Orchestral game music concerts are popping up in ever-increasing numbers these days and to set themselves apart each one seems to be trying something new. One of the latest performances is ‘An Evening of Videogame Music’ from the Leeds International Festival Orchestra that’s happening on April 25th at the University of Leeds in England.
Putting a focus on local and UK developed indie titles, the night will see the first live performances of David Wise’s compositions for Snake Pass and Barrington Pheloung’s music from the classic adventure series, Broken Sword. Revolution Software co-founder, Charles Cecil, will be on hand to introduce the Broken Sword performance.
‘An Evening of Videogame Music’ will also feature a piece from The Chinese Room’s Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture written by Jessica Curry, and exclusive music from the upcoming Yooka-Laylee from renowned games composer Grant Kirkhope. Music from Bethesda’s Elder Scrolls and Fallout will also be performed during the two-hour show. Tickets are available now from Luna Tickets for £22.00 and as always, let us know with a comment if you attend the show.
Despite treacherous weather, PAX East 2017 went off without much issue this past weekend in Boston, MA. The expo show featured the usual accoutrements; a huge expo floor for showing games, a console and gaming room, several panels featuring a wide variety of topics on video games and gaming in general, and of course the all-day JAMspace and late-night concerts. There was a wide assortment of acts playing this year, from rock to metal to classical and jazz fusion, and thus PAX-goers had pick of the litter in terms of their musical entertainment.
Last week at Game Developers Conference, the Game Audio Network Guild (G.A.N.G.) hosted their annual awards show. Each year, composers from all over the video game industry get recognized for their achievements is making music the integral part of the video game process.
This year saw many categories and finalists from all over the industry. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End and ABZU brought home several nominations and awards, along with Overwatch and INSIDE. ABZU and Banner Saga composer Austin Wintory (whose awards can be seen above) seemed a bit overwhelmed by all the praise.
— Austin Wintory (@awintory) March 3, 2017
Sly Cooper and Grim Fandango composer Peter McConnell was also recognized with a Lifetime Achievement award. You can check out all the winners below the cut or head over the the G.A.N.G. page.
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.
The Video Game Orchestra (or simply “The VGO” to the hip kids who follow their work) have taken their show on the road before … but never like this. Fans of the Boston-based orchestra, led by Shota Nakama, can start their drooling now: on March 25th, The VGO will be putting on a concert in Tokyo. The show is being promoted by Pony Canyon — which, if you didn’t know, is “big deal” territory, they are Japan’s equivalent of “Live Nation,” save that Pony Canyon has existed as publisher and promoter of entertainment products for far longer.
The 3/25 show will have music from almost all the major game publishers, including Konami, Namco Bandai, Square Enix, Sega, and more. We don’t know the full list of games yet, but here’s what we have so far:
D4: DARK DREAMS DON’T DIE
FINAL FANTASY XV
GOD EATER 2: RAGE BURST
METAL GEAR SOLID (series)
SILENT HILL 2
TALES OF ZESTIRIA
On a personal/editorial note, I must urge the reader to consider the long-term value of this concert. To have a project with this many Japanese publishers sign on for a third-party entity (The VGO) to perform their work, in Japan, is a big deal. I have always advocated for collaboration among the game music artists and those who represent them, and whenever it happens, I can’t help but celebrate. This concert represents a big reason to celebrate.
Unfortunately, it isn’t something that I can celebrate … not in person. I won’t be able to attend the Tokyo show. But hey, maybe you can! The details for the show are found here: vgo.jp — and, if you want to purchase tickets, the website to do so offers information and instructions for ticket purchase in Japanese, English and Chinese! You’ll find that here!
And if anyone among our reader-base makes plans to attend the show, please let us know in the comments! We’d love to hear about your thoughts after the event.
Merregnon Studios, the group behind the Square Enix-focused Final Symphony and Symphonic Fantasies concerts have announced that their 2011 sell-out concert, Symphonic Odysseys, is coming to London this Summer. Unlike their previous shows, Symphonic Odysseys is focused solely on the music of Nobuo Uematsu — from Blue Dragon to Lost Odyssey and naturally, Final Fantasy — and was last performed nearly a year ago in Paris.
Those who couldn’t make it to France in 2016 have a chance to see the show again on June 20th, 2017 at the Barbican Centre. Performed by the London Symphony Orchestra and conducted by Eckehard Stier (with the London Symphony Chorus, acclaimed pianist Mischa Cheung and a full kazoo fanfare), the arrangements come from the same team behind Final Symphony, Jonne Valtonen and Roger Wanamo. Uematsu himself will also be at the venue for a special ticketed, pre-concert Q&A session.
“Nobuo Uematsu has been a musical hero of mine for many years and it’s both a delight and a pleasure that we can celebrate his work with such an amazing concert in London,” said Symphonic Odysseys London producer, Thomas Böcker. “It’s always great to be back at the Barbican Centre, but I’m particularly excited that Uematsu-san can join us for what will be our 10th concert with the London Symphony Orchestra. Fans will not want to miss hearing Uematsu’s classic compositions, along with some of his less well known, but equally wonderful works too.”
