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Anime, Chip Music, Doujin, Featured, Game Music

2nd-annual-osvostoty-2010-awards-winners-and-runners-up-announced

2nd Annual OSVOSTOTY 2010 Awards: Winners and Runners-Up Announced

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The results are in. This is one of the toughest processes any of us here at OSV have had to go through, but we’ve finally come to a list and ranking that we can all at least kind of agree upon. No, I’m kidding. Even though we each fought for our individual favorites, we all stand behind the results, and we hope we can turn you on to some new music that you may have missed this year in the process.

After the jump you will find the results from our 2nd Annual OSVOSTOTY Awards. Please let us know what you think, and feel free to bring up your own nominees if you feel we’ve left something out, and give us a little justification for why you think it belongs in the list of soundtracks to be remembered from 2010! Congratulations to all of the winners and to the nominees, and see you next year!

Best Handheld Soundtrack

Winner: Ys SEVEN
1st Runner-Up: Valkyria Chronicles 2
2nd Runner-Up: Etrian Odyssey 3

There were some amazing soundtracks on handheld platforms in 2010, but in the end, we had to go with the JDK band’s latest outing. There are many fans out there that had believed that the JDK Band’s best years were behind them, but the Ys SEVEN soundtrack may have changed that. Wes Chung, who reviewed the album, notes that this soundtrack is downright catchy. We’re all in agreement with that. And with track titles like “A Sunbaked Throb,” how can you go wrong?

Nominees:
God Eater
Ragnarok DS
Shantae: Risky’s Revenge

Best Arrange Album

Winner: Benyamin Nuss Plays Uematsu
1st Runner-Up: Symphonic Fantasies
2nd Runner-Up: Distant Worlds II

Some may see this as bit of an upset, but all of the albums nominated in this category are truly phenomenal. In the end, the originality and sheer passion behind Benyamin Nuss Plays Uematsu won us over. Not only does it feature fantastic arrangements of long-forgotten pieces from some of our favorite games, but it also brings to light some of Uematsu’s latest work and even brings in original compositions by Nuss and Uematsu in a nice tidy package. And let’s not forget about the epic crotch thrust on the front cover.

Nominees:
Etrian Odyssey 3 Super Arrange Version
NieR Gestalt & Replicant 15 Nightmares & Arrange Tracks
Piano Collections: Final Fantasy XIII

Best Rhythm Game

Winner: Rock Band 3
1st Runner-Up: DJMAX Portable 3
2nd Runner-Up: DJ Hero 2

It took longer than initially expected, but the rhythm game surge of the last few years is beginning to bottom out. But that doesn’t mean the quality of these games has decreased. There were some very interesting games this year, but the top pick absolutely goes to Rock Band 3 from Harmonix. Why? We think you know why: the addition of keyboards, the absolutely insane “Pro Mode” (learn to play the actual parts on all instruments), not to mention the great, diverse song picks.

Nominees:
Dance Central
Green Day: Rock Band

Best Album Presentation

Winner: Granado Espada Renaissance Original Soundtrack Volume 3

This was certainly a fun last-minute category. We think it’s important to recognize excellence in album presentation because so many of us as collectors really want to continue to see physical album releases. There were some great presentations this year, but we thoroughly enjoyed the two packaging variations on the Granado Espada Renaissance Original Soundtrack Volume 3 album. A magnet to hold the case together? How cool is that? The artwork (with more breasts than ever before) is a great addition, and both sets are quite impressive to look at.

Nominees:
Akumajo Dracula Best Music Collections BOX
DJMAX TECHNIKA 2 Original Soundtrack
Final Fantasy XIII Original Soundtrack [Limited Edition]
Final Fantasy XIV Battle Tracks / Field Tracks
Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together Original Soundtrack

Best Anime Soundtrack

Winner: Fairy Tail
1st Runner-Up: Vanishment of Haruhi Suzumiya
2nd Runner-Up: Gundam Unicorn

Shounen shows usually aren’t a place one would normally go to find sterling examples of anime music, but Fairy Tail manages to be the rare, wonderful exception. Composed by Yasuharu Takanashi, whose illustrious, but underrated career includes gems like Towards the Terra‘s and Jigoku Shoujo‘s soundtrack, Fairy Tail‘s score is an excellent implementation of Celtic rock. The music brings unto the anime a great deal of energy, making it suitable accompaniment to all the action (ass-kicking and all) that goes on during the course of each episode.

Nominees:
Letter Bee
Sora no Woto

Best “Other” Release

Winner: Ge-On-Dan Rare Tracks Vol. 1 by Various Artists
1st Runner-Up: Prescription for Sleep by Norihiko Hibino
2nd Runner-Up: Rocky IV by Vince DiCola

There was a lot of music released this year that we’ve covered on the site that didn’t fit into traditional categories. The Ge-On-Dan Rare Tracks Vol. 1 was one such album, and how can you argue with several of our favorite composers writing original compositions as members of an insane Japanese super-group of freelance composers? It will be interesting to see what Ge-On-Dan ends up doing for composers in Japan, but if it means more albums like this, we’re all for it!

Nominees:
Makara by E.S. Posthumus
S-Mode by Hiroto Saitoh
Songs for the Cure ’10

Best Doujin Album

Winner: Super Mario Kart by The OneUps
1st Runner-Up: Contra 4: Rocked ‘n Loaded by Klub Konchadunga
2nd Runner-Up: Expansion Pack by Metroid Metal

When it comes to game music cover bands, it’s hard to beat The OneUps. They incessantly teased us with samples of this album, and when it was finally released, pretty much everyone here at OSV was floored. The snazzy cover art, awesome music video, and variety of genres featured on the album really hit the spot, and this was certainly a soundtrack that deserved more attention. It will be interesting to hear what The OneUps do next with the new sound they’ve unleashed, first seen in the recently-released Intergalactic Redux.

