The Video Game Orchestra (or VGO, for short) has been putting on stellar shows in either rock band or full symphonic orchestra formats for many years now. They’ve played many venues within Boston and have also traveled across the US to bring their unique musical stylings to other conventions, concerts, and events.
The group, led by Shota Nakama, has expanded its scope in the last year. Alongside the task of mixing down their first album (Live at Symphony Hall … review coming soon!), the VGO has also participated in the performance, recording, and mixing of some great game soundtracks. Most recently, and perhaps most notably, was their work on Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII. They’ve also worked on God Eater 2, Ace Combat 3D: Cross Rumble, and Tekken Tag Tournament 2. They’ve also done strings work for IMERUAT’s second album, Propelled Life.
To let the world know that Boston’s premier orchestra now has studio capabilities, they’ve launched SoundtRec. What is SoundtRec? To quote directly from the site:
SoundtRec Boston Offer:
- ANY INSTRUMENTATION & ANY GENRE
We will coordinate from vocalists, string quartet to full orchestra, choir, rhythm section to big band in various styles of music – Any instrumentation and any genre that meets your projects’ demand.
- REMOTE RECORDING
No time to fly over to Boston? It is not a problem because we offer remote recording! You can be at any place with internet, even at your comfortable home studio to monitor the sessions and give us feedback.
- COMPLETE BUYOUT & AFFORDABLE RATE
We offer an affordable rate and complete buyout. Please contact us for the details!
- PROVIDING EXTRA SUPPORT
Not only musicians, but we do also have world-class arrangers, orchestrators, copyists, lyricist and engineers available for you to support your musical creativity!
This is certainly great news for both independent game studios that want high quality audio, as well as traditional studios that are looking for a new venue to record their work.
The site offers examples of SoundtRec’s recordings, including their work on LR:FFXIII and the Live at Symphony Hall album that was published just last week. Be sure to check it out!
Here on OSV we focus primarily on the music of videogames. However, we do occasionally review music software, as these programs are a vital aspect of music writing and creation. While there are some game composers that are lucky enough to work with live musicians and orchestras, many still rely on sound libraries and samples to produce our favorite game music.
Today, we are looking at the Impact Soundworks library Celestia: Heavenly Sound Design. The library was created by Andrew Aversa, Jordan Aguirre, and others at Impact Soundworks. Many videogame music remix fans may be more familiar with Aversa and Aguirre by their artist names, Zircon and bLiNd respectively. This latest library is advertised as a collection of atmospheric and ambient hybrid synth sounds. The focus is more on the softer and ethereal synthesizer instruments, rather than heavy hitting and dramatic instruments. With all that said, let’s take a look at this latest product. (more…)
If you happen to be one of the lucky people able to swipe a badge for PAX East next month in Boston, you probably know it’s a big deal to spend your time wisely at such a huge event. Why not take in a panel dedicated to music composers and their craft?
“Maestros of Video Games” panel will feature a bunch of notable game composers from across several well known titles and genres such as Garry Schyman (Bioshock Infitnite, Dante’s Inferno, Destroy All Humans), Cris Valesco (Mass Effect 3, Borderlands, God of War series), Peter McConnell (Broken Age, Psychonauts, Sly Cooper series) and several more and they share their experiences in the industry and their works on some of the biggest franchises in gaming.
The panel will be on Saturday, April 12th at 12:30pm in the Condor Theatre. Be sure to check it out!
At this year’s D.I.C.E. Summit, composer Austin Wintory gave a talk titled “Music’s Rising Tides”. In his presentation, Wintory discusses the emergence of technology that has allowed for the democratization of music writing and distribution. He strikes a very optimistic tone about the ability of creators to put their work out onto the internet and have it recognized. Among examples, he cites his own positive experience with releasing the soundtrack to Journey and his interactions with people who shared the album on Youtube.
Part of what he is encouraged by is the lowering of financial barriers for writing music. To help illustrate his point, he composes a piece of music on stage, using only a laptop computer and a midi keyboard. Making music that is commercially viable is something that has become accessible to more people in recent years, and Wintory sees this as a positive development for the art.
