If you haven’t had a chance to check out A Fox In Space yet, you can watch it below. It is an impressive fan-made animated parody based on Nintendo’s Starfox created by Matthew Gafford. The music for the original SNES FX chip enchanced cartridge was composed by Hajime Hirasawa, and the creators of the unofficial animated series have created some wonderful arrangements of the classic themes from the original game. The playlist has been available on YouTube for a while but it’s worth checking out. The intro music reminded me a bit of Yoko Kanno’s work on Cowboy Bebop, but really it’s just some smooth jazz at work – all performed by the show’s creator Matthew Gafford.
You can watch the excellent first 13 minutes of A Fox In Space here:
You can follow all the latest news about the series including upcoming episodes and music on the show’s tumblr.
What do you think of the music in A Fox From Space? Is there a theme from the video game series you would like to hear get a jazzy arrangement in a future episode?
I’ll be taking over the Arrangement of the Week segment for this week, and it’s apt timing. Recently in my random arrangement-diving that happens every so often when I’ve had a nice glass of whiskey and some free time, I came afoul a track from Samuel “Shnabubula” Ascher-Weiss that I’d never heard before. I certainly wasn’t looking for his material, but rather searching out any rare gems from my beloved Castlevania series.
Shnabubula’s 2003 arrangement “Mucho Dollar Care a Junk CIA” comes from Akumajou Dracula for the Sharp X68000, much better known in North America as Castlevania Chronicles re-released for the Playstation and one of the more obscure of the series titles. Here, the track in question is one of my favorites of that game in particular; the dungeon theme “Etude for the Killer”, which is an odd track to begin with that I can only possibly describe best as ‘cheerfully creepy’.
The arrangement takes an already odd tune and turns it on it’s head, but in a tasteful way. Piano, acoustic guitar and woodwinds construct a melody that softens the unnerving undertones of the original tune and bring it to a more playful tone while still sticking to the source music. The result is an interesting piece that flows well, and while not particularly dynamic, still exhibits a lot of personality apart from that which was already very unique from “Etude for the Killer”. I can appreciate that Shnab took the time to give the track a bit of attention with his own flair, even if it might not be for everyone.
Late last month, Raleigh NC was host to one of the biggest gatherings of game developers on the east coast. The aptly-named East Coast Games Conference (ECGC) wrapped up its seventh installment in April, but this was only the second year with events that actually catered to the game audio community. Lucky us!
For the next installment of the Community Question we want to take things back a ways. How far back? All the way. Back to your first video game music soundtrack purchase or acquisition, if it happened to be a gift or maybe a “steal”. We’re not judging. For the sake of this one we’ll put aside homemade recordings or rips; that’ll make for a nice follow up question down the line. Let us know what your first game music album was (and if you still have it) in the comments while I get things started.
I’d forgotten the details behind how I got my first official album and had to do some quick Googling just now. It turns out that Sonic the Hedgehog Boom was my very first game music album and pre-order bonus. By clipping a coupon from the ad above (scan courtesy of Dinosaur Dracula) and heading to Toys ”R” Us you could put $10 down on Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and get a copy of the album when the game launched on February 2nd, 1994. I’m not sure why the coupon was necessary but I’d do whatever it took to grab a legitimate video game soundtrack released to the US. It didn’t hurt that I was already going to get Sonic 3.
The album itself is both noteworthy and a little strange. For a Sonic 3 pre-order bonus you’d think it might contain at least one song from the game but the tracklist features 23 songs from Sonic CD and Sonic Spinball instead. These aren’t just ripped right from the source and slapped on a disc either. The first 19 tracks include some extended versions of Sonic CD’s US soundtrack and the music from Sonic Spinball is completely rearranged. I’m happy to say that unlike a lot of games I’ve owned, I still have every soundtrack I ever bought, including this one. The case is pretty worn after years of shoving it into storage racks and taking it on drives but it’s still intact and surprisingly unmarred by scratches.
What about you? What was your first game music album and do you still have it? Let us know below.
Merregnon Studios’ newest concert Final Symphony II features music from Final Fantasy V, VIII, IX, and XIII. This report is about its sixth performance, which took place in Tampere, Finland on April 1, 2016.
