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OSVOSTOTY 2014 – Brenna’s Picks

OSVOSTOTY 2014 – Brenna’s Picks

January 2, 2015 | | Comment? Share thison Facebook OSVOSTOTY 2014 – Brenna’s Pickson Twitter

Rolling along with our 2014 recap of our favorite picks, now it’s my turn to go through and highlight what stood out to me this past year in terms of game music and everything related. It’s quite the mish-mash of musical praise and highlights, but I feel I covered a lot of the things I really felt deserved a big fat thumbs up this past year.

Soundtrack Album of the Year: Shovel Knight

This was a pretty blatant shoe in for me, considering its heavy retro feel and considering my love for Jake Kaufman and everything he touches musically. (Not the least of which being that it’s all fantastic work.) Shovel Knight, with equal parts Megaman, Castlevania, and cues from several other oldschool games, was as fun to sit and listen to as it was to play and plays to the strengths of so many NES and Genesis games of our childhoods – their soundtracks. Truly Kaufman’s magnum opus and a sin to miss out on in 2014.

  • Runner Up: Strider (2014) Original Soundtrack

It may have been more of an arrangement of music already introduced in earlier Strider games, but Michael John Mollo did a great job reworking the soundtrack to the 2014 Strider remake into a modern adaption of classic side-scrolling action. As catchy and fast-paced as you’d expect, Strider‘s OST was fun to listen to again and again through the year.


Score of the Year: The Vanishing of Ethan Carter

Admittedly, I heard the soundtrack to this game before I played the game, much like I did with Darksiders II, which is funny because I felt a lot of the same atmosphere in Ethan Carter that I did in Darksiders II. Dark, mysterious and brooding, though without The Vanishing of Ethan Cater by Mikołaj Stroiński adds that delicious eerie tension within the game that incorporates a smidge of Silent Hill in with the tone and comes out beautiful and unsettling in unison.

  • Runner Up: Crypt of the Necrodancer

This game was just meant to be a catchy mess of great, earworm music, considering what its game mechanic is. Danny Baranowski crafted a chiptune score that would fit right in with local club scenes, with it’s amazing ability to take rhythm gameplay and incorporate it into a 2D dungeon crawler and making it its own challenge. One of the few games I’ve actually said “Okay, screw it, I’m okay with dying” just so I could keep hearing the stage music.


Artist/Composer of the Year: Motoi Sakuraba

I don’t care for Dark Souls or Dark Souls 2. The gameplay just never synced with me, despite being the personal darling of so many of my friends and gaming associates. However, I do love what Motoi Sakuraba did with the soundtracks of both games. His style and ability to make such a wide variety of musical scores, from brooding and foreboding to large and epic is a testament to his 25 years in the music composition arena and what has always made him one of my personal favorite composers. He didn’t disappoint this year either.

  • Runner Up: Jeff Ball

Jeff Ball is a personal favorite around here and with good reason. He’s an amazing violinist, composer, and has his fingers in a lot of great works that are both solely his own and collaborations with others. (Take a look at Pat’s list for a rundown of his work in 2014 alone.) I think my favorite of his work this past year, a small and probably insignificant one to some, was his arrangement on the Strike the Earth: Shovel Knight Arranged album, simply because I remember thinking “Man, I love that he’s in everything this year!”


Arrangement Album of the Year: Songs for the Recently Deceased (The One Ups)

This was the fantastic Halloween album put together by The One Ups this past year that covered such a wide variety of tunes from various spooky and horror-themed games. I appreciated the fact that so many games were covered that normally aren’t, even for Halloween or horror game albums, such as Diablo and Splatterhouse. As I said in my review, it felt like the album was made for me and I was listening to it on repeat for a good long while this October. Smooth creepy grooves indeed.

  • Runner Up: Rogue Legacy Reborn (Various Artists)

I got into Rogue Legacy a bit late in the game, so I didn’t get to enjoy its soundtrack in time for last year’s OST of the Year. Thankfully, Rogue Legacy Reborn came out this past fall and gave me a second chance to throw praise to the rogue-like’s soundtrack by Tetrix & Shell in the Pit. The arrangement album features some fun mix-ups by the aforementioned duo, along with re-compositions by A_Rival, Stemage, Videri String Quartet and a bunch of others and was just as fun as the original soundtrack.


Special Mention(s): Diggin’ in the Carts – Redbull Music Academy

In a year when there were a couple of crowd-funded game music documentaries being raised on Kickstarter, Diggin’ in the Carts came out and really raised the bar high in terms of quality. The six-episode documentary introduced us to a bunch of Japanese video game composers, starting at the very beginning of the game industry boom and the birth of console gaming, and gave them not only their due, but also gave us westerners insight as to how some of our most beloved composers came into the industry and proved just how fantastic and humble these heroes of harmony were about their craft. Episode 2 that specialized in Konami games filled my heart with joy beyond words, and I hope that we can get more documentaries with this much love put into them in the next year.

  • Vince DiCola & Saturday Morning RPG Original Soundtrack

I just wanted to throw a bit of love to Vince Dicola, Kenny Meriedeth and everyone who worked on the soundtrack for Saturday Morning RPG. Released by Scarlet Moon Records, this album had a lot of fantastic hands in the pot and was just a joy for me to have playing in the background at work. It just felt like a slice of nostalgia that was unique from the usual “video game music” variety, and I give props to C-jeff, Stemage, Jayson Napolitano and everyone else who had a role in its creation beyond the fantastic Mr. DiCola. All of my love!

  • Chiptunes = WIN Vol. 3

I couldn’t not give this album a sliver of attention, as well as the fact I love-hate Brandon “President Hoodie” Hood forever for sucking me into this crazy world.

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