It’s an excellent talk from an experienced member of the videogame and music world. What do you think of the presentation? Do you agree that the ease of access to music making is a positive thing, or is it causing the market to be over-saturated with too much noise?
TED talks have always been about presenting ideas worth spreading, so I’m glad to see they’ve put Chiptunes on display. TED talks try to gain a deeper discussion in a local field, TEDx is more for local programs, and Dan (Dan Behrens, aka Danimal Cannon) hit it off. As Dan described Chiptunes, he defined it as…
… Any music made using, or emulating the sound of, old video game consoles and their soundchips.
Technically with that definition, the PS4 could also be considered platform for Chiptunes, but it’s the sound that Dan and the others are attracted to, not particularly a beefy console. Dan’s chip of choice being a classic Gameboy, he continued into his list of consoles that other artists use to make Chiptunes. Consoles such as the NES, Genesis, Commodore 64, Atari Amiga, and many others. As Dan described, it’s really about taking minimalist hardware, and pushing it to the maximum potential.
The talk itself features some excellent music past the 4:35 mark. Take a listen.
Dan went further to talk about a trend taking place in music software, one that makes music controls easier to use, but leaves you ignorant to what the controls directly changed to achieve its sound. For instance, if you use a plug-in that has a fader controlling a “Smash” parameter, what is the “Smash” doing exactly? Does it EQ the sound? Is something being filtered? Does it matter? By using plug-ins like that, Dan considered it a failing to learn.
Dan also stated that such software is good for businesses, which is true. Music software that gives the end user the sounds they desire is often the goal developers strive for. However, Dan insisted that Chiptune is not a response to such easy-to-use music software, but rather it evolved by itself into where it currently stands in the community.
What are your thoughts on the subject? Do you agree that simple and easy to use software actually does make you less curious about how the sound was achieved?
With an interest in chip tune music must come a certain desire to figure out the best reproduction of those chip tune sounds. Having a synthesizer myself, I always thought creating a chip tune piece was as simple as using a square wave coming out of my analog SH-201. Everyone has a different method, but this was my approach. Despite different approaches, there is a tremendous difference in the sounds produced from any sound chip, let alone those in video game consoles and handheld devices.
For instance, the timbre of a C64 square wave sounds way different than an NES square wave. They are both square waves, yet the aesthetics that make up the sound drastically differs for each system. If you were going to create an NES based chip tune, it wouldn’t help to emulate chip sounds from a C64, or in my case, my analog SH-201. How can someone spot the difference? Inverse Phase, Mr. MAGFest, as some call him, often teaches people the differences, so they could be armed with an applicable sound palette before creating their own chip tunes. Today, I’ll go over some of these differences thanks to a lecture by Inverse Phase titled Music from Old Sound Chips.
I’ve been using Reason ever since version 1.0 to make video game remixes. Reason has always been plagued with problems that its community has suffered through, accepting its flaws as features. I have always been a huge supporter of Reason but it’s only until recently that I have grown to dislike Reason 6.5 due to certain features offered in the latest software. I’m talking about Rack Extensions, which is essentially Propellerhead’s version of Plugins for Reason. It’s such a gamble to allow plugins after releasing 6 versions of Reason that I feel it’s only fair in critiquing them on their flaws surrounding Rack Extensions. For me, these flaws are so bad, I’d rather not use Rack Extensions. I’d like to go though some of these flaws, and offer some solutions to the problems in Rack Extensions.
More after the Jump.
One part remixer, one part business entrepreneur, all parts party animal, Chris Davidson aka “Dj CUTMAN” aka “Video Game DJ” (website / Twitter) is someone you need to know about. His career in game music started a few years ago, at a MAGFest event. Since then, he and his label “GameChops” have begun to proliferate the scene. And, with the help of the newly-formed Joypad Records, they’re doing it in a way that allows for proper licensing of the source material.
To learn more about that process, the label, and what Dj CUTMAN will be laying down at MAGFest 11, as well as his latest release (a free set called Pinball Wizardry), be sure to listen to this latest episode! For this one, the co-hosts are myself (Patrick) and Brenna Wilkes.
