Listening to arrange albums is always an interesting experience. Having a group of artist arrange another musician’s work can produce fascinating results, especially when said artists have very different styles of music arranging. Monaco: The Gentleman’s Private Collection is an album featuring arrangements of Austin Wintory’s soundtrack Monaco: What’s Yours Is Mine. In addition to arrangements, the album includes some unused pieces by Wintory that didn’t make the cut for the OST. The trickiest thing about reviewing an arrange album like this is that you’re bound to find a track in a genre that you have little knowledge about or that doesn’t particularly resonate with you. So inevitably, there will be tracks that you will prefer due to preferences for certain genres. With that said, I’d highly recommend giving a listen to all of the tracks on the album. You will easily find something that suits your tastes.
A majority of the arrangements focus on the main theme,”What’s Yours is Mine”, from the original soundtrack. Tina Guo, the featured solo cellist from Journey, and The Vederi String Quartet take drastically different approaches to arranging the piece for strings. Guo’s “The Dark Heart of Monte Carlo” is a slow and somber approach to the material, featuring some wonderfully expressive cello playing. Meanwhile the Vederi String Quartet’s “A Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing” sticks with a tone similar to that of the original soundtrack, switching suddenly from an energetic pace to slow and stealthy tempo before speeding back up for the finale. Chis Gale’s “Song Of Banque” and Tomoki Miyosh’s “The Gentleman’s Partita” take a simpler approach to covering the track, using the ocarina and violin respectively for the melody with a simple piano accompaniment in their arrangements. (more…)
MAGFest 12 has revealed its performance roster for the Main Stage concerts taking place at the upcoming festival in National Harbor, Maryland. The line-up this year will include the North American concert debuts of Machinae Supremacy and MegaDriver. These concerts are in addition to the previously announced MAG Prom and Stage 2 concerts, as well as the Chiptune Showcase and EDM Battle concerts. The Main Stage concerts for this upcoming MAGFest will feature a wide range of genres, including classical guitar, hip-hop, and metal.
The Main Stage performance roster is as follows:
Thursday Night Main Stage (6 PM – 12 AM)
- Knights of the Round
- Bit Brigade
Friday Night Main Stage (6 PM – 12 AM)
- Super Guitar Bros
- The Megas
- This Place is Haunted
Saturday Night Main Stage (6PM – 12AM)
- On Being Human
- The X-Hunters
- Those Who Fight
- Machinae Supremacy
The times of performances are subject to change. Information and updates on MAGFest events, tickets, hotels, guests, and performers can be found on the official MAGFest website at http://www.magfest.org/. Be sure to check out all of the concerts happening at MAGFest including the Stage 2, EDM Battle, MAGProm, and the Chiptune Showcase. A handful of us from Original Sound Version will be attending MAGFest to cover events and the concerts as well. It’s looking like an exciting set of concerts for MAGFest 12. Hope to see you there.
One of the disadvantages of living up in the New England area is that there are few opportunities to experience some really good shows. Particularly when it comes to the gaming and music scene. We have PAX East in the spring and some smaller shows like the Boston Festival of Indie games in the fall. But other than that, I usually need to travel to a bigger city like New York or all the way out to the west coast of the United States, where a majority of these gaming events happen. So the chance to attend a Distant Worlds concert in Boston was something that I was very excited about. Not only was this a concert of Final Fantasy music, but Nobuo Uematsu himself, the composer for most of the Final Fantasy games, would be there in person. For me, as a composer and a gamer, Uematsu represents the first wave of composers for the medium that helped make video game music more than just simple bleeps and bloops. He and many other composers of that generation showed that you could still write emotionally engaging and complex pieces of music even when faced with technological limitations. Having the chance to hear his work arranged for and performed by a full orchestra is something that, as someone who played these games back when they were new, continues to amaze me. So needless to say, I was thrilled to be able to attend this concert. Not only to hear some of my favorite video game music, but to see one of my favorite game composers appear and perform his own work. (more…)
Your Black Friday doesn’t need to be all about shopping store massacres and finding the best deals. Why not kick back, enjoy your Turkey Day hangover, and have the deals brought to you? Not only deals, but also a 4-day music e-festival!
