As originally reported on, the fantastic soundtrack for Shovel Knight by Jake “Virt” Kaufman (with contribution’s by Mega Man composer Manami Matsumae) has been out and available for download at a Pay-What-You-Want price on Bandcamp for a little while now. The the music, as well as the game itself, has been described by most as both a a love letter to the NES and Genesis-era of video games, though it’s probably more appropriate to say the music and game are faithful evolutions of the retro-gaming genre. The inspirations from popular past franchises is evident in every nook and cranny of the sidescrolling platformer’s construction, but it does well enough on its own that the term “cookie-cutter” would not be giving the game enough credit, nor the music.
And there is a significant amount of music, and an additional album of arranged music by various artists on top of the original soundtrack’s ensemble as well. Shovel Knight may have had those who pledged to the game’s Kickstarter biting their nails in anticipation, but it certainly did good on its promise to deliver….in spades! (sorry, I’ll keep the puns to a minimum) Today, I’ll finally be focusing on Strike the Earth! Shovel Knight Arranged.
Back in February of this year, composer Jimmy “Big Giant Circles” Hinson released a Kickstarter funded album titled The Glory Days. A spiritual sequel to one of his earlier albums, Impostor Nostalgia, this new project featured original music written in the style of chiptunes and old-school videogame music. Part of the original Kickstarter stretch goals included the eventual release of a remix album, which the Kickstarter achieved.
The time has finally come for the release of this extra album. Each remix track comes from members of the game music community. Artists contributing on the album include Stemage, Chipzel, and C418. The Glory Days Remixed is set to launch on August 27th and you can pre-order it on the Big Giant Circles Bandcamp page.
Creators of a new game documentary have launched a Kickstarter. The project titled Beep is intending to take a look at the history of game music and sound. Everything from the old school sounds of arcade games all the way to the games of today. The focus isn’t just on the music of these games. The documentary will also be an exploration of audio design, voice work, and the use of chiptune and other game sound technology outside of the gaming medium. A book will also accompany the documentary to supply more detailed information about the various subjects covered in the film.
There are already plans for interviews with major members of the game audio community. Raising money through Kickstarter will aid the creators in being able to travel and interview composers and sound designers. Several composers have already been named for interviews including Tommy Tallarico, Winifred Phillips, Shota Nakama, Peter McConnell, and many more.
Rewards for backers include copies of the documentary, book, soundtrack, t-shirts, and many other physical rewards. The Kickstarter has already raised over $15,000 of the needed $40,000 pledge goal. If this sounds like a project you’d like to see made, definitely check this Kickstarter out.
Ever wonder if any video game music bands, nerdcore artists or chiptune peeps are in your area? Well, for your stalking pleasure, you now can find out where your favorite artists hail from! (note: please no actual stalking; nobody likes a creeper)
First Lady of Chiptunes, Erin “Ryn” McQuisten of Chiptunes = WIN has created a Google Map documenting the locations of a hefty list of the current scene’s video game bands, Nerdcore Artists, Visualists and Chiptune Artists from around the globe! An interesting little piece of valuable info if you happen to have some musical artists near you that you may have never known about. (I never knew that chiptune band The Revengineers were right near me!)
Need more Random aka Mega Ran in your life? Then you may want to consider pre-order his new tour documentary Mega-Lo-Mania! Coming in more digital and physical formats, the documentary will chronicle the chip-hop artist’s recent tour and appearance at PAX. Along with the 33-minute film, directed by Michael Cardoza as he followed Mega Ran and soul/funk band The Lo-Classic, you’ll also be receiving 5 never-released recordings and some other goodies.
“I had a blast. It didn’t totally go as I’d expected, but I think that’s the best story to tell; that it won’t always work out 100% according to plan, and that making adjustments on the fly is such a big part of what we do. I love the way the documentary came out.” – Mega Ran
Need more to convince you? Here’s a sneak peak of one of the exclusive live band recordings to be released with the documentary:
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night – “Aria Of The Bloodline” (Live Practice Instrumental)
Who doesn’t want more festivals and conventions based around video game music and media? (rhetorical question, of course) A new event, “Gamer’s Rhapsody“, has been created to show just how large the community surrounding video art and music has become over the past few years.
Gamer’s Rhapsody is a new convention that recognizes all the people who work on video games. This is to celebrate all the animators, storywriters, and composers that work endlessly to bring you the video games that you love. Gamer’s Rhapsody is the only convention in Minnesota that connects gamers and artists, celebrating the art that goes into creating video games.
The event will be held in Minneapolis, MN on November 16th and 17th at the downtown St. Paul Double Tree Hotel, and so far is slated to feature:
Disasterpeace (composer of Fez, Runner2, and The Floor Is Jelly)
Emily Reese (host of Minnesota Public Radio’s Top Score program)
OverClocked ReMix (arrangers and community members from the game music remixing destination)
More guests, performers, professional artists and more are sure to be announced as the event draw closer. The event also features an art room with art contest, jam room and exhibitor’s room. Currently registration is at $43.50 until October 2nd, when it will increase by $5.
