Keiji Yamagishi’s Retro-Active was originally planned as an overarching, three-album journey to be released across 2015. While we got the first installment on February 5th with Retro-Active Pt. 1 the follow up has taken a bit longer than expected. One year, to be exact.
Brave Wave has revealed that Retro-Active Pt. 2 will be released on February 5th, 2016 bringing listeners back to Yamagishi’s “futuristic emotional chiptunes world”. Along with new solo tracks the famed Famicom/NES composer will be teaming up with Ninja Gaiden II composer Ryuichi Nitta. The first track from the album, “Chaotic Code”, will be released on January 14th to give listeners a taste of Part 2’s sound in advance of the full album release on February 5th.
For now we’ll have to settle for the new album art above which is a continuation from Part 1. That’ll make for one sweet panorama once the final part is released. Are you excited to finally hear Retro-Active Pt. 2? Did you pick up the original album or the remix album? Let us know in the comments below.
Prolific electronic composer, Shiryu, has had one helluva year. I’ve seen his name and new releases on almost every visit I’ve made to Bandcamp’s video game page over the months. From original works to commemorative albums and themed compilations of his existing tracks (like Age of Shmup, Age of Ninja and Age of Vampire) he’s released more music in 2015 than anyone else I’ve seen.
He’s capped it off with Melodies from Video Games Past, a 12-track commission project that spiraled to 50 songs with over 2 hours of music. Included are all-new arrangements of fan favorites including Turrican, Street Fighter, Agony, Metroid, Sonic, Axelay, F-Zero, Galaxy Force and so many more.
“If you are familiar with my precious “Shiryu’s Arcade” ten LP project, you will recognize most of these tracks, but please note they were all made from scratch for this special release. Yep, these fifty tracks are all baked fresh! Even if this was a commission LP for someone, I want to publicly state that I refused payment. I’m not making anything out of this except for the coins people give me over [on] Bandcamp.
I just want everyone who listens to it get some nostalgic goose bump and get reminded some awesome memories of simpler times. Hope you enjoy listening as much as I enjoyed making it. Happy holidays and… see in 2016?”
To further extend the holiday cheer, Shiryu’s offering up a 50% discount on all of his sprawling Bandcamp discography. Just use the promo code “shiryu_is_xmas_king” on checkout. The code is good from now through January 4th, 2016.
Chiptune artist and overall talented guy Samuel “Shnabubula” Ascher-Weiss has put his entire bandcamp discography on sale for the holidays, at a discount of 90% off the total of all 18 of his albums. Having released his newest album Sued for Christmas (I’m hoping that’s not the actual reason for the sale but we don’t judge here), which features his own spin on Christmas classics, he posted the following within the album’s page:
Please do not pay for this album. Upon the suggestion of a close friend I recorded and uploaded an album that has a price so that I can get in on all of the fun of releasing my entire discography at a discount!!!!<+100 more exclamation points> – Shnabubula
His previous albums feature a bevy of chiptune music inspired by oldschool NES and SNES tunes such as SNESology, as well as composing for indie games such as Americana Dawn. You can check out his entire music library and grab yourself some fun music for the season.
Chiptune fans now have something they can put on their holiday wish list. (Or ever gift to other fans!) Chiptunes = WIN has not only released a holiday compilation album, but they’ve also teamed up with other chiptune artists and Groupees to create the Bundle of WIN combo sale.
That’s right! As of Noon Eastern today (Monday, Dec 7th), we’re presenting you with the fantastic holiday opportunity to grab not only a brand spankin’ new 10 track ChipWIN compilation, ‘Bundle of WIN‘, but also 10+ albums from all of the artists involved in the comp! And everything provided through the fantastic folks at Groupees.com!
That not enough? Alrighty then. How about we include a bundle of awesome bonuses?? The more folk give in total, the more delightful bonuses that’ll unlock for all donors! Not to mention three really cool prizes for the top three donors. Yup. All that’s in this beautiful bundle!
On top of that, how about the chance to donate a percentage of your monies to everyone’s favorite fest that’s not a con, MAGFest?? Okay then. We’ll do that too! –Brandon L Hood aka “President Hoodie”
Like with all other Chiptunes = WIN albums, all sales are reinvested into the chiptune community and future projects, and in this case will include gaming and music event MAGFest. Two dollars nets you the basic bundle of 11 albums featuring a bevy of chiptune artists such as CarboHydroM and Auxcide, with additional proceeds unlocking bonuses. The sale lasts until December 22.
[Disclaimer: The writer affirms outside friendships with the chiptune community, unbeholden to the purpose of the post. Because who doesn’t want to support more chiptunes?]
