If you’re looking for your weekend fix of game music and are a Final Fantasy VII fan, then the gaming music gods have smiled upon you this day. Community remix creator Materia Collective has released a massive 5-disk arrangement album in anticipation of the remake of FF7, dubbed MATERIA: Final Fantasy VII Remixed.
To this day, Final Fantasy VII remains a fan favorite for its in-depth story, wide cast of characters, and its memorable soundtrack. Listeners will enjoy every track from Final Fantasy VII remixed, arranged, and re-imagined across a variety of genres, including the cinematic and beautiful “Main Theme from Final Fantasy VII,” the tribal “Cosmo Canyon,” the laid back “Costa del Sol,” the heartbreaking “Aerith’s Theme,” and the epic final battle theme, “One-Winged Angel” along with all the rest. Featured artists include composers Will Roget, II (Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris), Jeff Ball (TimeSpinner), Dale North (Dragon Fantasy Book II), Francisco Cerda and John Robert Matz (Gunpoint), Kyle Landry, Smooth McGroove, Laura Intravia, String Player Gamer, Doug Perry, Kristin Naigus, Rozen, Videri String Quartet, Triforce Quartet and many more. – Sebastian Wolff; Materia Collective Founder
With over five hours worth of arrangements of the entire Final Fantasy VII soundtrack originally composed by Nobuo Uemastu, the album is currently free to listen to on Spotify and iTunes, and available to purchase on Loudr.fm for $15 and is sure to tickle the fancy of many Final Fantasy fans who are hunkered down and awaiting the game’s announced future remake.
For our second Halloween themed remix, I thought I’d take a look at the music of a horror game from the PlayStaion era. Particularly one that had a different approach to a horror music. One that jumped to mind immediately was Square Soft’s Parasite Eve. The game’s soundtrack was composed by Yoko Shimomura and used a mix of electronica and classical music genres. While it might not be as creepy or unsettling as other horror soundtracks, it had some memorable themes that fit well with the game world.
This arrangement, titled “Beauty’s Abomination,” comes to us from Reuben Kee who provides a solo piano interpretation of the “Main Theme” from Parasite Eve. This is actually a somewhat appropriate choice, considering the original “Main Theme” track also features the piano.
Despite relying on the same main instrument for the arrangement, this piece has a different tone from the original track. Kee takes a minimalist approach to the music, with a very simple presentation of the melody and a light amount of accompaniment. The beginning in particular maintains a haunting quality that immediately grabbed my attention.
The arrangement does build up a bit around the 2’22” mark, giving the listener some brief dramatic moments in the music. Aside from that, the piece maintains a tranquil and hypnotic tone throughout. All in all, it’s a simple and elegant interpretation that sticks close to the source material in terms of instrumentation, while still distinguishing itself in some subtle ways.
Have you heard any interesting arrangements, remixes, or covers of your favorite horror game music? Let us know in the comments below. You can check out and download “Beauty’s Abomination” on OC Remix.
Let it never be lamented that the beloved composers of our childhood fade into obscurity with the modern age of gaming. Having not too long ago been slated to work on Unraveled: Tale of the Shipbreakers Daughter, Secret of Mana composer Hiroki Kikuta is now attached to two other promising indie games currently in fund-raising mode.
The first is PIXEL NOIR, where Kikuta will be working alongside the game’s audio composer Kunal Majmudar to help shape the sound of the gritty RPG.”
Kikuta-san has been an inspiration to me throughout my life. From the first few notes of ‘Fear of the Heavens’ and watching the birds fly past the Mana Tree, I knew I was playing something truly special with Secret of Mana. I’m left completely breathless at this opportunity to work with one of my heroes.” – Kunal Majmudar
“When I was first approached by the team at SWDTech Games, I was deeply impressed by the unique world and vision that they shared in creating PIXEL NOIR. My mind immediately began racing as to how PIXEL NOIR might sound, and I’m looking forward to collaborating with their talented team!” -Hiroki Kikuta
PIXEL NOIR has currently been funded on their Kickstarter, but is seeking stretch funding in order to hit additional goals for added content.
