If Luminist’s Metroid: Resynthesized has left you wanting more Nintendo music on analog synthesizers, let me point you to Switched on SNES. It’s the first in a series from producer Will Patterson that aims to bring gaming’s musical masterpieces to new listeners by way of analog synths and drum machines.
The style fits quite well for A Link to the Past, smoothing out the instrumentation of the SNES original without sounding like a near-unrecognizable remix. Unfortunately, and just like Resynthesized, the album is painfully short and runs for just under 15 minutes. In its defense, the album doesn’t promise to rearrange the entire soundtrack and the themes that Patterson has chosen fit his minimal and subdued style in unison. I just wish there could be more of it!
While he may never expand on A Link to the Past, Patterson does have plans to visit more SNES franchises. The album’s Bandcamp page mentions Secret of Mana, Earthbound and Donkey Kong Country as potential upcoming entries. Switched on SNES is available now for $5 on Bandcamp.
What SNES soundtrack would you love to hear given the analog synth treatment? Let us know in the comments below.
Last October Michael posted a roundup of composers who have turned to Twitch and YouTube to broadcast their music creation process to the world. Among them was FTL composer, Ben Prunty, who began streaming the regularly scheduled Music Workbench series earlier this year. Whether you tuned in or not, the results of his streams have now been compiled on the new, free album titled Music Workbench.
“During Music Workbench, I make music live on twitch, talk about my creative and technical processes, and answer questions from viewers. The purpose of the show is to help demystify the music production process, which too often is seen as pure wizardry.”
The album offers five tracks that were created during live streams and highlight Prunty’s ethereal electronic style with some nice surprises and deviations to mix things up. There’s also the track “Going to Market” which was created off the air and added as a bonus track. You can grab the album for free from Bandcamp and join Ben Prunty’s Music Workbench streams every Saturday at 2pm PST on Twitch.
Greybox, has just released their second developer video for RiME, an upcoming game for XBOX One, PS4 and Nintendo Switch. In the video the developers discuss the art and design of the game, as well as the music and audio design. The video runs just under 10 minutes, and the discussion about the game’s music begins at 4:56. The developers talk about the game’s island as a character that tells the story of the game. In the video the music is described as a masterpiece that conveys the story arc and in game relationships. They also describe the music as having thematic adaptions to the player’s actions, and that the music ‘completes’ RiME.
David Garcia the composer is shown in the video offering some thoughts on his approach to creating the music. On April 6, 2017, Greybox also posted an excerpt of David Garcia’s score titled “Alone in the Light” which you can listen to below. There is also a link on the official YouTube video to download the sheet music.
Are you looking forward to RiME?
Fans of shmups with bright colors and a sizable help of Gradius-like gameplay should take a look at the recently released Switch game, Graceful Explosion Machine. (A contradictory title that somehow works well with the content.) You can also now purchase the game’s soundtrack, courtesy of the composer Robby Duguay. (Fate Tectonics, Kim Magikal)
The Graceful Explosion Machine Original Soundtrack features 17 tracks of chiptune music that accompany the colorful chaos of the gameplay. The alien-like, otherworldly synth tunes compliment the intensity of space fighting through the various stages. Each “stage” features four subsections with variations of the stage main melody.
The music reflects Duguay’s previous thoughts on dynamic music in his compositions.
When I was composing the soundtrack for Fate Tectonics, I saw a major opportunity to make the music dynamically follow the player’s progress. I set out to make all the different elements of the game into a member of an ensemble, and let the gameplay dictate how those parts would be heard.
Thanks everyone for supporting us during the GEM launch. It’s the biggest OST I’ve released yet and I appreciate all the tweets, ❤️s & RTs 🙌
— Robby Duguay (@RobbyDuguay) April 13, 2017
On March 30, 2017, Spinnup records released the official soundtrack to Metroid: The Bounty Hunter’s Judgement, a fan film currently in production by OutPort Studio which is part of The Project Pack. According to the artist, this project was developed to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of Metroid, as a tribute to Hirokazu Tanaka, Kenji Yamamoto and Minako Hamano for composing music for this franchise, and to Toby Fox for composing and developing Undertale. You can listen to the entire album which runs around 20 minutes below.
