After a highly successful Kickstarter campaign and a very long wait, Stoic Studios has released their debut title The Banner Saga. The dev team was largely made up of ex-Bioware employees, but they knew exactly whom they needed to craft the music for their Norse-set RPG: Austin Wintory.
Yes, the man who blazed a trail, setting new standards for VGM with his incredible soundtrack to Journey (which we gave our top award to in 2012), agreed to write a full soundtrack for this ambitious project. Now the game is out on Steam, and Kickstarter backers such as myself got the game and its soundtrack a few weeks early.
Thus, I’ve had time to digest the contents of this soundtrack, which is available on Loudr and Bandcamp. My thoughts on Wintory’s latest release, after the jump! (more…)
Tags: Austin Wintory
, Banner Saga
, The Banner Saga
, The Dallas Winds
Well that didn’t take long, now did it!
Looks like within 24 hours of it’s launch, the “Just Fun” album Kickstarter headed by composer Alexander Brandon and featuring a plethora of contributing composers and arrangement artists, has reached it’s $6,000 base goal thanks to feverish pledging by fans and supporters. So what happens next for the project? More stuff, that’s what!
The original goal might be reached, but that doesn’t mean those who didn’t get in on the rush can’t still pledge and reap the rewards of pushing the funding through multiple stretch goals! A digital version of the album available for just $10, a signed physical copy for $25, other albums in Brandon’s catalog and even a custom-created single just for you at the highest backer level of $500. If potential pledgers need additional incentive, how about the full album song list? (Courtesy of our friends at Scarlet Moon Productions)
02. “A Thousand Words” (Feat. Jameson Sutton and Stemage)
03. “On a Dark and Stormy Night”
04. “Chronophasia” (Feat. virt)
05. “Twilight Floating” (Feat. Erik Peabody)
06. “Oath of the Matron” (Feat. Andrew Aversa and Jillian Aversa)
08. “God bless the child that’s got his own” (original by Avery Brooks)
09. “Infinity” (Feat. Big Giant Circles, original by Andrew Sega/Paul Schultz)
10. “Overture of the Avatar” (Feat. DJ Bottles)
11. “The Blue Hour” (Feat. Bryan Rudge)
12. “Hypercontrol” (original by Andrew Sega, guitar by Craig Rundels)
13. “The Willowdale Handcar” (Feat. Danny Baranowsky)
With 28 days to go in the campaign, getting an entire second album worth of music doesn’t seem that far a reach for a project this star-studded. Check out the “Just Fun” Kickstarter
for updates and more goodies!
Tags: Alexander Brandon, Big Giant Circles, Collaborations, Danny Baranowsky, Jillian Aversa, Kickstarter, News, Original Album, Stemage, Viking Guitar, zircon
If you’re a fan of Dues Ex
and Unreal Tournament
composer Alexander Brandon, you might be interested in the Kickstarter that went live today. “Just Fun
” is slated to be an original album of Brandon’s design, featuring 45 minutes and beyond of original compositions by the gaming composer. Even better than that, he’s not alone! Several big names are lending their musical skills to the project, including Jake “Virt” Kaufman, Andrew “zircon” Aversa, Grant “Stemage” Henry, Erik “Viking Guitar” Peabody and a ton more! All of this on a 14-song album with a ton of extras open to backers, including additional songs, download codes to additional albums, credits in the album notes and more!
Via the Kickstarter:
Roughly three months of full time effort has gone into this album over a period of over a year. Evenings, weekends, early mornings spent by myself as well as the fine folks who have collaborated with me. I’d like the ability to have this release be to a wider audience, with the ability to supply things like cool signed CDs as well as even more digital downloads of previous works.
The Just Fun Kickstarter goal for $6,000 ends on March 5th with several reasonable pledge tiers for the digital album, the physical album and thensome. Check out the page for the full list of contributors, rewards and details of the album!
