The Video Game Orchestra (or VGO, for short) has been putting on stellar shows in either rock band or full symphonic orchestra formats for many years now. They’ve played many venues within Boston and have also traveled across the US to bring their unique musical stylings to other conventions, concerts, and events.
The group, led by Shota Nakama, has expanded its scope in the last year. Alongside the task of mixing down their first album (Live at Symphony Hall … review coming soon!), the VGO has also participated in the performance, recording, and mixing of some great game soundtracks. Most recently, and perhaps most notably, was their work on Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII. They’ve also worked on God Eater 2, Ace Combat 3D: Cross Rumble, and Tekken Tag Tournament 2. They’ve also done strings work for IMERUAT’s second album, Propelled Life.
To let the world know that Boston’s premier orchestra now has studio capabilities, they’ve launched SoundtRec. What is SoundtRec? To quote directly from the site:
SoundtRec Boston Offer:
- ANY INSTRUMENTATION & ANY GENRE
We will coordinate from vocalists, string quartet to full orchestra, choir, rhythm section to big band in various styles of music – Any instrumentation and any genre that meets your projects’ demand.
- REMOTE RECORDING
No time to fly over to Boston? It is not a problem because we offer remote recording! You can be at any place with internet, even at your comfortable home studio to monitor the sessions and give us feedback.
- COMPLETE BUYOUT & AFFORDABLE RATE
We offer an affordable rate and complete buyout. Please contact us for the details!
- PROVIDING EXTRA SUPPORT
Not only musicians, but we do also have world-class arrangers, orchestrators, copyists, lyricist and engineers available for you to support your musical creativity!
This is certainly great news for both independent game studios that want high quality audio, as well as traditional studios that are looking for a new venue to record their work.
The site offers examples of SoundtRec’s recordings, including their work on LR:FFXIII and the Live at Symphony Hall album that was published just last week. Be sure to check it out!
, Final Fantasy XIII
, Lightning Returns
, Recording Studios
, Shota Nakama
, Video Game Orchestra
Yes, you are reading the title of this review correctly. This is a review of an entire game, rather than just the soundtrack. It seems like an unusual move for Original Sound Version, but this game proves to be an interesting exception. FRACT OSC is a game that is focused on the creation of music as its primary gameplay mechanic. It goes far beyond the usual use of interactive music in a game setting. While we could do a simple review of the soundtrack itself, it’s almost impossible to discuss the music without going into detail how the music is generated in the game. That said, it seems more appropriate to actually discuss the game, as well as the music. So consider this a review an analysis of both the game and the soundtrack.
As mentioned in our PAX East preview, FRACT OSC is a first-person exploration game that revolves around the creation of music. The game was created by Richard E Flanagan, Quynh Nguyen, and Henk Boom of Phosfiend Systems. The gameplay is similar to exploration games like Myst or Riven. It’s all about the puzzles and exploration, with your progress only limited by your ability to solve problems. Originally the game was set to have multiple worlds with each world focusing on different music elements. One world, for example, would be centered around drums and rhythm. Eventually realizing that this approach might be a little too ambitious, the creators scaled it down to one world focusing on synthesizers and oscillation. Hence the subtitle OSC, short for oscillator, in the game’s name. An oscillator, in this case, is referring to the electric circuit that is used to generate electronic sound waves. So does the final product live up to its original premise? Read on to find out. (more…)
Tags: FRACRT OSC
, Game Review
, Henk Boom
, Indie Game Music
, Indie Games
, Interactive Audio
, Music Software
, Ouynh Nguyen
, Phosfiend Systems
, Richard E Flanagan
The seventh Game Music Bundle was recently released on the music site Loudr. Much like the previous bundles, the albums are available in two tiers. If you pay at least $1, you will receive five videogame music albums. These include Peter McConnell’s Broken Age OST and Austin Wintory’s Banner Saga OST. If you contribute $10 or more, you will unlock twelve more albums, one of which is Austin Wintrory’s newest album Transfiguration. Transfiguration is a piano arrangement album of Wintory’s music from the game Journey. The album is yet to be released on its own, so this is your first chance to get this latest album. The second tier also includes a number of other excellent game music albums, including the soundtracks to Escape Goat 2 and Tribes Ascend. There are also some extra prizes for the top ten contributors. These range from full color promotional posters from Broken Age to physical albums of the Banner Saga OST and Transfiguration.
It’s quite a bargain for so much music. Grabbing the second tier at only $10 will get you over fourteen hours of music. Personally, I’m looking forward to listening to the piano arrangements of the Journey soundtrack on the Transfiguration album. Game Music Bundle 7 will be available for a little more than a week, so grab it while you can. You can check out the bundle at the Game Music Bundle site.
