ReMix:The Legend of Zelda "Zelda Heineken" 3:15

By Mattias Holmgren

Arranging the music of one song...


Primary Game: The Legend of Zelda (Nintendo , 1986, NES), music by Koji Kondo

Posted 2009-05-20, evaluated by the judges panel

Zelda theme on beer bottles? Check. Digg it!

If there's one thing we've seen a lot of listeners request, it's a rendition of Koji Kondo's beloved title theme from the very first Zelda... played on Heineken beer bottles. Actually, that's a lie, but sometimes people don't know what's good for them: Mattias Holmgren's last posted mix was alllllllll the way back in July of 2002, but he marks a triumphant and product-endorsing return here with this premium quality, lager arrangement. He submitted a previous version of this mix using Milwaukee's Best, but our judges panel felt that it lacked the purified water, malted barley, and quality hops and yeast that was necessary for a full-bodied yet satisfying VGM experience. Yes, again, mistruth. However, given Link's penchant for green attire, the choice DOES seem appropriate. Either way, let's get an explanation from the man himself:

"The other day while having the friday beer I came up with a weird idea (as always). Why not make a song totally made up of sounds from a Heineken bottle? So later that evening I went into my studio with a beer, sampled it in all kinds of weird ways. Clapping the bottom (makes for a good and solid bass drum sound), hitting the sides with my nails, a screwdriver and some other stuff.

Then finally to create a melodic instrument with actual tones I sampled the windy sound of blowing into the bottle with different levels of beer in the can (which obviously gives different pitch). I sampled the beer at 5 different levels and at each level I made 4 different distinct sounds (like hard, light, and sustained-note blow). Then some sounds from the cap hitting a table etc.

The sampling sessions gave me 28 samples of Heineken notes (all articulations included) and 25 samples of drum-like sounds from the can, and I was ready to start making some music of it. Well, not yet...actually I had to build the instruments in some sort of sampler and I chose Kontakt 3 since it's my main sampler and I love all it's features.

Building the instrument patches took about 2-3 hours and then I arranged a really experimental remix of Zelda with the sounds...creazy stuff!"

Seriously, pretty awesome. Are we looking at the birth of a whole new line of beverage-themed sample libraries? Probably not, but the art of found sounds can certainly yield some interesting results; I've often thought about trying to put a mix together out of primarily found, sampled sounds, but I never got around to it... clearly I was too busy DRINKING the Heineken (silly me) to see what a lovely sound source its drained carcass provides. Larry says:

"The drinking "Ahhh" SFX at :48 was baller. This was nothing but creative and fun. I would have loved more melodic interpretation, but this was nice and expansive, including some solid original sections that pieced together fine with the main theme. The comping style section got kind of hairy, but resolved OK. Great stuff, and a really unique approach that's already an instant classic with me."

The OTHER Mattias writes:

"Very cool and creative arrangement, much because of the limitations. The different sounds you get from the bottle and how you processed them (the low-pass filtered "drums" especially" are very cool. The mix is for the most part crystal clear and the exception is your own reverb and fx which adds a lot to the soundscape.

The arrangement is interpretive enough to be interesting even if it hadn't been played on bottles. I do think it suffers a bit from loose timing at places, probably a result of pitching samples without a very clear attack, but it doesn't take away much from the piece as a whole. The original section is really cool with the pitch bends and everything, very nice.

All in all this is a unique mix that still manages to fit our guidelines despite the limitations of the idea. Well executed and interesting."

I'm personally not too sure the arrangement would work without a novelty sound source of some kind, because it seems written to the sounds themselves, not around them, but the point is that there's enough going on compositionally that it doesn't just sound like some drunk dude playing the Zelda theme verbatim. This is planned, premeditated Zelda-on-beer-bottles, in the first degree. The multisamping of the blowing, to allow for flares on (presumably) higher velocities, is really quite nice: impressive from a production and to a lesser extent arrangement perspective, this mix is equally impressive as an example of sample mapping and Kontakt expertise. Mattias has been doing some commercial game composition - check out for some cool sample tracks & info. At the time of submission, he was working on two XBOX 360 titles, one DS title and 2 iPhone games - pretty sweet.

So, there you have it: Zelda Heineken. I'll note that you should listen, game, AND drink responsibly, and that this is an unofficial fan work which in no way represents endorsement of, by, or between Heineken, Nintendo, or OverClocked ReMix. After Civ4 and Doug's percussion-only CT mix, it does seem like we're seeing a lot of fresh approaches; good to see Mattias back and glad to hear he's rockin' the dream, making some awesome music, and apparently still able to spend some quality time with a beer bottle.



