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!)
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:
Square Enix held a livestream in Japan on Wednesday, October 26th to finally go in-depth on NieR: Automata. Naturally, it’s all in Japanese but there was plenty to see and hear as the team showed off the game, its Collector’s Edition contents and talked up the NieR Music Concert & Talk Live Blu-ray that we covered last month.
The half-hour gameplay demonstration starts at the 19 minute mark and finally shows off the larger world that ties together the boss fights and cutscenes we’ve seen of the game so far. There’s a subtle piano ambiance through most of the footage that ramps up during fights and a nice new town tune similar to “City of Commerce” from the original game. The majority of the demo shows off the special skills and abilities of main character, 2B, and her accompanying bots. One of which is a vastly simplified fishing mechanic for those who remember the overwhelming frustrations from the previous game.
After the demo the team talks up the NieR Music Concert & Talk Live Blu-ray which is releasing in Japan on December 14th. They end the segment by showing the entire “Song of the Ancients / Fate” performance from the Blu-ray which makes a fairly compelling argument to pick up it up come December. The livestream ends with a new trailer that highlights the voice actors for the Japanese version of the game and is ironically lacking almost any actual voice acting. It is, however, full of new sights and surprises and is accompanied by another new piece of music from series composers Keiichi Okabe.
Have a look and listen for yourself above, check out the game’s official site for a few more background tracks and then continue waiting (im)patiently for the February 23, 2017 release date.
… soon … well, in December, actually. When it comes out, first week of December, we will distribute the codes.
But for now, we thought we’d announce the winners! The five of you will receive an email from me [Patrick] today, and separate emails when the Bandcamp distribution codes are ready in early December. Now then, drumroll please…
Oliver R. / Jack de N. / Véronique M. / Sabin Figaro / Jack W.
For those who wanted to know the answer to our entrance quiz: “In Cosmic Star Heroine, there is a particular bounty hunter who has quite the affinity for capes: can you tell us his name, and his weapon of choice?”
Name: Z’xorv | Weapon: Claws
And now you know! We wish we could’ve given away codes to everyone! For those of you who still want it, remember that you can preorder it for 7 GBP here.
Fans of Final Fantasy X will be getting treated to a special concert in Cologne, Germany on Oct 8, 2016. “Dreams of Zanarkand – Final Fantasy X” will be performed by the WDR Orchestra, who also did all the “Symphonic” Game Music Concerts 2008-2011 by Thomas Böcker, with piano performed by Benyamin Nuss and arrangements created by Masashi Hamauzu, who composed on Final Fantasy X with Nobuo Uematsu, and Benyamin Nuss.
“Dreams of Zanarkand” marks the first time a video game music concert in Europe has been dedicated to solely one game. Events of the game will be narrated by Maxi Gstettenbauer, a comedian and game tester. If you speak German, you can find out more information on the event’s Facebook Page, as well as purchase tickets for the October 8th showing.
MAGFest Laboratories was this past weekend. (Full disclosure, I do know several of the bands that played and hosted the Opposing Bloodlines competition panel) Taking the place of MAGFest Classic from the two years prior, the event still retained the same amount of lower-key atmosphere and less of the grandiose of main MAGFest. The concerts, however, were still plentiful in both number and variety.
If you happened to be wary of the new branding of the mini-MAGFest event and missed out, you’re in luck! The crew running MAG Labs were zippy as ever in making sure all of the concert performances were up on their Youtube channel in HD quality within hours of recording, so you can already watch the entire musical entertainment from the event.
Kudos to the MAG Labs music and media departments for their timeliness, and for making sure that those who missed the event can still get in on the awesome. (And that those who did and have any of the dreaded post-MAG depression can receive a nice emotional boost.)
Did you attend MAGFest Laboratories? What did you think of the performances? Let us know what you thought in the comments!
On September 6, 2016 during a Facebook Live video stream, Brain Transeau (BT) announced that Electronic Opus is getting an official CD, and Blu-ray Audio release. The Blu-ray will be pure audio, and feature three audio mixes: Stereo, 5.1 and a 9.1 Auro 3D mix. If you’re not sure what 9.1 Auro 3D sound is, it adds 4 additional speakers or points of sound above you for a more immersive sonic experience. In order to listen to the mix in 9.1 you will require special audio equipment. However, I’m just excited to be able to listen to the album in 5.1! You can check out my full review of BT’s Electronic Opus here as I was able to snag a CD produced from the Kickstarter campaign.
The mix was created by Daniel Shores of Sono Luminus Studios which is according to its website located in the nearly 100-year-old former Emmanuel Episcopal Chapel in rural Boyce, VA, the studios are a world-class recording facility with a special focus on classical and acoustic music. Studio A boasts a 25 foot vaulted wood ceiling over a 35’x65′ original heart pine floor, providing a beautiful natural acoustic. Sono Luminus specializes in the highest caliber of audio quality with the capability of recording 24 simultaneous channels of audio with sample rates up to DXD (Digital eXtreme Definition) 352kHz/24bit or DSD (Direct Stream Digital). Here’s a shot of a tweet from Mr. Shores:
You can pre-order both the CD Album for $13.99, and Blu-ray Audio version from Amazon for $19.95. The expected release date is September 30, 2016. And if you’re by chance located in Canada the I noticed that the Blu-ray Audio version on Amazon Canada has a great pre-order price of just $16.07CAD, I already pre-ordered my copy.
Is Electronic Opus on Blu-ray Audio something you’d like to hear?
Announced just a few weeks ago, Square’s performance of Final Fantasy XV music at the historic Abbey Road Studios really snuck up on us. The one-hour show, performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra with an appearance by composer Yoko Shimomura, airs live from London tonight at 7pm. That’s 2pm EST today on the East Coast!
PAX West 2016 is only a few days away, and you can expect a top-notch assortment of concerts and video game music panels this year! Here’s a quick rundown of what you can expect to see if you’re attending this year’s event so you can be sure to “catch ’em all”, so to speak.
Friday Night (8:30pm – 11:30pm PDT)
Saturday Night (8:30 – 11:30pm PDT)
As you can see, there’s a good amount of segments related to video game music, composers and the industry to check in on. You can check out more about the huge variety of panels at PAX West 2016 on their website, including the concerts and panel descriptions.
Attending PAX West 2016? Let us know what you’re most excited for, and come back after to tell us what you thought!