The Video Game Orchestra (or simply “The VGO” to the hip kids who follow their work) have taken their show on the road before … but never like this. Fans of the Boston-based orchestra, led by Shota Nakama, can start their drooling now: on March 25th, The VGO will be putting on a concert in Tokyo. The show is being promoted by Pony Canyon — which, if you didn’t know, if “big deal” territory, they are Japan’s equivalent of “Live Nation,” save that Pony Canyon has existed as publisher and promoter of entertainment products for far longer.
The 3/25 show will have music from almost all the major game publishers, including Konami, Namco Bandai, Square Enix, Sega, and more. We don’t know the full list of games yet, but here’s what we have so far:
D4: DARK DREAMS DON’T DIE
FINAL FANTASY XV
GOD EATER 2: RAGE BURST
METAL GEAR SOLID (series)
SILENT HILL 2
TALES OF ZESTIRIA
On a personal/editorial note, I must urge the reader to consider the long-term value of this concert. To have a project with this many Japanese publishers sign on for a third-party entity (The VGO) to perform their work, in Japan, is a big deal. I have always advocated for collaboration among the game music artists and those who represent them, and whenever it happens, I can’t help but celebrate. This concert represents a big reason to celebrate.
Unfortunately, it isn’t something that I can celebrate … not in person. I won’t be able to attend the Tokyo show. But hey, maybe you can! The details for the show are found here: vgo.jp — and, if you want to purchase tickets, the website to do so offers information and instructions for ticket purchase in Japanese, English and Chinese! You’ll find that here!
And if anyone among our reader-base makes plans to attend the show, please let us know in the comments! We’d love to hear about your thoughts after the event.
Merregnon Studios, the group behind the Square Enix-focused Final Symphony and Symphonic Fantasies concerts have announced that their 2011 sell-out concert, Symphonic Odysseys, is coming to London this Summer. Unlike their previous shows, Symphonic Odysseys is focused solely on the music of Nobuo Uematsu — from Blue Dragon to Lost Odyssey and naturally, Final Fantasy — and was last performed nearly a year ago in Paris.
Those who couldn’t make it to France in 2016 have a chance to see the show again on June 20th, 2017 at the Barbican Centre. Performed by the London Symphony Orchestra and conducted by Eckehard Stier (with the London Symphony Chorus, acclaimed pianist Mischa Cheung and a full kazoo fanfare), the arrangements come from the same team behind Final Symphony, Jonne Valtonen and Roger Wanamo. Uematsu himself will also be at the venue for a special ticketed, pre-concert Q&A session.
“Nobuo Uematsu has been a musical hero of mine for many years and it’s both a delight and a pleasure that we can celebrate his work with such an amazing concert in London,” said Symphonic Odysseys London producer, Thomas Böcker. “It’s always great to be back at the Barbican Centre, but I’m particularly excited that Uematsu-san can join us for what will be our 10th concert with the London Symphony Orchestra. Fans will not want to miss hearing Uematsu’s classic compositions, along with some of his less well known, but equally wonderful works too.”
Tickets go on sale February 10th with prices between £30 ($38) to £65 ($82). Tickets for the pre-concert talk with Nobuo Uematsu will also go on sale at the same time, priced at £10 ($13) each. Those interested can buy their tickets through the Symphonic Odysseys site or directly from the Barbican Centre. Below is the announced set list:
The Final Fantasy Legend / Final Fantasy Legend 2
On Windy Meadows (from Final Fantasy XIV)
Waterside (from Blue Dragon)
Final Fantasy Concerto – For Piano and Orchestra
King’s Knight BGM – Pretty Day Out – (from King’s Knight)
Light of Silence (from Chrono Trigger)
Spreading Your Wings (from The Last Story)
Lost Odyssey Suite
If you can’t make the show or are just looking to relive Merregnon’s past performances check out Ryan’s recent article on the vinyl editions of both Final Symphony and Symphonic Fantasies from Laced Records.
Brave Wave’s first release in 2017 continues their goal to give the freedom to game music composers to create their dream projects. Lingua Franca is the life’s work of Dugo, the alias of composer Takahiro Izutani who has composed for the Metal Gear Solid and Bayonetta series since 2006.
After a decade in design, Lingua Franca is now available to pre-order for $10 on digital or $16 on CD through Bandcamp and will be released on January 27th. While we wait you can check out two tracks from the album and read a message from Izutani below.
“First of all, I appreciate the entire audience of Dugo for supporting me. Dugo is my life’s work. I think […] you can indeed find some affinity between my work for Dugo and my compositions for video games. I was always taking experimental approaches during the process of making Dugo’s songs, and then sophisticating, developing, and introducing them into video game work.
Actually, you can explore the headstream of all of the video game music that I have ever made through this album. I think it is fantastic that Brave Wave is contributing to the video game music industry and supporting composers in such a way.”