Kikuta’s other project that is still seeking base funding is Indivisible by Lab Zero (Skullgirls). Also an RPG of the fantasy genre in the vein of Valkyrie Profile with Asian mythos tied in, Indivisible will see Kikuta helm its entire soundtrack.
Indivisible is currently seeking the hefty sum of $1.5M base funding with over a month to go. You can check out the entire game’s information on their IndieGogo page.
A lot of people love Bethesda’s 2011 Elder Scrolls RPG, Skyrim, and Julia Okrusko is definitely one of them. A violinist for over twenty years and composer for four years, she’s already kickstarted three original albums and collaborated on several fantasy-themed game and film scores. Her latest effort is Fantasy Symphony No.1, “Dragonborn”, an orchestral symphony of her own design that aims to create a “portrait of [the] Dragonborn and express external and internal realities of being immersed in the world of fantasy”.
The campaign will run until November 1st at which point MP3 copies and pressed CDs will be sent to backers along with other backer rewards including dragon pendants, scrolls featuring the main theme, and signed copies of the album and promotional posters. You can hear a sample of the symphony’s first movement in the video above or check out the official Kickstarter campaign page for more info.
You can now listen to the first sample of the track “Dreaming” from the upcoming BT album Electronic Opus. The album features the award winning, world renowned City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra at Smecky Studios with musicians hand picked by Tadlow Music, conducted by Eimear Noone and produced by Tommy Tallarico.
The album drops on October 12, 2015 and will be available for purchase digitally October 12, 2015. If like me you were hoping for a physical release of the album, BT just reported on kickstarter’s page that the physical release will only be available to kickstarter backers. A future physical release may be possible but at this time is not planned, and it is a beautiful physical release which you can see here in a 3d rendering of the album on CDBaby.
The album can also be pre-ordered digitally through kickstarter if you want immediate delivery on release day. I think the added orchestra sounds incredible, what do you think? Will you be picking up this album?
Super Meat Boy may be releasing on Playstation 4 and Playstation Vita this Tuesday, October 6th; but it will be sounding markedly different than the versions people have come to know and love. Danny Baranowsky, original composer of Super Meat Boy, has denied the use of his original soundtrack to be used with the PS4 and Vita versions of the game. Baranowsky parted ways with Team Meat a few years back, and ended up not being the composer for The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth despite being the composer of the original game. He cites the reason for the split as having nothing to do with creative differences, though declines to go into detail.
“I own all the rights to my music, and Team Meat approached me to license the music for the PS4 and Vita versions. I didn’t feel like the license fee and exposure through PSN they offered was enough to make me seriously consider accepting the deal. I decided to decline their offer. I wish them and the new artists the best of luck with the game.” – Danny B
Composition of the PS4 and Vita port will now be done by Ridiculon (The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth), David “Scattle” Scatliffe (Hotline Miami), and Laura Shigihara (Plants vs. Zombies). The game will be available on PSN for free for Playstation Plus members.
This lends a bit of timely weight to my recent article about game composer’s rights with regards to control over their music, and the need to be savvy with said control for the good of the composer and their livelihood. In this case, it sounds like Danny’s not out to screw Team Meat or fans, but is making the choice to keep a firm grip on his property for his own sake, which seems like a good call for indie composers these days.
There’s a lot of hope and expectation piled on top of the long-demanded sequel to DICE’s 2008 cult favorite, Mirror’s Edge. We still don’t know a lot about Mirror’s Edge Catalyst and the origin story of female protagonist, Faith, but with today’s news it seems the music won’t be anything for fans to worry about.
DICE has confirmed that Swedish composer, Magnus Birgersson (also known as Solar Fields) will be returning to expand the fan-favorite soundtrack he created for the original game. Along with the announcement comes a sample of the soundtrack and a short interview with Birgersson over at the game’s UK website. Along with expressing his gratitude over the reception of the original game’s soundtrack he reveals a few tidbits on what to expect from Catalyst.
