Today I learned: Japanese composer and multimedia artist, Baiyon, wasn’t already an employee of Q-Games. After years of friendships and collaborations with the Kyoto based game studio Baiyon has officially joined the full time staff as a Creative Producer. He initially worked with Q-Games as art and sound director on the studio’s trippy plant-former, PixelJunk Eden, in 2008. He then returned for PixelJunk 4am in 2012, helping the studio create a player-controlled music synthesizer and visualizer. In between he contributed music to LittleBigPlanet 2 and more recently provided music and art for indie titles Panoramical and Fotonica.
“For nearly 15 years I’ve acted as a freelance artist, but now I’m taking on the challenge of being a Creative Producer at Q-Games,” Baiyon says of the new position. “I’ve had the privilege of collaboration with many other artists and studios from around the world and accumulating the experience and knowledge that comes with that, but was starting to feel that fully utilizing those as just one person had become difficult. I felt like I needed a place that I could call home in order to do things right.”
No projects were announced with the news but as Q-Games’ latest title, The Tomorrow Children, nears completion Baiyon will most likely be fully involved in whatever comes next. Today I also learned that we’ve got loads of Baiyon coverage right here at OSV! Patrick dedicated a whole week to him back in 2012 so if you’re interested in what might come next from Q-Games, have a look at some of our finefeaturedposts.
What would you like to see Baiyon and Q-Games do next? The studio has been all over the place from top-down racers to side-on shooters, tower defense and soup capitalism simulators. How about a MOBA?
Austin Wintory just opened pre-orders for his soundtrack to The Banner Saga 2, the sequel to his previously scored Banner Saga which OSV’s Patrick Gann reviewed in detail here. The new soundtrack will span 25 tracks and takes the music of the series to new places as the composer details below:
THE BANNER SAGA is one of my favorite things to have ever been part of, but despite that approaching the sequel was a huge challenge. It was the first sequel I’ve ever scored, and so reconciling old ideas with new ones proved tricky. As ever though, in the end, it was a joy and privilege to work on. The wonderful Stoic Studio prove to be the perfect collaborators yet again; they simultaneously push me and yet remain quite hands-off.
The orchestra itself came in the form of the Colorado Symphony, my hometown orchestra, recorded in their native Boettcher Concert Hall in downtown Denver. Also, adding to the splendid vocal work of Malukah and Peter Hollens, comes a phenomenal Icelandic band called Árstíðir. These four musicians are world class. I discovered them on YouTube and became an instant fan. I bought all their albums and then proceeded to stalk them until they agreed to sing on the score. The various icelandic war chants and anthems, and of course the final song “Our Steps, To the Night” are simply unfathomable without them. Of course, capping it all off I am once more honored to have Taylor Davis grounding the winds and brass with her lone violin.
You can preview four of the album’s tracks above and you will get them immediately if you pre-order the album which you can do for just $6.00 on bandcamp. The Banner Saga @ is also available for purchase on Steam in a bundle that includes the soundtrack.
Were you a fan of the music in the original Banner Saga? What do you think of these first four tracks of the new score?
Many of the acoustic arrangements that get coverage on Arrangement of the Week fall into the classical/orchestral genre of music. However, I do come across acoustic jazz covers that, while not as common, bring a welcome breath of fresh air to the usual collection of acoustic game music arrangements out there.
For this week, we have another piece from artist Nostalvania titled “Seven Pipes to Heaven,” a reference to a Miles Davis jazz standard “Seven Steps to Heaven.” The track is a jazz trio arrangement of two pieces, “Birabuto Kingdom” and “Muda Kingdom,” from Super Mario Land by composer Hirokazu Tanaka.
Nostalvania’s arrangement starts and ends with material from the game’s first level Birabuto Kingdom, while keeping the Muda Kingdom material in the middle. Despite altering the meter to 7/8, the melodic material is still quite recognizable. Improvisation sections also act as transitions between the two themes, providing some original material along with the Super Mario Land tunes. The Muda Kingdom music was actually a little harder for me to spot initially because it blends so well with the original improv material.
I like how the arrangement manages to capture the spirit of earlier Miles Davis jazz ensembles, even if the ensemble instruments are different. The material from Super Mario Land fits the genre well and the memorable melodies shine through as a result. The meter change is also a nice touch, creating an uplifting but slightly off-kilter sway to the music. Overall, it’s another wonderful jazz adaptation by Nostalvania of some great game music.
Have any favorite jazz covers of video game tunes. Let us know in the comments. You can check out Nostalvania’s “Seven Pipes to Heaven” on OC ReMix.
Little did I know until very recently that import super-site, Play-Asia, runs short 24 hour sales on an assortment of games, accessories and soundtracks almost every day. There’s usually something to tempt me and for Thursday, April 14th it’s a selection of recent video game music releases that are worthy enough to pass along to our readers.
The 30th Anniversary Super Mario Bros. Music First up is a double disc, musical equivalent of a museum walking tour. Take a trip through Super Mario history without fumbling a stack of albums or loading up playlists with tracks from 18 Mario titles presented in chronological order. Unfortunately, this isn’t a recording of the live “30th Anniversary” performance out of Japan from last September, but it’s still a pretty nice collector’s album. The $4 discount brings the price down to $33.99 which should just about cover the shipping cost.