Tags: Alexander Brandon
, Andrew Aversa
, Big Giant Circles
, Danny Baranowsky
, Grant Henry
, Jake Kaufman
, Original Album
, Viking Guitar
Like many people, I was excited about the Double Fine kickstarter. The potential for creators like Tim Schafer to help revive the point-and-click adventure game genre was something I could get behind. After a few years of waiting, the Double Fine game titled Broken Age has had its first half released. As a backer I was able to play through an early copy and listen to the game’s soundtrack. For this game, Double Fine brought in game composer Peter McConnell. McConnell has previously worked with Tim Schafer on games like Psychonauts, Grim Fandango, and Brutal Legend. Since this is only Act 1 of Broken Age, this is technically only the first half of the soundtrack. When Act 2 comes out later this year, there will undoubtedly be more music and a second soundtrack.
Now because the main appeal to games like Broken Age are the story and the areas you explore, I feel a minor spoiler warning is due. With most of the soundtracks that I review, I like to take into account how the music relates and works within the game. The music can certainly stand alone and be critiqued for its own merits, but its interaction with the game is still an important aspect. Because of this, I will end up discussing certain sections of the game and that may spoil minor plot points or reveal parts of what you will experience in the game. I promise that this review will not contain any major plot spoilers or solutions to puzzles. However, there are inevitably things that may give hints or details about portions of the game. The very names of the album’s tracks can even give things away. So following the jump after this paragraph, I will be going into potential spoiler territory. Read on if you dare. (more…)
Tags: Broken Age
, Double Fine
, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra
, Peter McConnell
, Tim Schafer
Do you like Vince DiCola?
I’m assuming you answered correctly and said “yes”, because otherwise what are you doing here you silly person?
Well, you’re about to be beholden to a blast from our childhoods, because Mr. DiCola along with his writing partner Kenny Mariedeth have released the original soundtrack for Saturday Morning RPG by Mighty Rabbit Studios! What better way to become fully-engrossed in a video game RPG based off ’80s cartoons than with one of the legends of ’80′s music!
San Diego, California – January 28, 2014
Scarlet Moon Records is pleased to announce the release of the Saturday Morning RPG Original Soundtrack, featuring the work of legendary musician Vince DiCola — known for his work on Transformers: The Movie and Rocky IV — and his writing partner, Kenny Meriedeth. Additional talent is featured, including Jake “virt” Kaufman, Grant “stemage” Henry, and Dmitry “C – jeff” Zhemkov, who provide their own unique arrangements from the soundtrack.
Those familiar with Vince DiCola’s work will feel right at home among the heavy synth – infused progressive rock soundscapes that DiCola and Meriedeth have crafted. As Saturday Morning RPG pays tribute to classic ’80s cartoons, the main theme is appropriately upbeat and catchy, while the various battle themes should prove to be favorites among fans.
“I’ve been a fan of Vince DiCola since my childhood,” notes Scarlet Moon Records producer Jayson Napolitano. “When I heard he was finally immersing himself in my other passion, videogames, I had to do everything I could to make sure as manypeople as possible would hear what he and Kenny Meriedeth have accomplished.”
The Saturday Morning RPG Original Soundtrack
is now available from iTunes
, Amazon MP3, Loudr
, and Bandcamp
(where a limited-print physical edition is available). For whatever reason if you’re still on the fence about the quality of the album, why not join Noise Channel
this coming Thursday for an exclusive on-air appearance by Vince DiCola himself, along with Mariedeth, Kaufman and Scarlet Moon’s Jayson Napolitano! It’s sure to be a little slice of fanfare for all of us ’80s kids!
, Game Music
, Jake Kaufman
, Saturday Morning RPG
, Scarlet Moon Records
, Vince DiCola
You know life’s pretty awesome when you get more Inverse Phase popping up in the video game music and chip music scene, and it’s fantastic when it’s right during the start of the new year. Why slug through a cold winter, right after grand events like MAGFest, and be jonesing for new tunes to keep spirits high?
Case-in-point here is Treachery in Beatdown City: Episode 1, which pays tribute to all the sidescrolling beat ‘em ups of the 8 and 16-bit era that most of us ’90s kids grew up on, such as Double Dragon and Bad Dudes with some RPG aspects thrown in for good measure. There’s nothing like a good beat ‘em up game, and this particular one allows us gentle listeners a delightful cadre of chip music courtesy of Mr. Brendan “Inverse Phase” Becker.