“I think there’s 70GB in my Mirror’s Edge Catalyst folder now,” Birgersson mentions in regard to the scope of the new soundtrack. “In the first game we had one stereo channel, but this time we’re able to real time mix four different stereo channels based on what’s going on in the game, allowing us to create an even deeper and more dynamic musical experience than we hoped for.”
On how he creates the dystopian soundscapes of the game’s City of Glass he adds, “I combine old, analogue technology with modern synthesizers and equipment. Modular systems, lo-fi synthesizers, VHS tape recorders and so on – it’s a mixture of many things.”
Check out the full interview on the official site or reacquaint yourself with Birgersson with our 2012 interview. And if you can’t quite remember what was so great about the original Mirror’s Edge soundtrack you can always refer to our review.
Back in September I asked the video game music community “What Game has the most Music?” and quickly realized that MMOs are the juggernauts in this category. With updates and expansions spread out over several years, though, it’s never easy to keep track of all that music but MMOs.com is doing an admirable job. The site has been around since January and aims to cover every kind of MMO out there — from free-to-play RPGs all the way down to mobile puzzlers — including their soundtracks.
The Music section of their site currently represents nearly 200 games with curated SoundCloud playlists. This covers the heavy hitters like Guild Wars 2 and Final Fantasy XIV as well as DOTA, League of Legends and smaller/older titles like Pangya, Dofus, Trove, and many more. Each game also has a nice little wiki hub so you can read an overview with development details or MMOs’ content while listening. In most cases their playlists aren’t comprehensive but it’s turned out to be a a great place to start if you’ve got a specific MMO soundtrack in mind or — in my case — are just curious about what some of these games are.
It’s often hard as one who simply appreciates game music and isn’t in the industry to really know what happens behind the scenes with regards to how game music composers and game musicians are treated. I would wager that a fair share of us are relatively ignorant as to the trials and tribulations that game music writers and composers face when trying to obtain and keep a steady flow of reasonable work, and what sacrifices need to be made.
Recently the hashtag #PerformanceMatters appeared trending on Twitter in regards to the plight that video game voice actors face in the games industry in terms of fair work for fair wages and worker’s rights. The hashtag made the general gaming public aware of some of the poor conditions video game VAs face from some of the biggest names in voice acting and got people talking. It also started to raise questions about how other aspects of video games fare in terms of treatment of their respective “parts”. Internet and Youtube game reviewer John “Total Biscuit” Bain raised the question as to how video game composers might also be treated in the industry.
It’s October, which means it’s officially Halloween month. For the next five weeks, Arrangement of the Week will be featuring some of our favorite Halloween themed game music. This will of course include music from horror titles, but there will also be some selections from specific macabre themed sections of games. This week we will be starting out with an example of the latter.
Rare’s Banjo-Kazzoie has a good deal of variety to its levels. While the game contains your usual snow, dessert, and forest levels, there’s also a great Halloween themed level called Mad Monster Mansion. This level’s music has a light-hearted playfulness to it, much like the rest of the soundtrack, while still keeping it in a classic spooky horror genre. Today’s arrangement, “Malevolent Mansion,” is an electronic remix of “Mad Monster Mansion” from artists Sole Signal and Nekofrog.
The track starts at a steady pace and at first it feels like this will be a relatively mellow dance track. But once the main melody comes in, the piece launches into a more energetic interpretation. While the primary elements of this remix remain the electronic instruments, there’s also a healthy dose of orchestral instruments and accompaniment from Nekofrog’s guitar parts.
What makes this remix really enjoyable is the continuing shifts in pacing and energy. The arrangement jumps frequently between fast paced electronic rock and a less manic orchestral arrangement. This unpredictability in pacing and tone gives the impression of a wild and crazy haunted house ride. The overall result is a piece that remains surprising and fun to listen to all the way through. A perfect way to get into the Halloween spirit.