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain Original Soundtrack Have a listen to one of my favorite soundtracks of 2015 on the cheap! The double disc soundtrack to Metal Gear Solid V includes all of the cutscene score, the main boss battle themes and vocal themes by Donna Burke and Stefanie Joosten. There’s even room for music from Ground Zeroes and a few bonus tracks like “A Phantom Pain” which is one of my absolute favorites. It’s $6 off bringing the price down to $33.99.
Street Fighter V Original Soundtrack This double disc soundtrack was just released last month and features all the character themes as well as stage main themes and alternates. It too sees a $6 discount today bringing it down to $38.99, one of the cheapest prices I’ve seen in my cursory searches this morning.
Xenoblade X Original Soundtrack Finally for the day is the gargantuan 4-disc soundtrack to Xenoblade X on Wii U. It’s a soundtrack to match the game’s epic estimated playtime in the hundreds of hours. It also sees a $5 discount today bringing it down to $39.99.
The soundtrack for the action-adventure indie game Hyper Light Drifter by Heart Machine has just been released courtesy of the game’s composer, Richard “Disasterpeace” Vreeland (FEZ, It Follows). The 2D, retro-styled game features a blend of electronic chiptune synthetic flavor mixed with minimalist instrumentals to create a unique sound for the game.
“This project is 3 years in the making, one of the most difficult projects I’ve had the pleasure of working on.” notes the artist via his Facebook page.
The soundtrack features 28 tracks, clocks in at 139 minutes and is available on Disasterpeace’s Bandcamp page for $5. Hyper Light Drifter is currently available on PC, Mac and Steam and can be found on Heart Machine’s website.
65daysofstatic just announced that pre-orders are available for their upcoming soundtrack to No Man’s Sky: Music for an Infinite Universe. The soundtrack will be released by Laced Records digitally and on CD June 17, 2016 and will get two separate vinyl releases in Q3 2016. The soundtrack to No Man’s Sky was #10 my list of Top 10 Anticipated Soundtracks after E3 last year.
Laced Records states on their website that:
“No Man’s Sky’s procedurally generated universe is unlike anything yet seen in the gaming world, and 65daysofstatic’s sonic assault is equally ambitious. The release itself comprises 10 tracks of original music, plus a second collection of 6 soundscapes and sound design, an all-encompassing journey of almost two hours. The 6 additional soundscapes are exclusive to the Laced Records release. No Man’s Sky: Music for an Infinite Universe is equally grand in its ambition, an experimental and overwhelming sonic experience that pushes 65dos into new territory while retaining their innate sense of relentlessness, driving rhythm, and a tune you can hum.”
No Man’s Sky: Music for an Infinite Universe:
5. Blueprint for a Slow Machine
6. Pillars of Frost
7. Escape Velocity
8. Red Parallax
10. End of the World Sun
You can listen to track 2 of the album titled “Supermoon” below from 65daysofstatic’s Soundcloud page.
According to Laced Records the above artwork is not final, but you can check out their complete pre-order options on their website. iam8bit is also taking pre-orders for a vinyl release scheduled for Q3 2016, which also has some pretty snazzy artwork not labelled as final. Personally both of the cover designs look great to me.
Are you looking forward to the No Man’s Sky: Music for an Infinite Universe album?
North Carolina is where you’ll find the biggest hub for video game developers on the east coast. Surprised? I was too, and I’ve lived here all my life! On April 20th, thousands will flock to the Raleigh Convention Center for the 8th East Coast Games Conference—but despite being the largest gathering of devs this side of the Mississippi, the conference is still under the radar for many.
While the East Coast Games Conference (ECGC for short) has been a strong meeting grounds for programmers, artists, and writers, the audio scene has been lacking.
That all changed last year, when the conference introduced its first-ever audio track: a series of talks, panels and events aimed at the game audio community. I had the pleasure of attending last year’s ECGC, and it was a life-changing experience. I met so many talented composers, musicians, sound designers—it made me realize, yes I do want to spend the rest of my life in cahoots with these crazy individuals.
Last year the conference attracted composers like Jason Graves (Dead Space, Far Cry Primal) and sound designers like Akash Thakkar (Hyper Light Drifter) to talk about getting into the games industry, negotiating work as a freelancer, advanced sound design techniques and more.
There are always tracks that get more attention than others when it comes to game music remixes. There have been a number of covers of the “Sub Castle BGM” from Super Mario World and we’ve covered at least one of them on this series. Today on Arrangement of the Week we will be looking at one of the more interesting versions that I’ve encountered.
This version of the “Sub Caster BGM” comes to us from artist meganeko, who has created a wild and crazy EDM remix titled “Big Boo Badman.”
Meganeko delivers a load of surprises in this track. The piece starts with what sounds like enhanced samples of the original track. But about twenty seconds in, the music launches into a powerful choral chip-rock rendition of the theme. Soon more dance beats enter and before we’ve even hit the one minute mark, the track has transitioned into an upbeat electronic dance track.
