Neo XYX (XYX pronounced “Zikes,” rhymes with “likes”) is the latest shooter from the unique group NG:DEV.TEAM. They’ve been putting out special way-past-end-of-life games for Sega Dreamcast for quite some time now, and their games also appear as arcade cabinets (usually just in Japan). NG:DEV has had for most, if not all, of their game music, turned to German composer Rafael Dyll. Games like Last Hope, Gunlord, and another studio’s (Sidequest STudios’) recent RPG Rainbow Moon all had their music composed by Dyll.
In this latest soundtrack, Rafael Dyll ventures into new musical territory, trying out new styles and instrumentation that I’ve not heard him take up before. The end result? Follow along to get my answer. (more…)
Prepare to press Z or R twice for this next group performing at MAGFest 13. Do A Barrel Roll! is a group of seven self described warrior-musicians. Their music style is a playful mixture of funk, metal, and acoustic arrangements of game tunes, and they will often blend these genres on a single track or make surprising switches midway through any given piece. For example, the track “Can’t Let You Groove That, Star Funk!,” off their latest album Boss Rush, features a blend of rock and synth instruments, but also includes trumpet, violin, and acoustic guitar solos. The result is a unique sound to their arrangements that makes them easily distinguishable from other game music cover bands.
Many of the pieces that Do A Barrel Roll! arrange come from well known game series like Final Fantasy, The Legend of Zelda, and of course Star Fox. They also perform a handful of less frequently covered tunes from games like Diddy Kong Racing and Mario Kart. Do A Barrel Roll! also likes to incorporate sound samples from the games that they are covering, adding some extra nostalgic flavor to the arrangements. One of their performance trademarks for live events has included inviting members of the audience to play games while they perform on stage. There’s nothing quite like playing a round of Mario Kart while a live band plays the music.
Do A Barrel Roll’s approach to performing and their eclectic blending of music genres gives the group a sound and style all their own. Definitely check out their albums on Bandcamp, if you haven’t already. This year they will be performing as part of the supporting bands line-up at MAGFest 13 on Sunday at 3:30 on the main stage. Be sure to check them out and the other bands’ performing times on the MAGFest 13 Schedule.
If you’re a fan of the Assassin’s Creed series and it’s music, you’re in luck as the music for the latest installment’s DLC, Assassin’s Creed Unity: Dead Kings is now out on iTunes for your ear holes to feast upon.
Composed by the wonderful Cris Velasco (Darksiders, God of War), the game’s music is a dark and atmospheric and befitting of the quests through underground caves and catacombs beneath Saint Denis that you’ll be crawling through.
Previews of some of the music can be found on Velasco’s and Monarch Audio’s Soundcloud, of you need a teaser before you purchase. The 11-track original soundtrack itself is $8.99 for the entire DLC album. (Or $0.99 per individual track, if you swing that way) Given Velasco’s repertoire for great orchestral compositions, it should come as no surprise that this would be anything other than some great music and a solid addition to your game music library.
Time to switch gears for Know Your MAG and start giving the chiptune performers a bit of love. At MAGFest, rock music great and chiptunes are great, and when you mash them together you go a step beyond. Much like the stylings of fellow performer Danimal Cannon, the duo of Marshall Art take this concept and sprint like hell with it.
Hailing from opposite ends of the globe, the duo of Canadian Jeffrey “jmr” Roberts (host of Open Circuit on Arecibo radio) commanding the soundchips & VRC6 and Russian native Mikhail “streifig” Ivanov (current manager of the Dwelling of Duels) jaming on guitar actually started performing at MAGFest last year during MAG 12. Attendees might remember the pair set up in the hallway corner of the Gaylord Convention Center on the Chipspace stage and throwing out some amazing music for the crowd that gathered around.
Marshall Art have appeared on several compilations in the past few years, including Danse Macabre 2, and will be debuting their self-titled album at MAGFest 13 before they hit the big stage for a full-fledged concert rock-out this year on the big stage, Saturday at 3PM! Check them and all the rest of the MAG bands performing times on the MAGFest Schedule!
We’re in a day and age where being a video game rock band is starting to become a more common thing. Simply going through our recent MAGFest features, you can see a wide variety of performers who have stepped up, grouped together and taken the dive into the world of video game music arrangements. Since this is becoming a more mainstream concept, it will be increasingly more difficult for newer bands to shine through and not be lost in the doldrums of mediocrity.