Running from Black Friday until Cyber Monday, the Game Music Festival will be bringing you not only the opportunity to grab the Game Music Bundle 6, but also enjoy a ton of content, including interviews with artists such as Disasterpiece (Fez), composers like Grant Kirkhope (Banjo-Kazooie) and internet game music starts such as our recent bearded, feline-loving acapella sensation Smooth McGroove. Enjoy the Game Music Bundle’s more than 20 game soundtrack albums, all while chilling out with fellow fans and having a bunch of game content thrown at your faces!
The Game Music Bundle 6, which marks the 2-year anniversary of the GMB’s start, will be available as always for $1 for 5 soundtracks, and the entire 20-game ensemble for $10. Also available will be exclusive deals on tons of other game-related albums for a fraction of their prices, all in time for the holidays! Check it all out at http://www.gamemusicfestival.com/ and spend your Black Friday the right way.
This week MAGFest 12 has announced its roster for the Stage 2 concerts and the MAGFest Prom. In addition to the Chiptune Showcase and EDM Battle concerts that have already been announced, Stage 2 will host additional music by over a dozen different artists. Much like the other concerts, Stage 2 will feature a few newcomers and some returning favorites. Another music event for MAGFest 12 is the MAGFest Prom, a late night dance that will feature a James Bond theme. No dress code will be enforced for the prom, so people may dress however they like. Two bands, The OneUps and Love Canon, will be performing at this spy themed event.
The Stage 2 and MAG Prom performance roster is as follows:
Thursday Night MAGFest Prom (12 AM – 2 AM *technically Friday*)
- The OneUps
- Love Canon
Friday Stage 2 (11 AM – 5 PM)
- Chronicles of Sound
- Viking Guitar
- Eight Bit Disaster
- Lucio Baldomero
- Final Stage
- Overclocked University
The times of performances are subject to change. Information and updates on MAGFest events, tickets, hotels, guests, and performers can be found on the official MAGFest website at http://www.magfest.org/. It’s looking like a great line-up of concerts for MAGFest 12 and a great way to start of 2014.
Recently the Bandcamp Weekly, a podcast hosted by Andrew Jervis, had a special show featuring interviews with various videogame music composers. During the podcast, Jervis spoke with Danny Baranowsky, Laura Shigihara, Austin Wintory, Jim Guthrie, Disasterpeace, and Big Giant Circles about their careers, the nature of game music, and their approaches to writing music. The show of course featured music by the composers themselves, as well as some selections from other videogame music albums.
It’s a great 90 minutes of discussion about various aspects of the game industry and how composers and their music are involved. For those of you looking to learn about some of the artists in the game music world, especially the indie games, it’s a great introduction and you may just find yourself checking out some new tunes to add to your library. Definitely give this podcast a listen.
TED talks have always been about presenting ideas worth spreading, so I’m glad to see they’ve put Chiptunes on display. TED talks try to gain a deeper discussion in a local field, TEDx is more for local programs, and Dan (Dan Behrens, aka Danimal Cannon) hit it off. As Dan described Chiptunes, he defined it as…
… Any music made using, or emulating the sound of, old video game consoles and their soundchips.
Technically with that definition, the PS4 could also be considered platform for Chiptunes, but it’s the sound that Dan and the others are attracted to, not particularly a beefy console. Dan’s chip of choice being a classic Gameboy, he continued into his list of consoles that other artists use to make Chiptunes. Consoles such as the NES, Genesis, Commodore 64, Atari Amiga, and many others. As Dan described, it’s really about taking minimalist hardware, and pushing it to the maximum potential.
The talk itself features some excellent music past the 4:35 mark. Take a listen.
Dan went further to talk about a trend taking place in music software, one that makes music controls easier to use, but leaves you ignorant to what the controls directly changed to achieve its sound. For instance, if you use a plug-in that has a fader controlling a “Smash” parameter, what is the “Smash” doing exactly? Does it EQ the sound? Is something being filtered? Does it matter? By using plug-ins like that, Dan considered it a failing to learn.
Dan also stated that such software is good for businesses, which is true. Music software that gives the end user the sounds they desire is often the goal developers strive for. However, Dan insisted that Chiptune is not a response to such easy-to-use music software, but rather it evolved by itself into where it currently stands in the community.
What are your thoughts on the subject? Do you agree that simple and easy to use software actually does make you less curious about how the sound was achieved?
