If you’re a fan of the Chiptunes = WIN nation and albums, then you’ll be happy to learn that their fourth album has officially been released!
Chiptunes = WIN: Volume 4 continues the tradition started three years ago by Brandon “President Hoodie” Hood to create a community of chiptune artists and enthusiasts that are able to gather, create and critique the art of making chip music.
“Volume 4?? VOLUME 4!! 3+ years after the first comp and we’re still having a blast! Thus onward & upward it goes! ^_^ \m|♥♥♥♥|m/ “ -President Hoodie
The current incarnation features a whopping 51 tracks featuring a plethora of new and old chiptune artists, including CarboHydroM, Auxcide, Phonetic Hero and a ton more. The whole album was mastered by DJ Cutman, with all proceeds staying internal and going towards the production of future albums. This fourth full edition is the 12th album in the Chiptunes = WIN library, all of which serve as compilations from the chip community and beyond.
Chiptunes = WIN: Volume 4 is at a name-your-price purchase level, with a special limited bundle pack available at $25 for the diehard enthusiast. You can learn more about Chiptunes = WIN and join in the chip madness on the community’s blog.
XO is an upcoming sci-fi, space strategy game inspired by the likes of Battlestar Galactica, Lost Fleet and games like FTL. If that doesn’t give you an immediate sense of the dire decisions you’ll make as Captain of the last human battleship, the video above should help. The video also gives you a taste of what Guthrie has in store for the full soundtrack, featuring ethereal piano and strings fused with pounding 80’s-inspired synthwave.
I dig that sound and can’t wait to hear more as the game moves through Kickstarter and on to a final release.
Secret of Evermore might be one of the less well-known Squaresoft titles, but at least one man is giving the SNES game’s 20th anniversary some much-needed love.
Sean Schafianski, a composer and game enthusiast from Grand Rapids, Michigan who released Final Fantasy VI: Remastered Soundtrack in 2013 and several other since, felt the need to give Evermore the same treatment and recognition. The game’s original soundtrack, composed by Jeremy Soule (Elder Scrolls series), features several ambient pieces tailored to the RPG’s unique fantasy feel.
“With all of my Remastered Tracks albums, I want to stay as true to the source material as possible. The point is to pay tribute to amazing soundtracks by fantastic composers, while giving the music a breath of fresh air and a little artistic twist on my part. I create all of my arrangements by ear, listening closely to the original then trying to recreate the magic. I hope you enjoy listening to these arrangements as much as I enjoyed making them!”
The Secret of Evermore: Remastered Tracks can be picked up on Loudr. You can also check out the rest of his Video Game Music Remastered series of game music releases on his Loudr page.
When he’s not busy producing some of my favorite bangin’ video game remixes, DJ Cutman can be found playing through a ton of games on his YouTube channel. It’s here that he’s launched a new series called SmashTalk where he chats with other personalities from the gaming community while they play a competitive game.
The pilot episode features comedian/songwriter Brentalfloss and is as amusing as you’d expect for an interview conducted during a game of Mario Kart 8. Alongside complaints about red koopa shells there’s a good discussion about Brentalfloss’ academic education, his favorite childhood games and a message to others trying to break into the YouTube scene. He also lays out the history behind Wario while winning a race; the guy is talented. Check it out up above or over on YouTube.
For the sequel to a Flash game created by a 30-something guy and his 8-year-old daughter, you may not expect the music of Super Chibi Knight to be much of anything. From that description, you may not expect the game to be anything either but it promises a nostalgic mix of platforming and action/RPG in the pre-64 Legend of Zelda style. A new wrinkle is the sorcerer/beastmaster dynamic which changes how Super Chibi Knight plays, which areas you’ll see and how the game winds up. It’s super expanded from the original Chibi Knight and looking at this tracklist makes that extra apparent.
Returning composer, Brian Allen Holmes, has created an immense collection of 74 tracks for Super Chibi Knight. Most were designed as loops for the game so many of the tracks are short and fade out just as I started to get into them. It’s an unfortunate concession but understandable even for a digital release when there’s so much excellent music to cover. So grab your sword and shield and let’s explore this album.
This week, we’re going to look at music from a more recent game. One of the newer releases that I’ve been playing through is From Software’s action horror title Bloodborne. When music does make an entrance it’s usually when you fight against one of the game’s many bosses. Even though the game’s only been out for a few months, there’s already a healthy supply of arrangements coming out from the game music community.
Today’s Arrangement of the Week is an orchestral arrangement from Alex Roe. Alex has in fact created a four track arrangement album titled Bloodborne Remixes. There’s even one track in the style of a Castlevania tune. They are all excellent interpretations, but today I will be focussing on the track “Moonlit Beast.” The arrangement is a combination of the “Cleric Beast,” from Bloodborne’s first boss; “Dark Reality,” from King’s Field IV; and the first movement of Ludwig van Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata.”
The music from Bloodborne and King’s Field IV blend very well together, owing partially to the fact that both pieces were composed by Tsukasa Saitoh. The opening starts off with Beethoven’s familiar “Moonlight Sonata” movement, but soon starts morphing to become accompaniment for “Cleric Beast” and “Dark Reality.” The arrangement moves fluidly between the two themes and maintains the foreboding mood of the original soundtracks. The constant and insistent rhythm in the accompaniment strings really helps maintain a sense of tension throughout the piece. The “Moonlight Sonata” material more or less acts as a bookend for the beginning and ending of the track.
