This week MAGFest 12 has announced its roster for the Stage 2 concerts and the MAGFest Prom. In addition to the Chiptune Showcase and EDM Battle concerts that have already been announced, Stage 2 will host additional music by over a dozen different artists. Much like the other concerts, Stage 2 will feature a few newcomers and some returning favorites. Another music event for MAGFest 12 is the MAGFest Prom, a late night dance that will feature a James Bond theme. No dress code will be enforced for the prom, so people may dress however they like. Two bands, The OneUps and Love Canon, will be performing at this spy themed event.
The Stage 2 and MAG Prom performance roster is as follows:
Thursday Night MAGFest Prom (12 AM – 2 AM *technically Friday*)
- The OneUps
- Love Canon
Friday Stage 2 (11 AM – 5 PM)
- Chronicles of Sound
- Viking Guitar
- Eight Bit Disaster
- Lucio Baldomero
- Final Stage
- Overclocked University
Saturday Stage 2 (11 AM – 5 PM)
- Random Battles
- Triforce Quartet
- Rare Candy
The times of performances are subject to change. Information and updates on MAGFest events, tickets, hotels, guests, and performers can be found on the official MAGFest website at http://www.magfest.org/. It’s looking like a great line-up of concerts for MAGFest 12 and a great way to start of 2014.
Recently the Bandcamp Weekly, a podcast hosted by Andrew Jervis, had a special show featuring interviews with various videogame music composers. During the podcast, Jervis spoke with Danny Baranowsky, Laura Shigihara, Austin Wintory, Jim Guthrie, Disasterpeace, and Big Giant Circles about their careers, the nature of game music, and their approaches to writing music. The show of course featured music by the composers themselves, as well as some selections from other videogame music albums.
It’s a great 90 minutes of discussion about various aspects of the game industry and how composers and their music are involved. For those of you looking to learn about some of the artists in the game music world, especially the indie games, it’s a great introduction and you may just find yourself checking out some new tunes to add to your library. Definitely give this podcast a listen.
TED talks have always been about presenting ideas worth spreading, so I’m glad to see they’ve put Chiptunes on display. TED talks try to gain a deeper discussion in a local field, TEDx is more for local programs, and Dan (Dan Behrens, aka Danimal Cannon) hit it off. As Dan described Chiptunes, he defined it as…
… Any music made using, or emulating the sound of, old video game consoles and their soundchips.
Technically with that definition, the PS4 could also be considered platform for Chiptunes, but it’s the sound that Dan and the others are attracted to, not particularly a beefy console. Dan’s chip of choice being a classic Gameboy, he continued into his list of consoles that other artists use to make Chiptunes. Consoles such as the NES, Genesis, Commodore 64, Atari Amiga, and many others. As Dan described, it’s really about taking minimalist hardware, and pushing it to the maximum potential.
The talk itself features some excellent music past the 4:35 mark. Take a listen.
Dan went further to talk about a trend taking place in music software, one that makes music controls easier to use, but leaves you ignorant to what the controls directly changed to achieve its sound. For instance, if you use a plug-in that has a fader controlling a “Smash” parameter, what is the “Smash” doing exactly? Does it EQ the sound? Is something being filtered? Does it matter? By using plug-ins like that, Dan considered it a failing to learn.
Dan also stated that such software is good for businesses, which is true. Music software that gives the end user the sounds they desire is often the goal developers strive for. However, Dan insisted that Chiptune is not a response to such easy-to-use music software, but rather it evolved by itself into where it currently stands in the community.
What are your thoughts on the subject? Do you agree that simple and easy to use software actually does make you less curious about how the sound was achieved?
There were a lot of fantastic moments at last year’s VGO concert, “Live At Symphony Hall.” While we all eagerly await the album release, GameArts gave permission for the “Theme of Grandia” to go up, for free, on YouTube for your consumption. This may have been my favorite moment.
