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Featured, Game Music, Indie Music

The Sound of Spellcraft: Mages of Mystralia The Original Soundtrack (Review)

The Sound of Spellcraft: Mages of Mystralia The Original Soundtrack (Review)

Email This Post Share on Facebook The Sound of Spellcraft: Mages of Mystralia The Original Soundtrack (Review)Tweet This Post Print This Post 06.24.17 | | Comment?

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I have been listening to the Mages of Mystralia Original Soundtrack for almost a month now.  The music was composed by Antoine Vachon who we profiled on Original Sound Version back in 2015. At that time the Montreal, based composer had scored the music for some short films and mini games. In the spring of 2015 he released three preview tracks for Mages of Mystralia which resulted in the soundtrack making my most anticipated scores of 2017 list. The full soundtrack was released with the game on May 18, 2017 and you can read on for my full review of the score.

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Game Music

Akira Yamaoka scores the new Astro Boy Card Battler

Akira Yamaoka scores the new Astro Boy Card Battler

Email This Post Share on Facebook Akira Yamaoka scores the new Astro Boy Card BattlerTweet This Post Print This Post 06.23.17 | | Comment?

Akira Yamaoka scores the new Astro Boy Card Battler

Osamu Tezuka’s much loved Astro Boy is returning to the realm of games in Astro Boy: Edge of Time from Active Gaming Media. It brings with it an edgier art style, free-to-play Collectible Card Game action, and a soundtrack from famed Silent Hill composer, Akira Yamaoka.

Much of that edgy art was designed by members of Grasshopper Manufacture who released 2016’s Souls-like, Let it Die, for which Yamaoka also composed the music. In Astro Boy, however, Yamaoka has seemingly moved from his trademark “spooky” style into a more upbeat electronic vibe fit to back up the pensive sci-fi card battling.

The soundtrack has been released alongside the game this week and is currently only available as DLC on Steam for $9.99. Fortunately, if you’re interested in hearing the album’s eleven tracks you can check it out for free for yourself. Or, if card battling isn’t your thing (it’s definitely not mine) just watch the commentary-free footage above to get a sampling.

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Doujin, Events

Street Fighter II Charity Album to Benefit Richmond, VA Schools

Street Fighter II Charity Album to Benefit Richmond, VA Schools

Email This Post Share on Facebook Street Fighter II Charity Album to Benefit Richmond, VA SchoolsTweet This Post Print This Post 06.22.17 | | Comment?

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Twenty producers, DJs, and emcees from Richmond, Virginia are excited to present a collaborative hip-hop tribute charity album featuring the iconic melodies from Street Fighter II. Street Fighter: The RVA Warrior has been released to benefit Richmond-based Building a Better RPS charitable organization to benefit public schools in the area and includes radio host Black Liquid, members of Gritty City Records, DJs Phil Dice, 8-Bit Mullet, and Dope Solo/Sultans, a co-founder of the Party Liberation Front and more.
I was excited to receive so much interest once I shared the concept with the collaborators. It’s been a great way to connect with other artists, support a good cause, and have fun re-living a game that each of us grew up loving despite our different backgrounds. – Alan “8-Bit Mullet” Brymer

A release show and fundraising event will be held at Garden Grove Brewery on Thursday, June 22nd, at 8:00pm and will feature Street Fighter II-themed drinks. The show, which will also be streamed live on Twitch, will include a Street Fighter II tournament, costume contest, and live art by Amy Black, a prominent tattoo artist. You can check out more on the event’s Facebook page and join in for a good cause.

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Game Music

Mondo Records Announces Super Castlevania IV Release

Mondo Records Announces Super Castlevania IV Release

Email This Post Share on Facebook Mondo Records Announces Super Castlevania IV ReleaseTweet This Post Print This Post 06.20.17 | | 3 Comments

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Mondo has announced that they will be making available the fourth installment of their Castlevania vinyl series with the appropriate release of Super Castlevania IV.

