When Brenna first unveiled OSV’s Matron Maestras series, I was over the moon. Gender politics and volatile gaming culture aside, there’s no denying that the world of game music production is dominated by men. I don’t have a full database from which to do calculations (vgmdb doesn’t allow advanced artist search with filters on artist gender and artist type, such as composer arranger performer etc). Anecdotally, however, it seems to me that the West has an even harder time of it than Japan. I can easily name a dozen women composers from Japan; I would be hard-pressed to do the same among American and European VGM composers.
In wanting to support this new article series, I felt it best to highlight the contributions of the award-winning Winifred Phillips. This is a woman who is blazing a trail in the industry, and teaching others how to do it at the same time. No, really, she wrote the book on the matter (the first English-language book on the topic I’ve yet seen). This, in my mind, makes her both a scholar and a visionary, as she is able to adapt from formulaic composition to out-of-the-box creativity as needed.
After the jump, I’ll give you some examples to show you what I mean. And you’ll also see a list of recent accolades Ms. Phillips has received, demonstrating that I’m not the only one recognizing her talent.
As of yesterday, the entire music lineup for next month’s Music & Gaming Festival, aka. MAGFest 13 has been completely revealed to the public. The large assortment of musicians and performers consists of 14 featured bands, 9 supporting bands, 15 chiptune artists and 7 DJs, including one of this year’s special guests Yuu Miyaki of Katamari Damacy fame. That’s a whole lot of music to cram into just a few days, so here’s a complete rundown of who’ll be performing on stage:
If you’re a fan of the music from the Devil May Cry series, then you just got an early Christmas present. According to a press release from Top Dollar PR, Sumthing Else Music Works just released the Devil May Cry Sound Box, which features a digital collection of the original soundtracks from the first four Devil May Cry games.
Featuring two disks loaded with over five hours of music total, the combination of heavy rock coupled with gothic melodies is a combined effort from composers Tetsuya Shibata, Masami Ueda, Masato Kohda, Akihiko Narita and several others over the course of the series that follows the half-breed Dante during his demon-slaying journeys. The physical collection was previously only available in Japan. (The collection does not feature music from DmC.)
The Devil May Cry Sound Box can be purchased through Sumthing Else‘s website in two chunks for $5.99 each.
There has been a rather jolly amount of holiday-related video game music albums being released this season. It seems a lot of game musicians have gotten into the spirit of the season by coming together ans coming out with a good variety of Christmas and other holiday-themed tunes to help any reluctant Scrooges out there get into the mood for the Yule. So if you’re scrambling to find appropriate game-related music for your holiday gatherings, here’s a rundown of what’s come out recently:
Scarlet Moon Christmas EP
Put together by Scarlet Moon Records, the Scarlet Moon Christmas EP is a five-track release that features a good chunk of tunes centered around Final Fantasy by the likes of Dale North (Dragon Fantasy Book II), Jayson Napolitano and Goomin Nam (Monarch: Heroes of a New Age). Also on the album is a arranged track from legendary composer Vince DiCola (Rocky IV, Transformers: the Motion Picture) from his Saturday Morning RPG album released earlier this year! The Scarlet Moon Christmas EP is up on Loudr for $5 (or more if you choose) so be sure to grab it up quick! – Loudr
Super VG Christmas Party
A huge holiday-styled album from a slew of the video game music arrangement community, Super VG Christmas Party features the likes of Triforce Quartet, Armcannon, Jeff Ball (Tiny Barbarian DX), Playing with Power, Super Guitar Bros. and many more artists and groups from all genres. Tackling everything from Donkey Kong Country to Actraiser with a wintery twist, Super VG Christmas Party was produced by Ian Luckey and is absolutely free to download! So if you’re looking for a hodge-podge of great artists and great tunes to crank for your holiday party, look no further! – Bandcamp
Also, be sure to check out the X’Mas Collections: Music From Bravely Default album that we reported on last week! So if you’re having a hard time getting into the holiday spirit, check all these albums up and see if some of that festive flare can’t tickle your yuletude bone.
Every winter season inevitably brings with it the release of new Christmas and holiday albums. It should come as no surprise that videogame music gets in on the act as well. This year Square Enix has released a special arrange album of Bravely Default. The album X’Mas Collections: Music From Bravely Default is a continuation of Square Enix’s X’mas Collections series and features winter themed arrangements of pieces from the 3DS title. Some tracks stick with covering the game music source material, while others add references to traditional Christmas tunes.
Arrangers on this album include Yuzo Koshiro, Motoi Sakuraba, and Yasuhiro Yamanaka. The music styles vary between tracks and range from simple piano and vocal arrangements to more electronic flavored mashups. So if you’re a fan of the Bravely Default soundtrack and want to hear some interesting new holiday arrangements, give this album a look. The X’mas Collections: Music From Bravely Default album can be found and purchased on CD Japan.
Get ready for another round of symphonic arrangements of your favorite Zelda tunes. The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses tour has announced its locations and dates for next year. Starting in January of 2015, the orchestral concert series will be visiting several locations in Europe and North America.
This latest program, titled Symphony of the Goddesses – Master Quest, will cover pieces from Majora’s Mask, Wind Waker, A Link Between Worlds, and more. Tickets are on sale for some of the first concerts on the tour, with sales for the other locations set to begin later this month and next year. For a full list of the concert dates and locations, as well as information on the music program, be sure to check out the Symphony of the Goddesseswebsite.
