Not content with just one musical memorial to celebrate Super Mario’s 30th anniversary, Nintendo has announced a live performance to be held in Osaka and Tokyo on September 20th and 21st. The live shows will feature original arrangements of Super Mario Bros. themes performed by the “Super Mario Special Band”. And what a special band it is!
According to the translation the members include anime composer Sasaji Masanori serving as music director and keyboardist, with numerous Japanese jazz musicians filling all the seats. Just a few of the members include Tanaka Shingo, from T-SQUARE on Bass; Asa-Chang, from Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra on Drums; Asari Katsuhisa, from Jazz Trombone Quartet VOLTZ on Bass Trombone; famed Japanese violinist Sayaka Shoji; and many more.
You can get a taste for the show’s style in the rehearsal promo above but surely Nintendo will be releasing a recording of the full performance at some point. Much easier to acquire is Nintendo’s other anniversary offering, the two-disc 30th Anniversary Super Mario Bros. Music album which was released on September 13th.
After being delayed back in May, those Vocaloid vixens from the long running Hatsune Miku series are finally coming to the Nintendo 3DS this September in the U.S. and Europe. Unlike the mainline series — which is console exclusive to Sony platforms — Hatsune Miku: Project Mirai DX renders the cast of characters in a style that Sega likens to the popular Nendoroid figures. The game will also introduce 19 new songs, 28 returning favorites and unique voice tracks that bring the total up to 79 full length songs.
Project Mirai DX may be the most customizable entry in the series allowing players to change which character performs each song and even adjust the size, color and behavior of the rhythm icons. The game also promises to let fans focus on their favorite characters through companion-based events and a theater mode. In theater mode all those distracting icons disappear and you’re free to watch, fast forward, and rewind through any performance and use the “Jam Along” mode to add your own musical flare. You can even pick up other fans’ custom scrolling messages via StreetPass and SpotPass that will show up as you watch.
It sounds like a pretty perfect mix of gameplay and fan service for anyone who’s into the series. Are you excited for this 3DS debut? Did you burn out on the franchise years ago? Or do you simply look on in amazement at the utter cuteness?
If you’ve ever been frustrated that you can’t listen to a wide variety of the works from some of your favorite Japanese game composers due to the difficulty and high cost of importing from Japan, then this will be a little treat. Several composers have gotten together to create an original album of music specifically for their fans in the West.
IMPORTED features a top-tier ensemble of music composers from all walks of gaming, including:
Tenpei Sato (Disgaea series)
“I grew up listening to soundtracks for games like Street Fighter II, Metroid Prime and Sonic Adventure 2,” reflects producer Kevin Pescoran. “But when I tried to get my hands on more recent soundtracks like Sonic Unleashed, VANQUISH, or Bayonetta, I could only find them for $80 to $100, and realized there was a need for an easier way to get this music to fans around the world.”
Scarlet Moon Productions
The greatest part of the entire album is that it is completely free to download from Bandcamp for all international fans to enjoy. Go grab the album and be sure to check back for further updates.
Despite Sega having downsized and largely pulled out of the gaming market, that hasn’t stopped their boys in Crush 40 from making new music. The band just released the newest album, “2 Nights to Remember” on Amazon Japan.
Crush 40 is the band created by Sega and fronted by composer Jun Senoue (Sonic Games, Shadow the Hedgehog) on guitar and Johnny Gioeli as vocalist, originally for the release of the game NASCAR Arcade, and has contributed to the soundtracks of several Sonic titles, including main themes for Sonic Adventure 1 & 2 and songs for Sonic Heroes and Sonic and the Black Knight. This new original album follows the release of their 2012 album “Live!” and contains four newly-record studio tracks, as well as several live-performance tracks from the “Live!” album and various Sonic themes.
You can purchase the album on Amazon Japan for about 2,381 yen (or $19.95 dollars plus tax). You can also check out some previews on their website.
MAGFest 13 starts in just two days, and thus it’s time to bring Know Your MAG to it’s apex with one of the special guests of the event as well as performing DJ, Yuu Miyake!