Enter Ground Pound Falcon; comprised of Noah Copeland performing guitar, bass and main vocals and Austin Anderson on drums and providing backing vocals. The duo hailing from Lawton, Oklahoma released their debut album “Press Star” back in mid-December to the masses for auditory consumption. Featuring 7 tracks from familiar games such as Sonic the Hedgehog, Castlevania and Super Mario 64, the band does a good job of putting their own spin on some classic tunes and produce a slew of high-quality pieces that make for an interesting EP release.
The twist they put into their style that most other VGM bands do not is the inclusion of original lyrics into their arrangements. Sung primarily by Copeland, the lyrics incorporate references to the source tunes and games they hail from, sung in a way that’s reminiscent of many groups from the ’90s rock and metal genre. Being a bold move, as vocal lyrics in video game music arrangements come away with mixed results from listeners and fans of the source music and can turn some people off, Ground Pound Falcon nonetheless own their style with all the enthusiasm of genuine gaming fans and true metalheads. Songs such as their take on “Green Hill Zone” and “Bloody Tears” may seem a bit jarring upon first listen, but you can tell their hearts are 100% in their music, and to me that’s the soul of what it means to be a lover and performer of game music.
“Press Start” is currently up for purchase and download on Loudr, iTunes and available for your listening pleasure on the band’s Youtube.
Need something different from the usual rock and chiptune groups at MAGFest? How about a videogame music string quartet? On today’s Know Your Mag we are looking at the Triforce Quartet. Founded by cellist and arranger Chad Schwartz, the Triforce Quartet performs arrangements of classic videogame tunes. The group covers music from many favorite videogame soundtracks, including Super Mario Brothers, Banjo-Kazooie, and The Legend of Zelda. At last year’s MAGFest they even did a special encore with the intro theme from Game of Thrones. They recently contributed to the Super VG Christmas Party album with an arrangement of “Main Theme” from Blades of Steel.
Currently, the Triforce Quartet is comprised of two violinists, Chris Ferrara and Jacob Roege; one viola player, Stanley Beckwith; and the cellist and founder, Chad Swartz. The group has performed at a number of events including PAX Prime and the previous MAGFest. Most of their arrangement work includes medleys from entire game franchises. On their new album The Legend Of, released last year, they have a medleys of The Legend of Zelda and the Super Mario Bros. series.
The Triforce Quartet will be performing as one of the featured groups at MAGFest 13. We will be providing updates for the times and days of all the performances for MAGFest 13 as they are released. Be sure to check out the rest of what MAGFest has to offer, and be sure to register for MAG if you plan on attending.
MAGFest has been getting pretty diverse with its performers throughout the years, going from rock and metal to classical and jazz, and this Know Your MAG helps showcase a little bit more in the form of the soul/funk/blues fusion of the Super Soul Bros.
Hailing from the Bay Area, the band consists of several talented musicians: Robbie Benson (keys), Brian Sheu (guitar), Alfredo Vega (drums), Chris Haman (percussion / drums), Frederick Paclibon (bass), Luke Borello (bass), Bernard Sapitola (trumpet), Lionel Briones (alto sax), Alex Popoff (tenor sax), Christian Manzana (trombone) & Matt Michielin (trumpet). Starting in 2011 as the brainchild of Robbie Benson and slowly building up as they went, the band intrigrated more members into their ranks, until a fully-fledged video game band was formed and started making a name for themselves across San Jose venues and surrounding areas.
Dealing in game music with a hardy helping of soul (as well as blues, jazz, funk, rock and more), the Super Soul Bros. performed recently at Game Over: San Jose and have a incredible amount of style in their music, yet an incredible casual feel to their performance (much like fellow jazz/funk band The One Ups). Their most recent album, “Live at San Pedro Square” features a combination of NES and Sega Genesis tunes in true blues fashion.
If you’re looking for some smooth grooves with a bit of bite to them, then be sure to catch Super Soul Bros. at MAGFest 13 in just a few weeks! If you can’t wait that long, be sure to grab their albums on Bandcamp!
It’s been four years, but Random aka: Mega Ran has returned to his Mega Man roots with an all-new album, Mega Ran Com: Mission. The 13-track album was commissioned by a fan and pledger of Mega Ran’s recent successful Kickstarter.
“Rock With Me” – Mega Ran Com: Mission
“I wanted to give the fans something special, because Lord knows they ask me about doing this ALL the time,” says Ran. “I was so overwhelmed by the support of the Kickstarter that I thought this was the least I could do, and I got in the studio to get the album ready for release.
Source: Scarlet Moon Productions
The hip-hop artist will also be going on tour this year, starting at the upcoming MAGFest 13 and continuing on across the country. You can check out more details on Mega Ran’s site, or you can grab the new album in digital for $6 or physical CD for $10.