With the Kickstarter for the JRPG Americana Dawn by indie developers Bit-Bonton chugging along, I thought it’d be a great opportunity to get ahold of the composer for the soundtrack; Samuel “Shnabubula” Ascher-Weiss!
The newest iteration of the Game Music Bundle from the fine folks at Loudr is now on sale for auditory consumption!
From now until December 18th, the Game Music Bundle 8 features 19 separate video game soundtracks for sale on different “levels” of purchase. The first level is unlocked with just $1 and offers five soundtracks, including:
* Gods Will Be Watching - fingerspit
* Monsters Ate My Birthday Cake - Disasterpeace
* Super Time Force - 6955
* The Sailor’s Dream (Original Soundtrack) - Jonathan Eng
* Zombies - Bignic
However, if you’re looking for the whole kit-n-caboodle, for $10 you can access the second level, which includes the five soundtracks mentioned above, plus:
* Dreamfall Chapters Reborn Original Soundtrack - Simon Poole
* Freedom Planet - GalaxyTrail
* FTL: Advanced Edition - Ben Prunty
* Gods Will Be Watching Alternative Soundtrack - fingerspit
* Hack N’ Slash - Paul O’Rourke
* Halfway - Gavin Harrison
* Izakaya Ōmen ~MINI~ - Maxo
* Lifeformed: Immerse - Lifeformed
* Lovely Planet - Calum Bowen
* Majestic Nights - Das_Fokks
* Monarch: Heroes of a New Age Original Soundtrack - Goomin Nam
* Spell Team Death Match - Bignic
* The Novelist - Kent Hudson
* Wanderlust Adventures - Chris Christodoulou
As mentioned above, the bundle is only on sale until December 18th, so be sure to pick it up for yourself or make it a great holiday gift for the game music lover in your life!
A bit delayed due to the holiday, but we’re pushing on with our spotlights of female video game composers regardless of massive turkey feasting and subsequent food comas! (Hopefully you supplemented your coma with copious amounts of Playstation game music, as the PS1 is 20 years old as of today!)
This week I’m taking a look at another Japanese composer with significant ties to Sega’s past and an influence on it’s present: NiGHTS and Ristar composer, as well as lyricist and song writer, Tomoko Sasaki!
Chiptune artist Samuel “Shnabubula” Ascher-Weiss and Japanese video game composer Soshiro Hokkai are the two big-name composers who will be working on one of the newest video game Kickstarters circulating the scene, Americana Dawn.
Americana Dawn is a role playing game which explores over two centuries of early American history using a new tradition of folklore and tall tales inspired by Genso Suikoden and Mark Twain. Throughout its story, we follow Foster, the spirit of the sea, a gentle and innocent being who arrives in America with no apparent heritage or home. Lost to the wilderness of Shenandoah Valley, he lives in complete isolation for a hundred years until he is found and recruited in the provincial militia. – Kickstarter Home Page
Shnabubula is known within the gaming music and chiptune scene for his amazing musical talent and composing ability and seems like the perfect choice for such a project as Americana Dawn, and would mark his first game composition debut. Soshiro Hokkai, a guest composer for the game, is known for his work with the Castlevania series; most notably Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance and Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow. Both men have gobs of ability that lend a lot to this project.
So if you’re interested in checking the prowess of both of these amazing composers, as well as funding what by all account looks to be a great game, check out Americana Dawn‘s Kickstarter page and help contribute to gaming diversity and musical genius!
Back in early October the Video Game Orchestra, also known as the VGO, held a performance at the Berklee School of Music to kick off their latest concert tour. The group has its origins in Boston and is lead by Shota Nakama. The Video Game Orchestra has performed at a number of venues including MAGFest, PAX East, and the Boston Festival of Indie Games. At the beginning of this year, they even started their own recording studio and began producing music for some big game titles, one of the most recent being Final Fantasy XIII-3. The group’s style is what band leader Shota Nakama often refers to as rockestral game music. This is essentially a blending of an orchestra and rock band that helps create a whole new style. It’s a combination that works well for game music, especially for a lot of the material that they cover.
The VGO varies in the size of its ensemble, depending on the venue or project they are working on. In performances at Boston’s Symphony Hall they’ve made use of a full orchestra and their rock band, while smaller venues have required them to make due with just the rock band ensemble. For this performance at Berklee Hall, the VGO went with a compromise of the two set ups. The standard rock ensemble was present, but they were joined by a small string section and choir. While there are always a handful of standard pieces that the VGO likes to play at their events, some surprises and new pieces are always being added to the repertoire. What did the VGO have in store this time? Read on to find out. (more…)
Ever wondered what The Binding of Isaac would sound like if it were an NES game? Chiptune artist Inverse Phase’s newest album The Chipping of Isaac explores that very concept. Covering the music of Danny Baranowsky’s original The Binding of Isaac OST, this album features NES interpretations of every track from the original game. This includes the title screen, boss fights, and even the shop theme.
According to the album home page, Inverse Phase plans to add tracks from the Wrath of the Lamb expansion and loopable tracks at a later date. So if you’re a fan of The Binding of Isaac OST and enjoy the chiptune sounds of the NES, this may be an album you’ll want to check out. The Chipping of Isaac is currently available on Inverse Phase’s Bandcamp page.