Have you ever heard a piece of video game music that triggered something inside you? An emotional reaction? A cherished memory? I have. In this week’s mini-feature I discuss two pieces of music that when played by a symphony orchestra had an big impact on me. The music of Chrono Cross, and Fantasy Zone.
If you’re familiar with the world of game music arrangement, you’ve probably seen and heard your fair share of orchestral arrangement albums. Groups like Video Games Live, Distant Worlds, and the Video Game Orchestra have been providing great interpretations of our favorite game tunes for years. Another group has recently emerged to give their own take on acoustic videogame arrangements.
Performed by the Legacy Sessions group and headed by Casey Ormond and Demetri Potiris, Game Generation 5 is a project with a slightly different take on videogame music arrangement. As you may guess from the title, the focus of this album is on soundtracks from the fifth generation of game consoles. Every piece being arranged comes from the Nintendo 64, the Playstation, Game Boy, or PC titles from that era. The group playing is also a relatively small ensemble, rather than a full orchestra or rock orchestra combo. So what pieces get covered and how do these new interpretations compare to those of other groups? Read on to find out. (more…)
Sony Classical will be releasing the original soundtrack for the upcoming Playstation 4-exclusive game, The Order: 1886, just a few days prior to the game’s release on February 20th. A alternate-history, Victorian-era supernatural action/shooter, The Order: 1886 is composed entirely by American composer Jason Graves (Dead Space, F.E.A.R. 3). A British Academy Award-winner, most recently having composed the soundtrack for the rebooted Tomb Raider game, Graves has experience infusing orchestral tension into action-packed sequences and creating a musical narrative for the games he’s worked on. According to Top Dollar PR, Graves will be ditching the heroic staples of French Horns and booming cinematic cues in favor of choirs and more reliance on bassy tones to create his score.
The Order: 1886 Original Soundtrack will be released digitally by Sony Classical on February 16th to iTunes.
To learn more about The Order: 1886, check out the game’s page on Playstation.com
Need some more chiptune music in your life? The Castle In The Darkness OST may have just what you’re looking for. Coinciding with the release of the game on Steam, the Castle In The Darkness OST is out and ready for download on Bandcamp. Like the game itself, the music plays homage to the 8-bit NES era of games. Some of the tracks even manage to sneak in some clever music references/easter eggs to the Castlevania and Final Fantasy series.
The music is written by Matt Kap, who also developed the game. That’s right, he created the game AND wrote the music. You may be familiar with his work as the pixel artist for games like The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth. If you’re a fan of classic 8-bit music, this is a new album that you’ll definitely want to check out. Castle In The Darkness is currently available on Steam, and the soundtrack can be found on Matt Kap’s Bandcamp site.
The music guest lineup for this year’s PAX East has been released. As is the tradition of PAX East, the festivities of Friday and Saturday conclude with a series of evening concerts. This year’s concert lineup includes a number of returning favorites, including Bit Brigade and the Triforce Quartet. So if you were lucky enough to acquire passes for the Boston event, you’ll be in for some excellent music to end Friday and Saturday night.
Friday’s concerts will feature the Super Guitar Bros, the Triforce Quartet, and Paul and Storm. The second night of concerts will call upon the talents of Freezepop, Bit Brigade, and MC Frontalot. If you happen to be attending PAX East 2015, be sure to make room in your schedules for each of these acts. You can check out the official PAX East site for more announcements and scheduling details.
If you didn’t notice already, Sumthing Else Music has finally released the full original soundtrack for the haunting indie game The Vanishing of Ethan Carter.
This was a soundtrack that I put on my list of Top OSV’s of 2014 and with good reason. Composed by Polish musician Mikolai Stroinski (The Witcher 3, Dark SoulsTrailer), the music of the game fits the atmosphere and pacing well and creates an eerie and ethereal feel to the subtle horror of the game, earning it Best Audio at the 15th Annual Game Developers Choice Awards as well as several other nominations. Fans of Silent Hill and Gone Home will no doubt easily find something they like about The Vanishing of Ethan Carter‘s soundtrack.
The complete album spans a bit under 50 minutes at $9.99 or $0.99 per each of the 17 tracks. Do yourself a favor and go pick it up if you haven’t already.
The soundtrack to Double Fine’s latest game project, Massive Chalice, will be available on several new platforms. The Massive Chalice OST had its original release on Bandcamp back in November of 2014, in time for the release of the game on Steam Early Access. The soundtrack features a mixture of electronic, ambient, and orchestral elements, all designed to compliment the unique turn based strategy game. The soundtrack was composed by Brian Trifon and Brian Lee White, who make up the Finishing Move music and sound production company.
The complete Massive Chalice OST will be available today for download on iTunes, Amazon, Xbox Music, and Google Play. If you haven’t had a chance to pick this soundtrack up, you will now have a few more opportunities and options available for grabbing yourself a copy.
Rainbow Skies is the announced sequel to Rainbow Moon, a game from eastasiasoft. Just released from composer Rafael Dyll, the main theme of the game has been released early for eager fans to get a taste of.
Rainbow Skies is currently in development for PlayStation platforms. Make sure to check out the official website and visit them on Twitter @RainbowSkiesRPG.
Famed Famicom/NES composer Keiji Yamagishi has a new music project that will be released this year. The Retro-Active Experience is a set of albums which will be coming out in three parts over the course of this year and feature brand new compositions by the composer. Inspired by his earlier work on the original Nintendo Entertainment System, these albums will have an emphasis on chiptune and electronic genres, with a healthy blending of modern instruments.
The first part of this multi-album project is titled Retro-Active Pt. 1. A handful of the tracks on this first album feature collaborations with other composers and musicians like Stemage, of Metroid Metal, and Manami Matsumae, composer of the original Mega Man soundtrack. There will also be a few remix tracks from Takahiro Izutani, Riki Arai, and Smoke Thief included on Part 1.
Retro-Active Pt. 1 is currently available for pre-order on the Brave Wave music site. Pre-ordering the album will get you early access to 4 tracks for download (Tracks 1, 2, 7, and 9). The full album will receive its official release on February 5th. So if some new tunes by one of the great Famicom/NES composers sounds like something up your alley, check out the first entry of this new music project.
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!