I wasn’t sure what to make of this album. I have listened to and reviewed game composers remixing game music before, but I have never reviewed an album of original compositions by game composers, that aren’t attached to any games. I admit I was dubious. Also, looking at the list of composers, I was only familiar with a few of them, most notably Akira Yamaoka, composer for the Silent Hill series. This album raised another question for me. Do I listen to game music because I associate the music with the game, or is the music good in its own right? I personally believe that there are elements of of both and I find an album comprised of original music from game composers to be very interesting. Will the music follow gaming tropes and conventions, or will the composers write music purely for the album and allow their music talents to flourish. Let’s find out what this “East meets West” album had to offer. (more…)
MAGFest 13officially opened to the public for event registration and hotel reservations as of yesterday afternoon. The music & gaming festival, being held this year at a slightly different time a bit later in January and on a Friday to Monday stretch instead of the usual Thursday to Sunday, announced the start of their pre-event hype with the return of Machinae Supremacy, who debuted at the event last year as one of the headliners. Supremacy released 6 minutes of music from their upcoming album “Phantom Shadow” just last month, and is sure to have some of this new material primed and ready for MAG 13.
As usual, MAGFest will release more guest and band announcements within the coming months, so keep an eye here and on our Facebook page for updates. Pre-Registration for MAGFest 13 starts at $40 for full event admission with various supporter and group options. Rooms at the Gaylord National Harbor are currently open for reservation as well. (though are experiencing some difficulties through the website, so be sure to check with MAGFest about any booking issues) With Machinae being announced first, who knows what other big names could grace the halls and stages of the Gaylord this year.
If you don’t know who game music hip-hop artist Random aka. Mega Ran is, then shame on you and go do yourself as favor and check him out. (it’s worth it) For those of us who do know who Mega Ran is, then we just got a little treat to kick off the artist’s North American tour. Just released was a brand new bonus track for The Call: 8-bit Anniversary Edition called “T.U.R.T.L.E. Power“, complete with music video along with nerdcore rapper Klopfenpop.
“The TMNT arcade games were some of my favorite memories of being a kid. We spent pockets full of quarters on those games. I wanted to revisit those awesome childhood moments with this video.” – Mega Ran
Mega Ran starts his tour this weekend and goes all month with the following dates:
August 8-11: Orlando, FL @ Orlando Nerd Fest August 12: Jacksonville, FL @ Raindogs August 13: Atlanta, GA @ TBA August 14: Baton Rouge, LA @Spanish Moon August 15: San Antonio, TX @ 502 Bar August 16: Austin, TX @ Classic Game Fest August 17: Ft. Worth, TX @ The Grotto August 22: Phoenix, AZ @ FilmBar (Mega-Lo-Manialive premiere)* August 25: Portland, OR @ Ground Kontrol* August 26: Bellingham, WA @Glow* August 27: Vancouver BC @ Columbia Theatre* August 29: Seattle, WA @ LoFi
Fellow fans of Mega Man music, this will be a good year for us. Thanks to a deal with Sumthing Else Music Works and Capcom, there will be a digital release of the original Mega Man soundtracks in the west. Each volume consists of music from one of the Mega Man games, meaning that there will be individual digital soundtracks available for Mega Man 1-10. In addition to the NES versions of the music, the soundtrack volumes also include tracks from the PlayStation versions of the games.
The first four volumes are currently available, with the remaining six due to come out this year. Two volumes are planned to be released every month up through November of 2014. These volumes are based off of the 25th Anniversary “Rockcan” box set that was previously released in Japan. While it’s a shame that the west won’t have a physical release of the set, it’s nice to see that we will still be able to obtain the official digital soundtracks. The first four Mega Man soundtrack volumes can be purchased on Amazon, iTunes, and the Sumthing Else Music website.
It was July 31st, 1989 when the portable device known as the Gameboy was released in North American by Nintendo and introduced the concept of gaming on the fly. Now, 25 years later, a few of the artists over at Overclocked Remix have dedicated an entire 15-track album to commemorate the occasion. Legacy: Game Boy 25th Anniversary is the 49th arrangement album released by OCRemix, headed by artists Brandon Strader and Alexandre “Chernabogue” Mourey and featuring a good assortment of music from a good stock of other various artists arranging from various Gameboy titles.
Castlevania II: Belmont’s Revenge – “Whip This Beat” by Helicopter Knife Fight
“We remixed this music because we love the Game Boy, and video game music. A lot of game developers were inspired by Gunpei Yokoi who was the visionary creator of the Game Boy and ushered in a vast future of handheld gaming. This album is dedicated to him. “
Because Jake “Virt” Kaufman can’t seem to take a break if he tried, it looks like he’s involved with yet another Kickstarter project hot off the heels of the recent release of his fantastic work on Shovel Knight. This time around, however, it’s for VR systems such as the Oculus, putting it in a unique position. Vanguard Valkyrie is a 3rd-person rail shooter designed for virtual reality headsets and looks quite impression gameplay-wise. The music is sure to rank right up there with the gameplay (and maybe even beyond) as Kaufman is also joined by guitarist Dan “Danimal Cannon” Behrens (ArmCannon, Metroid Metal) and newcomer musician Meganeko.
Vanguard Valyrie sports the very hefty pricetag of $198,000 for a game meant for a still very-new market in virtual reality. The major of people who currently have access to an Oculus Rift are game media and developers, and the pricetag for the general public is steep for new hardware that isn’t even in its final form. While I have my own opinions about the success of such a lofty project, there’s no doubt Virt and Danimal Cannon will be rocking the music for the game to the high echelons of awesome.