The Original Soundtrack to Crypt of the NecroDancer is my first experience with music composed by Danny Baranowsky who has composed the music for Super Meat Boy, The Binding of Isaac and who has also worked on some excellent arrangements including Super Metroid: Relics of the Chozo.
The soundtrack contains 42 tracks and is a blend of chiptune rock and electronic melodies with a runtime of just under two hours. I listened to the soundtrack through at least three times and was blown away with the blood pumping beats and pleasant repetition and alternate versions of tracks. My first play through of the album was during a drive from Ottawa to New York State to camp over the Victoria Day long weekend in Canada. If you’re in the USA you can look forward to Memorial Day weekend next week. Read on to find out if you should pick up this soundtrack to kick off your weekend.
Of the various subjects that we like to cover on Original Sound Version, we occasionally turn our attention to the music tech side of game music. While our focus is primarily on the soundtracks and arrange/remix albums for game music, we also feel it’s important to review and examine some of the tools available to musicians, remixers, and composers. With that in mind, today we will be taking a look at Pearl Concert Grand, a new piano sample library from Impact Soundworks.
Pearl Concert Grand initially caught my attention because, being a composer myself, I’m always on the lookout for more realistic sounding piano libraries to use on my projects. Due to my classical music background, I have some very high standards for the quality of orchestral sample libraries. Piano sample libraries in particular have always had shortcomings in my experience. After years of performing on real pianos, I’ve never been able to find a decent substitute when using digital pianos or samples for performance or for composing. Technology for samples and digital sounds have certainly improved over the years, and Pearl Concert Grand is one of the more recent attempts to capture the true sound of the piano in a sample library. So with my high standards and a healthy dose of skepticism in mind, let’s take a look at this new piano sample library from Impact Soundworks. (more…)
The Kickstarter to the spiritual sequel of the Castlevania series, Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, has now revealed it’s increased its big-hitting lineup of musical talent!
On top of veteran Castlevania composer Michiru Yamane and MegaMan composer/sound producer Ippo Yamada being the pair originally slated to create Bloodstained’s soundtrack, now a mini-stretch goal has been revealed that Jake “Virt” Kaufman (Shovel Knight, Shantae) will be lending his talent with composing 8-bit masterpieces to the game’s growing ensemble, right beside Yamane and Yamada.
I personally follow Jake on Twitter and had joked with him when the Kickstarter launched about how fantastic it would be to see him added to the game’s music talent. His work with the music of Bloodrayne: Betrayal has long been a highlight to Castlevania fans of Kaufman’s ability to create gothic and charged pieces that would fit right into a Castlevania title. To see that actually come true is a real treat.
Though requiring the $2.62M mark to actually solidify Kaufman’s inclusion in the game, with the trend that the campaign is creating, it’s a pretty sure bet. Those who haven’t pledged to the Kickstarter yet can nip over to Igavania.com to check out the growing additions to the game’s lineup, and can also sample Kaufman’s works (including Bloodrayne: Betrayal) on his Bandcamp. You can be sure as the game becomes funded and progresses that we’ll be featuring more about it’s composers and music in the coming months.
If you’re into ethereal, space-like music from your games, then you might want to check out the space video game SUPERNOVA, and more importantly it’s soundtrack which was just releases yesterday. Composer Olivier Derivière (Remember Me, Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag – Freedom Cry) has released music from the Namco Bandai game, titled SUPERNOVA Volume 1: Through The Portal, which features a combination of his own talents as well as those of John Kurlander (The Lord of the Rings) and the Philharmonia Orchestra at Abbey Road Studios, London.
Derivière has roots in classical music composition as well as coding games and music and attending coding and demo parties in his early days. A graduate of Berklee College of Music, he’s since developed his skill, creating music for games like Obscure and has contributed to scores such as Alone in the Dark (2008), giving him a history with the atmospheric.
“The musical journey of the OST follows a big crescendo from a star’s birth to its supernova,” explains Derivière. “Volume 1 is about the first planet, more will come as the game progressively extends its universe to new worlds. This is only the beginning.
Source: Top Dollar PR
The 10-track album can be found for purchase on Bandcamp and other musical distribution sites for around $5.00, and you can check out Derivière’s other works on his website.
