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…)
I remember when one of my best friends introduced me to “noise” as a genre. He started me off with Hanatarash(i), a 1980s group featuring this dude who went by the name “Eye.” This was some pretty hardcore stuff. All noise samples, no tonality whatsoever.
Since then, I’ve heard “noise” albums with different layers or levels of tonality mixed with the non-musical sounds. Many of them come from electronic artists. I was a big fan, for example, of Michael Bross’ “Subway Meditations” — nothing but hand-picked samples mixed in different ways.
After the jump, we’ll take a look at one of baiyon’s contributions to the genre with his 2006 album “Like a School on Lunch Time.” (more…)
The guys over at humblebundle.com are at it again, but this time with a music-only bundle. Now, we have a bone to pick with these guys, since their promotional material suggests that this is some sort of new/premier idea, to offer a bunch of music related to games and/or of interest to gamers. Anyone who knows the full backstory behind the creation of the Indie Game Music Bundle (gamemusicbundle.com) will either laugh or choke at the idea that this is the first big game music bundle, or that Rosen and crew only got this idea *now.*
But, laying aside that petty grievance, this bundle does have some really good stuff in it. There are a total of 6 albums here (if you pay extra to unlock everything). In my mind, the two coolest items here are Christopher Tin’s “Calling All Dawns” (Audi’s review here, our podcast interview with Tin here). Tin serves as a sort of front-man for this bundle, delivering a great video message to potential purchasers of the bundle. His flabbergasted response to the mere existence of Linux users is hilarious, and all in good fun. Considering Tin is a two-time grammy award winner (thanks to “Calling All Dawns” and, specifically, the new recording of the Civilization IV opening theme “Baba Yetu”), this album certainly deserves the headlining spot.
However, the bundle also includes an entirely new album. Sort of, anyway. It’s a digital-only “best of” album for Hitoshi Sakimoto’s Valkyria Chronicles music. This compilation album includes music from all three games, even with the third game being absent from the English-language market. Be sure to check out vgmdb’s listing of the album so you know which tracks are on the album (a total of 24 songs!). If you haven’t already imported some or all of these OSTs, that’s a mighty fine deal for some of Sakimoto’s best work in recent years.
Beyond that, the bundle also has a Jonathan Coulton “best of” album (Portal‘s Still Alive, and many others), MC Frontalot’s “Favoritism,” They Might Be Giant’s “album raises new thoughts and troubling questions,” and OK Go’s “Twelve Remixes of Four Songs.”
Great music for a good price. Seriously, if you don’t have “Calling All Dawns” already, that album alone is worth the price of entry, and I’d argue most any of the other albums are also worth the bundle “unlock” minimum (currently a little over $8). Enjoy!
I was digging through the OSV backlogs the other day, and I noticed that, for all the praise we’ve heaped upon freesscape (Emi Evans, Hiroyuki Muneta, et al), we don’t have a review of their debut album.
That changes today.
After the jump, our review of freesscape’s 2004 debut, “Fragile Perfection.” (more…)
Jim Guthrie, Mr. Jampants himself, has a lot more on his bandcamp than just game and film soundtracks. He has plenty of “original” works.
And then he has this one album whose origins are … well, sort of hard to explain. It’s called Children of the Clone, and it’s another album from Guthrie that’s available digitally or on vinyl, sold exclusively on bandcamp.
For more on the history of the album, and my own impressions, follow along after the jump. (more…)
And it’s looking GOOD!
Head to gamemusicbundle.com right now to check out the wares and make the purchase. I’ll also give you the album details here.
For the $1 minimum, you get five high-profile soundtracks. They are:
Pay $10 or more and the rewards get even sweeter:
Offspring Fling! | Noitu Love 1+2 et al | Cardinal Quest | inMomentum | _ensnare_’s “Impeccable Micro” | Protodome’s “Bluescreen” | George & Jonathan’s “Beautiful Lifestyle” | Disasterpeace’s “Rise of the Obsidian Interstellar” + “Deorbit” | GunGirl 2 | Astroman | The Blocks Cometh | Fittest | Songs for the Cure ’11: Remedy | Songs for the Cure ’10
Editor’s Note: this post will be updated with URLs to our reviews as they’re posted for the duration of the GMB3 sale!
We’ve been informed that, this time around, there won’t be any “unlocked” soundtracks over time. Though there could be some surprise bonuses anyway. Top bidders will also be privy to all sorts of neat goodies, including the vinyl soundtrack for Indie Game: The Movie. So what are you waiting for? In the infamous words of Fry (and half the Internet these days), “Shut up and take my money!” (Editor’s Note: such a great phrase, I decided to use it in the header image for our next post!)
Rich Vreeland (aka Disasterpeace) is well known for creating delicate, joyous dreamscapes allowing the listener to let his disintegrating pulse waves wash over them like a tender storm. He is now thrust into the spotlight once again after providing FEZ with its magnificent, critically acclaimed soundtrack, which can be found at disasterpeace.com. He has also recently appeared in both the Indie Game Music Bundle 2 (podcast interview here) as well as the Indie Royale Lightning Pack bundle (the latter of which sees all proceeds going to charity). Rich was kind enough to answer a few questions about his latest release and give us a glimpse into his creative process.
Frozen Synapse, from Mode 7 Games, is a once-underground hit gone above-ground due to critical mass, much like Minecraft, though for different reasons. But I’m not really here to talk about Frozen Synapse, or even its soundtrack. I am here to talk about the game’s composer, Paul Taylor.
Paul, under the alias “nervous_testpilot,” scored Frozen Synapse and other Mode 7 titles, and has even released original content under that name. And yet, one pseudonym was not enough to contain the power of Paul Taylor. I’ve been listening to a lot of his work in the past few weeks, just taking an interest in his collected works, and the one that stood out to me the most was a dance-friendly chiptunes release called “Impeccable Micro.”
Apparently, the style of Impeccable Micro was different enough to force Taylor to change his name, yet again. Even though it’s still just him releasing it as a solo work, he takes on the stage name _ensnare_ for this project, which was released in the 2nd half of 2011. After the jump, my thoughts on Impeccable Micro, and how to add the album to your own music collection. (more…)
Since the summer of 2002, David Saulesco has climbed the ladder of success slowly but surely in his lifelong dream to work with video games and music. It was in that year that the then 16 year old composer was launched to indy fame and recognition with Derek Yu’s freeware masterpiece Eternal Daughter. Since then the young man has thrown himself into nearly all ends of both the music and video game industry, producing, arranging, contracting, he even rode on a horse once.
Now, Saulesco is returning to his proving grounds, and will be releasing the Eternal Daughter 10th Anniversary Original Soundtrack on May 1st. With so many projects behind him and in store in the near future, it seemed only natural to have a chat with the man and speak about his views on composing, video games, symphonic shows and everything in between. Saulesco is never short of his trademark charm, and is of no loss of words on any subject.
Click the jump to read our interview with David Saulesco (more…)
It was the next step in the evolution of game music. After the hardware-created “chiptunes” of the NES era, the sound banks of FM synth reigned supreme on the SNES. And while we don’t find as much chic or nostalgia for the super lo-fi synth restrictions of the 16-bit days as we do the hardware emulation of chiptunes, it’s great to see today’s composers make use of that strange and wonderful musical palette.
I am talking about the music of Keith Burgun and Blake Reynolds, both of Dinofarm Games, in their first major title, 100 Rogues (available on PC and various mobile platforms). After the jump, our review of the game’s soundtrack. (more…)