Who doesn’t want more festivals and conventions based around video game music and media? (rhetorical question, of course) A new event, “Gamer’s Rhapsody“, has been created to show just how large the community surrounding video art and music has become over the past few years.
Gamer’s Rhapsody is a new convention that recognizes all the people who work on video games. This is to celebrate all the animators, storywriters, and composers that work endlessly to bring you the video games that you love. Gamer’s Rhapsody is the only convention in Minnesota that connects gamers and artists, celebrating the art that goes into creating video games.
The event will be held in Minneapolis, MN on November 16th and 17th at the downtown St. Paul Double Tree Hotel, and so far is slated to feature:
Disasterpeace (composer of Fez, Runner2, and The Floor Is Jelly)
Emily Reese (host of Minnesota Public Radio’s Top Score program)
OverClocked ReMix (arrangers and community members from the game music remixing destination)
More guests, performers, professional artists and more are sure to be announced as the event draw closer. The event also features an art room with art contest, jam room and exhibitor’s room. Currently registration is at $43.50 until October 2nd, when it will increase by $5.
I wasn’t sure what to make of this album. I have listened to and reviewed game composers remixing game music before, but I have never reviewed an album of original compositions by game composers, that aren’t attached to any games. I admit I was dubious. Also, looking at the list of composers, I was only familiar with a few of them, most notably Akira Yamaoka, composer for the Silent Hill series. This album raised another question for me. Do I listen to game music because I associate the music with the game, or is the music good in its own right? I personally believe that there are elements of of both and I find an album comprised of original music from game composers to be very interesting. Will the music follow gaming tropes and conventions, or will the composers write music purely for the album and allow their music talents to flourish. Let’s find out what this “East meets West” album had to offer. (more…)
MAGFest 13officially opened to the public for event registration and hotel reservations as of yesterday afternoon. The music & gaming festival, being held this year at a slightly different time a bit later in January and on a Friday to Monday stretch instead of the usual Thursday to Sunday, announced the start of their pre-event hype with the return of Machinae Supremacy, who debuted at the event last year as one of the headliners. Supremacy released 6 minutes of music from their upcoming album “Phantom Shadow” just last month, and is sure to have some of this new material primed and ready for MAG 13.
As usual, MAGFest will release more guest and band announcements within the coming months, so keep an eye here and on our Facebook page for updates. Pre-Registration for MAGFest 13 starts at $40 for full event admission with various supporter and group options. Rooms at the Gaylord National Harbor are currently open for reservation as well. (though are experiencing some difficulties through the website, so be sure to check with MAGFest about any booking issues) With Machinae being announced first, who knows what other big names could grace the halls and stages of the Gaylord this year.
If you don’t know who game music hip-hop artist Random aka. Mega Ran is, then shame on you and go do yourself as favor and check him out. (it’s worth it) For those of us who do know who Mega Ran is, then we just got a little treat to kick off the artist’s North American tour. Just released was a brand new bonus track for The Call: 8-bit Anniversary Edition called “T.U.R.T.L.E. Power“, complete with music video along with nerdcore rapper Klopfenpop.
“The TMNT arcade games were some of my favorite memories of being a kid. We spent pockets full of quarters on those games. I wanted to revisit those awesome childhood moments with this video.” – Mega Ran
Mega Ran starts his tour this weekend and goes all month with the following dates:
August 8-11: Orlando, FL @ Orlando Nerd Fest August 12: Jacksonville, FL @ Raindogs August 13: Atlanta, GA @ TBA August 14: Baton Rouge, LA @Spanish Moon August 15: San Antonio, TX @ 502 Bar August 16: Austin, TX @ Classic Game Fest August 17: Ft. Worth, TX @ The Grotto August 22: Phoenix, AZ @ FilmBar (Mega-Lo-Manialive premiere)* August 25: Portland, OR @ Ground Kontrol* August 26: Bellingham, WA @Glow* August 27: Vancouver BC @ Columbia Theatre* August 29: Seattle, WA @ LoFi
Fellow fans of Mega Man music, this will be a good year for us. Thanks to a deal with Sumthing Else Music Works and Capcom, there will be a digital release of the original Mega Man soundtracks in the west. Each volume consists of music from one of the Mega Man games, meaning that there will be individual digital soundtracks available for Mega Man 1-10. In addition to the NES versions of the music, the soundtrack volumes also include tracks from the PlayStation versions of the games.
The first four volumes are currently available, with the remaining six due to come out this year. Two volumes are planned to be released every month up through November of 2014. These volumes are based off of the 25th Anniversary “Rockcan” box set that was previously released in Japan. While it’s a shame that the west won’t have a physical release of the set, it’s nice to see that we will still be able to obtain the official digital soundtracks. The first four Mega Man soundtrack volumes can be purchased on Amazon, iTunes, and the Sumthing Else Music website.
It was July 31st, 1989 when the portable device known as the Gameboy was released in North American by Nintendo and introduced the concept of gaming on the fly. Now, 25 years later, a few of the artists over at Overclocked Remix have dedicated an entire 15-track album to commemorate the occasion. Legacy: Game Boy 25th Anniversary is the 49th arrangement album released by OCRemix, headed by artists Brandon Strader and Alexandre “Chernabogue” Mourey and featuring a good assortment of music from a good stock of other various artists arranging from various Gameboy titles.
