Back at E3 in June Konami rolled out a new trailer for Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain featuring one of my favorite New Order songs, “Elegia”. The dark and brooding instrumental 80’s synth/rock track is like nothing else I’ve heard from the group and it fits the themes of Metal Gear Solid V perfectly. I suppose you could also read way into the Konami news and find some irony that the last trailer directed by Hideo Kojima is set to a song that is literally titled ‘elegy’.
Now imagine for a minute that Big Boss were to find a Game Boy in his latest adventure and, in true Metal Gear fashion, it contained an eerily prescient 8-bit stealth action game. Then surely the music in that game would be none other than this chiptune version of “Elegia” from Taylor and Sinner Fox Studios. It’s every bit as haunting as New Order’s original with minimal instrumentation, a nice crackly low end and an indeterminate array of chiptune sounds. No, this literally wouldn’t be coming out of a Game Boy or any other console I could identify.
The track isn’t a final version either and comes from the mini-album “Quantum”, a collection of “scraps” from Taylor’s unfinished project. You can grab “New Order – Elegia(Koneko’s Chip. Ver)” along with the title track “Quantum” for as little as you want (including free) over on Bandcamp. With The Phantom Pain so close I couldn’t help but share this track and imagine how it might fit into the crazy meta-meta-verse of Metal Gear Solid.
The latest in a slew of content being released by Random: aka. Mega Ran leading up to the released of his new album RNDM features a music video with geek rock band D&D Sluggers, as well as 3D animation recreations by artist Benjamin Sutherland of classic game environments such as Mega Man 2, Sonic the Hedgehog and Super Mario World.
The new album and several package bundles drops on September 15th and will include 16 tracks, as well as a bonus track of the credits to the (eventual) game Mighty no.9 featuring a collaboration with Castlevania composer Michiru Yamane.
The music label Ubiktune has recently released a new chip album by artist Fluidvolt called Clay Memory. The album features a compilation of over 300 instruments organized into soundfonts, and based around the style of the GBA game, Mother 3.
After Bregalad created his fantastic program GBA Mus Riper, it’s been possible to dump Mother 3‘s sounds into a massive soundfont of 1668(!) instruments. – Fluidvolt
Condensing the soundfont by weeding out unneeded instruments and splitting others, Fluidvolt managed to create soundfonts with which he used to create his album, and will be featuring them bundled in with purchase.
You can find more information on the album on Ubiktune’s release announcement. The album is currently available on Fluidvolt’s Bandcamp for whatever price you deem fit. If you’re a fan of the music of Mother 3, or of Fluidvolt’s previous album, Reflections of a Dancing Leaf, then Clay Memory is worth checking out.
The classic, simple sounds of the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) from the era of 8-bit video game music are for many, including myself, very nostalgic and heartwarming. This is where it all began! Video games have come so far from these original beeps and boops; now there are live orchestras performing this music, sometimes in the game itself, and they even tour around the world to perform. Many people love these sounds and music for the memories they hold, but even so, they may not want to listen to them regularly when they’re not playing these games. And if you play an original NES tune for anyone who doesn’t have similar cherished memories of sitting around playing video games while their mothers begged them to go outside, they’ll probably cringe at the cacophony of fake, electronic noise that you’re subjecting them to. Chances are they will be bewildered that anyone would enjoy such a thing or find value in it, even if they’re too polite to say so.
I am one of the folks who believes that there is a lot to be admired about the music from the 8-bit era of video games, and I believe that there is a lot that contemporary composers can learn from this body of work. If you listen closely, you can hear how composers writing for the NES learned to treat these sounds as instruments, not just sounds, and how they managed to create music, instead of just noise.
Just released on Steam on July 17, 2015 Interstellaria is a real time space-exploration sim and crew management game where you can command a fleet of vessels wandering the galaxy for adventure and profit. “Every star and planet holds untold riches and dangers. Each encounter will require skills in trading, diplomacy, and combat. Allocate power to engines, charge all weapons, and take on the worst the galaxy has to handle.”