Download: Original SoundCAST Episode #017
Intro music: “I Am Error” from Bagu and the Riverman
Outro music: “I Know Nothing” from Bagu and the Riverman
PS – Happy Black Friday. Buy something from a GameChops artist and I’ll personally high-five you at MAGFest. Twice.
Solar Fields (aka Magnus Birgersson) has been crafting sonic textures to melt your ears and envelop your soul for well over a decade. In the video game world, he is best known for his work composing the fantastic Mirror’s Edge soundtrack while also contributing the music from his album Movements to the Alien Trap game Capsized. He is also an acclaimed DJ and producer who is currently in the studio writing the followup to his last album Random Friday. In this exclusive interview with OSV, Magnus gives us some insight into his creative process and his experiences performing live.
Please note: This interview was conducted as a text-based correspondence, and we’ve chosen to leave Birgersson’s emoticons intact. We think the underlying message from the composer is that we should all smile more. (more…)
To us, Andrew Aversa is one of the few people who really represents what game music is all about. That’s because, even in the past year, Andrew has shown himself as a force to be reckoned with on all fronts: AAA game music, indie game music, and fan-made arrangements.
In this episode, Brenna Wilkes and I talk with Andrew for a solid hour about his work on Globulous (which Brenna recently reviewed), on Soul Calibur V, and the super-funded Kickstarter campaign for the OCRemix album under his direction: Final Fantasy VI: Balance and Ruin. This last topic takes up over half of the episode, and it should! At the time we recorded this (Saturday), the campaign was at $60,000, 400% of the $15,000 goal. As I’m writing this post, they’re now at $75,000. I also got *this* in a Kickstarter Backer’s email:
What does that mean? Well, everyone who’s getting a physical copy of “Balance and Ruin” will also get a newly-printed, *all 4 disc* version of Final Fantasy VII: Voices of the Lifestream as well. That’s good stuff.
Anyway, listen to the episode to learn about everything zircon’s up to. And if you want even more podcast-delivered info on the Balance and Ruin project, please check out this great Nitro Game Injection “after-show” recording with Larry “Liontamer” Oji, which was just recorded on Sunday.
Download: Original SoundCAST Episode #014
If you want to know what BGM we have behind all that talk-talk-talk, click the “more” button. (more…)
UPDATE (7/12/2012): Our plea has not fallen on deaf ears! MagicalTimeBean has released Escape Goat Powermouse Mix Collection on Bandcamp for free! Not even “pay-what-you-want” free, just super-duper free!
Last November, we highlighted the release of MagicalTimeBean’s latest game, Escape Goat, and its Falcom-inspired soundtrack.
Then, just last month, the game was featured in Indie Royale’s June Bug Bundle, which also had Auditorium, PixelJunk Eden and Noitu Love 2. It also included the Escape Goat Original Soundtrack (available on bandcamp) and the all-new arranged album Escape Goat Powermouse Mix Collection.
The latter album was made exclusively available as part of the June Bug Bundle, and is otherwise not being sold anywhere. After the jump, I’ll make my case as to why those who missed the bundle should still get a chance to hop on this fantastic arranged album. And, wouldn’t you know it, one of OSV’s own is featured on that arranged album!! To find out who, just keep on reading! (more…)
Today marks the release of the neo-retro Strategy RPG Rainbow Moon (eastasiasoft, PS3), and we have an interview with the game’s composer Rafael Dyll. He has embarked on his most ambitious project to date. Previously known for the trance influenced Söldner-X soundtrack, Dyll was tasked with creating the sonic environment for almost all of Rainbow Moon. Dyll was kind enough to speak with us about what it was like composing for Rainbow Moon, his start in the industry, and the current state of game composing!
Does this game, or its soundtrack, interest you? If so, be sure to head to Rafael’s facebook page, hit “like” to add yourself as a fan, and leave a comment saying that “OSV sent you.” Everyone who does this over the next two weeks will be entered in a drawing to win a signed copy of the Rainbow Moon Melodies soundtrack CD and a download coupon for the exclusive “Last Chapter Tracks” digital album download as well. So, if you like good/free stuff, get on that, and then join us after the jump for the interview! (more…)