The tone, style, and genre is in an almost constant flux. Each new variation and change up feels fresh and exciting but never makes the piece come off as unfocused. One of my favorite parts is the breakdown section at 2’36,” where the piece drops down to a sample from the game again and almost seems to restart the piece. It’s an unexpected and cool interruption that fits in well with the track’s other tricks and surprises. In the end it’s a surprising and fun interpretation of a classic Super Mario World track and it stands out well among many other arrangements.
Have any favorite Super Mario remixes, arrangements, or covers? Feel free to share them with us in the comments section below. You can check out meganeko’s “Big Boo Badman” on OC ReMix.
The London Games Festival is the parent organization behind events including BAFTA’s British Academy Game Awards, EGX Rezzed, and the ongoing Festival Fringe. Taking place through April 10th at venues all around London, the festivities aim to promote the games and interactive entertainment sectors. Amongst the tournaments, interactive performances and marketplace is one particularly note-worthy show for fans of Nintendo and video game music.
‘Mario! A Super Musical’ is the creation of writer and director James Burrows. A total subversion of Mario’s traditional tropes, Burrows came up with the idea of pairing the series with a musical stage performance while playing through the games.
“I realized that the stupid little songs I sang I as I played Mario games could actually be strung into a fun little narrative,” he says. But it’s not the typical Bowser/Peach damsel setup. In Burrows’ version Bowser finally nabs Mario, leaving Peach and Luigi to become the crooning heroes who venture through Nintendo history to save the day.
Unlike the crude or one-off “Mario Musicals” you can find on YouTube, ‘Mario! A Super Musical’is a full production with 20 songs all based on remixes of classic Nintendo tunes that set and tie the story together. There’s a duet between Mario and Luigi based on the Mario theme, a “Tetris Bowser” villain song and even a Les Miserables-style “One Day More” number to the tune of Gusty Garden Galaxy. Burrows promises plenty of cameos, surprise romances and a ridiculous amount of terrible puns as well.
The performance stars a cast of U.K. based drama students who received standing ovations at the first two showings in Nottingham. The venue for their Saturday show as part of the London Games Festival Fringe is the Stratford Circus theatre. Tickets are still available for those readers nearby and if you do get to attend, let us know what you thought!
Last week, Mondo tweeted a mixtape featuring snippets from their planned future vinyl releases, which included the introduction to the original Castlevania. When asked, they confirmed the game’s soundtrack was indeed one of the titles on the list to have an EP pressed, much to the elation of myself and other fans. Then yesterday, a new tweet and Mashable post was made regarding the soundtrack among other things.
There’s more to come from Mondo’s Konami partnership. In July, San Diego Comic-Con attendees will be able to purchase a limited edition vinyl pressing of the original Castlevania soundtrack (featuring art by Cloonan) and a statue inspired by Ayami Kojima’s art from Castlevania: Symphony of the Night.
Fans can expect additional soundtrack releases on vinyl at later dates, for Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest, Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse, Super Castlevania IV and Symphony of the Night. Vinyl soundtracks for Contra(!!) and Silent Hill are also coming. (via Mashable)
The referencing of not just the original Castlevania soundtrack coming to vinyl, but mentioning future releases of other Castlevania series as well as Contra and Silent Hill soundtracks is a huge deal. I contacted Mondo regarding the original Castlevania release, asking the question on some people’s minds about if the vinyl would only be sold at the comic-con.
The soundtrack for Castlevania will be available at SDCC and then will go online at a later date for sale to the general public. It’s all part of the limited edition run, they will just sell remaining copies post-SDCC. – Mondo PR
So rejoice, fellow Castlevania fans! We will soon be receiving our beloved series’ soundtracks released to smooth vinyl format.
For as big as the video game music scene has gotten in the past few years and as many games have been covered, there’s still so many more that don’t get enough love, and Journey to Silius is one of them. The side-scrolling, run-n-gun game was published by Sunsoft for the NES and had it’s soundtrack composed by Naoki Kodaka (Batman NES, Fester’s Quest), and is now receiving a bit of love from Michael “Sir_NutS” Molina in the form of an eight-track arrangement album, “Silius: 0373”.
The best kinds of April Fool’s gags are the ones that wind up becoming real things. The Mega Man tie and the Tauntaun sleeping bag spring to mind but this year’s gag-to-grab is VGM NXC 001. Released by GameChops, the 17-track album is the work of “international video game remixing super group” Party Members. The guilty parties behind the music include DJ Cutman, Ben Briggs, Mega Flare, Grimecraft, RoBKTA, DJ Mykah, Ralfington and many more.
Leading up to the release several of the artists renounced their chiptune and electronic heritage in favor of nightcore, the increasingly misinterpreted act of speeding up electronic tracks close to 200 beats per minute. However you feel about the sub-genre the album is worth a listen offering spastic remixes from Final Fantasy, Cave Story, Undertale, Animal Crossing, Katamari Damacy and more.
VGM NXC 001 is available on Bandcamp for whatever price you want to pay or you can listen on SoundCloud or check out the entire album in this hyper-bouncy YouTube video. Did you come across any other noteworthy April Fool’s game music or remixes over the weekend? Let us know in the comments below.