Tags: Austin Wintory
, Ben Prunty
, Broken Age
, Calum Bowen
, Chris Rickwood
, Daniel Olsén
, Escape Goat 2
, Game Music Bundle
, Halina Heron
, Lance Montgomery
, Maximum Satan
, Peter McConnell
, Ryan Roth
, Sound Fjord
, The Banner Saga
, Tribes Ascend
, Videogame music
Do you like creepy atmospheric games? Do you like equally creepy and atmospheric music to go along with it? Then you should probably check out the newly released original soundtrack for the dark platformer, SPATE, composed by Mike Raznick.
“We knew that the role of the music would be to enhance SPATE’s dark, rainy atmosphere while allowing the player to feel the emotional arc that Detective Bluth experiences during his slow descent into madness,” reflects Raznick. “The soundtrack would be epic, but it had to be ambient, atmospheric, ethereal, and sometimes atonal. Rather than drive the emotional experience of the game, it would subtly immerse the player.”
Raznick’s background in music includes Ratchet & Clank: Into the Nexus, Firefall and the mobile version of Tekken, as well as work in the film industry. For the SPATE soundtrack, he’s joined by cellist Martin Tillman (The Dark Knight, The Ring) in a live string quintet and accompanying orchestra. In addition to the game’s somber and dark ambient platforming gameplay, it also featured an interest drinking gameplay mechanic (the character drinks, not you…though nobody is stopping you) that boosts your physical abilities at the cost of your mental ones. Raznick’s intricate soundtrack also accompanies a visual aesthetic created by Eric Povan of Walt Disney Animation Studios that lends to the dark atmosphere.
The complete SPATE Original Videogame Score includes over 50 minutes of music, and is now available for $7 USD on Bandcamp
Tags: Mike Raznick
, Original Score
Our second PAX East 2014 preview looks at the indie game FRACT OSC. The game was developed by Phosfiend Systems, a team comprising of Richard E Flanagan, Quynh Nguyen, and Henk Boom. FRACT OSC is a first-person music exploration game. While it has exploration elements similar to games like Myst and Riven, the puzzles in this game all center around music. Not only do the puzzles require you to use your listening abilities to help you solve them, the puzzles themselves also generate the game’s soundtrack.
When I started up a game in FRACT OSC, I was dropped into a mysterious, cavernous environment. In this section, the game’s simple controls and interactions were explained. By right clicking with the mouse I entered a mode that allowed me to analyze and manipulate elements of the environment. Outside of this mode, I could just walk around and explore the area. Most of these interactions involved moving slide bars, pushing switches, or dialing frequencies. Each push of a switch or activation of a device caused a pattern of music to start playing. As more puzzles in the area were solved and activated, the individual music elements began to combine and change to form a complete piece of music. (more…)
Tags: Alex Taam
, FRACT OSC
, Henk Boom
, Indie Music
, Mogi Grumbles
, PAX East 2014
, Phosfiend Systems
, Quynh Ngyen
, Richard Flanagan
While there were many games presented on the PAX East 2014 show floor, there were only a handful that featured music as their central gameplay mechanic. Since OSV is a site which focuses on game music, we thought it would be nice to give some previews of games that featured music as their core element. The first of these is a game titled Crypt of the NecroDancer.
For those of you have not heard of it, Crypt of the NecroDancer is a roguelike dungeon crawler, created by Brace Yourself Games, that requires you to time your movements and attacks to the game’s soundtrack. Your movement, attacks, and other abilities are all triggered with the four direction buttons. In order to successfully move, attack, or use an ability, you need to enter the command on the beat. A beat meter on the bottom of the screen helps indicate when you can take action. When I spoke with the developers at the show, they emphasized that they wanted to make a rogelike that relied a little more heavily on player skill, rather than luck of what the dungeon will throw at you on a particular run. Theoretically, if you have good rhythm and timing, you can make it through most situations in one piece. (more…)
Tags: Brace Yourself Games
, Crypt of the NecroDancer
, Danny Baranowsky
, Indie Games
, PAX East 2014
As is circulating the bigwig gaming news outlets as we speak, Halo composer Martin “Marty” O’Donnell has been terminated by Bungie studios.
Bungie has confirmed that O’Donnell is no longer in their employ.
O’Donnell has been with Bungie since their acquisition by Microsoft back in 1999, as is most well known for composing the main theme to Halo that has since become as iconic in modern video game music history as other well-known theme such as God of War and Civilization. He’s also had a hand in the production and sound design for other notable games such as Riven, Oni and was most recently working on composing the music for Bungie’s upcoming game, Destiny.
Speculations have since started to arise in the wake of the split between O’Donnell and Bungie, with fans of O’Donnell’s work wondering if he was simply ousted from the studio without legitamate reason or if there is more to it, and if he’ll end up going to work for Microsoft itself. Obviously in the early revelation of the news to the masses, it’s anyone’s guess until either party discusses matters further. In the meantime, we can all wish Mr. O’Donnell well in his future and hope to hear more from him soon, with whatever company that might be with.
Source: Twitter, Bungie
, Marty O'Donnell
Back in July of 2013, the game cover band Playing with Power launched and raised funds via a Kickstarter campaign towards the release of their new album, thanks to the generous donations of a bunch of dedicated followers of the band. Now, 10 months later the album, “You’re a Great Zombie” will be released for the world tonight for all to consume the tasty innards of!
