Over 200 artists and groups, including a good chunk of the VGM and chiptune scene, have gotten together with Bandcamp and are donating all profits from their sales today to the American Civil Liberties Union. The act is a response to current political strife, with Bandcamp donating 100% of their profits to the ACLU, and a large amount of musicians and music labels making additional donations of their profit cuts.
We hope that, as you listen to these albums, you’ll not only discover some great new artists, but will also gain a further appreciation and understanding for the way music transcends all borders, and remember that, even in the darkest of times, there is more that unites us than divides us.
Several video game cover bands and arrangers have thrown their support behind the movement. If you’re looking to purchase new music, beyond the Bandcamp portion, many of the following are making extra donations towards the ACLU:
For those looking to expand their knowledge about the field of audio and music, the task to find good information can be daunting. The internet is full of message boards, forums, and tutorials about how to create, mix, master, and implement audio. It can be difficult to filter through the massive amount of information to find useful tips and advice for improving these skills.
In my own searches I’ve come across a number of podcasts that provide coverage of these specific topics. These podcasts range from covering specific aspects of mastering and mixing music to wider discussions on events and trends in the game industry concerning audio. Today I’ll be sharing a few of my favorite music and audio production podcasts that have helped expand my knowledge of these topics. This is by no means a complete list, but I hope it can be a good jumping off point for anyone else looking to learn more about the audio world. (more…)
Secret of Mana composer Hiroki Kikuta has released two original albums to fans in the form of ANGELICFORTRESS and ANGELICFORTRESS DOUBLE HELIX. ANGELICFORTRESS is an album series created to combine Kikuta’s love for progressive rock, jazz fusion, and game music as well as to say thank you to patrons of music in general.
“I was exposed to an endless catalog of awesome progressive rock and jazz fusion albums throughout high school. It had the biggest impact on the formulation of my view of the musical world. Now I want to mix up these genres with modern day videogame music.” – Hiroki Kikuta
Coming soon from OCRemix: Super Mario RPG: Window to the Stars, a digital 3CD described by them as a tribute album to the music of one of the greatest RPG’s ever created. OC Remix has released a trailer for the album which you can watch below.
Although the release date has only been listed as 2017, you can view the full track listing on the video game music database here. Keep your eyes on OCremix’s site for this upcoming release.
Do you think Super Mario RPG is one of the greatest RPG’s ever created? How about it’s soundtrack?
Niamh Houston, also known as Chipzel gave an excellent TEDtalk on chip tunes this past November 5, 2016. If you’ve ever wanted an explanation on how she creates her music, she gives a full demonstration as part of the talk. She also talks about the overall idea that we are all hackers, and the importance of being authentic in any creative pursuit.
The ‘hacker ethic’ is central to Niamh’s musical creativity as she takes us on a journey into the Chiptune genre, a subculture creating music from augmented hardware and software, and why such expression resonates with Millennials and others who are seeking to create raw and unfiltered music for an online generation.
She is a BAFTA nominated and award winning independent composer from Northern Ireland. In 2015, Houston received the Best Music award in XBLA Fans’ Game of the Year awards, as well as being named VGMO’s best independent composer.
She has scored the original sound tracks for six video games, including the critically acclaimed Super Hexagon. Houston continues to compose music for forthcoming video game projects while working on her next studio album and touring the world. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community.
The TEDtalk runs around 17 minutes, and it definitely worth your time. If you’ve had something on the creative back burner for a while, this might be the pep talk you need to hear. You can learn more about the TEDx event here, and check out chipzel’s music on her website.
For those making the trek to San Antonio, Texas this weekend to attend PAX South 2017, and are interested in the video game music and audio side of things, here’s a quick and handy list of both the musical performances playing at the event, as well as the VGM, music industry panels and any fun music-related panels to check out.
Friday Night (8pm – 11:30pm CST)
Descendants of Erdrick
Saturday Night (8pm – 11:30pm CST)
The Gamer Feedback Presents: Name That Video Game Tune (8:30pm CST, Cactus Theater)
The Ocarina Panel with David Erick Ramos (10:00am CST – Bobcat Theater)
Nerdcore: The Future of Video Game Pop Music (12:30pm CST – Falcon Theater)
Game Panels & Tournaments
AudioShield (11:00am – 2:00pm CST, PC Tourny)
You can check out the entire PAX South schedule here. Hopefully you’re able to check out one or all of these music and audio related events going on this year, and if you do let us know what you thought!
MAGFest, the annual gathering for people who love video games, music, and video game music, took place at its usual spot in National Harbor earlier this year. Though the festival’s musical offerings tend toward electronic fare, there are some musicians keeping the tradition of acoustic music alive.
Among these musicians is the Videri String Quartet. The Boston-based ensemble took center stage twice over the MAGFest weekend to perform tasteful arrangements of music from games like Chrono Trigger, Donkey Kong, and Journey. After their shows were over, I sat down to chat with three integral members of the group: Roselie Samter (Viola), Lizzie Jones (Violin), and David Peacock (Arranger). Lounging on the beds of their hotel room, exhausted but still reveling in the thrill of the festival, the three begin to tell me the story of their group: their mission, history, and where they’re headed next.
