During the past month we’ve asked our readers about the first game soundtrack they ever listened to and about the first game music arrangement that they had heard. This week, I’d like to pose a more specific question to game music remix fans out there. Since starting up the Arrangement of the Week posts on OSV last year, I’ve listened to a tons of game pieces reimagined and remixed into a variety of styles. As a result I began to notice a pattern in favorite tracks among remix artists. One of these trends is the frequent covering of Donkey Kong Country’s “Aquatic Ambiance” by composer David Wise. So the question for this week is: What Is Your Favorite Remix of Aquatic Ambiance?
It’s not hard to understand why this track in particular gets so much attention. The original’s ethereal tone makes it great for chill electronic interpretations like “A Hint of Blue” by artists Gibs and Mordi. At the same time the track’s memorable melodies make it a good candidate for metal covers like ToxicEternity’s “Aquatic Shrediance.”
While I’ve enjoyed a number of great ambient electronic and rock versions of the classic Donkey Kong Country track, I’ve also heard a few great acoustic versions. Gentle Love’s saxophone and piano duet interpretation off their album Perscription for Sleep: Game Music Lullabies is one that instantly comes to mind. Part of the appeal to me for this version is the generous amount of time devoted to improvisation with the material, a feature which is present on the entire game arrangement album.
“Aquatic Ambiance” has seen many arrangements and there’s no doubt that I’ve heard only a fraction of what’s out there. Music remix site OC ReMix boasts sixteen different arrangements of the piece alone (as of this writing), and there are tons of other interpretations floating around on YouTube and Soundcloud. So do you have a favorite remix or arrangement of “Aquatic Ambiance” that you’d like to share? Tell us about them in the comments!
Disney Interactive and Sumthing Else Music Works have come together to release the soundtrack to the action-adventure runner game based on the franchise of the same name, TRON Run/r. The game, release earlier this year and available on PS4, XBox One and Steam, features a completely new score composed by Giorgio Moroder and Raney Shockne, and remixes by Autechre, Bibio, Darkstar, patten, Plaid and Rusko.
If you don’t recognize the name, Giorgio Moroder is an Italian record producer, songwriter and DJ who, at age 76, is credited with pioneering synth disco and electronic music. He credited with writing songs performed by some of the biggest names in music such as David Bowie, Janet Jackson, Blondie and Donna Summer and is the founder of the former Musicland Studios in Munich where bands such as Queen and Led Zepplin recorded. In terms of video games, he’s produced themes such as Grand Theft Auto III and Scarface: The World Is Yours, among others.
“If you go back to the sound of original electro disco in the ’70s, Giorgio is right at the heart of it. He’s been pushing electronic music his whole career. We wanted to nod to the first film as well as the later incarnations of the series.” – Christopher Nicholls, TRON Run/r Executive Producer
The 14-track complete album can be purchased at Sumthing Else for $9.99. You can learn more about the game on their website, and more about composer Giorgio Moroder including his discography and his history with electronic music and more on his personal site.
Furi has been a game I’ve been anticipating for the past year. Beyond the uniquely-style game design, the game’s soundtrack will be featuring a bevvy of high-paced electro synthwave music that, based on the trailer, will seemingly really amp up the game’s pace and really mesh with the combat-centric, bullet hell-like gameplay. The likes of French artist Carpenter Brut, Scattle (Super Meat Boy), The Toxic Avenger, Waveshaper and more are debuting 100% new compositions to the game’s soundtrack, giving it the energy and electronic feel the game is tempting players with.
The OST goes on sale June 7th, but you can pre-order the album now in digital format as well as a 2-vinyl LP. Pre-ordering nets you 3 tracks now (Including the above linked track, streaming via the free Bandcamp app and also available as a high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more), plus the complete album the moment it’s released. The LP features pink and blue vinyls, in a silver print and white glossy folder with art by Takashi Okazaki.
Furi comes to PS4 and PC later this summer, and regardless of whether the game itself tickles your fancy or not, it will at least have some fantastic music to rock your ear-meats with.
OverClocked Remix’s own community house band OverClocked University, who debuted at MAGFest 9 on a OCR panel and performed as a full-fledged band at MAGFest 11, have released their second album “Spring Break DJ Set” in time for Memorial Day!