Castlevania II: Belmont’s Revenge – “Whip This Beat” by Helicopter Knife Fight
“We remixed this music because we love the Game Boy, and video game music. A lot of game developers were inspired by Gunpei Yokoi who was the visionary creator of the Game Boy and ushered in a vast future of handheld gaming. This album is dedicated to him. “
Because Jake “Virt” Kaufman can’t seem to take a break if he tried, it looks like he’s involved with yet another Kickstarter project hot off the heels of the recent release of his fantastic work on Shovel Knight. This time around, however, it’s for VR systems such as the Oculus, putting it in a unique position. Vanguard Valkyrie is a 3rd-person rail shooter designed for virtual reality headsets and looks quite impression gameplay-wise. The music is sure to rank right up there with the gameplay (and maybe even beyond) as Kaufman is also joined by guitarist Dan “Danimal Cannon” Behrens (ArmCannon, Metroid Metal) and newcomer musician Meganeko.
Vanguard Valyrie sports the very hefty pricetag of $198,000 for a game meant for a still very-new market in virtual reality. The major of people who currently have access to an Oculus Rift are game media and developers, and the pricetag for the general public is steep for new hardware that isn’t even in its final form. While I have my own opinions about the success of such a lofty project, there’s no doubt Virt and Danimal Cannon will be rocking the music for the game to the high echelons of awesome.
Last month we reported on a lawsuit being filed against the game developer Bungie by composer and audio director Marty O’Donnell. Bungie had fired O’Donnell “without cause” back in April and was refusing to pay money owed to the composer. Much of this pay included unused paid time off, sabbatical time, and other benefits. This past week, the two parties reached a settlement over the matter.
According to VentureBeat, O’Donnell will be receiving $38,385 for his unpaid time, including vacation time, plus another $38,385 for double damages, something that O’Donnell was seeking in his original suit. Adding up all of the legal fees on top of this, Bungie will be paying out $95,019.13 to the Halo composer.
Bungie has still not given a reason for firing O’Donnell and has declined to officially comment on the matter, as of this writing. Bungie’s newest IP Destiny, which O’Donnell was working on, is set to come out this fall. It will be interesting to see what has happened with the music and audio on the game in O’Donnell’s absence.
MagicalTimeBean, aka Ian Stocker, is the composer of a couple of game series, that of Escape Goat and Soulcaster. His music is very synth laden and, as a result, might not be to everyone’s tastes. I personally have enjoyed most of his music in the past and I have a great deal of respect for a talented composer that truly understands the language and nuances of computer games, and how to best write music for them. If nothing else, the music to Escape Goat 2, and indeed Escape Goat, perfectly matches the game’s play style and, because each level is essentially a static screen from which you have to escape (who knew!), part of the interest needs to come from the music. I feel that Stocker was very aware of this. But, does the music work outside the game? Can you listen to it while on a train or while you relax? Let’s find out. (more…)
If you’ve been around the gaming convention scene on the east coast, chances are that you have heard of the Video Game Orchestra. Not to be confused with the Video Games Live concerts, the Video Game Orchestra (or VGO, for short) is a Boston based group that combines a unique sound of rock and orchestral genres for their videogame covers. It’s a genre that they often refer to as “rockestral game music.” The VGO has had a number of performances at events like PAX East and MAGFest, but they have also performed a number of stand alone concerts in the New England area. Depending on the venue, the group can consist of anything from a small rock ensemble to a much larger rock band and orchestra combination.
Back in 2012, the VGO launched a Kickstarter campaign for an album featuring their larger ensemble. The Kickstarter was a success and enabled them to record a live concert performance at Boston’s Symphony Hall on October 7, 2012. Thanks to the Kickstarter funding, they were able to have the performance recorded, mixed, mastered, and released to their backers and eventually to the public. The album officially received its public release earlier this year. The end result is the album Live at Symphony Hall. So what music did they cover and how does it sound? Read on to find out. (more…)
Though originally being kept hush-hush, a credible source has broken the embargo on performer announcements and leaked to us the entire band lineup for their upcoming MAG 8.5 event in Alexandria, Virginia. The performers, in no particular order, are:
Armcannon Temp Sound Solutions Professor Shyguy You Bred Raptors? Steel Samurai 8 Bit Disaster The World is Square The Protomans Those Who Fight
MAGFest 8.5 hopes to recapture the spirit of the smaller ‘Fests in days of yore, and will be held Sept. 12 – 14th at the Hilton Alexandria Mark Center. Tickets are limited, so any and all interested parties should register sooner than later.
I feel that I must get one thing very clear before you continue to read this review. My speciality is piano music. I am a pianist, I listen to a lot of piano music, from Mozart to Debussy, and I go to piano concerts in London. I’m also as close to an expert on the use of the piano in games as you might get, from the triumphant fanfare like riff from Halo 3 to the myriad of Final Fantasy Piano albums. As a result, my standards may be unrealistically high. I also have a confession to make: I’ve never played Journey! I know I know, it’s on my to-do list. This is particularly heinous of me as not only is the game supposed to be amazing, but the soundtrack is said to be excellent as well. However, this might not be a bad thing for this review, as I will not be influence by the game or the original soundtrack. I will take the music at face value, in its own right, separate from its related media.
It’s interesting to note that the composer, Austin Wintory, seems to have had little to do with this album. Transfiguration has been arranged by the Laura Intravia, the singer in the last track, and performed by Robert Thies. In general I think this is a good thing because, as a composer myself, I know how hard it can be to separate myself from my own compositions. I prefer to arrange for other people so I can focus on the advantages and disadvantages of the instrument, rather than being influenced by my own work. So with that said, let’s take a look at Transfiguration. (more…)