It’s often hard as one who simply appreciates game music and isn’t in the industry to really know what happens behind the scenes with regards to how game music composers and game musicians are treated. I would wager that a fair share of us are relatively ignorant as to the trials and tribulations that game music writers and composers face when trying to obtain and keep a steady flow of reasonable work, and what sacrifices need to be made.
Recently the hashtag #PerformanceMatters appeared trending on Twitter in regards to the plight that video game voice actors face in the games industry in terms of fair work for fair wages and worker’s rights. The hashtag made the general gaming public aware of some of the poor conditions video game VAs face from some of the biggest names in voice acting and got people talking. It also started to raise questions about how other aspects of video games fare in terms of treatment of their respective “parts”. Internet and Youtube game reviewer John “Total Biscuit” Bain raised the question as to how video game composers might also be treated in the industry.
Shiryu has just released an album that is a culmination of his twenty years experimenting with the music of the Wipeout series. The album is titled The Wipeout Legacy Perfect Lap Edition and is a digital release collecting six albums, and just under six hours of music! This is how he describes his journey in creating this release:
I have stated this before but it is always nice to remember: There would not be Shiryu Music if not for “Wipeout”. It was the game and it’s sequels that stirred the already ongoing pot of wanting to know how to make those sounds. This special edition is a compilation of all my previous works, including all four original releases plus an “The Outer Haven Sessions” EP. I often wonder if this is my Magnum Opus… will I ever do something as great as these tracks in the future? Or like “Wipeout” my time shinning on stage is running out and I am destined to be forgotten? Time will tell. Hope you enjoy discovering or rediscovering these tracks, each filled with fond memories of the time I made them.” – Shiryu
The album is available on Shiryu Music’s bandcamp page for 15 Euros which is a bit under $20 USD. Also available for 2 Euros, is the EP The Wipeout Legacy: The Outer Haven Sessions which is his latest Wipeout creation and a perfect compliment to The Perfect Lap Edition. I now have the perfect music for my next road trip.
Are you a fan of the music from the Wipeout series?
New from GameChops this past week is the second release from electronic artist, Doni, following his 2013 Mario RPG remix EP, Goombette. His latest release, Button Masher Remastered, is a full length album that pays tribute to the video game music of the 8 and 16-bit eras as well as the styles of electronic music popular at the time. The ten tracks feature console and handheld favorites reworked in the styles of deep house, techno, chill-out and more. Here’s the full tracklist:
01. Try Hard (Donkey Kong Country 2 – Stickerbrush Symphony)
02. Icy Strings (Secret of Mana – A Bell is Tolling)
03. Midnight Mass (Pokemon Red/Blue – Lavender Town)
04. Mario’s Garage (Super Mario Kart – Rainbow Road)
05. Deep Freeze Shuffle (StarTropics 2 – Ice Age)
06. Hard to Choose (Mega Man 3 – Stage Select)
07. Impending Something (Marble Madness – Stage 2)
08. Staring Off (Final Fantasy X – Mt. Gagazet)
09. The Bubbledrone (Mega Man 2 – Bubble Man)
10. Nostalgic Tides (Chrono Cross – Dream of a Shore)
You can sample some of the tracks and hear both “Try Hard” and “Icy Strings” in their entirety with the playlist embedded above. When you’re ready for the full album you can grab it on iTunes, Google Play and Loudr for $7. If you chip in $10 or more on Loudr you’ll also get the Goombette EP.
I don’t normally go for point and click adventure games but Wailing Heights is combining a lot of stuff I like. Graphic novel styled artwork, a monster village filled with vegan werewolves and hipster vampires, and the promise of a musical adventure in both gameplay and story.
You wake up in Wailing Heights’ prison as Frances Finklestein, former manager of the greatest 60’s rock band, and have to find a way to escape this purgatory. You’re quickly introduced to the “body-hop”, a musical mechanic that lets you jump between characters and escape your cell, but you still have to find a way to free your own body. Given that this is an adventure game it’s not going to be as easy as simply finding a key.