The follow up to their 2014 debut EP, “Freshman Year“, the new album features ten tracks with upbeat, summer-y tunes from games like Pokemon Black, Bravely Default, Undertale and more!
The sun is shining, the waves are crashing, and there is an umbrella in your drink. It’s gotta be spring break! Get down with the latest OCU release, OverClocked University: Spring Break DJ Set. It’s sunny, it’s synthy, and every track is completely crossfaded to have a continuous playing time, so the party never stops!
Antoine Vachon, a Canadian composer who we profiled last year has recently released three tracks to the upcoming game Mages of Mystralia which is releasing next year. The gorgeous tracks feature Laura Intravia on flute, Mathieu Côté on violin, David Bouchard on Cello and Antoine Vachon on piano. The music very engaging and my personal favorite is the lengthy track just under minutes long titled “Dark Tower”.
Accompany Zia as she strikes off to train and learn to control her magical abilities that had her exiled. Journey across the lands to meet other exiled mages and uncover runes with magical properties that can be combined into millions of different possibilities, letting you come up with completely new and incredible spells! The story is being written by bestselling author Ed Greenwood, creator of the Forgotten Realms fantasy world for Dungeons and Dragons.
The studio is working on developing its first original innovative game that you will have never seen before in 2017.
After hearing these first tracks from Mages of Mystralia I can wait to hear more. The preview album is available now on bandcamp for name your price. You can read more about the game on it’s official website. What do you think of the music so far?
Ever want to really turn up the immersive experience with your tabletop gaming? How about having custom soundtracks to provide background sounds to your RPGs? That’s the focus of Syrinscape – a sound design app that adds a variety of background sound to your tabletop gaming.
Syrinscape uses a powerful audio engine and complex algorithms to produce ever-changing soundscapes and rich encounter specific music. SoundSets are made up of numerous independently controllable ‘elements’, each representing a component of the audio environment. Each ‘element’ distributes randomly chosen samples into the 3D environment surrounding the listener. All this works together to create immersive sound with no annoying repetitions or patterns.
As the product’s website and the introductory Youtube video highlight, you can use samples from a variety of landscapes and settings including fantasy, gothic, cyberpunk and more. The Syrinscape player itself if free to download, and you purchase individual soundsets in their store or purchase a monthly subscription to access all soundsets in their library as well as any future releases as they come out. Some soundsets are for specific tabletop games, as their most recent release, A Song of Silver SoundPack, is the “complete audio solution for the fourth chapter of the Pathfinder RPG Adventure Path: Hell’s Rebels.”
The app can be run on PC, Mac, tablet or even smartphone and custom tailored for specific sound experiences within individuals tabletop games. You can check out more on their website or Facebook page.
To celebrate the release of Henry Jackman’s stunning score to Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End on CD, La La Land Record is having a HUGE sale on their remaining video game soundtracks on CD. The sale ends May 30, 2016 so act fast if you want to snag yourself some of these amazing deals.
Personally I already own the scores to John Debney’s Lair and Vicent Diamante’s Flower, and I just ordered a few more. There are also additional sales on a couple other Henry Jackman titles, and a few titles that are going out of print. You can find all of the deals on La La Land Records website. Will you be adding any of these CDs to your game soundtrack collection?
S-S-S-Silence Breaaaaker! With seemingly no advanced notice, famed Rare composer Graeme Norgate (GoldenEye, Perfect Dark, Timesplitters) has pushed three Killer Instinct albums out to Bandcamp. The most exciting of which is the return of Remastered, Rare and Remixed, containing the first-ever stereo versions of the original Killer Instinct arcade music. It also includes five of Norgate’s original source tracks before Air Studios mixed them down for the 1995 fan favorite Killer Cuts CD. The album was originally released on Bandcamp in 2012 but was pulled offline late in 2014 until now.
Remastered, Rare and Remixed is priced at £3 ($4.35 US) but the other two albums are pay-what-you-want releases. One contains the 16 main themes from the Super NES version of the game and the other offers 14 tracks from the Game Boy rendition of Killer Instinct. From souped up arcade tracks to the sample heavy SNES version to the rarely mentioned chiptune stylings of the Game Boy, it’s quite a Killer Instinct collection for as little as $7.