, Beatdown City
, Chip Tunes
, Inverse Phase
, Video Game Music
As we continue into the new year, we at OSV have decided to take a look back at some of the albums that we missed from 2013. Starting today, we will be covering some of the albums we missed in addition to newer content. The first of these is the soundtrack to the indie title Desktop Dungeons. The game is a tactical dungeon crawler that focuses on exploring randomly generated maps, in rounds that take around 10 minutes to complete. The dungeon gameplay has complex tactical elements, but also works like a puzzle. Primarily, you have to figure out ways to maximize the efficiency of your abilities and limited resources in order to make it through the dungeon alive. It started out as a freeware game but received further development and was eventually released on Steam last year. Our two composers for this soundtrack are Danny Baranowsky and Grant Kirkhope. Now for anyone who is an avid videogame music lover, that may be all you need to hear in order to be sold on this album. Grant Kirkhope is the well known composer of games including Banjo-Kazoie, Goldeneye 64, and more recently Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. Danny Baranowsky, another equally talented composer, has written for games include Super Meat Boy, Canabalt, and The Binding of Isaac.
It’s always interesting to see what happens when multiple composers come together on a single project. Both Kirkhope and Baranowsky have their own unique styles of music writing, so I was curious to see how their music would contrast against one another. Would they try to blend their styles of writing into a consistent whole or would they intentionally use their contrasting styles to create more variety in the game score? The soundtrack features pieces that are individually written by the composers and a fair number of pieces that they collaborate on. If you’re familiar with either composer, you’ll be able to pick out elements of their music writing in this album. You can hear Kirkhope’s catchy melody writing, much in the vein of his Banjo-Kazoie music, and Baranowsky’s driving rhythms and unique melody writing style can also be heard throughout the album. (more…)
Tags: Danny Baranowsky
, Desktop Dungeons
, Grant Kirkhope
, Videogame music
If you haven’t been privy to the release of Dale North’s Dragon Fantasy Book II OST that went live last week, then you’re in luck! It’s still live, only costs $10 on Bandcamp, Amazon MP3 and Loudr, and you can still catch the album’s celebratory release bash!
Packed with 43 tracks of catchy melodic goodness that should satisfy anyone who grew up with JRPGs and still enjoy them, Dragon Fantasy Book II‘s a labor of love for Dale “Corgi King” North. North’s unique compositions are filled with enough backing to the story of Dragon Fantasy and will help surround listeners with audible appeal. Not sure you’d be into such an album? Why not attend 8bitx’s Dragon Fantasy Book II OST Bash this coming Saturday at 9pm? Listen to a live interview with Mr. North himself as he details the album and answers any questions from fans and interested parties alike, and enjoy the sounds and atmosphere of the album to boot!
Go back to the days of the JRPG’s of yore and check out Dragon Fantasy Book II OST for a little slice of nostalgia with heart.
Tags: Dale North
, Dragon Fantasy
, Scarlet Moon Records
A new year has begun and with it another MAGFest down in National Harbor, Maryland. This was my second year attending the annual Music and Game Festival. There’s always a ton of things to do, from attending panels to rocking out at the concerts. Now that I’ve had a chance to recover from the trip and gather my thoughts, it’s time for a recap of some of what I experienced at MAGFest 12.
Most of the panels I attended were focused on music. The first of these was the “Write Your Own Nintendo Music,” hosted by Brendan “Inverse Phase” Becker. His talk focused on the tools that he uses for creating 8-bit/chiptune tracks for his music projects. He explained the methods in which music on the Gameboy and Nintendo Entertainment System was generated and what the musical and technological limitations for each were. Since this year’s MAGFest was Zelda themed, he included a demonstration of 8-bit music writing by reconstructing the “Dungeon Theme” from The Legend of Zelda.