As many of you may know, the music for the Earthworm Jim video game was composed by Tommy Tallarico, as was it’s sequel Earthworm Jim 2. The music for the cartoon series however contained completely new and original music by composer William Anderson. The theme song, according to Mr. Anderson’s website is his personal favorite and part of the reason is that he wrote and PERFORMED the piece himself. The song itself is brilliant, fun, and reveals the very simple origin story of the character. Watching it again and seeing Psy-crow use a conductor’s baton just made me want to sing along. The opening was uploaded to YouTube by user Sjahut.
William Anderson has also composed the music for some classic animated series including the second seasons of the 1990’s Marvel Fantastic Four/Iron Man cartoons series, Biker Mice From Mars, X-Men Evolution, and My Little Pony which has become hugely successful. The score of the Earthworm Jim cartoon was light symphonic melodies, and regularly featured instrumental versions of the theme song when Jim took action against the episode’s protagonist of the week including his green evil twin, Evil The Cat, Professor with a Monkey for a Head, and the Evil Queen (with her extended title changing almost every episode).
So have yourself a little Earthworm Jim sing a long, and you can also do Karaoke with a lyric free version of the theme by listening to the End Credits thanks to YouTube user James Smith.
The series is available for purchase on Amazon, and if you’ve never seen it you can sample the wonderful hilarity of it in this compilation EAT DIRT! catchphrases assembled by YouTube user brokensoul 8930. I think the show captured the essence of the character, thanks to Dan Castellaneta’s voice talent (Homer Simpson). This brief article ends my examination of the music in cartoons based on video games for the time being. Now EAT DIRT! You gigantic fans of video game music!
There have been a few Sonic the Hedgehog cartoons over the years, and according to many Sonic fans the best series was the Sonic SatAM series. SatAM is a reference to Saturday Morning on ABC where the show ran for two seasons totalling 26 episodes.
The music for the series was written by Michael Tavera, and features original score and an incredibly catchy theme song. Michael Tavera also composed the music for the second and third seasons of Captain N: The Game Master, The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3, and Super Mario World. I am not going to discuss the series music in detail but I wanted to make sure you knew about the excellent promotional soundtrack available for the series. A fan of the series wrote Michael Tavera asking if any music of the series was available and he provided the fan with a promotional CD containing some cues from the series, and some unreleased tracks one which was featured in Captain N: The Gamemaster. It’s old news, but you can read about and grab a copy of this promotional album over at Saturday Morning Sonic’s website.
The entire series including the theme song was uploaded to YouTube by user TheRealSonicFan, and it can also be purchased on DVD from Amazon.
Despite Sega having downsized and largely pulled out of the gaming market, that hasn’t stopped their boys in Crush 40 from making new music. The band just released the newest album, “2 Nights to Remember” on Amazon Japan.
Crush 40 is the band created by Sega and fronted by composer Jun Senoue (Sonic Games, Shadow the Hedgehog) on guitar and Johnny Gioeli as vocalist, originally for the release of the game NASCAR Arcade, and has contributed to the soundtracks of several Sonic titles, including main themes for Sonic Adventure 1 & 2 and songs for Sonic Heroes and Sonic and the Black Knight. This new original album follows the release of their 2012 album “Live!” and contains four newly-record studio tracks, as well as several live-performance tracks from the “Live!” album and various Sonic themes.
You can purchase the album on Amazon Japan for about 2,381 yen (or $19.95 dollars plus tax). You can also check out some previews on their website.
Music has many forms, and music production has probably at least as many forms as well.
I first started writing music on a computer in 1987, and nearly 30 years later I realized how important simple, fundamental things really are. My youngest son is five, and was taken by a 25 key synthesizer I recently acquired (the Korg Triton Taktile 25). He wanted one too, and I told him “you can have one, but you need to learn at least a little music first. This is no toy.” And with those words I realized the same words were just as true for me.
So with that in mind, with this bit of writing I’m going to talk about MODs, and the Demo Scene.
For This Week in Random, it’s all about chiptunes and browser extensions!