London-based partygoers recovering from this past weekend’s #SEGASaturday event have just a few days to prepare for another one. Joypad and VICE Gaming have announced Super Warehouse, a “collaborative music meets indie and retro gaming” party happening at London’s Hoxton Arches on Saturday, December 5th.
EDM and Chiptune accompaniment will be provided by FAIK, Sega Bodega, Shirobon and Slugabed with live, interactive visuals courtesy of VJ Yourself. Adding to the audio/visual mayhem of the night will be Robin Baumgarten’s uniquely physical “1D dungeon crawler”, Line Wobbler. There’ll be plenty of indie games on hand thanks to publisher Devolver Digital who will also be bringing two unreleased games to play.
For retro fans the organizers have crafted a novel, interactive way to play a huge assortment of 8, 16, and 32-bit games from Nintendo, Sega and Sony; by live request. Attendees can tweet the name of a game they’d like to play using the #superwarehouse hashtag and the Joypad staff will load it up and call it out as gameplay rotates throughout the night.
Advanced tickets are available now through Eventbrite for £11.45 and like #SEGASaturday, let us know how it was if you’re in the area and attend! For those of us not in the same town, continent or hemisphere we can, at least, grab a free half-hour mix by FAIK made exclusively for Super Warehouse. It is a wonderfully appropriate mash up of beats, drops and video game samples.
It only takes two to make a trend, right? If that phrase I just coined holds true then it’s been a trendy year for old school game composers making a return to form through the medium of Outrun-inspired mobile racing games. First it was Motohiro Kawashima — lead composer on Streets of Rage 3 — returning for the trippy PlayStation Mobile racer, Oh Deer! (also my first post on OSV). Most recently it’s Barry Leitch, composer of such classic racing games as Top Gear, Lotus Turbo Challenge 2, and the San Francisco Rush series.
Leitch has returned after years away from video game music to provide the soundtrack to — wait for it — a new Outrun-inspired mobile racing game. Horizon Chase has been out on iOS since August but it’s just come to Android which is where I discovered it and its fantastic music. Fans of Top Gear should be especially pleased both with the gameplay and soundtrack. Dodging competitors over undulating terrain and tearing through rolling corners, the music is perfect accompaniment. Leitch’s characteristic arpeggio melodies are updated with modern synths, tinny guitars and just a touch of dubstep. The pacing is perfect and the sound is both new and delightfully cracktro — err, retro.
Leitch sums it up in a recent Kill Screen article by saying, “the stuff I wrote now is the same as back then, but this is finally how I imagined it sounding in my head 20 years ago. Two decades later, you can finally get the music to sound like how you wanted it.”
It’s a bit of a shame that the races aren’t marathon length to give these songs more time to jam. Fortunately, there’s a soundtrack for that, created by Leitch himself and available in physical form from his site. With fifteen tracks and 59 minutes of music it’s one of the longest soundtracks I’ve seen for a mobile game and comes complete with full color liner notes and artwork for $20. I already picked up the game but I just might have to grab the CD as well to keep this fantastic music playing.
Back at the end of July Brave Wave announced the Generation Series that aims to remaster beloved, out of print and incomplete game music in excruciating quality. The first (and so far, only) album announced is Street Fighter II: The Definitive Soundtrack which is planned for release before the end of the year.
Since our original post Brave Wave have gone on to reveal some more details on the release. The album art has been updated (seen above), the playlist will include a staggering 100+ tracks encompassing the CPS1 and CPS2 versions of the soundtrack and the CD release will come on three discs. As previously reported, both the CD and vinyl versions will feature liner notes from original composer Yoko Shimomura and Polygon.com’s Matt Leone.
More importantly, they’ve released the eight comparison tracks embedded above that should give you an immediate appreciation for the work they’ve put into the album so far. On their vision for the new sound of Street Fighter, sound engineer Marco Guardia told Polygon, “We were trying to strike a balance between staying true to the song and it being authentic. We didn’t want to go overboard and mess with the sound to a degree that it sounds nothing like it used to.”
Take a listen for yourself and check out that Polygon article while you’re at it; there are some insights into Brave Wave’s process and the story behind the album’s origins.
GameChops has just released a follow up to Joshua Morse’s spectacular 2013 Castlevania tribute album, VLAD, appropriately titled VLAD II. Like the original, VLAD II features four tracks of EDM chiptune/jazz fusion, this time with guest guitarist, Danimal Cannon, on two tracks. You can sample all four songs in the teaser video or listen over on bandcamp and check out the track listing below.
VLAD II is out now and available to buy from Loudr.fm for a minimum price of $4; just in time to pump up your Halloween week festivities. And for a limited time you can get both VLAD albums for a minimum of $7.