Streaming tonight on 8bitx.com, the release party will feature a preview of the album tracks before the official launch of the album, as well as an interview with the band members and assorted other shenanigans. The album track list was released on the band’s Facebook page and feature several Kickstarter pledge requests:
1. Contra Force – Player Select
2. Shatterhand Medley
3. Crystalis Medley
4. Battletoads – Intro
5. Wizards & Warriors – Low Health
6. TMNT 3 – Theme of Halfshell
7. StarTropics – Dungeon Theme
8. Zombies Ate My Neighbors Medley
9. Double Dragon – Mission 1
10. Wizards & Warriors – Invincibility
11. Mega Man V Medley
12. TMNT 1 Medley
13. Tecmo Super Bowl – Sound Mode No. 32
14. Blades of Steel – Menu
15. Super Mario Super Medley
16. Duck Hunt – Title
17. Mighty Final Fight – Bay Area
18. DuckTales – Moon Stage
Be sure to tune into 8bitx tonight for the show and check out the Playing with Power album when it drops later tonight!
Update: And here it is!
, Cover Band
, Digital album
, Game Music
, Playing with Power
Here on OSV we focus primarily on the music of videogames. However, we do occasionally review music software, as these programs are a vital aspect of music writing and creation. While there are some game composers that are lucky enough to work with live musicians and orchestras, many still rely on sound libraries and samples to produce our favorite game music.
Today, we are looking at the Impact Soundworks library Celestia: Heavenly Sound Design. The library was created by Andrew Aversa, Jordan Aguirre, and others at Impact Soundworks. Many videogame music remix fans may be more familiar with Aversa and Aguirre by their artist names, Zircon and bLiNd respectively. This latest library is advertised as a collection of atmospheric and ambient hybrid synth sounds. The focus is more on the softer and ethereal synthesizer instruments, rather than heavy hitting and dramatic instruments. With all that said, let’s take a look at this latest product. (more…)
Tags: Andrew Aversa
, Celestia: Heavenly Sound Design
, Impact Soundworks
, Jordan Aguirre
, music libraries
, Music Production
, Music Software
Just in time for their performance at PAX East this weekend, the boys over at Metroid Metal have dropped their newest album!
“Other Album” is an 8-track digital album released on the band’s Bandcamp for a going price of $6 and features arrangements of music from Metroid 2, Super Metroid, Metroid Fusion and Metroid Prime 2 as well as their “Autobot Decepticon Battle” piece from Transformers: The Motion Picture.
‘Other Album’ is 40 minutes of MM tracks we’ve been playing live, but didn’t exist on an album until now. If the other albums were guitar albums, this is a rhythm section album. It’s the most visceral, pounding, and dark album we’ve done – hope you kids enjoy it! <3
Metroid Metal performs at the Friday night concerts at PAX East, so be sure to check them out and possibly hear some of this awesome tunage!
, Digital album
, Metroid 2
, Metroid Fusion
, Metroid Metal
, Metroid Prime 2
, Super Metroid
, Transformers The Movie
Back in 2005, X-Strike Studios produced a live action indie film that was out-and-out a love letter to survival horror video games. Called “Silent Horror”, the soundtrack was one of the first works of Dale “Corgi King” North, and ended up being one of his most popular and requested for it’s eerie yet memorable melody that was equally as much of a love letter to oldschool survival horror games.
Now, after nearly a decade and through the use of Scarlet Moon Productions, the original soundtrack to “Silent Horror” is available for purchase.
The soundtrack and a remix by long-time friend and producer Mustin (The One Ups) are now available on iTunes and Amazon MP3, as well as on Loudr and Bandcamp for just $7 USD. Whether you’re looking for some spooky background music or appreciate the survival horror atmosphere in general, this is the album you probably should grab for a good dose of creepy awesome music.
Tags: Dale North
, Indie Film
, Silent Horror
, Surivival Horror
, X-Strike Studios
« Previous Entries
I think it needs to be said that I have not completed Rogue Legacy. Like Minecraft, it’s the type of game that I can easily dip into every now and then. I’ve only actually killed 2 bosses and it has been a while since I last played the game. So this review will be partly informed by my knowledge of the game and partly in the dark as to where the music was used.
Unlike the Super Mario 3D World OST, some thought has gone into the placement of each track on this album. This is made obvious by the fact the end credits music is the first track, and I think this works well. Like I said, I have not completed the game so I never got to the end credits, which is a shame, because the music is lovely. It starts out with a nice harp ostinato and an almost Japanese style riff on the guitar that repeats throughout the whole track, which is not a bad thing. I found myself humming along quite happily. At 00:34 the very distinctive marching percussion that A Shell in the Pit, the artist name of composer Gordon McGladdery, uses throughout the game comes in with rousing effect. (more…)
Tags: A Shell in the Pit
, Gordon McGladdery
, Judson Cowan
, Rogue Legacy
, Videogame music