Exploring the Heights, interacting with characters and “borrowing” their unique abilities, you’ll explore a story created by Kevin Beimers (Hector: Badge of Carnage, Schrodinger’s Cat) realized through that gorgeous comic art style. But the music, critical as it is to the experience, is still a bit of a mystery. You can get an idea of the vibe they’re going for in the announcement trailer above but exactly how it all figures into the gameplay is still a secret. It sounds great, though, and very much a unique soundtrack for an adventure game if it holds to this style.
Coinciding with the release of the Plague of Shadows DLC for Shovel Knight, Jake “Virt” Kaufman has released the expansion’s soundtrack on his Bandcamp page. While much of the Plague of Shadows expansion has you exploring previous stages from the main game, there are a few extra areas, characters, and of course new pieces of music.
Many of the new music tracks written for Plague of Shadows are based on the Plague Knight theme, which was composed by Manami Matsumae for the original Shovel Knight soundtrack. This fourteen track album includes music written for the expansion and some extra goodies, including the expansion’s orchestral trailer music, a duet with Jeff Ball and Kaufman, and a song “ALCHEMY” that Kaufman wrote with Dale North.
As with the original Shovel Knight OST, the Plague of Shadows OST is pay-what-you-want. You can grab the Shovel Knight: Plague of Shadows OST on Jake Kaufman’s Bandcamp page, and be sure to pick up the original Shovel Knight OST, if you haven’t already.
What is Nova-111? The designers Funktronic Labs describes it as a turn based sci-fi adventure game that plays in real time featuring science and aliens! I spent some time playing the game but have spent more time listening to the soundtrack composed by Jack Menhorn. The game reminded me of a combination of The Adventures of Lolo and Sokoban but more visualy like the work of French Artist Moebius.
Jack Menhorn is not new to video game composing and has written the music for several titles including: Robots Need Love Too, Relic Rush, and Hack Slash Loot. For Nova-111 Jack Menhorn has composed 15 tracks totalling just under 56 minutes of music. Read on to hear my thoughts on the music of Nova-111.
The turn-based indie adventure game Nova-111 was released on multiple platforms just a few days ago and now the soundtrack by Jack Menhorn is available for download. The soundtrack is an atmospheric electronic work designed to accompany the game’s sci-fi environment.
The Nova-111 OST is available on several platforms, including Amazon, Google, Loudr, and iTunes. Menhorn has also written up a blog post on the process of creating the sound effects and the interactive music for Nova-111 on Gamasutra and on his website. We’ll have a full review of the soundtrack here on OSV at a future date.
If you’re not familiar with Maserati, they’re a band out of Athens, Georgia that has been producing albums for sometime and describe their music making as a process of marrying the past to the future. They’re retro futurists hellbent on forging Krautrock and classic rock into one motorik, monolithic vehicle, releasing their newest album; Rehumanizer this October.
Rehumanizer is the most accomplished product of that process to date, a marriage of man and machine that plays like a supergroup comprised of Gary Numan, Cluster, and Pink Floyd. Building songs up bit by bit — and breaking them back down to their barest elements — Maserati fully embraced technology as a songwriting tool. The band takes greater risks than ever, sonically experimenting on the fly and incorporating unprocessed vocals for the first time ever. For the past decade Maserati has built a career out of relentless forward momentum – a tight, sleek, chugging beast that drove towards the sun and rarely veered off course. Rehumanizer maintains that same ambition and sense of abandon, but is distinctly as much man as it is machine – a true alliance of the past and the future.
The new album will contain a total of six tracks, and you can sample the track titled “Rehumanizer II” below.
Rehumanizer can be pre-ordered for $9.00 on Maserati’s Bandcamp, and will be released on October 30th.
Multiplayer II: Co-Op, the follow-up to last summer’s video game remix album, is out now with all proceeds going to the Child’s Play Charity Network. The 26-track album collects the efforts of over 50 artists working together on unique collaborations to put new spins on classic video game themes.