There was a lot of emotion involved with this one. The piece was self-arranged by composer Noriyuki Iwadare, who was in attendance. Also in attendance was Hiroko Miyaji, widow to Grandia creator Takeshi Miyaji (who passed away in 2011). This performance was a perfect tribute to a great man who created one of the finest RPG adventures ever.
Watch this video and get yourself psyched for the album release. I know I’m ready!
EDITOR’S NOTE: For the sake of full disclosure … Videri String Quartet’s debut album Portals was promoted by Scarlet Moon Productions, founded by Jayson Napolitano. Below, OSV blogger Richard McDonald gives his own opinion of the album.
As gamers from the ’80s and early ’90s come into their late 20s /early 30s, some of the more musically minded of them have started looking back to the games of yesteryear for musical inspiration. It seems that now is the time for instrumental albums of old game music. Professional string orchestra Angèle Dubeau & La Pietà brought out a Game Music album lately, that was truly amazing, and I’ve been enjoying The Greatest Video Game Music 2 album as well of late. However, what with the affordability of recording equipment and amazing music distribution sites like Bandcamp and Loudr, smaller groups are getting in on the act. Bands like The OneUps have been covering game music for years and now classical ensembles are putting their 2 cents in.
So; in comes the Videri String Quartet, a group of professionally trained classical musicians whose debut album comprises of a compilation of popular game music tracks and medleys. Glancing though the track list, I immediately see the classics. Super Mario Bros, Sonic the Hedgehog, Final Fantasy VII and Halo. Like many others, this is an album aimed squarely at the 20-30 something gaming audience with a yen for nostalgia and a disposable income. But I also see more modern tracks, like Final Fantasy X, Journey and Kingdom Hearts, and it is here that I think this albums falls a little. (more…)
It seems that if you have the talent and the drive, game developers are able to go it alone these days. Jonathan Blow (Braid), Daisuke Amaya (Cave Story) and now Tom Francis with Gunpoint are all single developers that have made it to the top. The opposite almost seems to be true for game soundtracks. Famously, Jonathan Blow selected several tracks from the website Magnatune, all from different artists, and the final fantasy series has several composers on hand to write music. Tom Francis seems to have gone for the multi composer route by choosing 3 artists to write the soundtrack for his game, Gunpoint.
(Amaya is the exception, as he wrote all his own music for Cave Story.)
After the jump, I’ll let you in on who all wrote the soundtrack for this riveting new indie game, and what I thought of each composer’s work respectively. (more…)
The good folks at Joypad Records continue to attract new and interesting talent for new VGM arrangements. Surely by now y’all have heard the glory of Smooth McGroove, right?
I wanted to take a moment to highlight some new releases that I’ve been very much enjoying. First up (and pictured above) is the debut album from Videri String Quartet, entitled “Portals.” I haven’t heard a good string quartet album in awhile, so I was excited to check this one out. It features a collection of generally well-known tunes, including full medleys for a handful of popular games including The Legend of Zelda, Halo and Final Fantasy VII. It’s available on Loudr for 12.00 USD. Full disclosure: I first found out about this album from a press release written by none other than OSV’s illustrious Jayson Napolitano.
Another great little album worth checking out is the first in a series of albums from a collective calling themselves “Project Destati.” For those of you who somehow forgot, “Destati” is the name of one of the best up-tempo, intense battle themes from Yoko Shimomura’s Kingdom Hearts compositions. Project Destati intends to release a lot of music … for now, they have a 5-track, 18-minute EP out called “Awakening.” It’s available on Loudr for 3.00 USD. I learned about this one via an RPGFan news story.
There are other new albums worth checking out as well: I’ll put in my own recommendation for DJ Cutman and Spamtron’s “MeowMeow & BowWow” — which serves as an EDM-style tribute to the Game Boy classic Link’s Awakening.
Well, it’s that time of year again (can you believe this is the sixth year OSV has done this?). To commemorate Square Enix’s presence at San Diego Comic Con, we’ve scheduled a chat with promotions manager Akio Shiraishi to talk about recent happenings and touch on what’s in store for fans in the future. Read the interviews from 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012 if you dare!