The music for the game was written by the very talented Niamh Houston, known as Chipzel and is available for purchase on bandcamp. Since its release many supporters have given it rave reviews:
This ost is a gem on its own. The varied musical themes take you on a roundtrip across the galaxy. Favorite track: Sakari. – Supporter, Niels VermeulenThe soundtrack for Interstellaria is, well, STELLAR. Seriously. It’s like FTL and Super Hexagon had a baby, and it is awesome. Also, it was ridiculously hard to choose between Xiwang and Annihilation as a “favorite track”, seriously. Favorite track: Xiwang. – Supporter, Blazing Glaceon
My only experience with Chipzel’s music was the track “Menacing Wonders” he provided for Brave Wave’s hit album In Flux.
I’m still listening to the album but so far my favorite track is the final track on the album “Somnolence” which has a scratching vinyl lullaby sound.
The album is available now on bandcamp for 5 pounds, just under $8.00 US. The soundtrack can also be purchased as a DLC with the game on Steam. Have you played Intersellaria and experienced Chipzel’s music in the game? Let us know what you think!
If you’re a fan of the Chiptunes = WIN nation and albums, then you’ll be happy to learn that their fourth album has officially been released!
Chiptunes = WIN: Volume 4 continues the tradition started three years ago by Brandon “President Hoodie” Hood to create a community of chiptune artists and enthusiasts that are able to gather, create and critique the art of making chip music.
“Volume 4?? VOLUME 4!! 3+ years after the first comp and we’re still having a blast! Thus onward & upward it goes! ^_^ \m|♥♥♥♥|m/ “ -President Hoodie
The current incarnation features a whopping 51 tracks featuring a plethora of new and old chiptune artists, including CarboHydroM, Auxcide, Phonetic Hero and a ton more. The whole album was mastered by DJ Cutman, with all proceeds staying internal and going towards the production of future albums. This fourth full edition is the 12th album in the Chiptunes = WIN library, all of which serve as compilations from the chip community and beyond.
Chiptunes = WIN: Volume 4 is at a name-your-price purchase level, with a special limited bundle pack available at $25 for the diehard enthusiast. You can learn more about Chiptunes = WIN and join in the chip madness on the community’s blog.
Is it time to load up on some chiptune albums? Groupees has launched their seventh Chiptune + Charity bundle and for as little as $3 you can nab ten albums from Bignic, Shirobon, Monomer, Glenntai, Zalza, MisfitChris, MmcM, Note!, Zabutom and Xyce. There are also some bonuses to be had, the first of which is a live streaming performance by Glenntai for those who buy the bundle. The second bonus (yet to be unlocked) is a live performance by Zabutom.
I’m always up for more music from Bignic but I admit, I’m not familiar with many of the other groups. The samples sound pretty good, though, especially Monomer and Shirobon. What about you? Any favorites in this bundle or are you stumbling into this with me?
The passing of Nintendo president and CEO Satoru Iwata has hit a lot of gaming fans hard, but has also inspired a plethora of dedications and tributes to the man who was known by so many as a kind man and the heart of Nintendo Japan. One of those dedications comes from none other than Metroid composer Hirokazu “Hip” Tanaka, who has created his own fitting memorial to the late Iwata in his own unique way; a cheerful chiptune piece to reflect the equally cheerful nature of the man who touched the lives of so many gamers of our generation.
Rest in Peace, Mr. Iwata. You’ve had an impact on all the facets of the gaming community and will be greatly missed.
With each new streaming music service that launches I always have a poke around to see what they consider to be popular video game fare. The results are usually spectacularly disappointing. A handful of Halo. Some licensed rock and rap tracks that featured in a Tony Hawk game. A playlist of pop music from Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. Now that Songza has been folded into Google Play Music, and with a time consuming project unfolding at work, I decided to have a poke around.