So what exactly did the Merregnon team do again?
Another Final Fantasy concert. Final Symphony was their first FF-only concert, and now Final Symphony II is their second.
Another mid-concert surprise encore that premiered in Finland.They did it with Suteki da Ne in the first Final Symphony and now here with You’re Not Alone.
Another four-20-minute-arrangements concert. They did it with Symphonic Fantasies, which is wildly popular, and now for the second time here.
In short, they took the best parts of game music (Final Fantasy), overdelivery of value (surprise mid-concert encore) and concert structure (four 20-minute arrangements).
During last year’s PAX East I got to preview an action rhythm game from indie studio Drool called Thumper. Since then the game has made the rounds at many other expos, conventions, and festivals. Along the way it’s earned numerous awards and praise for the two man development team of Brian Gibson and Marc Flury. This year the game was back at PAX East with the new feature of VR added to the experience. Since I enjoyed the previous demos of the game, I was excited to test it this latest virtual reality build. (more…)
On April 27, 2016 composer Gareth Coker tweeted that he was going to soon announce something related to Ori and The Blind Forest’s music, I hoped it would be a physical soundtrack release and iam8bit Records posted details of the release on their website. You can read my full review of the soundtrack here if you missed it, and also check out details of the digital release of the soundtrack to Ori and The Blind Forest: The Definitive Edition.
The soundtrack to Ori and the Blind Forest swept the awards circuit this past year, with good reason. This game has it all: A charming story of friendship, breathtaking visuals that feel like living painting, and a score as lovely as it is emotionally moving. So it’s no surprise that composer Gareth Coker’s carefully crafted masterpiece is a sensory treat when emanating from a turntable – soothing, fantastical and, at times, strikingly sentimental.
Coupled with artist Aya Kakeda’s hand-painted jacket art, not only is the cuteness, charm and allure of Ori and the Blind Forest preserved, its mythology expands, tantalizing in its detailed and soulful brushwork. As with all new iam8bit vinyl releases, the audio is mastered specifically for optimal vinyl audio quality. ***Please note that you may experience additional surface noise with glow-in-the-dark vinyl. For the best audio quality, select the blue/purple edition.
The album is available for pre-orders at iam8bit’s website for $35.00 and will start shipping in Q3 2016. Will you be adding this to your vinyl LP collection?
All of the pieces that we’ve featured on Arrangement of the Week have been based on music from games on either consoles, handheld, or personal computers. However, we’ve yet to have any covers of music from mobile games. That changes today with an arrangement of Jimmy “Big Giant Circles” Hinson’s music from the mobile puzzle game Threes.
The artist for this arrangement is timaeus222 who has created an electronic remix of the Threes main theme, “Threes Is the Bees Knees,” titled “Threes ‘Reactive’.”
The remix keeps the light and upbeat tone of the original track and transforms it into a short but sweet electronic funk dance track. There’s plenty of great FM synth sounds, but there’s a nice dose of acoustic sounding guitar instruments to balance things out. The mix never sounds dense or overwhelming and it maintains a light feel even when the heavier synth elements come in.
The tone of the track shifts often thanks to the wide variety of synth instruments that take the spotlight throughout the piece’s duration. There’s plenty of synth lead instruments that get the melody, so you never find yourself getting board of hearing any particular instrument in the remix. All in all, it’s a great tribute to a soundtrack that doesn’t get enough of the attention that it deserves.
Have any favorite remixes, arrangements, or covers? Feel free to tell us about them in the comment section. You can check out “Threes ‘Reactive’” at OC ReMix.
If there’s one thing Frank Klepacki knows how to compose for, it’s real-time strategy games. He’s touched some of the biggest, best and most recent entries in the genre, the latest of which is 8-Bit Armies from former Westwood Studios members at Petroglyph Games. It’s the classic gameplay of Command & Conquer painted in vibrant voxel style over which Klepacki plies his familiar hard rock and electronic stylings to some new sounds.