San Diego, California – January 18, 2016 – Scarlet Moon Records is pleased to present the TORICKY Original Soundtrack featuring music by Hiroki Kikuta and Dale North. Toricky is a 2D action-platformer created by Japanese developer Atelier Melon-Kissa that follows the high-flying adventures of a lovable bird as he attempts to recover the magical crystars and save the princess. The soundtrack includes an uplifting and majestic main theme by Hiroki Kikuta–best known for his work on Secret of Mana –and a riveting orchestral score with heavy Japanese influences by Dale North.
The TORICKY Original Soundtrack is available now from Bandcamp and other digital retailers:
TORICKY Original Soundtrack on Bandcamp TORICKY Original Soundtrack on iTunes TORICKY Original Soundtrack on Spotify
“My first impression of Toricky was seeing this docile bird decked out with military gear,” reflects Hiroki Kikuta. “This image brings together themes of peace and nature with military adventure. With that in mind, I wanted to compose Toricky’s main theme as an air force march. Please play and enjoy while basking in the feelings of soaring through the air!”
“The order for Toricky’s score was for magical flying fantasy music with a Japanese instrument influence, and it was to be composed alongside one of my heroes, Hiroki Kikuta. Talk about a dream project!,” notes Dale North. “To support the feeling of speed and flight I wrote Toricky’s themes around free flowing melodies that are built to sound like they’re gliding over the supporting musical framework. Energetic strings, shamisen, and other wind instruments give the feeling of motion and speed, but I tried to fly shy of heavy percussion and bass instruments to give the songs a sense of weightlessness. My goal was for Toricky’s score to be fast and light, but also memorable.”
For more information about Toricky please read the official launch announcement for the game here.
If you’re a fan of the Final Fantasy spinoff games and their music, then Materia Collective has you covered. ZODIAC: Final Fantasy Tactics Remixed is a 63-track mega album devoted to the music of Final Fantasy Tactics and pays tribute to the game’s composers, Hitoshi Sakimoto and Masaharu Iwata.
Final Fantasy Tactics was released on the Playstation in 1997 in Japan (1998 in North America) as a spin-off to the main Final Fantasy series. Deviating from the roleplaying of the main series, Tactics instead relied on tactical RPG gameplay. The game’s soundtrack was first released on two CDs by now-defunct DigiCube on June 21, 1997, and was re-released by Square Enix on March 24, 2006. ZODIAC: Final Fantasy Tactics Remixed presents covers of the game’s music in a variety of styles with one hundred artists contributing, including John Robert Matz, Dale North, Doug Perry, Annie Rosen, Sean Schafianski, Laura Intravia, Jack Menhorn, Amanda Lepre and more.
“The Final Fantasy Tactics soundtrack was darker and more atmospheric than other Final Fantasy soundtracks. In some ways, that makes doing straight covers of the songs tricky, so it has been really amazing to hear the interpretations that arrangers have given each piece. Especially for the pieces where the original had an organic, open ended structure, it has been really cool to hear what arrangers have done.” – Stephen Robert Froeber, Producer
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.”
In terms of mashups between musical genres and styles, I can safely say combining EDM and A Capella was never one I thought about before. However, Youtube VGM vocal star Smooth McGroove teamed up with the people at GameChops and decided “Why the heck not?”. Thus, we have Smooth McGroove Remixed Volume 2.
Remixed by music producers like A_rival, Dj CUTMAN, Grimecraft, and James Landino., the album features licensed EDM remixes of classic videogame music from Super Mario 64, Undertale, Pokemon, Mega Man and many more based on the the a capella talents of Mr. McGroove. The album is available now for purchase on ITunes and Google play, on Spotify for your listening pleasure, or you can just watch the neat music videos like the one above.
I can safely say that an a capella of Castlevania‘s “Vampire Killer” remixed into a danceable electronic music was never something I asked for, but I’m appreciative at the quality put into the production of such a chimera of VGM and can say I give such an effort a thumbs up.
For some time now I have been meaning to write about the soundtrack to Titan Souls. The music was composed by David Fenn, who has also composed the music for the mobile game Telepaint! and the platformer Leaf Me Alone. If you’re not familiar with Titan Souls, it is a challenging game where the player must battle numerous large bosses armed solely with a bow and arrow while trying to avoid a one hit sudden death.
Visually it reminded me of The Legend of Zelda and Shadow of the Colossus and what really makes the game special is David Fenn’s musical score. Its use of instrumentation creates at times a sense of awe and mystery as you traverse it’s ancient environments. The music also can be adrenaline inducing with it’s excellent use of percussion and electric guitar.
Read on for our interview with David Fenn where he talks about scoring Titan Souls, and gives some insight into his musical method. (more…)
MAGFest, the annual gathering for people who love video games, music, and video game music, took place at its usual spot in National Harbor earlier this year. Though the festival’s musical offerings tend toward electronic ...
Gather ‘round, video game music nerds—I’m not going to let you sleep on what I’m calling right now as my favorite video game score of the year: the Owlboy OST.
After a lengthy development process, D-Pad ...
The Beep Movie was officially released on September 30, 2016. I’ve watched the film, which is just short of two hours and a wonderful examination of the history of sound in video games. This includes ...