I wish I could tell you what I typed in to find it but at the hands of Google’s search algorithm I was deposited in front of the Aperture Science Psychoacoustic Laboratories station. True to its name there’s plenty of Portal 2’s excellent soundtrack in store but it also serves as a good sampling of the modern video game music scene. If it weren’t for a few tracks from Mass Effect and Portal I’d even call this the Indie Video Game Music station.
There’s a good mix of albums and artists here with a focus on atmospheric EDM stuff. Fez, Minecraft, Frozen Synapse and Sword & Sworcery mingle with the peppier sounds of PPPPPP, Super Hexagon and Scott Pilgrim: The Game. Every now and then you get a nice acoustic/orchestral break with Bastion, The Banner Saga, Thomas Was Alone and Trine 2. Rounding out the mix is a helping of original tracks from artists including Anamanaguchi, Big Giant Circles and Chipzel.
It’s been a nice backdrop for my work lately and I really appreciate that it never goes to extremes causing me to scramble for the skip button. Did I mention it’s free, streaming and available from your Android or iOS device? Check it out the next time you find yourself itching for a new playlist.
If you’re a fan of nerdcore hip-hop artist Mega Ran and have been waiting with baited breath for the release of Mighty No.9, then this will be a double-score!
Random Beats has released “Your Favorite Song” from Mega Ran’s upcoming album, RNDM. The new album is set to release on September 15 of this year and will feature “Mighty!,” a collaboration with the fantastic Mega Man composer Manami Matsumae which will be featured during the credits of Mighty No. 9. As if that wasn’t enough, there will also be an additional collaboration with Castlevania composer Michiru Yamane.
“This is a dream come true. “I’ve been working hard to land a videogame placement, and for this one to be the one, with a game and creator that I’m so close to, so inspired by, this is such a storybook tale. I’m really fortunate and I hope this is the first of many.”
- Mega Ran Press Release
You can pre-order RNDM on Bandcamp get in on the giveaway while the getting is good. You can also follow Mega Ran’s collaboration with Mighty No. 9 on the Random Beats website.
RNDM – Bandcamp
Random Beats – Website
We’re all familiar with the likes of Humble Bundle and the Game Music Bundle but there are a handful of other bundling sites out there. Groupees is especially noteworthy as it regularly bundles games, music, graphic novels and digital art collections. Sometimes it’s a game and its soundtrack, other times the collections are curated by a game’s creator or even left to you to pick and choose individual items.
Debuting this week is the Badass Banana Bundle curated by eccentric electronic musician, Remute. The bundle includes nine games, five albums and access to a livestream on July 13th where Remute will mix a bunch of his favorite 16-bit game music. Giving the bundle its name is You Are Not a Banana, a humorous, pixelart audiovisual experiment that includes its own chiptune soundtrack. Other highlights include Remute’s 2009 album Grand Slam, a collection of Frederic “Elmobo” Motte’s demoscene tracks from the late 80’s/early 90’s and his entire soundtrack to the Amiga game, Fury of the Furries.
You can get all of that for a minimum donation of only $2.00 but you can give as much as you’d like. The bundle is scheduled to end on July 15th.
Occasionally I find myself searching bandcamp for keywords of things I like and stumble onto something great. Video Game Explosion is a recently released compilation by Square Punch (Lukas Daum). The album is available on Bandcamp right now for “name your price” and features five solid tracks remixing music from Castlevania, Lufia 2, Mega Man 2, Mega Man X and Mega Man X2.
Not only is the music great, but the cover art created for the album by Mike Lyon aka xHOJUx whose additional art you can check out on deviantart.com
I found the album because I was was searching for the keyword “SeaQuest”. I was big fan of the SeaQuest DSV/2032 television series. Square Punch created an awesome chip tune version of the SeaQuest 2032 theme song originally composed by Russ Landau, the game never existed but this will do just fine.
Square Punch has also released some great electronic albums also available on bandcamp for “name your price”. Check it out and let me know what you think.