This is the result of months of research, composing, arranging, playing and recording, and with the huge support of thousands of talented people, this 8 track album was possible. Music, as any other form of art, exists to protect and sustain a way of expression, and with It, protects a way to experience and approach a theme.
Fan art is now protecting both of them as hard as ever.We want to thank all of the Metroid community for keeping the franchise alive and relevant. From the speed running community, to the modding, hacking, illustration, music and game developing community, all of you are the ones who keeps us believing that Samus adventures are not over.
We want to thank Milton Guasti (DoctorM64) for creating the perfect fan game with AM2R, and making the ultimate gift for the fans on the exact 30th Anniversary of the Metroid.
The album is also available on iTunes, Spotify, and purchase an official digital copy of Amazon. Although a release date for the fan film has not been announced, OSV will keep you posted?
Have you been following the development of this Metroid fan film?
Robyn Miller, the composer of the soundtracks to Myst, Riven and Obduction has just released the soundtrack to Little Potato. The short film directed by Wes Hurley & Nathan M. Miller just won Best Documentary Short at the SXSW Film Festival earlier this month. The filmmakers describe the film as an autobiographical documentary that tells the story of Little Potato‘s journey growing up gay in the Soviet Union before and after the fall of communism, his mother’s struggles to create a better life for them both, and their eventual escape to America via her becoming a mail-order bride.
Robyn Miller also shared some details on his approach to the soundtrack on his newly re-designed website.
Wes came to me with a daring musical vision: he wanted an upbeat 80’s synthpop sound. For music nerds, here are the tools I used: Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S88 and Komplete Ultimate, Pianoteq 5, Macintosh and Logic Pro X. The score was recorded at my home in Seattle.
You can sample the album’s remaining tracks on Amazon where it can be purchased digitally for $8.99.
Where you at the SXSW Film Festival this year, and did you have a chance to see Little Potato?
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.
A little over a week ago OSV reported on the launch of Resonator Game’s Kickstarter campaign for Anew: The Distant Light. Gamasutra recently posted a video interview with composer Wilbert Roget II on his work, you can find their original post here.
The interview is conducted by Jeff Spoonhower who is the Art Director for Anew: The Distant Light. Jeff and Will discuss how they came together on the project, their working relationship, where they find creative inspiration, and much more. My favorite segment was “Using themes to convey emotion” and the composer’s non-traditional thoughts on how to approach the alien theme. You can find the full index of the video interview below:
0:17 – Introductions
0:45 – Initial contact, starting up on the project
6:00 – Musical inspirations, influences on the game
14:08 – Giving yourself enough time to create something unique
19:10 – Using themes to convey emotion, and to tell a story
24:45 – The working relationship between developer and composer
29:50 – Art inspiring music, music inspiring art
37:40 – What we like to listen to
41:15 – Reaper composition workflow demo
The Kickstarter campaign is still ongoing and there’s still time to support what sounds like an incredible soundtrack to a compelling game. You can find the whole details of the campaign here which at time of writing is just about two thirds funded.
What did you think of the interview with composer Wilbert Roget II?
Not too long ago, I touched upon the music of charming indie game Burly Men at Sea; a game about brothers stretching their legs on a journey of discovery of both the world and themselves. In my opinion, you can never have too many games that have that general kind of theme of subtle adventure and exploration.
Enter Soul Searching, a similar game by the Turkish duo of Tarık and Talha Kaya that focuses on survival, story and deeper connections between the narrative and gameplay.
Inspired by Ursula Le Guin’s Earthsea series and movies like Life of Pi, Soul Searching is about growing up, leaving your homeland, standing on your own feet. It deals with themes like isolation, searching for meaning and direction, leading to depression and suicidal thoughts.
Talha Kaya acts as the composer of the game’s music, which is a combination of several different genres. Much like Burly Men at Sea, the music of Soul Searching is a mix of acoustic guitar and progressive rock with dashes of psychedelic tones to keep the tone interesting and captivating.
