When LucasArts started ramping up for the release of the strategy game Star Wars: Force Commander in 2000, one of the things they did was release mp3 samples of the music. At the time, I held John Williams’ original scores in the highest regard and wasn’t familiar with the growing fan remix/arrangement scene. So what I heard when I first clicked ‘Play’ on “Imperial Rage (Leviathan Mix)” startled me. I couldn’t imagine that someone would ever take those perfect pieces of music and put a beat to it, back it up with guitars and throw in samples from the movies. Within seconds, however, I realized how great the mix sounded and never again questioned someone having a go at the revered source material. With the impending onslaught of all new Star Wars games and movies this Fall I thought I’d take some time to highlight my favorite unexpected spins on the classic compositions.
News announced for the upcoming Game Music Connect 2015 conference in London on September 15th is that Beep: A Documentary History of Game Sound will be premiering an exclusive preview screening of it’s expansive look at gaming sound and music through the years. The preview, Beep: Big in Japan, will look at several different Japanese composers, such as:
Documentary director Karen Collins, associate professor for the Games Institute at the University of Waterloo, will be presenting her exclusive interviews with “Japan’s game music royalty”, all as a preview to the full documentary’s release in Spring of 2016. More about the project cane be read about on their website, as well as the Game Music Connect website, which still has tickets available for the show at The Purcell Room at London’s Southbank Centre.
Today marks the 20th anniversary of the release of film adaption of Mortal Kombat, which blew away screens on August 18th, 1995 and proved that game-based movies weren’t destined to be steaming piles of crap. (Its sequel, unfortunately, undid a lot of that progress but thankfully we’ve also seen other media depict MK favorably) It’s been two decades, and I still have a hard time thinking of any actor that could possibly portray the creepy badassedness of Shang Tsung more than Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, or a better fight scene in a game-based-movie than Johnny Cage vs. Scorpion.
In terms of the game itself, Mortal Kombat never had more than a handful of themes within the three titles it’d had by the point of the movie’s release that really stuck with me too much, other than tracks such as Mortal Kombat 2‘s “The Dead Pool” or Mortal Kombat 3‘s “The Pit”. The movie, on the other hand, sported an original soundtrack that really changed both how I felt about music in fighting games, and introduced me to some new genres of music I hadn’t explored before. It’s that music that I want to give props to after 20 years.
Pixels is a new Hollywood blockbuster that features several classic video games including Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, and Q-bert to name a few. The movie is getting two soundtrack releases in and I had the opportunity to listen to a copy of the score. The score was composed by Henry Jackman, who wrote the music for super hero films X-men: First Class, Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Big Hero 6. He also wrote the score for the animated video game film Wreck it Ralph, and he has also written the score to the upcoming game Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End which I can’t wait to hear.
Prior to listening to the score I was curious to find out if it offered symphonic representations of some classic video games, or something entirely different. Read on to find out what I thought of the score.
In the mood for some Halloween themed remixes? The newest Danse Macabre album from Viking Guitar may have exactly what you are looking for. If you follow the videogame cover music of Viking Guitar, you may be familiar with their tradition of releasing a horror music album every October around Halloween. Each of the previous Danse Macabre volumes has covered music from horror games, horror movies, and even music of other bands. This latest entry aims to follow in that tradition.
This year’s new album, Danse Macabre III, includes covers of music from The Ring, Dead Space, Silent Hill, and Goosebumps. As with the previous entries, a wide collection of music artists and groups are contributing tracks to the album. A decent mix of music styles and genres are present as well, including classical, rock, and chiptune. This year’s contributors include the Videri String Quartet, Chernabogue, and Phonetic Hero among others. If you’re a fan of music from horror games and movies, this is an album you’ll want to check out. Danse Macabre III and the previous Danse Macabre volumes can all be found on the Viking Guitar Bandcamp page.
This seems to be the time of year for game music Kickstarter campaigns. In addition to the previously covered Beep game audio documentary, another full length film titled The Players’ Score: A Videogame Music Documentary is looking for support through a Kickstarter campaign. Unlike the Beep documentary, The Players’ Score will be focused specifically on the music by game composers, chiptune artists, and videogame music cover artists. The documentary will also be taking a look at the culture and community surrounding game music.
The primary goal of the Kickstarter is to help fund the film team’s expenses as they travel to locations like MAGFest (Music and Game Festival) and to international locations in order to interview composers and artists and to cover game music events. Hitting the first stretch goal will allow the team to fly out to Japan for even more interviews.
Cast members in the film include Austin Wintory, Jesse Buddington, Nate Horsfall, and bands like Urizen and The Megas. The documentary is being narrated by Arin “Egorapter” Hanson and will have an original soundtrack composed by Jake “Virt” Kaufman. Backer rewards for the project include physical copies of the soundtrack, Blu-ray copies of the film, and special Skype calls with the cast and crew. If a documentary on the community and culture of videogame music sounds interesting to you, definitely take a look at this Kickstarter project.
Creators of a new game documentary have launched a Kickstarter. The project titled Beep is intending to take a look at the history of game music and sound. Everything from the old school sounds of arcade games all the way to the games of today. The focus isn’t just on the music of these games. The documentary will also be an exploration of audio design, voice work, and the use of chiptune and other game sound technology outside of the gaming medium. A book will also accompany the documentary to supply more detailed information about the various subjects covered in the film.
