Baltimore’s native game music festival Bit Gen Gamer Fest is returning for it’s 12th iteration this year on July 28th – 30th at the Ottobar.
Bit Gen Gamer Fest, Baltimore’s massive homegrown day-long video game music festival returns for its 12th year to explode your mind with a monstrous lineup of 16 musical acts from all across the country, collected under one roof for a full day of video game music MAYHEM! Enjoy a diverse selection of bands ranging from metal, chiptune, hip-hop, rock, and more while punishing baddies and setting the high score on a curated selection of home console and arcade games.
Launching the event with a solid lineup, the current performers scheduled to play are:
Started in 2005 in Baltimore as a small celebration of game music created by John DeCampos and Chris Baines of former VGM band Entertainment System, Bit Gen grew into a yearly local event. In 2013, it was acquired by MAGFest and became a subsidiary event of the brand, though it still remained under it’s own label.
You can check out more information about Bit Gen XII and purchase advance tickets on the event’s Facebook page.
First announced last November, Brave Wave’s definitive soundtracks to the original Ninja Gaiden series are finally ready for release on Thursday, April 13th. The two-volume collection features the arcade original and its NES counterpart on Volume 1 and the NES sequels — The Dark Sword of Chaos and The Ancient Ship of Doom — on Volume 2. Both albums will be released on vinyl and CD and like past entries in their Generation Series the physical editions will feature archival artwork, composer photos and interviews. Digital versions will also be available on Bandcamp, iTunes and streaming services including Spotify.
The production of both albums is based on new digital recordings from original hardware with the supervision of Ninja Gaiden composer and Tecmo sound engineer, Keiji Yamagishi. It also marks the first time a commercial version of Ninja Gaiden III’s music has ever been available.
To commemorate the launch of these albums Brave Wave is also offering 100 limited edition vinyl box sets. Including all 4 LPs, the $100 set comes with a numbered art card designed by Ninja Gaiden illustrator Masato Kato and signed by composers Keiji Yamagishi, Ryuichi Nitta and Kaori Nakabai. Take a look at more of the gorgeous packaging at Brave Wave’s official site and sample some of the 100+ tracks from both albums above.
Slime-san is an upcoming pixelart platformer with a striking visual style and a collaborative chiptune soundtrack to match. The blue-and-white toned visuals are highlighted by oozing crimson and lime, calling to mind a custom palette on the Super Game Boy. Accompanying the wild looks and precision gameplay that’s in the vein of Super Meat Boy is a playlist of over 20 songs from 13 chiptune artists. Those artists include Richard Gould, Adhesive Wombat, Mischa Perella, FantomenK, Meganeko, Kommisar, Tiasu, Lumena-tan, Kubbi, Carl Clark, Inverse Phase, Saad Akter Ali, and Michael Miller.
“The music complements the game’s pixel art aesthetic but each track was also designed with a certain gameplay aspect in mind,” explains Fabraz’s Fabian Rastorfer. “We wanted to create a soundtrack that is worth the price of admission alone, and I think we’ve accomplished that.”
There will be a digital soundtrack available when the game launches on April 7th but developer Fabraz has also teamed up with Black Screen Records to offer a 2-LP vinyl edition. The (s)lime green set will be available to pre-order between April 7th and the 9th. Your purchase also includes a free Steam code for the game as well as the digital version of the soundtrack to enjoy while waiting for the vinyl to ship out in early June.
One of the joys of heading out to PAX East every spring has been seeing how the independent games industry has grown and evolved. Each year there seems to be a greater presence of indie titles being shown off on the PAX East show floor, and this year was no exception. Among the various projects on display, there were a fair number of music and rhythm games. Over the next few days I’ll be highlighting the music games that I tried out at PAX East, starting with the game Just Shapes & Beats. (more…)
Just as we did for last month’s PAX South, we’re giving you the rundown of what you can expect to see from a game music and audio standpoint at PAX East 2017 next week in Boston. Some new and some returning musical performances shall be gracing the main stage concerts, as well as other tidbits you can check out through the event.
Chime Sharp, the follow-up to the 2010 music puzzler, launched on Steam last July. Though they didn’t reach their original Kickstarter stretch goal for console ports the team has just announced that the game will finally be coming to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One next week; on the 21st and 24th, respectively. Chipzel is just one of the EDM and chiptune artists whose music is featured in the game.
“My track, ‘Psychonaut’, was created with [the Chime] gameplay style in mind, said Chipzel. “Through entwining multiple layers, which progressively build to compliment the final arrangement, I wanted to portray the intention of rewarding the player as they advance, through the use of evocative melodies and euphoric transitions.”
Did you check out Chime Sharp on Steam or are you planning on picking it up next week on consoles? Let us know in the comments.
Niamh Houston, also known as Chipzel gave an excellent TEDtalk on chip tunes this past November 5, 2016. If you’ve ever wanted an explanation on how she creates her music, she gives a full demonstration as part of the talk. She also talks about the overall idea that we are all hackers, and the importance of being authentic in any creative pursuit.
