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The String Arcade — available today — beautifully combines video game music with string instruments

This carefully curated selection of video game tracks has never sounded so classy.

The String Arcade is appropriately named for a collection composed entirely of string-quartet arrangements of video game tracks. The Kickstarter-funded album releases today and is available as a digital download on iTunes, Loudr, Amazon, and other digital stores for $10.You can also buy a physical CD recording on BandCamp for $12, which includes two exclusive bonus tracks and free streaming. All profits from sales will fund the Alameda Music Project (AMP), a music-intensive after-school program for elementary school children in the Alameda, Calif. The AMP is set to begin in September.

The album has several nostalgic songs from classic games. Sonic the Hedgehog 2? It’s here. Galaga? Yes. And let’s be real — they couldn’t have omitted the Legend of Zelda, right? They didn’t!

Besides the classics, more recent selections impress. I never thought that a song from Plants Vs. Zombies could be such an elegant experience. The album also includes a few tracks from more obscure titles like Facebook game Ravenshire Castle and mobile game graBLOX that are every bit as artful as the more familiar numbers.

In fact, it shouldn’t matter if you haven’t heard any of the original versions. “I’ve never understood why someone would cover a song by playing it exactly like the original artist played it,” said composer Dren McDonald in a press release. “A lot of thought went into choosing music that would work as an experience from top to bottom.” Accordingly, tracks on The String Arcade are creative adaptations rather than precise copies of the source material. They are all performed by San Francisco Bay Area musicians, except for a special appearance by the Boston-based Videri String Quartet.

Organizers have planned a release party, open to the public with the purchase of a ticket, for March 7. The event features a live performance by The String Arcade players and plenty of classic arcade and console games to play.

Here is the full list of 15 tracks (and two bonus tracks, exclusive to the CD version) on the album:

  • “Grasswalk” (Plants vs. Zombies)
  • “Echos of Ecco” (Ecco the Dolphin)
  • “Ferdinand Wanders Out For a Late Night Haircut” (Pettington Park)
  • “Engii” (FTL – Faster Than Light)
  • “Sonic 2 Scherzo” (Sonic the Hedgehog 2)
  • “Outlaws Title Theme” (Outlaws)
  • “Medicated Cow Walks the Cobbled Streets with Disgruntled Goat” (Ravenshire Castle)
  • “Scurvy Scallywags Theme” (Scurvy Scallywags in the Voyage to Discover the Ultimate Sea Shanty)
  • “Scabb Cemetery/International House of Mojo” (The Secret of Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge)
  • “Altered Beast Title Theme” (Altered Beast) *CD bonus track
  • “Optimism For an Improvement in The John Situation” (original composition by Dren McDonald)
  • “Turret Suite” (Portal 2)
  • “Minecraft Title Theme” (Minecraft)
  • “Tron Arcade Medley” (Tron) *CD bonus track
  • “Tango Down” (graBLOX)
  • “Dance of the Space Bugs” (Galaga)
  • “The Legend of Zelda Title Theme” (The Legend of Zelda)

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