Clear your calenders for the first weekend of 2014 and get ready to rock out to some phenomenal videogame music! The twelfth annual Music and Game Festival, also known as MAGFest 12, has released the performance roster for three of its upcoming videogame music concerts. The event will be taking place in National Harbor, Maryland and will run from January 2, 2014 through January 5, 2014. Two of these concerts are chiptune showcases, which will be held on Friday and Saturday afternoon. The Friday night concert will be what is known as an Electronic Dance Music (EDM) Battle concert. A total of six different DJs from the VGM community will be participating to perform their repertoire for this EDM Battle. The line-up for the upcoming concerts include some new acts and a number of returning artists.
More information and updates on MAGFest events, tickets, hotels, special guests, and performers is available on the official MAGFest website at http://www.magfest.org/. A handful of us from Original Sound Version will be attending MAGFest 12 to cover the events and concerts as well. It’s looking like a great line-up for this concert series. Hope to see you there.
A combination of 80′s music and chiptunes? You’d have to be crazy to pass up a union like that! Well, you don’t have to now that chiptune artist Dmitry “C-jeff” Zhemkov has released Big Steel Wheels for public auditory consumption.
Described as “A fictional action music adventure, inspired by works of Vince DiCola, action movies, rock and metal music, chiptunes and the legacy of ’80s!” by C-jeff himself, he combines his skill with a cadre of strong supporting artists. Featuring Grant “Stemage” Henry, Dan “Danimal Cannon” Behrens and Raz Ben Ari on live guitar, Jeff Ball on viola, and even the voice talents of Alexander Brandon, Rich “Disasterpeace” Vreland, George “norg” Nowik and Lamont Bellsarios, the album is packed with talent. Boasting an essence of “Transformers the Motion Picture” with the flair of 80′s synth and smooth guitars and viola backing, it nails a heavy nostalgic feel.
Check it out on Ubiktune or pick up the entire album for $7 on bandcamp and give C-jeff some big steel love.
There were a lot of fantastic moments at last year’s VGO concert, “Live At Symphony Hall.” While we all eagerly await the album release, GameArts gave permission for the “Theme of Grandia” to go up, for free, on YouTube for your consumption. This may have been my favorite moment.
There was a lot of emotion involved with this one. The piece was self-arranged by composer Noriyuki Iwadare, who was in attendance. Also in attendance was Hiroko Miyaji, widow to Grandia creator Takeshi Miyaji (who passed away in 2011). This performance was a perfect tribute to a great man who created one of the finest RPG adventures ever.
Watch this video and get yourself psyched for the album release. I know I’m ready!
EDITOR’S NOTE: For the sake of full disclosure … Videri String Quartet’s debut album Portals was promoted by Scarlet Moon Productions, founded by Jayson Napolitano. Below, OSV blogger Richard McDonald gives his own opinion of the album.
As gamers from the ’80s and early ’90s come into their late 20s /early 30s, some of the more musically minded of them have started looking back to the games of yesteryear for musical inspiration. It seems that now is the time for instrumental albums of old game music. Professional string orchestra Angèle Dubeau & La Pietà brought out a Game Music album lately, that was truly amazing, and I’ve been enjoying The Greatest Video Game Music 2 album as well of late. However, what with the affordability of recording equipment and amazing music distribution sites like Bandcamp and Loudr, smaller groups are getting in on the act. Bands like The OneUps have been covering game music for years and now classical ensembles are putting their 2 cents in.
So; in comes the Videri String Quartet, a group of professionally trained classical musicians whose debut album comprises of a compilation of popular game music tracks and medleys. Glancing though the track list, I immediately see the classics. Super Mario Bros, Sonic the Hedgehog, Final Fantasy VII and Halo. Like many others, this is an album aimed squarely at the 20-30 something gaming audience with a yen for nostalgia and a disposable income. But I also see more modern tracks, like Final Fantasy X, Journey and Kingdom Hearts, and it is here that I think this albums falls a little. (more…)
Following up on my last post detailing the milestone 10th anniversary of the Dwelling of Duels music competition, this particular month broke many records in the history of the duels.
Sporting a whopping 53 competitors and 9 alternate submissions and totaling an overall listening time of over 4 hours, the event has established a new level of dedication behind both long-time and newcoming duelists. Now, with the complete results having been tallied, the 10th year of the duels comes to a close with hopefully a renewed vigor and passion for gaming music.
Check out the results, or head directly to the Dwelling of Duels page to listen through the entire ensemble.