Jake “Virt” Kaufman is shaping up to be a very busy boy these days. On top of recent additions to his amazing work on the Shovel Knight OST with the Plague of Shadows DLC, and being slated for work on indie titles [NUREN] and working alongside Michiru Yamane and Ippo Yamada for Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, another new indie project has just been announced with him attached to compose. Ghost Police is negative-space shmup title currently in development by independent game developer Steven McCarthy, and will feature an 8-bit chip music soundtrack done up by Kaufman.
“Many people don’t know this, but I actually got my start in videogames working on the Game Boy. As Ghost Police blends styles from the NES and Game Boy, I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to come full circle with the NES soundtrack for Shovel Knight by writing this with the Namco 163 sound chip, an expansion that I’m familiar with and am eager to push to its limits!” – Jake Kaufman
Kaufman currently has the trailer score for the soundtrack’s Kickstarter, which is seeking $16,000 USD with various stretch goals for additional work. A copy of the Ghost Police for PC is available for the equivalent of $7.80 USD – with the soundtrack, beta access, and backers’ pixelated likenesses featured in the game at higher support levels.
Source: Scarlet Moon Productions
The original PlayStation may have celebrated its 20th anniversary last December in Japan, but for me — an American teenager at the time — it’s September 9th, 1995 that I remember most fondly. Even before the console was out it was turning me on to new music. The “Hear it Now, Play it Later” demo disc I got for pre-ordering the console introduced me to the likes of Korn, Mother May I and Dag and even included uncredited tracks from Tommy Tallarico. After the launch it was a constant stream of new favorites with soundtracks in every style represented.
But just like Sony’s push to bypass 2D games and focus on the PlayStation’s polygonal power, there wasn’t a lot of classic 16-bit style music to be heard. Some developers did choose to render their music with the PlayStation sound hardware but the cool factor of “CD Quality Sound” was hard to ignore. It wasn’t exclusive to PlayStation — CD-based consoles had been around for nearly a decade in 1995 — but almost unanimously the sound was more like “real music” than the proverbial “bleeps and bloops” of the games that came before them. That was a powerful moment for gaming’s mainstream acceptance with graphics and music that leapt farther towards reality.
With that in mind it’s a little ironic to hear flagship PlayStation themes done in a chiptune style but it makes for an equally striking testament to how far things have come. That’s what Shiryu has done to commemorate the PlayStation’s 20th anniversary with the album PSXX. It’s a great listen that’s sure to touch at least one PlayStation classic you’ll recognize. I also found myself impressed with renditions of the atmospheric music from Tenchu, Resident Evil and Tomb Raider.
It’s an unexpectedly fitting way to remember the PlayStation on this anniversary of its North American debut and a great remix collection for any other day. PSXX is available now for €4 on Shiryu’s Bandcamp page. If you’d like to reminisce about the days of the PlayStation or just dream up other games you’d love to hear chiptuned, let us know in the comments.
We’re a week away from the start of the MAGClassic (formerly MAGFest 8.5), which is the organization throw-back event meant to capture the smaller and more intimate feel of earlier MAGFest events at the Hilton Alexandria Mark Center hotel in Alexandria, Virginia. Last year’s event seemed to go off well enough to facilitate a repeat event for Fest-goers who favor a smaller and less grand event than MAGFest Prime. This year has a slew of performers, some previous MAGFest staples and some being fresh faces to the event, who will be playing over the course of the three day event. The final line consists of:
The event runs from September 11th – 13th and tickets are still available, so anyone who wants to experience a more subdued MAGFest like the days of yore should think about jumping aboard that hype train.
MAGClassic might prove to be a good alternative to the main MAGFest 2016 (aka: MAGFest XIV) event for some people. Within 24-hours of opening up room reservations at the Gaylord National Harbor, the event’s epicenter, all MAGFest-block rooms sold completely out, and we’ve been informed by MAGFest staff that the initial overflow hotels have also subsequently been completely booked. Fortunately, they assure that more overflow hotels will open up soon, and there’s always the chance of cancellations that will open rooms up across all of the hotels. MAGFest hit an attendance of over 17,000 at this past year’s event, lending weight to the rapid rate of hotel reservations for the upcoming event. Pre-registration for MAG ’16 is currently open at $50 per attendee with group rates available, and price increases by the end of September. I’ve also been informed that new swag will be available for attendees to purchase, both as additions to their registration and at the event itself, and any and all donations to the event are now tax-deductable with the organization’s new non-profit status, with funds going towards improving and supporting the event and helping its staff and many volunteers.
We’ll keep everyone posted with any big MAGFest news that pops up within the next few months. Band and guest announcements should start popping up within the next month or so, and we anxiously await to see what’s in store for what might be the biggest MAGFest event yet.
Will you be attending MAGFest 2016 or MAGClassic? What would you like to see at either event? Let us know in the comments!
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.