Editor’s Note: We’d like to welcome Michael Hoffmann to our writing team! This young composer has his own blog, Video Game Notes, and has expressed interest in sharing his take on his peers’ work from time to time. He’ll also be doing some concert reporting, including a report on the recent BFIG “Boston Plays Indies” show that VGO, DJ Cutman and others performed indie game music live! We’re excited to have Michael writing on the site! He makes his debut with a review for the Monaco soundtrack. Enjoy!
When you think of music for a stealth/action game, what do you usually imagine? Perhaps some somber and serious orchestral scoring to provide a tense atmosphere. Maybe something more electronic and minimalist that builds in intensity as you delve deeper into enemy territory. Would you ever guess Ragtime music reminiscent of the silent film era? I must admit that when I loaded up the game Monaco: What’s Yours Is Mine, that was the last thing I was expecting to hear. Written by Grammy-nominated composer Austin Wintory, Monaco: What’s Yours is Mine OST provides a fresh new approach to music for the stealth/action genre.
More after the jump! (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.
The Boston Festival of Indie Games (aka “Boston FIG” or just “BFIG”) is going to have an awesome music concert this year. On September 14th at the venue “The Middle East Downstairs,” a cavalcade of awesome musicians will be performing –live– renditions of great indie game music. Performers include:
The Video Game Orchestra
Darren Korb (composer for Bastion!)
Control Group (a band featuring Darren Korb)
deadbeatblast (on visuals, etc)
I’d personally recommend anyone in and near Boston attend the entirety of BFIG. But if you can’t make the whole convention, be sure not to miss this exciting concert! We’re not sure what all will be covered at the show, but I would be surprised if we didn’t hear music from FEZ, Super Hexagon, Bastion (obviously), and many 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…)
Editor’s Note: Hey everyone, Patrick here. After announcing that OSV would be going into a state of inactivity, I got an influx of support in the mailbox, including a lot of requests to write for the site. No one willing to take up the mantle of managing editor, mind you, but still plenty of great people with plenty to offer.
One of the people to write in was British composer/arranger Richard McDonald. I was excited by his passion, his thoughtfulness, and his taste in music.
So without further ado, I present to you Richard’s first of, hopefully, many articles on OSV. What we have here is a brief review of “FZ: Side F” (the first of two arrange albums for FEZ). Enjoy it, 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…)
The sole (lyrical) vocal track from Module’s original album Imagineering (released last year, reviewed here), entitled “The Pieces Fit,” now has a music video. I am psyched out of my mind to watch it.
For those who don’t remember, Jeramiah “Module” Ross is the New Zealand-based musician who was also responsible for the hit soundtrack for the game Shatter. If you’ve never seen it, that soundtrack also has its own music video, for the song “Amethyst Caverns.”
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!
Every once in a while an artist comes along who presides over a subsection of music with a staff, a crown, a throne, a cape, a sequencer and a legion of followers. It is in this fashion that Danny Baranowsky has conquered the world of indie game soundtracks. With thunderous power chords of which arpeggios sometimes flee from and tubular bells that ring out with a sonic plasma shock wave, Danny B has established himself as nothing less than the supreme chancellor of indie game composers. On December 4th, 2012 at 20:30 Pacific Time, Danny B graciously decided to sit down with us and discuss his past and current projects. Join us below! (more…)
Within the MAGFest lineup, “Protomen” are the odd men out. While pretty much everyone else is doing game music covers, instrumental or vocal, in a variety of styles, this rock-opera band has all-original music.
However, the story behind their music, captured eloquently in the lyrics and the album liner notes, is loosely based on the Mega Man universe. The first album tells the story of Mega Man and his brother Proto Man. The second album, a prequel, tells of the fallout between Dr. Thomas Light and Dr. Wily, and also introduces the characters Emily and Joe. The themes of their music are man vs machine, humanity as a species that needs or desires rule, and how that falls into conflict with the desire for independence.
Protomen first played at MAGFest 9 in 2011. They played two nights in a row, in fact, and they blew my mind. Their fanbase is almost cult-like; the level of zeal is incredible. This year, I too will join that fanbase, singing along to every single lyric, and probably begging for information on the final act, which will bring a close to the Protomen trilogy.
Two years ago I wrote a lengthy bio on the band, fed by about 2 hours’ worth of raw recorded interview time with different members of the band, juggling their time with me and a signing line in the late afternoon before their second show. Be sure to read if you want even more info on this great band!
Indie ambient/electronic music composer Solar Fields (real name Magnus Birgersson) has released a lot of original albums, but he’s also no stranger to VGM (see our review of the Mirror’s Edge soundtrack). But, in 2011, one of Magnus’ 2009 albums got repurposed.
I talk about this all the time. Of all the “original” albums reviewed on OSV, how many times have I (or other reviewers) said in passing that the music would make for a great game soundtrack? Many, many times. Yet, how often does that happen? Almost never.
Well it happened here. Indie developer Alien Trap Games used the entirety of Solar Fields’ 2009 album [ Movements ] as the soundtrack for their 2011 2D platformer Capsized.
Having listened to the album separately, and having played Capsized through to completion, I have a lot to say about this music. Won’t you join me? (after the jump?) (more…)