There are already plans for interviews with major members of the game audio community. Raising money through Kickstarter will aid the creators in being able to travel and interview composers and sound designers. Several composers have already been named for interviews including Tommy Tallarico, Winifred Phillips, Shota Nakama, Peter McConnell, and many more.
Rewards for backers include copies of the documentary, book, soundtrack, t-shirts, and many other physical rewards. The Kickstarter has already raised over $15,000 of the needed $40,000 pledge goal. If this sounds like a project you’d like to see made, definitely check this Kickstarter out.
The Video Game Orchestra (or VGO, for short) has been putting on stellar shows in either rock band or full symphonic orchestra formats for many years now. They’ve played many venues within Boston and have also traveled across the US to bring their unique musical stylings to other conventions, concerts, and events.
The group, led by Shota Nakama, has expanded its scope in the last year. Alongside the task of mixing down their first album (Live at Symphony Hall … review coming soon!), the VGO has also participated in the performance, recording, and mixing of some great game soundtracks. Most recently, and perhaps most notably, was their work on Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII. They’ve also worked on God Eater 2, Ace Combat 3D: Cross Rumble, and Tekken Tag Tournament 2. They’ve also done strings work for IMERUAT’s second album, Propelled Life.
To let the world know that Boston’s premier orchestra now has studio capabilities, they’ve launched SoundtRec. What is SoundtRec? To quote directly from the site:
SoundtRec Boston Offer:
- ANY INSTRUMENTATION & ANY GENRE
We will coordinate from vocalists, string quartet to full orchestra, choir, rhythm section to big band in various styles of music – Any instrumentation and any genre that meets your projects’ demand.
- REMOTE RECORDING
No time to fly over to Boston? It is not a problem because we offer remote recording! You can be at any place with internet, even at your comfortable home studio to monitor the sessions and give us feedback.
- COMPLETE BUYOUT & AFFORDABLE RATE
We offer an affordable rate and complete buyout. Please contact us for the details!
- PROVIDING EXTRA SUPPORT
Not only musicians, but we do also have world-class arrangers, orchestrators, copyists, lyricist and engineers available for you to support your musical creativity!
This is certainly great news for both independent game studios that want high quality audio, as well as traditional studios that are looking for a new venue to record their work.
The site offers examples of SoundtRec’s recordings, including their work on LR:FFXIII and the Live at Symphony Hall album that was published just last week. Be sure to check it out!
Back in 2005, X-Strike Studios produced a live action indie film that was out-and-out a love letter to survival horror video games. Called “Silent Horror”, the soundtrack was one of the first works of Dale “Corgi King” North, and ended up being one of his most popular and requested for it’s eerie yet memorable melody that was equally as much of a love letter to oldschool survival horror games.
Now, after nearly a decade and through the use of Scarlet Moon Productions, the original soundtrack to “Silent Horror” is available for purchase.
The soundtrack and a remix by long-time friend and producer Mustin (The One Ups) are now available on iTunes and Amazon MP3, as well as on Loudr and Bandcamp for just $7 USD. Whether you’re looking for some spooky background music or appreciate the survival horror atmosphere in general, this is the album you probably should grab for a good dose of creepy awesome music.
Our “Other Release” category — a catch-all miscellaneous category for stuff that isn’t technically game music, but close enough that you all probably know about it — had some great nominees. There were plenty more than six albums to choose from. But we narrowed it to six, and now we’re going to give the bronze / silver / gold medals. Well, digital medals. Still pretty sweet, though (thanks Connary!).
So, in case you’ve forgotten our nominees for Best Other Release:
Black Ocean (IMERUAT)
Indie Game: the Movie (Jim Guthrie)
Make Music, Throw Music (SleepyTimeJesse, et al)
SOUNDSHOCK 2: FM FUNK TERRROR!! (Various Artists)
And the winners are… (more…)
Welcome, dear readers, to OSVOSTOTY 2012! This year is our craziest year yet. Every day this week, we will reveal the nominees for seven separate categories. The categories are:
Best Other Release
Best Re-Issue Soundtrack
Best Arrange Album
Best Sound Design
Best In-Game Soundtrack
Best Soundtrack (Overall)
Composer of the Year
After the first week is over, we will announce the winners for each category each day of the following week.
We’re starting with “Best Other Release.” This miscellaneous category covers any original music not written for a game. In this way, we’ve collapsed previous categories such as chiptunes or film soundtracks into this category alongside the usuals: original concept albums. Our nominees for “Other” after the jump!
After Brenna posted her timely review of the Scythian Steppes remix album for Sword & Sworcery, I did a quick investigation into the OSV archives to see what else we’d reviewed related to the game and to Jim Guthrie.
Turns out, this was it.
For the rest of the week, we’ll be rectifying that problem. It’s Jim Guthrie week, ladies and gentlemen! And we’re starting with a new release: the soundtrack for “Indie Game: The Movie,” a documentary which chronicles the development of a few high-profile indie games, including FEZ, Braid, and Super Meat Boy.
Did Guthrie do justice to these film-makers and their timely subject of indie games? All that, and more, after the jump. (more…)