I suppose I should be more dismayed that it isn’t an everyday occurrence but I’m always happy to see someone release a game soundtrack through the PlayStation Store. The latest one is a combo pack of Dark Cloud and Dark Cloud 2 (Dark Chronicle in Japan) soundtracks which was released on January 10th. That’s about a year after the venerable PlayStation 2 action/RPGs made the jump to PlayStation 4. Maybe there was some licensing in the way but it would’ve made for some nice synergy if the games and the music hit in the same week.
Nevertheless, the music is here now for $14.99 in North America and £7.99 in Europe. The soundtracks are only available together in this combo release and share 123 tracks for over 3 hours of music from Tomohito Nishiura. The listing doesn’t give a detailed breakdown but the official Dark Cloud OSTs add up to the same number of tracks and length. Fifteen dollars is a fair bit cheaper than you’re likely to find the CDs online these days, if you spot them at all.
Lastly, as with previous soundtrack releases on the PlayStation Store, the Dark Cloud Series Soundtrack can be exported in MP3 format. If it holds true to The Last Guardian soundtrack app it will all pop out onto your USB drive in 320kbps format, around 850mb in size.
Are you going to pick up this soundtrack compilation? What other PS2-on-PS4 releases would you like to see an accompanying soundtrack for? Let us know in the comments.
Now that the original 8Bit Music Power album is out on CD it’s time for Riki and crew to unveil their next limited edition album-on-a-Famicom-cart. 8Bit Music Power Final will be released in late March of 2017 in Japan and will once again be playable exclusively on a Famicom console. The cart will include 18 tracks this time with songs from past collaborators and some exciting old school names. NES era composers like Manami Matsumae and Motoaki Furukawa along with more modern composers like Junya Nakano (Threads of Fate, Dawn of Mana) and Ippo Yamada (Mighty No. 9, Azure Striker Gunvolt) are now on board.
An original album of music built for the Famicom is great but one sticking point raised by Attract Mode is that the console only outputs audio through its scuzzy RF connection. That may make for an authentic sound but for those who prefer to hear the music directly from the hardware there’s a new peripheral you can get bundled with the album.
The 8Bit Sound Adapter looks like a miniature Famicom controller (namely the Player 2 side) and plugs into the console’s expansion port. It offers a volume slider, power light and 3.5mm port to plug in headphones or external speakers. It also adds about $25 to the price but it’s still a lot cheaper than the vintage Famicom S.D. Station. The bundle on Amazon Japan is currently around $70 with the cartridge alone at $46.
For now all we have are some early photos and the temporary tracklist to go on which you can check out after the jump. Hopefully Riki will grace us with another video preview as the album gets closer to release.
With The Last Guardian (actually, really, finally) shipping this week I was able to redeem one of the Amazon pre-order bonuses ahead of time, a 4-song Mini Soundtrack. It serves as a preview of both the game’s orchestral score by composer Takeshi Furukawa and the ‘Last Guardian Composer’s Choice PS4 Music App’ that Sony announced in early November. Let’s take a look at the app and the music inside.
If you’ve also been thinking about the year in game music releases you may remember 8Bit Music Power from way back in February. It was the album from Japanese chiptune artists like Hally, Professor Sakamoto and Saitone that was released on an actual Famicom cartridge. While Play-Asia sold out of their allotment fairly quickly (Amazon Japan still has 8 left in stock) there’s now a much easier way to listen instead of dragging around an old console.
A much more convenient (but way less cool) CD version of the album was released last week in Japan with two bonus tracks. The album is available from Play-Asia for $22.99 but if you can hold out until February 2017 there’s an even sweeter deal coming. For just $1 more you can pre-order the CD and an 80-page, full-color book with exclusive interviews and stories about the album’s creation. The best part, it’s been translated into English. You can take a look at some of the vibrant page layouts here and put down the $23.99 to secure a copy for yourself.
Square Enix held a livestream in Japan on Wednesday, October 26th to finally go in-depth on NieR: Automata. Naturally, it’s all in Japanese but there was plenty to see and hear as the team showed off the game, its Collector’s Edition contents and talked up the NieR Music Concert & Talk Live Blu-ray that we covered last month.
The half-hour gameplay demonstration starts at the 19 minute mark and finally shows off the larger world that ties together the boss fights and cutscenes we’ve seen of the game so far. There’s a subtle piano ambiance through most of the footage that ramps up during fights and a nice new town tune similar to “City of Commerce” from the original game. The majority of the demo shows off the special skills and abilities of main character, 2B, and her accompanying bots. One of which is a vastly simplified fishing mechanic for those who remember the overwhelming frustrations from the previous game.