Despite having to rely on orchestral samples, the arrangement still sounds great. I particularly like the use of woodwinds for some of the melodic motifs. It helps distinguish the arrangement’s sound from the original “Cleric Beast” piece, which is significantly more string, choir, and brass heavy. With all that said, it’s an interesting combination of pieces, that make for an eerie but enjoyable listening experience.
Were there any new game music arrangements, remixes, or covers that caught your attention this week? Let us know in the comment section below. You can download and listen to “Moonlit Beast” and Alex Roe’s other Bloodborne arrangements on his Bandcamp site.
The YouTube channel ClassicGameJunkie just recently started a new video series called How Did They Do That!? which aims to dissect a specific mechanic or effect from a game. Their latest episode focuses on the dynamic music of Rare’s Nintendo 64 classic, Banjo-Kazooie. It’s not a technical deep-dive but the video does a good job of explaining how Grant Kirkhope pulled it off in just under four minutes.
It’s totally worth watching just for the final few moments where they layer six of the game’s tracks over one another. It must be that trademarked Kirkhope genius because it sounds just as good as each track does on its own. Check it out up above.
There’s never a bad day to listen to NieR! With the recent unveiling of NieR: New Project at E3 it seems extra appropriate today to check out a new music video created and performed by vocalist Jillian Aversa and percussionist Doug Perry. The duo have performed “Song of the Ancients” on the international stages of Video Games Live but now, with the help of director Lando Donoho, they have created their own moody and atmospheric music video to go along with it.
“Song of the Ancients” is an incredible piece no matter how you perform it but the arrangement here is made even more soulful by the accompaniment of Perry’s vibraphone and layered percussion. The video and song are made available today by OverClocked Records and marks their first foray into the official licensing of video game music singles.
“I’m very excited to see OverClocked Records taking a big step towards focusing on licensed VGM arrangements,” comments OverClocked ReMix founder David Lloyd. “Jill and Doug have done a fantastic job capturing the magic of NieR with this transporting and beautiful arrangement and video. As the first arranged VGM single on the OverClocked Records label, the bar has certainly been set high!”
The video was fittingly filmed at the National Harbor during MAGFest, Maryland’s annual game music convention. The sculpture The Awakening serves as a simple and brooding backdrop that draws viewers into the mysterious world of NieR.
“We decided to shoot the music video in front of an enormous statue of a man ‘drowning’ in the sand nearby,” reflects Aversa. “Doug wore all black (including a mask painted on his face) and I created my own ghostly white ensemble.”
“We thought the statue was very reminiscent of NieR,” adds Doug Perry. “Like a relic of this once-great civilization that had fallen victim to the passage of time. Wheeling my vibraphone down the streets of National Harbor in the freezing cold made for quite an amusing scene, though!”
You can watch the video embedded above or over on Jillian Aversa’s YouTube channel and download the single directly from OverClocked Records. If all this has sparked your interest in NieR, or rekindled your old passion, be sure to check out our extensive coverage of the game and its stellar soundtrack.
The two North American version anime series that generated interest in the genre for a lot of us were Sailor Moon and Dragon Ball Z. One of the things that stood out about the series were their fantastic theme songs. Sailor Moon‘s theme was written by composer Bob Summers and wrote a series of memorable English lyrics for the Japanese theme song “Moonlight Densetsu”. For Dragon Ball Z, Shuki Levy and Kussa Mahehi (Haim Saban) delivered an entirely new theme song titled “Rock The Dragon” which in my opinion is the Dragon Ball Z theme to rule them all.
Often I search for covers of these great songs, and last week I stumbled onto two fantastic covers on the same album! The album is a stellar work by the hilariously named band Piss Lizard; Pizard? The album totals 11 tracks and is available as a Free Download on bandcamp.
What I love about their version of “Moonlight Densetsu” is that they use their passionate male vocals to give the theme an old timey sound in English, and Japanese .
As for the Dragon Ball Z cover “Pump Up The Draygen” the band has produced the best cover version to date adding their own matched sound effects of fighting from the original theme.
Check out the Free Album by the Piss Lizard; Pizard? on bandcamp for a good time. The rest of the album is just as good. Let me know what you think.
Is it time to load up on some chiptune albums? Groupees has launched their seventh Chiptune + Charity bundle and for as little as $3 you can nab ten albums from Bignic, Shirobon, Monomer, Glenntai, Zalza, MisfitChris, MmcM, Note!, Zabutom and Xyce. There are also some bonuses to be had, the first of which is a live streaming performance by Glenntai for those who buy the bundle. The second bonus (yet to be unlocked) is a live performance by Zabutom.
I’m always up for more music from Bignic but I admit, I’m not familiar with many of the other groups. The samples sound pretty good, though, especially Monomer and Shirobon. What about you? Any favorites in this bundle or are you stumbling into this with me?
The passing of Nintendo president and CEO Satoru Iwata has hit a lot of gaming fans hard, but has also inspired a plethora of dedications and tributes to the man who was known by so many as a kind man and the heart of Nintendo Japan. One of those dedications comes from none other than Metroid composer Hirokazu “Hip” Tanaka, who has created his own fitting memorial to the late Iwata in his own unique way; a cheerful chiptune piece to reflect the equally cheerful nature of the man who touched the lives of so many gamers of our generation.
Rest in Peace, Mr. Iwata. You’ve had an impact on all the facets of the gaming community and will be greatly missed.