There’s String Player Gamer working with Tera Catallo & xclassicalcatx to arrange “Metal Man’s Theme” from Mega Man 2 for orchestra and rock band. A ukulele and electric guitar rendition of the Crash Bandicoot Warped theme by Motion Ocean and Knife Mom. Josiah McDaniel & RichaadEB’s ultra-fast metal version of Gauntlet. An incredibly smooth acoustic and synth take on Streets of Rage from Mitchell Cairns & Songe. A metal rendition of “One Winged Angel” from Final Fantasy VII by LittleVMills complete with a choir of ten other collaborating composers.
Releasing for iOS and Android in the next for days in Australia and internationally soon thereafter, Beat Bop: Pop Star Clicker is a free-to-play game that combines the intense tapping gameplay of the clicker genre with economic micromanagement and funky fresh beats.
In Beat Bop, the player is a rising music star, starting from the streets and strumming towards superstardom. Tap to collect coins and jam with your band, use your newfound wealth to stock up on merchandise to sell to your adoring fans and earn money while you’re away from the game. It won’t all be smooth sailing though. Take risks in random events that may lead to big bonuses to give you an extra boost – or to unfortunate accidents that set you back.
- Fliptus Pty Ltd.
The game’s soundtrack is composed by Piotr Nowotnik (Rainbow Rumble) and features some catchy tunes to help compliment the furious clicking you’ll be doing throughout the game.
Beat Bop itself seems to be a cute game with the interesting mechanic of band management and gauging one’s rise to music fame. One wonders if the Clicker-genre of games is the correct one to experiment with such concepts, but for a mobile game it certainly seems slightly more realistic in that regard as opposed to games like Rock Band, in which management of your band is pretty much automatic in favor of focusing on playing skill.
For those interested, Beat Bop releases in Australia and New Zealand this Thursday and should be showing up everywhere else soon after. If you happen to pick up the game and give it a try, let us know how it plays and how in-depth the band management system they tote ends up being. Would you be interested in seeing fully-fledged games that deal with concepts like music production and management more?
Prismatica is a puzzle game that has gotten some positive attention in the gaming world and was just released on Steam this past July. It was nominated for the Best Upcoming Game at the 11th Annual International Mobile Gaming Awards (IMGA) in San Francisco this year, and has been praised for its different take on puzzle games and its bright and cheerful style. The game features music written by award-winning indie folk musician Svavar Knutur, which in my mind is part of what helps it stand out from the crowd of puzzle games.
Brave Wave is now accepting pre-orders for their latest album titled Heart Beat Circut by Smoke Thief (George Arthur Baker). The album will be released on August 20, 2015. According to Brave Wave, the album has been a five year journey:
Heart Beat Circuit is an album five years in the making. After completing his Master’s degree in music performance in 2010, George “Smoke Thief” Baker began to conceptualize what would take shape into his first album. An image came to him of a futuristic female android who achieves sentience, which opens up a world of new experiences to her and the opportunity to forge a new life. This android, later named Krystal, serves as the main inspiration for the album, as well as appearing on the album cover.
Smoke Thief experiments with a variety of musical styles to explore Krystal’s world and experiences. He strives to contrast the mathematical, logical aspect of music with its more human qualities by mixing genres from ambient to jazz, and fusing electronic elements with instruments such as saxophone.
With contributions from renowned video game composers Manami Matsumae (Mega Man), Saori Kobayashi (Panzer Dragoon Saga), and Takahiro Izutani (Bayonetta), Heart Beat Circuit takes the listener on a futuristic journey through the mind of this groundbreaking composer and that of Krystal, his muse.
Brave Wave Productions
When you pre-order the album you’ll automatically receive a digital copy of the above audibly stunning track “Dusktone (ft. Manami Matsumae). The track reminds me of music composed by the electronic artist BT (Brian Transeau), but with a unique digital sound. The album is available for pre-order digitally for $10, or $16 for a gorgeous digi-pak which also includes the digital download.
Let me know what you think of the preview track, does it remind you of anything you’ve heard before?