Immediately obvious are the tracks that feature flourishes of chiptune but there’s a general darker and harder electronic vibe over C&C’s military rock sound throughout. Breakbeats, those chippy synth leads and just a hint of dubstep distortion play over his familiar brooding and driving bass. It adds just enough newness to the familiar feel of a classic to hit you right in the nostalgic pit of your heart.
The game is out now and available from all your favorite digital storefronts (Steam, GOG and Humble Bundle) for 10% off the asking price of $14.99. The soundtrack is also on sale at a discount over at Steam or bundled with 8-Bit Armies directly from Petroglyph Games. The 9-track album runs with just over 30 minutes of music and is priced at $3.99 including the following songs:
The Chinese-themed MMORPG REVELATION, known as “TianYu,” in it’s native China will not only be releasing soon in North America and Europe, but will soon see its soundtrack released both digitally and on CD. Composed with a distinctive Asian-flare by Neal Acree (World of Warcraft, Overwatch), the score features a cinematic tone and has earned the Global Music Award (Game Music and Original Score), the Scorecast Genius Choice Vote Award, and earned nominations for a Game Audio Network Guild Award as “Best Instrumental” by the International Film Music Critics Awards for “Best Score: Video Game.”
“The score for REVELATION called for a rich, cinematic sound but the game’s story and artwork called for a traditional Chinese palette. Orchestra blended with traditional Chinese and Japanese instruments was the natural approach and can make for some beautiful and evocative colors. Each Chinese instrument has its counterpart in the Western orchestra but brings a unique character to the overall sound. ” – Neal Acree
“Through the Gates” – REVELATION OST (Neal Acree)
Varèse Sarabande will release the REVELATION Soundtrack digitally on April 29 and on CD May 27, 2016. You can purchase both on the company’s website. You can also keep an eye out on their Twitter for additional announcements.
In September of 2010, game music arrangement community Overclocked Remix released the first installment of what was planned to be a five-part album inspired by Final Fantasy V, titled “The Fabled Warriors“. “Volume I: WIND” was released by director Shariq “DarkeSword” Ansari with nine tracks, touching upon the themes of several of the game characters. Now, five and a half years later, “Volume II: WATER” has been released.
Again featuring an additional nine tracks, the second installment features music from Darkesword himself, as well as fellow OCR arrangement artists such as Brandon Strader, Sixto Sounds and more. Ansari goes on to promise that the timeframe between this volume and the next won’t take nearly so long as the last one.
“Now that WATER is finally out, we’re going to move on to putting together Volume III: FIRE. I’ve got big plans, and while it would be irresponsible of me to promise a release date, I will say that after everything I’ve learned about running all these albums over the years, things are going to move along at a better pace. Keep an eye out, and in the meantime, enjoy The Fabled Warriors: Volume II: WATER.” – Darkesword
You can download Volume II: WATER as well as Volume I: WIND on the album’s official Overclocked Remix website.
One of my favorite game soundtracks from the Super Nintendo era is Super Metroid. While it may not have the catchy melodies of some of its peers of that day, it builds a great atmosphere for the game that’s hard to forget. For this week’s Arrangement of the Week, I found a rock cover of Super Metroid’s music that strays far from the tone of the original material.
“Dancing in the Jungle” is a rock interpretation of the “Brinstar Plant Overgrowth” track by artist Cyril the Wolf, aka Connor Pelkey. I think you’ll find he’s done something quite interesting with the Super Metroid material.
While creating a rock version of this particular track is nothing new, the lighter tone for this arrangement is something that caught me by surprise. Cyril the Wolf has created a 70s style rock cover of the music, which results in a much brighter and upbeat version of the music. Usually cover artists create something that matches the dark atmosphere of the game, but this arrangement takes the road less travelled and it stands out as a result.
The piece has an almost disco genre feel, with it’s steady drum beats and lively bass line. I particularly like the inclusion of the organ throughout the track. There’s enough variation in the guitar parts as well to keep the listener’s interest and the the arrangement is just the right length to be enjoyable without overstaying its welcome. It’s another excellent cover of one of my favorite game soundtracks.
Have any favorite Super Metroid covers, remixes, or arrangements? Feel free to share them with us in the comment section. You can check out “Dancing in the Jungle” at OC ReMix.