The ‘hacker ethic’ is central to Niamh’s musical creativity as she takes us on a journey into the Chiptune genre, a subculture creating music from augmented hardware and software, and why such expression resonates with Millennials and others who are seeking to create raw and unfiltered music for an online generation.
She is a BAFTA nominated and award winning independent composer from Northern Ireland. In 2015, Houston received the Best Music award in XBLA Fans’ Game of the Year awards, as well as being named VGMO’s best independent composer.
She has scored the original sound tracks for six video games, including the critically acclaimed Super Hexagon. Houston continues to compose music for forthcoming video game projects while working on her next studio album and touring the world. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community.
The TEDtalk runs around 17 minutes, and it definitely worth your time. If you’ve had something on the creative back burner for a while, this might be the pep talk you need to hear. You can learn more about the TEDx event here, and check out chipzel’s music on her website.
What did you think of Chipzel’s TEDtalk?
If you didn’t get to attend MAGFest this year (or weren’t covertly handed one under a table at the show) there’s still time to grab one of these jampacked USB keys. Available from GameChops’ Bandcamp page for $50, the metal drives contain 4.1 gigs of GameChops music and include “every single, EP and album release from 2012 – 2016 with artwork, including exclusives”. That’s a ton of great music, 446 files in all, in 320bkps MP3 format.
It also includes streaming access to 2015’s Smooth McGroove Remixed album in anticipation of the upcoming follow up release. But act fast if you’re tempted, at the time of writing there were only about 40 USB keys available which were apparently hidden among GameChops’ luggage.
Unpacking from MAGFest and I’m finding USB Keys EVERYWHERE. It’s like an infestation of merch pic.twitter.com/xRfKeuCXYa
— Dj CUTMAN @ MAGFest! (@VideoGameDJ) January 9, 2017
You might find it disconcerting to read that I, as a video game music writer, didn’t find that much music in 2016 that set my heart on fire. While I penned nearly 90 posts for OSV and heard loads of great music there were only a handful of albums I’ve stuck to with a passion. I’d be hard pressed to sort out a Top Ten list but thankfully the OSVOSTOTYs are a much simpler and personal selection.
So click on in, dear readers, and find out what music from 2016 was special enough (and weird enough) to penetrate my curmudgeonly old hide.
Now that the original 8Bit Music Power album is out on CD it’s time for Riki and crew to unveil their next limited edition album-on-a-Famicom-cart. 8Bit Music Power Final will be released in late March of 2017 in Japan and will once again be playable exclusively on a Famicom console. The cart will include 18 tracks this time with songs from past collaborators and some exciting old school names. NES era composers like Manami Matsumae and Motoaki Furukawa along with more modern composers like Junya Nakano (Threads of Fate, Dawn of Mana) and Ippo Yamada (Mighty No. 9, Azure Striker Gunvolt) are now on board.
An original album of music built for the Famicom is great but one sticking point raised by Attract Mode is that the console only outputs audio through its scuzzy RF connection. That may make for an authentic sound but for those who prefer to hear the music directly from the hardware there’s a new peripheral you can get bundled with the album.
The 8Bit Sound Adapter looks like a miniature Famicom controller (namely the Player 2 side) and plugs into the console’s expansion port. It offers a volume slider, power light and 3.5mm port to plug in headphones or external speakers. It also adds about $25 to the price but it’s still a lot cheaper than the vintage Famicom S.D. Station. The bundle on Amazon Japan is currently around $70 with the cartridge alone at $46.
For now all we have are some early photos and the temporary tracklist to go on which you can check out after the jump. Hopefully Riki will grace us with another video preview as the album gets closer to release.
Next month marks the 15th year of the main iteration of MAGFest; the music and gaming festival that started in 2002 and has blown up into a series of multiple nerd music culture events since. Returning to Nation Harbor to the Gaylord National Hotel from January 5-8th, the event is expected to sell out of badges, so if you were waiting on the full announcements of who will be performing this year before jumping on registering, we’ll help you out.
Last week marked the final music performance announcements for MAGFest 2017. Over the past month, video game artists and bands, chiptune artists and nerdcore performers have been steadily revealed for the upcoming event. If you hadn’t been keeping up, here’s the full lineup:
If you’ve also been thinking about the year in game music releases you may remember 8Bit Music Power from way back in February. It was the album from Japanese chiptune artists like Hally, Professor Sakamoto and Saitone that was released on an actual Famicom cartridge. While Play-Asia sold out of their allotment fairly quickly (Amazon Japan still has 8 left in stock) there’s now a much easier way to listen instead of dragging around an old console.
A much more convenient (but way less cool) CD version of the album was released last week in Japan with two bonus tracks. The album is available from Play-Asia for $22.99 but if you can hold out until February 2017 there’s an even sweeter deal coming. For just $1 more you can pre-order the CD and an 80-page, full-color book with exclusive interviews and stories about the album’s creation. The best part, it’s been translated into English. You can take a look at some of the vibrant page layouts here and put down the $23.99 to secure a copy for yourself.