Nominees:
Ninja Gaiden: Beat Blade Steel Dragon by earth Japan SOFT
Serious Monkey Business by OverClocked ReMix
Vinyl Fantasy 7 by Team Teamwork

Best Indie Game Soundtrack

Winner: Tower of Heaven
1st Runner-Up: SoulCaster
2nd Runner-Up: Super Meat Boy

Before saying anything else, we have to come out and say that among these nominees there was fierce competition and in-fighting with the OSV staff. Everyone had their own favorites, and in that sense, everyone in this category should be considered a winner. We’re extremely thankful to all the indie game composers for the work they do. That said, the most popular vote went to the tiny soundtrack for a Flash game called Tower of Heaven. Heavy on the chiptunes, light on the fluff, this soundtrack gets in your face from the start and just doesn’t let up.

Nominees:
Bar Oasis
Protect Me, Knight!

Best Live Concert

Winner: Symphonic Legends
1st Runner-Up: Distant Worlds Returns Home
2nd Runner-Up: JDK Band Live 2010, Live!

When it comes to symphonic representation of video game music, no one pushes the concept as much forward as Thomas Böcker and his European team with their “Symphonic” shows. Symphonic Legends was a showcase of the incredible music library of Nintendo, and the way they were presented were unlike any before concert before it. From the frightening Super Metroid arrangement to the breathtaking 36 minute long “Symphonic Poem” based on the Legend of Zelda, it’s no surprise that Symphonic Legends is truly the best concert of the year, and one to be remembered.

Nominees:
Distant Worlds Returns Home
Symponic Legends
JDK Band Live 2010, Live!

Best Chip Music Release

Winner: The Best Music by George & Jonathan
1st Runner-Up: PPPPPP by SoulEye
2nd Runner-Up: Dark Void Zero by Bear McCreary

Coming seemingly out of nowhere, dance party duo George & Jonathan have smitten us this year with their toxic tunes and endearing, finger-wagging sass. While not “chip” music by its most precise definition, the intricately-programmed anthems of The Best Music, constructed lovingly in Daisuke “Pixel” Amaya’s Pxtone Collage tracker, have swallowed whole the hearts of those who have experienced it. Like a sugary candy, we can’t help but gorge ourselves again and again on the sweet, teeth-rotting exuberance and saucy funk stylings G&J offer. Having already played shows with the likes of chiptune heavy-hitters Anamanaguchi, Sabrepulse and Starscream, there’s little doubt we’ll be hearing more from them in 2011.

Nominees:
Control Me by Jay Tholen
Derecha by minusbaby
The Space Years by Starscream

Best Sound Design

Winner: Metroid: Other M
1st Runner-Up: Call of Duty: Black Ops
2nd Runner-Up: StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty

This one will surely turn some heads, but if you ignore exactly what the characters in this game were saying, perhaps we can all agree that the voice acting was great, and the sound effects were downright stellar. Metroid games have always been known for generating some amazing atmospheres with their music, but sound design has always been a key element as well. In this respect, Nintendo and Team Ninja did a great job with Metroid: Other M.

Nominees:
Fallout: New Vegas
No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle
Super Mario Galaxy 2

Best In-Game Soundtrack

Winner: BioShock 2
1st Runner-Up: Metroid: Other M
2nd Runner-Up: No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle

To put a nice bow on our context debate, we decided that it would be best to present an award to the soundtrack that best sets the tone for the entire experience whilst playing through the adventure. This doesn’t necessarily have to be the best musical soundtrack, per se, but it must create a sense of drama unparalleled. Garry Schyman’s Bioshock 2 score is not only a staggering work of music, it is also a dramatic poem that illustrates the Big Daddy/Little Sister relationship (the centerpiece of the game’s theme) better than any spoken word of dialogue through the use of the Pairbond theme. The Big Daddy is represented by a sustained string drone symbolizing his stoic yet caring nature. Above it, the cello sings a haunting melody varied upon several times in the score. The game never allows the player to forget his purpose (or bond, in this case) by recapitulating the theme with astonishing aplomb. A well-deserved winner in a tough category, no doubt.

Nominees:
Red Dead Redemption
StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty
Super Mario Galaxy 2

Soundtrack of the Year

Winner: NieR Gestalt & Replicant
1st Runner-Up: Final Fantasy XIII
2nd Runner-Up: StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty

Well, what can we say about this one? Many OSV staffers had this one nailed for soundtrack of the year from the moment we heard it. It honestly came out of nowhere, most of us had zero expectations going in, and it’s forced us to re-evaluate the way we think about game music. Vocalist Emi Evans’s unique and haunting vocals paired with the majestic musical backing provided by MoNACA will probably remain a fan-favorite soundtrack for years to come. Everyone involved with the production of the game’s music has a lot to be proud of. We hope the release of the 15 Nightmares & Arrange Tracks is not the last we’ll hear of the music from NieR, as there’s a lot of life left in the themes, so it will be interesting to see if Square Enix devotes more attention to the game’s music moving forward.

Nominees:
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow
Tactics Ogre: Let us Cling Together
Valkyria Chronicles 2

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