Latest 15 comments/reviews; view the complete thread or post your own.
on 2017-02-02 12:29:05

Nintendo and Heineken need to have this in a commercial for the new zelda. Missed opportunities here people

Daniel Caton
on 2015-12-02 21:19:54

I agree that this one’s definitely a bit gimmicky. But golly, it’s a nice gimmick! The bottle sounds are pleasant, cleanly recorded, and dang it, the novelty factor’s pretty high. Even so, the original parts about halfway through give it a lot of its own style. And while the timing errors Mr. Other Matthias mentioned are certainly present, I kind of think it just adds some imperfection, that famous human quality, to the song. A gold star from me.

on 2013-02-22 13:18:11

FASCINATING. i admire anyone who can make quality music with something that is generally a disposable object. or just unconventionally. wowzers

on 2009-12-29 22:01:31

Yes, the novelty factor here is extremely high (but I don't think it's as high as some people think, imo). Yes, it also sticks kinda close to the source.

BUT this is probably one of the more important and fascinating mixes to appear within the last year because it questions some of the most basic assumptions of arrangement. It addresses issues not of style or source but of substance. It speaks to me that there is a whole dang lot of uncharted territory and originality that has yet to be explored!

Needless to say, this is, imo, a timeless piece that hopefully will be enjoyed for a long time.

on 2009-12-22 02:11:38

yeah, I have to agree with Halc on this one. The novelty factor here is through the roof and I enjoy showing this one to friends, but from a more objective standpoint this isn't very engaging past the first 30 seconds or so, once the neatness of the samples wears off.

I appreciate the amount of effort that must have gone into making this, but I think I'll have to pass on this one :?

on 2009-12-02 14:36:59

Yeah, this one is gimmicky... I can appreciate the use of homemade and self-recorded samples (I would sooo use those beer bottle samples, if I could get 'em :), and the production quality is high, but the arrangment falls way short of the standards imo. When this was first posted I was expecting an orchestra of blown bottle sounds, but was left with but a single moving line and a few interesting percussive ideas throughout. Underwhelming, but a fun listen regardless.

on 2009-07-04 23:42:04

Great novelty piece given plenty of attention in the last couple of months. I had friends that had never heard of OCR linking me to it.

I think as a novelty it is quite successful, although there is a point where you reach a bit of bottle fatigue. When the fun wears off and you begin searching for musical sustenance, I think you'll still find some enjoyable aspects, but its not top-tier in arrangement beyond the gimmick.

There's no doubt that this is enjoyable and sounds great (I like how simple bottle samples channel South American panflutes quite closely), but there's also a large amount of potential ready to be tapped for mixes like this. My worst nightmare would be for OCR to turn into a novelty mix haven, but one of these every so often is a nice surprise. Keep up the good work.

on 2009-07-01 05:48:59

Can't argue with the amount of effort put into the sounds and playing. However, this is just too gimmicky for me. I don't see the appeal in the sounds at all. The arrangement wasn't mind-blowing, either.

Martin Penwald
on 2009-06-11 16:30:21

I'm with djp on this one, in that I don't think the arrangement would have been enough on its own, i.e. the novelty factor helped to get the song on OCR a fair bit.

But then again, what does it matter. It's a great idea, and the song itself is good times, too.

on 2009-06-09 01:58:35

Mozart had an ear, Brahms his love for Clara, and Mr. Holmgren. . beer

Well guess we all gotta start from somewhere 8-O

CC Ricers
on 2009-06-08 15:52:36

You got some pretty good sounds out of this. I hope you do more. What about Link to the Pabst? :lol:

on 2009-06-01 11:44:15

Next round is on me, guys!

Creative and fun, and the little bits of bottle percussion are my fav. :-D

on 2009-05-29 00:21:34

Absolutly great! Talk about a twist from outta no where. VERY CREATIVE! I love it!

Makes me.....thirsty ;-)

on 2009-05-27 11:27:29

A great mix done with a twist. i love it.

on 2009-05-25 10:18:42

I agree there are some timing issues, but overall it sounds really good. The percussive sounds are more interesting than the melodic ones, imho. At 1:30 or so this reminds me a lot of the Age of Empires soundtrack, probably thanks to the combination of pitched blowing sounds and drums.

I'm not sure about the title - I think "Legend of Heineken" or even "Heineken Zelda" would have been better.

There's been a few fun mixes posted recently - I hope it keeps up.

Sources Arranged (1 Song)

Primary Game:
The Legend of Zelda (Nintendo , 1986, NES)
Music by Koji Kondo

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