Hi all – this week, in anticipation of the newly announced Netflix Original Series, we will be releasing the next chapter in our ongoing CASTLEVANIA soundtrack series! It’s one of our favorites of the series, and quite possibly one of our favorite video game soundtrack of all time: the Super Nintendo classic SUPER CASTLEVANIA IV.

Unlike the previous iterations of Castlevania music on the NES games, the soundtrack for Super Castlevania IV was able to utilize synthesized instrumentation to achieve a darker and more atmospheric soundtrack, as opposed to the punchier sounds of the NES sound chip. Released in 1991 and one of the first games released shortly after the launch of the SNES, Super Castlevania IV and it’s soundtrack are considered to be some of the franchise’s best work.

Video credited to scigamerfan07

Looking at this pre-release, I wish I could say I was excited for this album, but I’m really not. While I’ve been critical of Mondo’s artistic choices for the Castlevania albums in the past (I thought the Dracula’s Curse front cover was ridiculously hipster and trying too hard to be artsy rather than recognizable), this particular album art comes off looking lazy. For an officially-released and licensed video game soundtrack album, the artwork looks dull and cartoonish and does not at all mimic the dynamic design of the original game box art. The back cover might be a bit more detailed, but it doesn’t make up for the poor design choice of the front. It’s simply an opinion since the game features my favorite soundtrack of the whole franchise and this is an design critique, but I believe the art choice fails to do credit to the legacy that is Super Castlevania IV.

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It also makes me curious that the composers for Super Castlevania IV, Masanori Adachi and Taro Kudo (under pseudonyms Sotaro Tojima and Masanori Oodachi), are not credited properly. All of the Mondo albums simply list Konami Kukeiha Club with the music credits, which was Konami’s catch-all group listing for their sound team used at the time of SCV4 and other Konami games so that their musicians wouldn’t be poached by other game companies. However composer credits are widely available these days, even on Wikipedia, so why not give credit where it’s due? One wonders if this is dictation from Konami as part of the licensing agreement, or perhaps something else. Hopefully it holds no baring on the quality of the music itself, which has been (appropriately) criticized in the past.

Mondo will be releasing its Super Castlevania IV June 21st at noon (CST) on 2x 180 Gram Bronze and Gold Split Vinyl (Limited to 1,000 Copies) – or – 2x 180 Gram Silver with Red Splatter for $30. They’re also have copies of the Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse vinyl back in stock. Mondo boasts one more installment in their Castlevania line with Symphony of the Night to be likely announced later this year.

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Game Music

Lost Sphear's Western Pre-order Bonus includes two special tracks by Composer Tomoki Miyoshi!

Lost Sphear’s Western Pre-order Bonus includes two special tracks by Composer Tomoki Miyoshi!

Email This Post Share on Facebook Lost Sphear’s Western Pre-order Bonus includes two special tracks by Composer Tomoki Miyoshi!Tweet This Post Print This Post 06.19.17 | | Comment?

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Sqaure Enix and Tokyo RPG Factory recently shared more details on Lost Sphear, the next game from the studio that produced the wonderful I Am Setsuna. Lost Sphear‘s plot is about a young man who witnesses a strange reality altering phenomena who then has to use the power of memory to restore the world. The game will also feature a Chrono Trigger style battle system.  You can watch the first trailer for the game below which ends with the message that the “Limited Run Physical Edition with two special tracks by composer Tomoki Miyoshi.

I reached out to Tomoki Miyoshi on twitter earlier this month about whether or not he was returning to score Lost Sphear. On June 1, 2017 he reported back to say that, “Yes, I am very thankful and happy to be working again with Tokyo RPG Factory on their next installment! I felt so moved by the incredible support of people, that I received for my involvement in ‘I Am Setsuna’, and so I made sure to pour even more energy and gratitude into every part of this next soundtrack.” During E3 the game was also previewed here and more details on the game’s soundtrack were revealed. Lost Sphear’s soundtrack will move beyond I Am Setsuna‘s focus on piano to be a more robust orchestral soundtrack. You can listen to these comments in the video below at around 3:20 into the video.

Lost Sphear is expected to be released on Playstation 4 and Steam in early 2018. You can pre-order the game directly from the game’s official website. The site also features some lovely music. Are you excited for Lost Sphear?