After the demo the team talks up the NieR Music Concert & Talk Live Blu-ray which is releasing in Japan on December 14th. They end the segment by showing the entire “Song of the Ancients / Fate” performance from the Blu-ray which makes a fairly compelling argument to pick up it up come December. The livestream ends with a new trailer that highlights the voice actors for the Japanese version of the game and is ironically lacking almost any actual voice acting. It is, however, full of new sights and surprises and is accompanied by another new piece of music from series composers Keiichi Okabe.
Have a look and listen for yourself above, check out the game’s official site for a few more background tracks and then continue waiting (im)patiently for the February 23, 2017 release date.
Announced just a few weeks ago, Square’s performance of Final Fantasy XV music at the historic Abbey Road Studios really snuck up on us. The one-hour show, performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra with an appearance by composer Yoko Shimomura, airs live from London tonight at 7pm. That’s 2pm EST today on the East Coast!
Zuntata, Taito’s legendary house band, has quietly built a huge presence on iTunes over the last 8 years culminating in a current catalog of 114 albums. It isn’t just their modern mobile games either, although Groove Coaster and Space Invaders Infinity Gene are well represented. Albums go all the way back into the 80’s with The Ninja Warriors, Rastan Saga and Bubble Bobble. The rarely exported Densha de Go! series has several albums up for sale and naturally, there’s a ton of music from the Darius games and the Ray trilogy (RayStorm, RayCrisis, RayForce).
To hear all of that music would cost over $1,000 but Taito has just announced that “more than 3,000 songs” from their catalog are now available to stream through Apple Music. Similar to Spotify and Google Music Unlimited, Apple Music costs $10 a month and allows you to search and stream millions of songs from the iTunes catalog across your Apple devices. It’s worth noting that new users can try Apple Music free for three months which should give you enough time to explore all of the service’s game music offerings.
If you suddenly feel overwhelmed with choices we have plenty of reviews to guide you through Zuntata’s discography and there’s more coverage at VGMOnline. Do you have a favorite Zuntata album or are you planning to dive into their catalog now that it’s available on Apple Music? Let us know in the comments.
Iam8bit is taking the vinyl arms race to a whole new level for the release of Rez Infinite — the HD remake of the original Rez for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation VR — this October. Along with releasing a physical copy of the game on disc (and plenty of swag), iam8bit is offering two vinyl packages that commemorate the cultural touchstone of the original Sega Dreamcast and PlayStation 2 title.
Both versions feature two 180-gram, full sized LPs of the original game’s soundtrack, remastered for vinyl, and a bonus 7-inch record of Rez Infinite’s new “Area X” level. Inside is a 48 page art book with huge imagery from the game and retrospective interviews from the original team. Written by Nick Hurwitch, the book includes new discussions with Rez producer Tetsuya Mizuguchi, art director Katsumi Yokota, programmer Osamu Kodera, artist Jake Kazdal, and Takashi Ishihara, the artist behind the new “Area X”.
The only difference between the $75 and $85 editions are the “Player Form” images stamped into both sides of the three records, and the limited quantity of 1,000 copies for the fancier set.
Pre-orders for the soundtrack collection and the physical copy of the game begin August 19th at 9am PDT exclusively at iam8bit.com. Shipping is expected in October for the $75 version of the soundtrack and December for the fancy printed edition.
That a new Final Fantasy game is going to release in a sprawling Collector’s Edition with a soundtrack sampler is no surprise. We’ve known for a while that World of Final Fantasy — the action/RPG mashup of Final Fantasy fan service and monster raising — would have its own limited edition bundle but Square Enix has finally announced the wallet-busting details.
Exclusively available from the Square Enix Online Store, the $120 Collector’s Edition features an elaborate pop-up book style package that includes the PlayStation exclusive game on disc, an 80-page hardback art book, three figurines and, of course, the Selections from Grymoire album. The tracklist hasn’t been revealed yet but details surrounding the music are slowly getting out there ahead of the October 25th release.
In an interview with Nova Crystalis, composer Masashi Hamauzu talks about creating the score and mentions that around 50 songs comprise the full soundtrack. With the game mashing up fan favorites like Squall and Lightning it’s no surprise that Hamauzu had the chance to create new arrangements of classic themes to accompany his original compositions. Guest composers and collaborators will also be involved but the only one Hamauzu has mentioned is German pianist, Benyamin Nuss. Nuss is no stranger to Final Fantasy having performed in both Distant Worlds and Symphonic Fantasies concerts as well as releasing his own tribute album, Plays Nobuo Uematsu.
If $120 is a little steep or if you just can’t wait to hear more from the game you can check out several preview tracks from YouTube user MasashiHamauzuFan. And don’t miss a fresh new trailer for the game up above. Are you planning on picking up this ridiculous Collector’s Edition or aiming for the more sensible $60 Limited Edition? Let us know in the comments.