Yuu Miyake, born in 1973, was interested in music at a young age. Listening to late-’70s anime themes and Yellow Magic Orchestra during his youth, he became acquainted with video games during a a childhood hospitalization and began visiting Japanese arcades shortly thereafter. When Yellow Magic Orchestra released the first album ever heard of video game music, Miyake knew that his love of games and music were something he wanted to pursue seriously. (source: VGMOnline)
Miyake joined Namco in the mid-’90s, gaining his first musical credit on Tekken 3. After working with Namco director Keita Takahashi on the video project “Texas 2000″, Miyake impressed the man so much that Takahashi assigned him full control as sound director over the game soundtrack for the puzzle-action game, Katamari Damacy. This is where Miyake gained critical acclaim for the creativity and unique style he blended together when composing the majority of the soundtrack for Katamari Damacy along with his team. (Which also included fellow MAGFest 13 guest, Yoshihito Yano) The catchy and quirky tunes that comprised Katamari Damacy‘s soundtrack gained several awards, including IGN’s and Gamespot’s “Soundtrack of the Year” for 2004 as well as a nomination for “Outstanding Achievement in Original Musical Composition” at the 8th annual Interactive Achievement Awards in early 2005. This lead to Miyake composing for future games in the series, such as We Love Katamari released in 2005 and Me & My Katamari later that same year. Between these, he also worked on compositions for Tekken 5 and Ridge Racer.
Yuu Miyake worked on several more games for Namco, including 3 more Katamari titles, until he left the company to go freelance in 2011. While traveling Japan to give lectures and working on personal projects, he also began performing live as “Acid Eutron” alongside Towa Tei, Shinichi Osawa, Takeshi Nakatsuka and Taiji Sato. He current DJ’s across Japan whilst working on freelance projects in association with Namco Bandai, as well as teaching.
You can check out the interview Jayson Napolitano had with Yuu Miyake in 2009 for more about his life and works. His DJ set will be Saturday night starting at 11:30pm, with autograph signing earlier that morning. Check out the full schedule of events for MAGFest 13 for more details, and see you at MAG!
As enthusiasts about video game music and everything attached to it, a good majory of those in the community have a incredible sense of nostalgia for the old days of gaming and how it influences all of our lives. Documentaries that delve into the media itself and its background are a hot topic because of this nostalgic desire, with several being kickstarted to help really dive into the nitty-gritty of game music.
“Diggin’ in the Carts” is actually a unique entity for two reasons: 1.) It’s sponsored by Red Bull Music Academy; yes, as in the energy drink but it’s actually a world-traveling music workshop that focuses on today’s “musical landscape”. 2.) The series is specifically about the origins of video game music in Japan with Japanese composers and the history of companies like Namco and Konami.
Diggin’ In The Carts is a new series from Red Bull Music Academy about the untold story behind the most influential music to come out of Japan. Check back each Thursday, from September 4th to October 9th, for new episodes, mixes, and bonus interview footage.
So far two of the six, 15ish-minute episodes have been released and I have to say that the work behind the series is phenomenal. Having people like Anamanaguchi and Haruhisa Hally Tanaka explain the influence of game music and things like the history of the VRC6, and then featuring what I can only describe as delightful interviews with the likes of Masashi Kageyama (Gimmick!), Junko Ozawa (Galpus, The Tower of Druaga) and Hirokazu “Hip” Tanaka (Metroid) just to name a few, is beyond wonderful. I admit I got misty-eyed through parts of each episode (especially ep.2) and it’s so refreshing to see Japanese composers who otherwise might go without knowing the impact their games had on so many of us as children and beyond getting their spotlight.
Diggin’ in the Carts will be released every Thursday for the next month, so be sure to tune into each episode. I dare you not to feel some form of excitement while watching it.