Tickets go on sale February 10th with prices between £30 ($38) to £65 ($82). Tickets for the pre-concert talk with Nobuo Uematsu will also go on sale at the same time, priced at £10 ($13) each. Those interested can buy their tickets through the Symphonic Odysseys site or directly from the Barbican Centre. Below is the announced set list:
The Final Fantasy Legend / Final Fantasy Legend 2
On Windy Meadows (from Final Fantasy XIV)
Waterside (from Blue Dragon)
Final Fantasy Concerto – For Piano and Orchestra
King’s Knight BGM – Pretty Day Out – (from King’s Knight)
Light of Silence (from Chrono Trigger)
Spreading Your Wings (from The Last Story)
Lost Odyssey Suite
If you can’t make the show or are just looking to relive Merregnon’s past performances check out Ryan’s recent article on the vinyl editions of both Final Symphony and Symphonic Fantasies from Laced Records.
Let it not be said that the east coast gets all the good VGM events. This weekend in San Jose, Rockage has returned for three days of gaming, music and fun.
Rockage: San Jose is a celebration of indie music & retro gaming. Rockage is more than just an annual event- we support indie musicians and gaming culture on the West Coast year-round.
Much like MAGFest (and a nice precursor to MAGWest later this year), Rockage features tons of retro and indie gaming, but also local VGM bands, artists and composers to rock out to while you attend the event. This year’s lineup includes two performances by FTL: Faster Than Light composer Ben Prunty, who had a killer set at the MAGFest Jamspace at PAX South recently.
For those making the trek to San Antonio, Texas this weekend to attend PAX South 2017, and are interested in the video game music and audio side of things, here’s a quick and handy list of both the musical performances playing at the event, as well as the VGM, music industry panels and any fun music-related panels to check out.
Friday Night (8pm – 11:30pm CST)
Saturday Night (8pm – 11:30pm CST)
Game Panels & Tournaments
You can check out the entire PAX South schedule here. Hopefully you’re able to check out one or all of these music and audio related events going on this year, and if you do let us know what you thought!
It’s been just over a week since MAGFest 2017 and a great deal of decompressing was required to be able to properly sum up this year’s experience. I was fortunate enough to see more performances than I normally would (thanks to a willingness to be dragged around), and therefore think I have a pretty good account of just how well this year’s prime Music and Gaming Festival went.
From the main stage to the underground to the secret shows, this year’s MAGFest was a solid lineup and featured a bit of everything to tickle your fancy.
Coming off of Patient Corgi’s mega collaboration, Tribute Album 64, Vancouver’s video game medley band, The Runaway Four, have announced the release of their first studio album on January 20th. Titled Chaos Theatre the 45 minute album offers five tracks of themed medleys with tunes from 31 different games mingling and mixing together.
In the opening track “This Game is Baroquen”, you’ll hear Final Fantasy, ActRaiser, Super Mario RPG, Columns and Katamari beautifully intertwined and played in a classical baroque style. The next three medleys are themed around the video game tropes of Ice Worlds, Fire Worlds and Battle Themes.
In “Borreal Bedlam” Earthbound flows into Donkey Kong Country into Kirby’s Dream Course among 8 other themes. On “Magma Mayhem” you’ll hear Diddy Kong Racing mingle into Super Mario RPG and charge into “Hot Damned” from Super Meat Boy. “Battle Royale” is a 17-minute track that melds 15 different battle themes from games including Chrono Cross, Bahamut Lagoon, Kirby Super Star, Pokemon R/B/Y and even Mega Man. Finally, there’s “Your Sanctuary”, a medley of themes from Earthbound which the band describes as “the warm hug at the end of the journey”.
Chaos Theatre will be released January 20th on The Runaway Four’s Bandcamp page and kicked off with a live show and listening party at Seven Dining Lounge in Vancouver. For those not on the continent or in the area they’ll also be streaming the event live on their Twitch channel. In the meantime, check out some of The Runaway Four’s past performances on YouTube and their previous release Live at Columbia Theatre on Bandcamp.
I was unable to make MAGFest again this year, but am very happy that MAGFest’s channel has videos available of some key events. As things only just wrapped up a few days ago I expect the list of videos to grow. I wrote about the videos they posted from the 2016 event which you can revisit here.
I have added the MAGFest Underground Playlist above, which features some awesome performances by Cowabunga Pizza Time, Gimmick, Jackal, Michael Zucker, Search Snake, Steel Samurai, Super Guitar Bros., Super Soul Bros., The Mountain Chiefs, The Tiberian Suns and Triforce Quartet (who I said was runner up for best arranged album of 2016).
There are plenty more concert videos and panel videos you can watch directly on MAGFest channel. Keep checking back as I’m sure there will be more videos added soon.
Did you attend MAGFest this year, is there a panel or concert that you saw that you really enjoyed? Let us know!
MAGFest 2017 is only two days away and we’re furiously prepping ourselves for the event festivities. For those also attending, full announcements and a guidebook for the event are now available. Beyond the music artist lineup we announced earlier, you can check out the list of guests, MCs and a whole lot more gaming music-related information. Highlights include:
Guest composers, including Alexander Brandon (Dues Ex), Davis Wise (Donkey Kong Country, Yooka-Laylee), Austin Wintory (Journey, The Banner Saga) and more.
Game Voice Actors, such as Ellen McLain (Portal), John Patrick Lowrie (Team Fortress 2), Matt Mercer (Resident Evil 6, Overwatch) and others.
The full guidebook for the event can be found here or on the main MAGFest website. Currently the Gaylord has a few extra rooms opened up, so if you are thinking of pulling a last minute attendance, you should jump on that now. Additional information can be found streaming regularly leading up to and during the event on the MAGFest Twitter and Facebook pages.
See you at the show! (Unless you sadly must miss it, in which case you can find the show streaming on Twitch!)