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Events, Game Music

The Golden State Pops Orchestra returns to Games on July 15th

The Golden State Pops Orchestra returns to Games on July 15th

Email This Post Share on Facebook The Golden State Pops Orchestra returns to Games on July 15thTweet This Post Print This Post 06.16.17 | | Comment?

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The Golden State Pops Orchestra is turning its focus back to games again with a third installment of their Video Game Soundtracks series, coming to Los Angeles on July 15th. We last covered the orchestra in 2009 when Jayson attended their second performance and in the intervening years they’ve polished up their setlist for the new show. The full list is still under wraps but some of the highlights announced so far include music from:

  • Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture
  • World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor
  • Chime Sharp
  • Prince of Persia
  • Civilization IV & VI
  • Star Wars Battlefront
  • Halo
  • Afrika

Some of these are returning titles from past performances but I’m always happy to see AFRIKA getting a spotlight. Chime Sharp will also be an interesting one to see performed live. Speaking of spotlights, the show will feature some new visual presentations to accompany the music and a handful of special guests and performers that will also be announced as the show draws nearer.

The GSPO’s Video Game Soundtracks performance will be held at the Los Angeles Theatre on Saturday, July 15th. Tickets go on sale June 15h and can be purchased through the orchestra’s website here. We’ll be back with more details on the show as they roll out.

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Game Music, Japanese

Listen to Super Mario Odyssey's full-length Vocal Theme

Listen to Super Mario Odyssey’s full-length Vocal Theme

Email This Post Share on Facebook Listen to Super Mario Odyssey’s full-length Vocal ThemeTweet This Post Print This Post 06.15.17 | | Comment?

Listen to Super Mario Odyssey's full-length Vocal Theme

There was a whole lot to take in during Super Mario Odyssey’s spotlight on Nintendo’s E3 stream but what really grabbed me was that song. The vocal theme, presumably sung by Mario’s old flame, Pauline, amps up the action with Swing style and some outstanding lyrics. I haven’t been as energized or surprised by Mario music since the very first Super Mario Galaxy trailers.

Even better, the version that accompanies Odyssey’s trailer turned out to be a shortened edit which Nintendo played in full at the end of their Treehouse stream this week. YouTube user Trogdorbad was kind enough to clean it up and even transcribed the lyrics with the help of commenters so we can all sing along to lines like “put a comb through that ‘stache, now you’ve got panache!”

Take a listen above and if you haven’t already, check out Nintendo’s official trailer and showfloor demo of Super Mario Odyssey. It’s out on the Nintendo Switch on October 27th.

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Game Music, Japanese

Metroid: Samus Returns special edition will include Series Soundtrack

Metroid: Samus Returns special edition will include Series Soundtrack

Email This Post Share on Facebook Metroid: Samus Returns special edition will include Series SoundtrackTweet This Post Print This Post 06.14.17 | | 3 Comments

 

Metroid: Samus Returns special edition will include Series Soundtrack

Revealed today during Nintendo’s E3 Treehouse stream was Metroid: Samus Returns. It’s a 3DS remake of the Game Boy title Metroid II: Return of Samus (see what they did there with the title?) with some fairly major gameplay tweaks. Also revealed was the game’s September 15th release date and the announcement of a special edition package that includes the “Samus Archives Sound Selection” CD.

The album title reminds me of collections like the Nintendo Sound History series or the more recent 30th anniversary albums for Mario and Zelda. Details are scarce at the moment but the album will highlight music across the Metroid series. Check out the newly revealed Metroid: Samus Returns trailer above and get ready to pre-order from your retailer of choice!

