It’s that time of the year again! With Black Friday and Cyber Monday only a few days away, many music software companies have already begun offering their holiday deals and discounts. Like last year, we’ve compiled a list of places having sales on their music and audio tools. More sales are bound to crop up as we get closer to the weekend, so we’ll be updating this list as much as we can. With all of that said, here are some of the sales going on right now or coming up this weekend.
The popular video casting service Twitch TV and its earlier incarnation Justin TV has allowed gamers to show off their skills to audiences for many years. Recently Twitch has been expanding the streaming content to include creative streams. Under the Creative category, casters have been live streaming painting, cooking, and even metal work. One of the other emerging types of creative streams has been music production.
There are a number of music artists, composers, and arrangers who have decided to use their Twitch channel to give their fans a behind-the-scenes look at how the music that they love is made. A lot can be learned by observing how a music producer writes, mixes, and arranges music, so streams like these can be valuable tools for other music creators or for fans who want to see the creative process. Today I’ll be highlighting some of the Twitch streams that you can tune into on a regular basis. (more…)
While boning up on the blues for my Mafia III review my searches led me to the fantastic Music Respawn! program from WSHU radio out of Connecticut. Created by Kate Remington, the station’s classical music director, the show is just nearly a year old but has already chatted with some major names. Michael Salvatori on Destiny, Austin Wintory on Abzu, Jason Graves on Farlands, Grant Kirkhope on Yooka-Laylee. Remington has also spoken with performers whose creations combine classical music and video games like The Videri String Quartet, the creators of A New World: Intimate Music from Final Fantasy and even the Los Angeles Jewish Orchestra.
Episodes are typically 30-40 minutes in length, include plenty of music clips and sound just as well produced as any of the NPR shows that WSHU broadcasts. Each episode’s page is also fleshed out with a synopsis, images, videos and more music clips. Most recently she’s spoken with Darren Korb about his work with Supergiant Games, Greg Edmonson on going from Firefly to Uncharted and Chad Seiter’s soundtrack to ReCore. You can follow Music Respawn! online or subscribe through iTunes.
What are some of your favorite game music podcasts or interview shows? Let us know in the comments.
When creating music with virtual instruments, there are plenty of tools out there for getting authentic acoustic instrument sounds. There’s an almost endless list of software for emulating strings, brass, woodwinds, and other western instruments. However, it can get a little trickier when looking for a specific instruments from other parts of the world. There are ethnic instrument sets out out there, but the libraries rarely allow for the same amount of precise performance control as their western instrument sample library counterparts.
Impact Soundworks is taking a shot at filling this need with their new Ventus: Ethnic Winds series of instruments, the first of which is a sample library of the Shakuhachi. For this review, I’ll be taking a look at the software’s different patches (or default load-outs), the various controls and functions available, and how intuitive the software is for the average user. So without further delay, let’s take a look at the Ventus Series: Shakuhachi. (more…)
On September 6, 2016 during a Facebook Live video stream, Brain Transeau (BT) announced that Electronic Opus is getting an official CD, and Blu-ray Audio release. The Blu-ray will be pure audio, and feature three audio mixes: Stereo, 5.1 and a 9.1 Auro 3D mix. If you’re not sure what 9.1 Auro 3D sound is, it adds 4 additional speakers or points of sound above you for a more immersive sonic experience. In order to listen to the mix in 9.1 you will require special audio equipment. However, I’m just excited to be able to listen to the album in 5.1! You can check out my full review of BT’s Electronic Opus here as I was able to snag a CD produced from the Kickstarter campaign.
The mix was created by Daniel Shores of Sono Luminus Studios which is according to its website located in the nearly 100-year-old former Emmanuel Episcopal Chapel in rural Boyce, VA, the studios are a world-class recording facility with a special focus on classical and acoustic music. Studio A boasts a 25 foot vaulted wood ceiling over a 35’x65′ original heart pine floor, providing a beautiful natural acoustic. Sono Luminus specializes in the highest caliber of audio quality with the capability of recording 24 simultaneous channels of audio with sample rates up to DXD (Digital eXtreme Definition) 352kHz/24bit or DSD (Direct Stream Digital). Here’s a shot of a tweet from Mr. Shores:
You can pre-order both the CD Album for $13.99, and Blu-ray Audio version from Amazon for $19.95. The expected release date is September 30, 2016. And if you’re by chance located in Canada the I noticed that the Blu-ray Audio version on Amazon Canada has a great pre-order price of just $16.07CAD, I already pre-ordered my copy.
Is Electronic Opus on Blu-ray Audio something you’d like to hear?
The results of the third annual Game Audio Industry Survey — conducted by the GameSoundCon organizers with the help of the Game Audio Network Guild — have been tabulated and analyzed for 2016. Between May and June 587 individual respondents working in games audio reported on compensation, work environment, contract terms, use of live musicians and education to shed new light on the industry landscape. I wanted to pull out some of the more fascinating findings but the full report, available here, offers much more technical insight for those working in the industry or trying to break in. Let’s take a look.
Back in 2014 Atari started a push to reach “new audiences” that resulted in a bizarre crossover with Denny’s. The next step in the brand-broadening project has been a long time coming but this week Atari announced a collaboration with rapper, producer and composer, RZA. Basically, RZA has free reign to sample the iconic sounds of Atari’s legacy to create some new music. However, what that’s going to sound like, when it’ll be delivered and how much music he’s creating are currently unconfirmed.