High Strangeness OSV by Cheap Dinosaurs
Chiptune savants Cheap Dinosaurs have released their newest album since last year’s “Triangle Trash” mini-album; a soundtrack for the indie game High Strangeness that’s described as a “a hybrid of 8 and 16-bit games… A 12-bit adventure”.
The inspiration of the game comes from many Action-Adventure and RPG games of yesteryear. The game’s core ability is to switch between 8 and 16-bit worlds and the player uses their generational differences to solve puzzles and explore the universe.
High Strangeness was released on this past Tuesday for the WiiU and Steam. The 17-track album released this past Monday at $6.00 (or $1 for individual tracks), making it the largest album to date from the band and should prove to be good listening for retro game music fans.
This site allows you to listen to music for classic video games. You can listen to a vast amount of video game music (in the form of chiptunes) directly in your Google Chrome web browser and it will sound precisely the same as it did on the original console.
Pretty much everything it says on the box – a streaming program that allows you to stream an extremely extensive variety of game music soundtracks straight over Google Chrome, all for free. You can search for specific game albums, search by composer, search by console or just throw caution to the wind and play from random albums at-will; all without the need for separate programs to be open. A neat option for all of us!
Last year Scarlet Moon Records released a video game music arrangement album titled Prescription for Sleep: Game Music Lullabies. The project had an interesting premise. Take some of the more mellow and relaxing tunes from video game soundtracks and arrange them as soothing lullabies for piano and saxophone. The group arranging on the album was Gentle Love, comprising of saxophonist Norihiko Hibino (composer for Bayonetta and the Metal Gear Solid series) and pianist AYAKI. The Gentle Love duo have collaborated on a few projects, primarily performing and making music to provide therapeutic relief to others after the wake of Japan’s 2011 earthquake and tsunami. The original Prescription for Sleep album and this sequel is an extension of that work and mission.
The fist album consisted of well known tunes like “Dry Dry Docks” from Super Mario 64 and some lesser known pieces like “Song of the Ancients” from NieR. The album received praise from a number of reviewers, including members of the team here at Original Sound Version. Thanks in part to the success of the first album, this sequel has been released. Prescription for Sleep: Volume II sees Hibino and AYAKI return to cover music from various games in the form of tranquil lullabies. What does this latest addition cover and how does it compare to the first album? Read on to find out. (more…)
The indie game by RosePortal Games, Unraveled: Tale of the Shipbreaker’s Daughter has returned to Kickstarter after not meeting its initial campaign goal in its first round of crowdfunding.
So how is this new campaign different from the first failed attempt? Well, now there is a playable demo that is available for download to get first-hand experience with how the game will play if funded and completed. The game has been Greenlit for Steam, so you know that if funded, it will appear there for purchase/download. A big change is that composer Dale North (Dragon Fantasy Book II) and veteran legend Hiroki Kikuta (Secret of Mana) will now be a partial of the initial funding for the game, where in the previous incarnation of the campaign they would only be a part of the game if stretch goals were met. Kikuta-san himself is creating the game’s main theme
The game is currently seeking $15,000 to fund the base game, with over $3K of that having already been met, and might be worth a second look to any fans of North’s and Kikuta’s music who might have been hesitant to throw money at the first time around.
Unraveled: Tale of the Shipbreaker’s Daughter – Kickstarter
There’s a short list of Japanese names that have proliferated American gaming culture due to their huge influence. Shigeru Miyamoto, Yu Suzuki, Hideo Kojima and others have made a lasting impact. Another well-known name is Nobuo Uematsu, sole composer for the first nine games in the Final Fantasy series, and lead / contributing composer to almost all the others (he did the theme song for XII and sat out completely on XIII).
Game music fans are also likely to know that Uematsu continued to work with his old friend Hironobu Sakaguchi, creator of the Final Fantasy series, when Sakaguchi went on to form Mistwalker. Hence, the soundtracks for Blue Dragon, Lost Odyssey and The Last Story were all composed by Uematsu as well.
Those are most of Uematsu’s “notable” works. But what about the rest? Are there any hidden gems among Uematsu’s lesser-known works? Let’s find out together by exploring five of Uematsu’s lesser-known projects, ranging from 1986 to the present. (more…)