Have any favorite Halloween arrangements, remixes, or covers of your favorite game music? Feel free to share them with us in the comments below. You can check out Sole Signal and Nekofrog’s “Malevolent Mansion” at OC Remix.
Shiryu has just released an album that is a culmination of his twenty years experimenting with the music of the Wipeout series. The album is titled The Wipeout Legacy Perfect Lap Editionand is a digital release collecting six albums, and just under six hours of music! This is how he describes his journey in creating this release:
I have stated this before but it is always nice to remember: There would not be Shiryu Music if not for “Wipeout”. It was the game and it’s sequels that stirred the already ongoing pot of wanting to know how to make those sounds. This special edition is a compilation of all my previous works, including all four original releases plus an “The Outer Haven Sessions” EP. I often wonder if this is my Magnum Opus… will I ever do something as great as these tracks in the future? Or like “Wipeout” my time shinning on stage is running out and I am destined to be forgotten? Time will tell. Hope you enjoy discovering or rediscovering these tracks, each filled with fond memories of the time I made them.” – Shiryu
The majority of the conversation around Metal Gear Solid V’s music has been about the game’s licensed 80’s tracks. Set in 1984, the game’s huge environments are peppered with boomboxes at desert outposts and hostile facilities that belt out some of the most popular tracks of the decade. “Rebel Yell”, “She Blinded Me With Science” and “The Final Countdown” are just a few of the ‘Top 40’ mega hits you can find in the game. But there’s another collection of cassette tapes out in the game world full of original music, the majority of which aren’t featured on either of the game’s soundtrackreleases.
These songs feel much more like the Metal Gear music we’ve come to expect. No, there’s no smoldering stealth sax from Norihiko Hibino or 60’s spy funk like Snake Eater but these tracks serve as fitting ambiance for a Metal Gear game. They sound like they could’ve come from the 80’s and yet somehow still fit the overall themes of The Phantom Pain’s main soundtrack. I really want to call out a few of these songs in particular because the original music is easily overshadowed by the licensed stuff.
Combining an edgier synth sound, a shade of New Order’s darker guitar rock and growling lyrical samples, “Behind the Drapery” could’ve come from an obscure German Industrial group you discovered on a newsgroup. Similarly themed is “Nitrogen” with its dark synthwave arrangement. It’s perfectly paced and just subtle enough to load up on Snake’s Walkman to accompany a midnight sneaking mission.
Another good sneaking track is “The Tangerine” which is closest in style to Metal Gear Solid 2’s ambient music. A simple synth melody sets the pace while a soulful horn slowly rises and falls. Add in a hint of guitar wafting by and you could close your eyes and be back on the Big Shell. It’s also nice and long and easy to set your Walkman to loop it in the game.
Especially noteworthy is “How ‘bout them zombies ey?”, which I’d boil down to an EDM hommage to Michiru Yamane’s Castlevania sound. It’s really quite an incredible amalgamation of autotuned vocal samples, synth bass and organs. It’s got multiple breakdowns and just has a wonderful, dark 80’s synth feel. More than any other track, this is the one I get stuck in my head most often.
On the lighter side, “Take the D.W.” could easily be an instrumental version of an anime theme song. Maybe that’s the idea as there are several tongue-in-cheek posters in the game along those lines. Regardless, it’s full of bright keys that pop along while a tinny synth saws out a fun melody. Similarly light is “Ride a White Horse”, a nice soft rock style piece with some touching guitar and synth movements. If this were in Snake Eater I would totally expect it to greatly refill your stamina.
These are just a few of the 25 tracks on Music Tape 1. You can take a listen to the entire selection with this playlist and don’t forget to check out the Original Soundtrack Selection and the new Vocal Tracks album, out now on iTunes. And if you came here looking for those “real songs” from the game and you read this far I’ll throw you a link too.