Brenden “Inverse Phase” Becker
Two of the other music panels that I attended were hosted by game composer Tommy Tallarico. He’s probably best known for his soundtracks for Earthworm Jim and his work as the head of Video Games Live. The first panel “Video Games Live: Behind the Scenes” focused on his work with the orchestra program that he tours with around the world. Tallarico spent a majority of the time telling the audience stories about his experiences performing videogame music and revealed some of his upcoming arrangements for the orchestra. (more…)
, Danimal Cannon
, Game Music
, Inverse Phase
, Love Canon
, Machinae Supremacy
, MAGFest 12
, Super Guitar Bros
, The OneUps
, Tommy Tallarico
, Triforce Quartet
One of the game genres that I’ve sorely missed from the Triple-A game industry has been Metroidvania style games. With Konami abandoning their usual Castlevania formula and Nintendo being unable to produce a decent Metroid game in recent years, it’s a genre I’ve wanted to see re-emerge. As if to answer my wishes, the indie development team Endlessfluff has released a game titled Valdis Story: Abyssal City. Originally funded on Kickstarter, the game is an action/platformer in the vein of the Metroidvania style Castlevania games. Sadly, since I’m one of those terrible Mac users, I may have to wait for a port to play a copy of the game. The game’s soundtrack by Zack Parrish has been turning a few heads, often receiving special mention in reviews of the game. While I may not be able to play through the game yet, I will certainly offer up my critique of the game’s soundtrack.
Valdis Story: Abyssal City has been praised for it’s polish and engaging gameplay. It’s a well crafted game and the soundtrack is no different. From the very beginning, the music helps build up a sense of mystery and grand scale in the game’s world. Parrish utilizes elements of orchestral, rock, and synth genres to create something original yet familiar. Though a bulk of the music is built from an orchestral library, electric guitar and synth elements are present in almost every track. The rock elements become especially more prominent during the battle music, but are still built on top of an already intense orchestral score. Throughout the album you can hear a fair amount of inspiration from the Castlevania and Metroid soundtracks, in least in terms of style and arrangement. The battle themes in particular draw on a similar spirit of fast paced and energetic music similar to that heard in the Castlevania series. The more relaxed pieces in contrast maintain a tranquil and mysterious quality, similar to music from the Metroid series. This shouldn’t be that surprising, considering Valdis Story‘s gameplay is very reminiscent of those titles. This is not a comparison that I make lightly. Whether he was directly inspired or not, Parrish has done an excellent job of creating original music that emulates the sound and spirit of a Metroidvania game. (more…)
, Valdis Story
, Zack Parrish
MAGfest has once again come and gone from our lives for another year. For the 12th year in a row, the music and gaming festival has managed to bring a variety of people, bands, and cultures all together in one place and blown the roof off the Gaylord National Harbor. New faces graced the stages, huge surprises were unveiled, and an excited energy permeated the halls of the convention center and hotel alike. Now that it’s over and things like PMD (post-MAG depression) and MAGPlague have settled into the hearts (and lungs) of many ‘fest-goers, it’s time to remember some of that excitement and good feelings that MAGFest always seems to create.
, Love Canon
, Machinae Supremacy
, MAGFest 12
, The OneUps
, Those Who Fight
, Triforce Quartet
, Viking Guitar
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Hey all. Long time no talk. As many of you already know, I haven’t been involved with the site for some time. I’ve moved on to other ventures, the latest of which is Scarlet Moon Productions, a new record label and PR company that will focus on the same types of things I’d done on OSV and DESTRUCTOID: making sure people are hearing the great music coming out of videogames.
While I haven’t been involved, I have been reaching out to OSV writers Brenna Wilkes and Michael Hoffmann, who will now be managing the site, to work on coverage of clients I’m working with and on albums that I’ll be publishing on my label. I thought it would be appropriate to post a formal farewell to the front page to ensure there was no confusion as to what my status was with the site, and to dispel any potential conflicts of interest. The keys are being fully turned over to Brenna and Michael, and, like the rest of you, I’ll only be dropping in to read articles and comment.
I want to say thank you for all the support over the years and for your continued support. I had a blast with the site, and look forward to seeing what a new team of writers are able to do with it. I hope the stuff I’m working on with Scarlet Moon Productions is worthy of continuing coverage on OSV, so I’ll hopefully still be in touch with you all, but in a different way.
With that, enjoy some early drafts of logos that I prepared for OSV back in 2008 on a plane ride back home after spending time with Dale trying to work out the launch of the site. If you look closely, you can see they were drawn on the back of my boarding pass.
, Site News