This time talk about the remaster versions of the Final Fantasy IV, V, and VI soundtracks, what the plans are for vinyl and the SQ series, what’s with the recent use of the Blu-ray format for music, whether we’ll see anymore FFXI music, and I pitch them on an idea for a new NieR CD.
All of this and more, after the jump! (more…)
In 2011, I started an ambitious project: to collect every audio CD published by the developer/publisher CAVE (Deathsmiles, Dodonpachi, Espgaluda, Mushihimesama, etc). I completed this project earlier this year.
And now, even as I face the dreaded possibility of having to sell that very collection, I was able to glean so much knowledge and enjoy so much great music from a bevy of amazing Japanese composers. The man who introduced me to the quality of music from CAVE, Don Kotowski, joined me in a 3-hour audio recording wherein we listen to two songs from each album and give our commentary. My commentary tends to be focused around critique of the music, while Don has tons of expert knowledge about the music’s origins, having interacted with many of the musicians who worked on these albums.
It’s taken me 4 months since the audio recording with Don took place, but I’ve put together an eight-part YouTube video series (playlist here) corresponding with that audio recording for a full-on A/V experience to learn about this game company and their music. Most of their games are “bullet hell” shmups, though they stray into other, even more niche territory (such as the visual novel Instant Brain).
Don and I wanted to provide this video series as a method for game music fans to get up to speed on one very specific set of music, one whose fans tend to be even more hardcore than, say, fans of Nobuo Uematsu or Falcom Sound Team jdk.
Video embeds after the jump! (more…)
I suspect that when Disasterpeace started this remix project he got more of a response than he bargained for. Considering the popularity of FEZ and the high praise the music received, I’m not surprised that a remix project ended up spanning two “virtual” discs. FZ: Side Z is the second remix album based on the music from FEZ and released shortly after FZ: Side F. It follows along the same tradition with a multitude of remixes, a mix of DJs, performers and game composers; and, once again, it contains a huge variety of styles and genres, exceeding the previous album by seven tracks.
For my thoughts on the album, and links to purchase this bad boy, follow along after the jump! (more…)
*All art assets, including the above logo, are work-in-progress and may not be representative of the final product
In my last post, I hinted at a reason as to why I could no longer act as managing editor of OriginalSoundVersion. Today, I reveal what that reason is: I’m throwing my hat in the indie game ring.
After the jump, I’ll provide some initial details about this project, including the key asset developers (art/music) and a rough timeline. But for now, let me make the following statements as the two key reasons why I can no longer be an active part of OSV:
1) Time management. I can only devote so much time to playing games and writing about games if I am also simultaneously trying to make a game (this also explains my waning activity on my personal blog Gameosaurus).
2) Conflict of interest. Those of you who go on to read this full article will see that many of the people I’ve recruited for this project are people whose works have been evaluated in the past (generally in a very positive light). To continue writing about their works, or the works of their professional colleagues and (real or perceived) rivals, would be inherently biased in a whole new way, since I am now working with them on our own project.
Again, OSV will continue to live on. But my focus for the coming months and years (should it take that long) will be on this exciting new Visual Novel game project. Details after the jump! (more…)
[Disclaimer: I, Jayson Napolitano, was hired by the Max Steiner Agency to prepare and distribute a press release regarding "The Northerner," but I'm also sincerely passionate about it being funded on a personal level]
In case you weren’t aware, Jeremy Soule launched a Kickstarter campaign last month to fund his first classical symphony, “The Northerner.” You should care not only because Jeremy Soule is one of the most talented game composers working in the industry, but also because “The Northerner” channels a lot of the energies Soule visited while working on Skyrim just by the nature of its far North theme.
I ran a feature over on Destructoid with exclusive commentary from Jeremy Soule himself on the project as well as a preview on YouTube (above) and SoundCloud. Check them out, and support this project towards reaching its stretch goal of $100,000 to record at a prestigious recording studio before the campaign ends in just three short days!
Do you see this as a potential way to fund classical music in the future? Let us know if you’re on board for “The Northerner!”