I wasn’t sure what to make of this album. I have listened to and reviewed game composers remixing game music before, but I have never reviewed an album of original compositions by game composers, that aren’t attached to any games. I admit I was dubious. Also, looking at the list of composers, I was only familiar with a few of them, most notably Akira Yamaoka, composer for the Silent Hill series. This album raised another question for me. Do I listen to game music because I associate the music with the game, or is the music good in its own right? I personally believe that there are elements of of both and I find an album comprised of original music from game composers to be very interesting. Will the music follow gaming tropes and conventions, or will the composers write music purely for the album and allow their music talents to flourish. Let’s find out what this “East meets West” album had to offer. (more…)
Fellow fans of Mega Man music, this will be a good year for us. Thanks to a deal with Sumthing Else Music Works and Capcom, there will be a digital release of the original Mega Man soundtracks in the west. Each volume consists of music from one of the Mega Man games, meaning that there will be individual digital soundtracks available for Mega Man 1-10. In addition to the NES versions of the music, the soundtrack volumes also include tracks from the PlayStation versions of the games.
The first four volumes are currently available, with the remaining six due to come out this year. Two volumes are planned to be released every month up through November of 2014. These volumes are based off of the 25th Anniversary “Rockcan” box set that was previously released in Japan. While it’s a shame that the west won’t have a physical release of the set, it’s nice to see that we will still be able to obtain the official digital soundtracks. The first four Mega Man soundtrack volumes can be purchased on Amazon, iTunes, and the Sumthing Else Music website.
Fans of Final Fantasy music rejoice!! The third Piano Opera: Final Fantasy album has been announced. For those unfamiliar with the Piano Opera albums, they are albums that feature piano arrangements of pieces from the Final Fantasy franchise. Despite the name, there is no actual opera music in any of these collections. Each album in this series focuses on three specific Final Fantasy games. The first Piano Opera album contained arrangements from Final Fantasy I, II, and III, while the second album featured the music of Final Fantasy IV, V, and VI. These first two albums were released back in 2012, with only a few months in between each release.
Predictably, this latest album will focus on the music from Final Fantasy VII, VIII, and IX. Tracks on this album will include “Opening ~ Bombing Mission” and “Those Who Fight Further,” from Final Fantasy VII; “Liberi Fatali” and “Force Your Way,” from Final Fantasy VIII; and “Rose of May” and “Melodies of Life,” from Final Fantasy IX. The album is set to be released on April 23, 2014 in Japan and will cost around 2,800 yen.
There is no word yet on a release date for the United States or Europe. Considering that the previous albums have received western releases, through services like iTunes, this album hopefully won’t be far behind. The Piano Opera: Final Fantasy VII/VIII/IX album will be available on Amazon Japan and Square Enix’s e-Store on the day of release. So for those of you outside of Japan, who have some skill at reading Japanese and don’t mind paying for importing the album, you will potentially have a means of acquiring this latest album on day one. I know that I’ll have this album on my wishlist. Hopefully we’ll be getting a release here in the west in the near future.
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!
When it comes to Touhou Project, there seems to be an endless stream of music coming out on the doujin music scene every year. A cursory look inside stores specializing in doujin products in Akihabara reveal large swaths of retail space dedicated to all types of Touhou Project music. Monthly sales ranking from shops such as Toranoana also reflect the dominance of Touhou Project although Vocaloid-related music appears from time to time to shake up things up. Nevertheless, it becomes a bit of a workout to sort through the horde of music out there, especially for the uninitiated.
Enter Arte Refact’s GensouYuugikan -Fantastic Casino-. Released originally during Reitaisai 10, the annual doujin event dedicated to Touhou Project, the 10 track album featuring a veritable who’s who of major doujin music groups with Touhou Project being there common link. This concept album’s theme centers around the idea of what it would be like if Gensokyo, the place central to the Touhou Project series, had a game center in it. Alongside this theme is the character, Marisa Kirisame’s adventures through said game center. The anachronistic theme aside, I had rather high expectations for this album given the star power driving it. As mentioned before, with such a wide variety of arranges, remixes and so forth out on the market, it can be difficult finding a gem in an endless sea of music.
Did Arte Refact nail it on their release? Or perhaps this is simply the case of more of the same? Hit the jump and find out! (more…)