“I’m so excited to work on these iconic games to deliver what I believe will be one of my best albums,” said RZA. “I am going to invite some of my friends to join me and it will be Game On with the first beat!”
He’s obviously not the first to fuse hip hop with video games — Mega Ran, Sammus and numerous other artists are not to be overlooked — but a mainstream album like this can only bring more people around to the idea of game music. As a fan of weird mashups of game music and sound effects I’ll keep my ears open for more on this project as it develops.
In the world of game audio there’s often a need for the sounds of the earlier game consoles. Whether this is to help emulate a feeling of nostalgia of the 80s and 90s or to create all new styles of music with the older sounds, the tones of these classic consoles have had a persistent presence in the gaming world. This has been especially true with the rise of the indie game scene and the emphasis on the styles of the 8-bit and 16-bit eras.
Through the years there have been a number of software tools available to composers and audio designers for recreating these sounds. Programs like FamiTracker and Little Sound DJ have allowed composers to generate chiptune music, but they require considerable time to learn the various functions and limitations of the software. Meanwhile different FM synthesizers can be used to create sounds similar to the Sega Genesis, but often didn’t have the same limitations or imperfections of the sounds that you would hear on the original system hardware.
Now after many years of planning and development, Impact Soundworks, in collaboration with OverClocked Remix, has come forward with a collection of samples recorded from the systems themselves. The result is the sample library Super Audio Cart, which aims to provide a simple way of producing the authentic sounds of these consoles, while also presenting tools to let you do some new and complex things with the available instruments. I’ll be taking a look at the core functions of the library and examining how it stacks up against other methods of creating these sounds. (more…)
Impact Soundworks has been busy recently in creating the perfect sample library for the retro game music enthusiast; Super Audio Cart! Eight years in the making, Super Audio Cart aims to be the go-to sample library for both retro game music composers and hobbists.
The most complete set of classic video game samples ever produced. Features seven legendary systems from the 70s to early 90s, unparalleled accuracy, and a powerful synth engine to transform them into a limitless variety of modern sounds.
The library features sample from the NES, SNES, GB, 2600, C64, SMS, GEN and over 1,000 presets to be used with Kontakt and recorded with actual console hardware.
“Super Audio Cart is without doubt the best plugin for all your chiptune needs, it’s got the lot and they’re all glorious!! Having all these authentic sounds in one place is the best idea since someone said, ‘Let’s put a rap in Donkey Kong’ … oh wait.” – Grant Kirkhope (Donkey Kong 64, GoldenEye, Banjo-Kazooie)
Super Audio Cart can be purchased for $149.00 with various tutorials already being released by Impact Soundworks to help introduce the basics of the new software to new and seasoned music creators alike.
Previously in the saga of Tim Wright’s Wipeout remix album, the original release date had slipped from late March into late April thanks to an intercontinental relocation for the composer and his family. Now that it’s mid-May and we still haven’t seen a release he’s issued another update detailing the woes of creating a physical product largely on his own.
“Doing these physical projects is a bit like giving birth I think. The reason mothers even consider having more than one child, given that it’s painful beyond belief, is because the human brain doesn’t actually remember pain that well, or so I read somewhere. In effect, the fun of having children outweighs the trauma and 9 months of feeling like you swallowed a beach ball.”
Yikes. The labor pains for Ch’illout” have been brought on by complications with the fulfillment company that’s pressing the 2-disc album and its accompanying mini-poster. A staff change has caused further delays on top of a renegotiated quote, increasing the cost as Wright puts it, “close to profitless”. He’s not increasing the price for those who pre-ordered the album but the situation has forced him to change his plans.
On the bright side, he’s taking the extra time to create even more tracks on top of the original fourteen and the whole album will be released digitally on Bandcamp ahead of schedule. Anyone who pre-ordered the physical album will also get a code to grab the digital version and there’ll be a period of exclusivity before it’s released to the general public.
Wright is clearly holding back some disdain for the fulfillment company in his email update which I won’t quote in full here. Suffice to say, he’s talking to other companies to see if they may be able to press and ship the album ahead of its new ETA in July. As a parting consolation he’s shared another sample from the album bringing us all 30 seconds closer to the eventual release.
Rytmik Ultimate is a new app from developer CINEMAX for creating and sharing your own music. Available now for Nintendo 3DS, iPad, and Windows (through Steam), it’s a music workstation that provides a library of sounds to work with and gives you a wide range of tools and settings to customize and tweak everything to your own liking. You can use it to write your own music, create covers and arrangements of your favorite tunes, or even to create music clips or tracks for use in your other works or performances. Read on to learn more!
What is Brave Wave’s Street Fighter II The Definitive Soundtrack? It isn’t a remix album and it isn’t necessarily a new arrangement of the music, although you could easily be convinced otherwise. It’s the first in the label’s Generation Series that aims to painstakingly revitalize some of gaming’s unreleased, incomplete, or poorly preserved soundtracks. For Street Fighter II that meant making new source recordings directly from Capcom’s CPS-1 (Street Fighter II) and CPS-2 (Super Street Fighter II Turbo) arcade hardware.
A lot of work went into cleaning up the recording before it was finally mixed and mastered and ultimately signed off on by original composer, Yoko Shimomura. Did the months of delicate, elaborate work pay off? Play the side-by-side comparison within and know that you’ve never heard Street Fighter II’s music so clearly before, and not just because you aren’t in a raucous arcade.