Our next group on Know Your Mag features a music style that is a little different from what we’re used to hearing at MAGFest. Super Guitar Bros is an acoustic guitar duo with a unique take on game music. While Steve Poissant and Sam Griffin may not be actual brothers, they are a talented music duo that have been producing some great videogame music remixes.
Steve Poissant performs on a Steel String Guitar and Sam Griffin performs on Nylon String Guitar, creating a very chilled out and mellow set of game music arrangements. Their concerts tend to have simple set ups. Just the two guitarists sitting on their chairs and performing for the audience. Nothing flashy or over-the-top. Simply well arranged acoustic guitar pieces being played by two friends. Their arrangements cover a wide field of game franchises, but tend to focus on the older, more well known game tunes. They’ve covered music from Final Fantasy, Chrono Cross, Ninja Gaiden, Sonic the Hedgehog, and (of course) the Super Mario Bros franchise.
Back in October of 2013 they released their first full album on Bandcamp, simply titled Super Guitar Bros. The album contains many of the covers I’ve mentioned above. They also have a Youtube channel featuring many of their other arrangements. This year they will be one of the featured groups at MAGFest 13. We’ll update with the performance times of the all the performers when they are released. Make sure you register for MAG if you haven’t done so already.
More Know Your MAG coming your way, and this time we’re focusing on a bunch of guys in pinky puff suits that bounce around on stage, jamming on their instruments while occasionally and inexplicably farting stars.
Okay, so that’s a bold-faced lie, but it’d make for an even more entertaining stage show than the guys in Kirby’s Dream Band already put on.
The six guys that make up the band are just regular dudes who know how to rock, comprised of Erich Beckmann on Drums, Andre Beller on Bass, Ian Luckey on Keyboards, Mike Montemarano on more Keyboards, Ryan Munz on Guitar & Ryan Olson on more Guitar. (Because why ever limit yourself to just one?) These gentlemen not only give a franchise that doesn’t see nearly enough spotlight on stage (Kirby), but also rock out a bunch of music from other games too, just to inject something other than pink puffiness into your lives.
Kirby’s Dream Band will be a secondary performer at MAGFest 13, and we’ll let you know when they and every other performer goes on as soon as we get the released schedule. In the meantime, check out KDB’s work and start falling in love in time for MAG!
If you haven’t gotten in on Chris Huelsbeck’s “The Piano Collection” Album and Score Book Kickstarter, you only have a few more days to do so. The campaign, which shattered records by making its goal with 66 minutes of going live (just another notch on Mr. Huelsbeck’s belt after the fantastic success of his Turrican Soundtrack Anthology project), features a piano album performed by Patrick Nevian of Huelsbeck’s greatest musical compositions (Turrican, R-Type, etc.), and includes a score book of the piano sheet music and autobiography by former OSV writer Audun Sorlie available to certain tiers.
There’s a limited amount of physical printed copies remaining, so get in on them while you can. Digital copies and several other pledge tiers are also still open, and stretch goals of a roundtable team video and an original arrangement album release are still on the horizon. If this project is anything like Huelsbeck’s other works, it should be top-quality for all who pledge.
It’s that time of year again; time for Know Your MAG! MAGFest 13 is under 3 weeks away, and there are a lot of new bands and performers this year, and bands we never got to cover this year that we might know a bit more about, so let’s not waste any more time!
Some bands are created specifically for debut at MAGFest, with either the intention of sticking solely to the music and gaming festival as a fun hobby, or to use it as a stepping stone for greater stardom down the line. New band The Tiberian Sons is one of those that are a little of both groups that will be a secondary performer at MAG 13.
The four-man metal band is made up of Colorado-based Tony “Prince of Darkness” Dickinson, formerly of Dwelling of Duels Live, on primary guitar and drummer Travis Moberg, guitarist Connor Engstrom from the mid-west, and Quebecois Max “Wild_Cat” Noel on bass. These men hope to melt your eardrums and thrash your soul into silly-putty with their symphonic metal melodies. By their own admission, however, ” The Tiberian Sons are NOT in fact a Command & Conquer cover band, they just think C&C is metal as #%&$”. (Bassist Noel confesses that the band suggestion “Pud’s Dudes”, a parody of Dickinson’s PuD’s DuDs album, was pitched and subsequently rejected prior to settling on their current name. A shame.)
The Tiberian Sons will be playing on Sunday amongst the other secondary bands performing at MAGFest 13. We’ll keep you updated for exact times and days of all performances when they are released, and be sure to register for MAG if you haven’t already!