its vim and vigour thanks to rising temperatures.
    • The Autumn theme perks up a bit after the slower Summer theme, but is more sparsely orchestrated, with the animal sound effects now focusing on birdsong and frogs.
    • Finally, the Winter theme slows down again and strips the orchestration down to just synthetic xylophone, celesta, sleigh bells, and pizzicato strings, while a winter wind blows in the background, all conveying a sense of the plants and creatures of the forest having gone dormant for the cold season.
    • All four renditions are remixed in the Re-Jiggyed rendition into a chiptune that would fit right in with the likes of Conker's Pocket Tales, showing just how good Rare tunes can translate to the likes of the Game Boy.
  • Most sub-areas in the game have themes based on the level's music. Nabnut's House is one of the few to have a totally unique tune that's as long and developed as the main level themes. It's deviously cozy and warm. Similarly there's Gnawty's House in the same world.
  • Furnace Fun takes all your expectations for what you thought was gonna be the final battle, and totally subverts them.
  • The Grunty Boss Battle aptly titled "The Final Battle". A long, drawn out, fast-paced Boss Remix of the lair theme and its variations which perfectly conveys the magnitude of the fight.
  • Roll the Credits! An epic final battle needs a triumphant reprise of the game's main theme to give the right sense of achievement to the player, and Banjo-Kazooie doesn't miss a beat with a finale worthy of everything that has come before.


  • Gloomy Spiral Mountain. The Spiral Mountain theme is a pretty jolly theme. Who knew it could suddenly get so depressing by just playing it in a minor key?
  • In spite of being a Zero-Effort Boss, Klungo managed to get a mildly chaotic, but threatening theme to emphasize how determined he is to stand up for Grunty. It even got a more chaotic remix in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate despite being such a niche theme.
  • Jinjo Village and its darker variant, Hall of the Zombie King.
  • Bottles' House is just so relaxing.
  • Isle o' Hags. Pretty much what a normally happy world threatened by destruction would sound like.
  • The intensely catchy theme for Mayahem Temple. "Come on, have a go! If you think you're hot enough!"
  • Targitzan. It's the intro that really makes it.
  • Glitter Gulch Mine. You'll stay on that level just for the banjo. For an even catchier version of the theme, try the Ordnance Storage theme or the calm version in the Prospector's Hut. For something with deep meaning that comes smack out of nowhere, though, try the version near the entrance to Witchyworld. You can almost see the prospectors marveling at a comet streaking across the sky or something. The only problem is that the tracks get desynchronized due to a glitch, but the video at the link managed to fix that. Old King Coal's theme also provides a nice remix of the theme, along with a more imposing tone.
  • Witchyworld gives us a slow paced, creepy sounding carnival tune very much appropriate for the world given its contents.
  • Mr. Patch's theme.
  • Jolly Roger's Lagoon. It's a sea shanty... and it's awesome. Atlantis plays whenever you're underwater in the level (read: almost all of your time there) and manages to be downright serene.
  • Lord Woo Fak Fak. An epic track that can be easily mistaken for a final boss theme.
  • Terrydactyland has a catchy and primeval feel perfect for the land of dinosaurs it accompanies. Terry's boss theme is also pretty great with Orchestral Bombing fitting the aerial attacks he provides.
  • The infinitely catchy love song to the tuba, Grunty Industries. It also really suits the Industrial wasteland level well. The main factory theme isn't too bad either. Then there's Weldar's theme, a really epic remix that fits really well for a dangerous creature found inside said industrial wasteland.
  • Hailfire Peaks has two stellar compositions, one for the Lava Side, and one for the Ice Side. After that? Try the two halves combined. It's amazing how well two halves of a Variable Mix tune mesh together.
  • Cloud Cuckooland for being really mellow in a level that's anything but (it's called Cloud Cuckooland for goodness sake).
  • Mingy Jongo. Somebody at Rare thought it was a good idea to remix the very chill Mumbo's Skull theme of all things for use in a boss battle. It worked beautifully.
  • Cauldron Keep. Probably the most foreboding piece in the whole series and really serves to highlight how much more evil Grunty has become over the course of the series.
  • The HAG 1 boss theme, which is a long tune like Grunty's boss theme in the previous game, but is a slower, far more imposing song. It easily manages to be thrice as threatening, and yet it's also able to contain the same degree of awesome as its predecessor.
  • Once again, as with the previous game, the Credits Roll is a triumphant tune that gives a sense of relief after such a long journey.

Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts

  • Mumbo's Test-O-Track. It takes about half a minute, but when that familiar tune kicks in...
  • The Jinjo theme gets a gloriously uplifting and whimsical orchestration for the challenges.
  • Showdown Town's theme, which has a wonderfully upbeat and catchy tune that makes exploring the place a delight. And this isn't even taking into account the Variable Mix!
  • BanjoLand, which is a collection of wonderfully nostalgic orchestra takes on Click Clock Wood, Freezeezy Peak, Mad Monster Mansion, Gobi's Valley, Cloudcuckoo Land, Mayahem Temple and Rusty Bucket Bay.
  • LOGBOX 720 and Terrarium of Terror sound like Grant Kirkhope channeling his inner Danny Elfman, and the result is equal parts goofy and sinister.
  • Gruntilda's theme from the first game is orchestrated into the absolutely glorious Grunty Challenge and Grunty's Final Challenge.

Project Dream (what Banjo-Kazooie was originally going to be)

  • Bully and Chase, which sounds a bit like "Mad Monster Mansion" and "Witchy World".
  • Blackeye. A mix of Freezeezy Peak and Gloomy Galleon from Donkey Kong 64.
  • Madeleine. Part of this song was used in Banjo-Kazooie when Tooty runs to her brother Banjo's house and talks to Bottles.
  • Shanty. This song is just beautiful sounding.
  • Big Belly. A song that includes burping and farting.