The 25-track soundtrack conveys a lot of emotions that go hand-in-hand with the game’s story and what the theme is trying to impress upon the player, from those of adventure and exploring new and strange territories, to themes of isolation and the loneliness of sailing away from your homeland in search of something you’re not quite sure of. The complex emotions that can be brought to the surface with this combination of music and visual gameplay appears to be the main goal of Soul Searching, and does so in a subtle way that doesn’t browbeat the player and can be invoked without even playing the game; a key component of a good soundtrack.
The Soul Searching OST is currently available for purchase on Bandcamp and streaming on Spotify. The game is current available on Steam for purchase.
I am always looking for the chance to post about new music from Mitch Murder. The Swedish musician helped to popularize the synthwave genre but most of his work is only tangentially tied to video games by its reverence for the trappings of the 80’s. He’s created a few imaginary OSTs to non-existent Genesis and Sega CD games (the last of which I did post about) as well as the soundtrack to the 80’s homage short film, Kung Fury.
Finally, after his soundtrack to the indie game Megamagic early in 2016, Mitch Murder is returning to for-real video games with Impact Winter. Coming to Steam and PC on April 12th from Namco Bandai Europe, Impact Winter is an indie survival game set in a new ice age. Hunt, scavenge, craft and upgrade by managing a huddle of survivors and hold out for 30 long winter days until rescue arrives.
Setting the sounds of this winter wasteland is a much more somber score by Mitch Murder but one that’s still thick with his familiar style. Ominous synths twinkle behind a sad piano theme in the title track while the latest YouTube trailer features snippets of both hopeful and foreboding melodies. You can grab the theme for free right now and if you pre-order the game on Steam you’ll receive the full soundtrack upon the game’s release. For those on consoles, Bandai Namco has also announced that Impact Winter will be coming to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One later in 2017.
The soundtrack to Konami’s Bucky O’Hare for the NES is one of my personal favorites. It’s also one of the few soundtrack composed by Tomoko Sumiyama that I wrote about in detail for Game Soundtracks For Your Soul: Level 15. Searching bandcamp last week I ran a search for “Bucky O’Hare” and came across RIGHTEOUS INDIGNATION: A Bucky O’Hare Tribute Album.
The cover album was released on June 26, 2016, as a thank you to Luis Guevara, who has helped promote many bands and artists in the VGM community, and who also thinks the original game’s score is one of the best ever created.
The album took 10 months to complete and features several prominent artists in the VGM and Chiptune scenes such as Ailsean, DJ Rockman, Dya, 1-Up, and individual members of bands such as Gimmick, The Returners, Droidekka, and Descendants of Erdrick.
Although it’s been out for a while, the nine track album is a fitting tribute to Tomoko Sumiyama’s work, and is available as a free download on bandcamp.
Are you a fan of the original Bucky O’Hare soundtrack on the NES?
Project Phoenix is upcoming Indie JRPG that ran a successful Kickstarter campaign back in 2013. Since that time the developers have been posting regular updates on the progress of the game. On February 15, 2017 in the 140th update, a new music track composed by Tomoki Miyoshi was revealed. Tomoki Miyoshi received a lot of praise (mine included) for his work on the piano based soundtrack for I Am Setsuna which was released last year.
Since the update fell close to Valentine’s Day, Hiroaki Yura, Director/Producer shared music that is from one of the romantic moments from Project Phoenix. You can listen to the track by following the link to the Project Phoenix Update here (Scroll to the bottom of the page to find the music link). The track features some lovely high noted flute, soft piano and graceful strings.
In reading through the past updates I also noticed that another track by Tomoki Miyoshi was shared on Soundcloud this past October in Update #135. According to Hiroaki Yura, this music is planned to be used whilst traveling between towns, hopefully, on horseback. You can listen to that track “Plains of the Far Realm” below.
More details on Project Phoenix is available on their official site. Although the game won’t be released until 2018, I have a feeling the soundtrack will show up on my most anticipated list for 2018!
Are you looking forward to Project Phoenix?