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Game Music, Indie Music

Hover: Revolt of Gamers summons Jet Set Radio, OST out now

Hover: Revolt of Gamers summons Jet Set Radio, OST out now

Email This Post Share on Facebook Hover: Revolt of Gamers summons Jet Set Radio, OST out nowTweet This Post Print This Post 06.13.17 | | 2 Comments

Hover: Revolt of Gamers summons Jet Set Radio, OST out now

Touted as a spiritual successor or indie revival of Sega’s beloved Jet Set Radio, Hover: Revolt of Gamers just launched on Steam at the end of May and the soundtrack release has followed closely behind. Just as the visuals and gameplay are inspired by the vivid cel-shading and skate-grinding of Jet Set, the music calls to mind the funky electronic jams of the original games.

In fact, Midgar Studio was able to enlist the help of one of Jet Set’s key composers for Hover, Hideki Naganuma. He provides the first two tracks on the album with the remaining 14 songs composed by Cédric Menendez. It isn’t immediately as flashy as Jet Set’s mish-mash of genres but the breakbeats and jams are quite enjoyable as I’ve been listening this morning. Check it out for yourself above and grab the album on Bandcamp for €5 if it gets your toe tapping.

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Events, Game Music

Gareth Coker Returns for Ori and the Will of the Wisps!

Gareth Coker Returns for Ori and the Will of the Wisps!

Email This Post Share on Facebook Gareth Coker Returns for Ori and the Will of the Wisps!Tweet This Post Print This Post 06.12.17 | | Comment?

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On June 11, 2017, during E3, XBOX announced the sequel to the critically acclaimed Ori and the Blind Forest. The new game will be called Ori and The Will of the Wisps, and the best part is that Gareth Coker is returning to score the game. Gareth Coker was on hand for the presentation to play the piano accompaniment for the trailer too! You can watch the teaser trailer featuring his music below:

Gareth Coker has already made the teaser music available on his bandcamp site. You can listen to it here, and you can hear that both the Nashville Music Scoring Orchestra, and Aeralie Brighton whose vocals graced the first score have also returned.

The game itself looks absolutely stunning but I’m not gonna lie, I’m more excited about the music. Are you excited for Ori and the Will of the Wisps?

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Featured, Game Music, Indie Music, Music Production

INTERVIEW: Composer Jon Everist talks to us about BattleTech, and scoring for video games

INTERVIEW: Composer Jon Everist talks to us about BattleTech, and scoring for video games

Email This Post Share on Facebook INTERVIEW: Composer Jon Everist talks to us about BattleTech, and scoring for video gamesTweet This Post Print This Post 06.08.17 | | Comment?

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With the late summer release date quickly approaching for the upcoming Harebrained Schemes BattleTech, we took some time to talk to composer Jon Everist his work on the music for the game. He has also composed music for the games Shadowrun: Dragonfall, Shadowrun: Hong Kong, Necropolis and Planetstorm: Fallen Horizon which recently came to Android. In the interview the composer shares details about his musical background, how he approached scoring Battletech, working with the Budapest Scoring Symphony and more. Read on for our full interview:

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Doujin

Listen To: Chrono Trigger's 'Secret of the Forest' by Reuben Gingrich

Listen To: Chrono Trigger’s ‘Secret of the Forest’ by Reuben Gingrich

Email This Post Share on Facebook Listen To: Chrono Trigger’s ‘Secret of the Forest’ by Reuben GingrichTweet This Post Print This Post 06.07.17 | | 1 Comment

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It’s always a fun little treat when you come across a band or musician who normally does their own thing with original music in their own style, but then suddenly breaks out a video game cover. (I’m looking at you, Mutoid Man) It’s like getting a neat little surprise in your cereal box.

Jazz musician Reuben Gingrich recently released his first album, Blue Island, which features 11 tracks of what his Bandcamp describes as “Space Funk to the Dome”. It’s all enjoyable stuff to listen to for some chill tunes so you should check it out on its own merits, but nestled in the middle of the album is delightful tribute to Chrono Trigger‘s “Secret of the Forest”.

The original song, composed by Yasunori Mitsuda, is the theme of the Guardia Forest from the Chrono Trigger Original Soundtrack. The song and video production done by Gingrich are both top notch and worth the attention. You can check out the entire Blue Island album on Bandcamp and Spotify.

What hidden gems of video game music have you found buried within seemingly innocuous original music albums before? Share them with us in the comments!

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