In this edition of Game Music for your soul, I am sharing more examples of Game Soundtracks that made an impact on me. Interestingly, UK composer David Wise wrote all of this music. This time I will be sharing some thoughts on the Pause music of Battletoads, and Donkey Kong Country’s “Aquatic Ambiance”. Does the music from these games mean anything to you?
Continuing my series of video game soundtracks that have made a personal impact on me. In this week’s feature I discuss two pieces of music, one is an excerpt from a Sega Saturn masterpiece, the other is a an introduction piece. The music of AZEL: Panzer Dragoon RPG, and the short but sweet theme of Cyan (AKA Cyan Worlds). Is there a soundtrack that holds a special place in your memory? Bring on the man tears.
Have you ever heard a piece of video game music that triggered something inside you? An emotional reaction? A cherished memory? I have. In this week’s mini-feature I discuss two pieces of music that when played by a symphony orchestra had an big impact on me. The music of Chrono Cross, and Fantasy Zone.
Famed Famicom/NES composer Keiji Yamagishi has a new music project that will be released this year. The Retro-Active Experience is a set of albums which will be coming out in three parts over the course of this year and feature brand new compositions by the composer. Inspired by his earlier work on the original Nintendo Entertainment System, these albums will have an emphasis on chiptune and electronic genres, with a healthy blending of modern instruments.
The first part of this multi-album project is titled Retro-Active Pt. 1. A handful of the tracks on this first album feature collaborations with other composers and musicians like Stemage, of Metroid Metal, and Manami Matsumae, composer of the original Mega Man soundtrack. There will also be a few remix tracks from Takahiro Izutani, Riki Arai, and Smoke Thief included on Part 1.
Retro-Active Pt. 1 is currently available for pre-order on the Brave Wave music site. Pre-ordering the album will get you early access to 4 tracks for download (Tracks 1, 2, 7, and 9). The full album will receive its official release on February 5th. So if some new tunes by one of the great Famicom/NES composers sounds like something up your alley, check out the first entry of this new music project.
The year 2014 has come and gone. There were a lot of great soundtracks, arrange albums, and remix albums that came out this past year. Patrick and Brenna have already given their nods to some of the excellent music, composers, and artists of 2014, and now it’s my turn. As with the previous writer picks, the format is shortened for this year, with each category receiving a winner and a runner-up. As a reminder, here are the categories for the 2014 OSVOSTOTY (Original Sound Version Original Soundtrack of the Year):
Soundtrack Album of the Year:
Artist/Composer of the Year:
Arrangement Album of the Year:
Rolling along with our 2014 recap of our favorite picks, now it’s my turn to go through and highlight what stood out to me this past year in terms of game music and everything related. It’s quite the mish-mash of musical praise and highlights, but I feel I covered a lot of the things I really felt deserved a big fat thumbs up this past year.
If you’re a Pokémon fan, then chances are you’ve been spending a lot of your time playing through the new Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire games. If you’ve played these latest iterations, then you know that these remakes don’t just feature improved gameplay and better graphics. They also contain brand new arrangements of the game music.
The original soundtrack to this latest set of Pokémon games has been released on iTunes for $9.99. The Pokémon Omega Ruby & Pokémon Alpha Sapphire: Super Music Collection contains a massive 160 tracks. Everything from the town tunes, battle themes, and victory jingles is included. If you’re feeling nostalgic you can also find the soundtrack to the original Pokémon Ruby & Sapphire games on iTunes as well. This is certainly something worth checking out if you’re a fan of the games and their music.
Score of the Year:
Artist/Composer of the Year:
Arrangement Album of the Year:
Earlier this year a Super Smash Brothers tribute album, titled “Harmony of Heroes,” was unleashed upon the world. The collection focussed on the music of game franchises represented in Super Smash Bros., as well as the game’s own original music. The original “Harmony of Heroes” album has over 100 tracks of remixes and arrangements by a variety of artists and covers many of the great tunes used in the Super Smash Brothers franchise.
“Final Smash” is an expansion that covers the games and fighters that were not covered in the original “Harmony of Heroes” album. The 26 all new tracks highlight the music of Pac-Man, Xenoblade, Mega Man, and other titles that are new to the Smash Brothers world. The expansion also contains some tracks of previously covered franchises like The Legend of Zelda and Super Mario. The “Final Smash” expansion and the original “Harmony of Heroes” album can both be found and downloaded for free on the Harmony of Heroes website. Definitely give this collection a listen if you haven’t already.
Christopher Tin first captured the hearts of gamers with his much-loved opening theme for Civilization IV: “Baba Yetu.” Originally recorded for the game in 2004, it was re-recorded with the Soweto Gospel Choir in 2009 as the opening track to Christopher Tin’s song cycle and debut choral/orchestral album Calling All Dawns. With this release, Tin received not one but two Grammy awards, including one specifically for Baba Yetu. This was the first time that music written for a video game received a Grammy.
In other words, Christopher Tin is free to join fictional anchorman Ron Burgundy in saying, “I’m kind of a big deal.” But I suspect he’s too humble for that.
After doing some fun projects in the following years, Mr. Tin returned to the choral-orchestral work that made Calling All Dawns so great. No, sadly, none of the music in 2014′s The Drop That Contained The Sea is featured in a video game (yet). And seriously, why is this music not in Civilization V? But I digress.
This new album features ten tracks, following the tradition of CAD by having each song sung in a different language. We’ll explore this album’s in-depth themes and look deep into each track after the jump.
OH! And to tease you into reading this whole article: if you love Yasunori Mitsuda (Xenogears, Chrono Trigger/Cross) you’re going to love at least one of the songs on this album. We all owe more than we can say to the wonderful nation of Bulgaria. (more…)
When Brenna first unveiled OSV’s Matron Maestras series, I was over the moon. Gender politics and volatile gaming culture aside, there’s no denying that the world of game music production is dominated by men. I don’t have a full database from which to do calculations (vgmdb doesn’t allow advanced artist search with filters on artist gender and artist type, such as composer arranger performer etc). Anecdotally, however, it seems to me that the West has an even harder time of it than Japan. I can easily name a dozen women composers from Japan; I would be hard-pressed to do the same among American and European VGM composers.
In wanting to support this new article series, I felt it best to highlight the contributions of the award-winning Winifred Phillips. This is a woman who is blazing a trail in the industry, and teaching others how to do it at the same time. No, really, she wrote the book on the matter (the first English-language book on the topic I’ve yet seen). This, in my mind, makes her both a scholar and a visionary, as she is able to adapt from formulaic composition to out-of-the-box creativity as needed.
After the jump, I’ll give you some examples to show you what I mean. And you’ll also see a list of recent accolades Ms. Phillips has received, demonstrating that I’m not the only one recognizing her talent.
With the Kickstarter for the JRPG Americana Dawn by indie developers Bit-Bonton chugging along, I thought it’d be a great opportunity to get ahold of the composer for the soundtrack; Samuel “Shnabubula” Ascher-Weiss!
The artist known as Shnabubula, for those who don’t know, is an amazing pianist and chiptune artist who has produced several albums, including NES Jams, Starbound and Fading Light. He also worked on the original, much smaller Kickstarter for Americana Dawn: Civilized Folk.