Lakeshore Records has finally confirmed the official release date of the soundtrack to the phenomenal USA Network TV series Mr. Robot. The shows music was composed by Mac Quayle and features a unique use of electronic sounds to bring the score to life. For me personally I consider it to be the best electronic score produced for television since Joseph Trapanese’s work on Tron: Uprising. Lakeshore Records revealed the CD album designs this morning which is a clear nod to classic Atari game boxes.
Lakeshore Records will release a two-volume soundtrack for the Golden Globe® and Peabody Award-winning USA Network series Mr. Robot, digitally on June 3, and on CD June 24. A special LP package will be released later this year. The albums feature original music by series EMMY®-nominated composer Mac Quayle (“The People v. O.J. Simpson”, “American Horror Story”, “Scream Queens”). The second season of MR. ROBOT premieres on USA Network Wednesday, July 13 at 10/9c.
You can preview the first track from the soundtrack in the Youtube video below:
You can pre-order the albums on Amazon. Did you watch Mr. Robot? What did you think of the music in the series?
If you’re not a guru of the Japanese game music scene, then you might not yet heard of the group Basiscape. The group is comprised of nine composers and sound designers and headed by Hitoshi Sakimoto (Final Fantasy XII, Valkyria Chronicles). Sakimoto created the group, along with Masaharu Iwata (Ogre Battle, Final Fantasy Tactics) and Manabu Namiki (Bloody Roar, Contra ReBirth)
Basiscape provides complete sound and music production services for all digital mediums including video games, television series, film and television commercials.
With our artists and staff carrying out projects of any scope and size, Basiscape delivers the utmost excellence in quality and creativity, while keeping with the usual tight deadlines of the industry.
The group has been responsible for a huge amount of video game soundtracks over the course of the past decade, including Odin Sphere, Muramasa: The Demon Blade, Dragon’s Crown and more. The mobile game Metal Saga: The Ark of Wastes, the fifth game in the Metal Max series, was composed by Basiscape and Yoshimi Kudo (Tekken 6). Grand Kingdom will also see its soundtrack released on June 23rd by Basiscape and composer Mitsuhiro Kaneda. Valkyria Chronicles OriginalSoundtrack was recently released in its full orchestral glory as well.
“Main Theme” – Valkyria Chronicles
However, they’ve been making the rounds on the indie game music scene recently. The recently launched Kickstarter for the indie rogue-like adventure game Death Story by Team Neko features a stretch goal which would bring Sakimoto and Iwata on to compose the main theme for the game, so fans can contribute to see to it the game receives a fantastic contributing score.
Don’t be surprised if you see Basiscape’s name continue to pop up in the near future, so keep an eye out for Sakimoto and his team on upcoming titles!
Last month, the fifth annual Ludomusicology conference was held at the University of Southampton in Southampton, England. If you’re not familiar with Ludomusicology, well that wouldn’t be a big surprise. Ludomusicology is a pretty new and pretty small field, and it is the academic study of video game music. Given the nature of video game music, this can include mixes of disciplines from musicology to ethnomusicology, music theory, and even audio engineering and programming. A conference is held each year where ludomusicologists share presentations on their work and offer feedback.
I attended Ludo 2016 primarily from my love of video game music and music theory. I had no paper to present, but I went and listened to learn about what people were working on and to meet them and talk with them, and came away excited for what the future of the field will bring.
A few weeks ago, Shaun posed the question of what the very first game soundtrack album you ever heard was. This got me thinking of my own past dealing with video game music and getting into “the scene”, as it were. I started thinking about the first time I started looking up game music on the internet (circa 1999-ish?), which lead to my eventual discovery of video game music *remixes*. While arranging game music had been something people had been doing for a a while prior to the internet really gaining traction, sites like Overclocked Remix & VGMix became the centralized places for potential arrangers to congregate and show off their works by the early 2000’s. The scene grew to the point musicians were challenging one anothers abilities in arrangement competitions, and thus places like Dwelling of Duels were created.
So this got my brain juices flowing in my quest to remember what my very video game music remix was. (No small task, as my memory is shite.) Having scrolled through the plethora the old arrangements I’d saved over the course of almost a decade an a half of saved remixes, I settled on two that clicked the lightbulb in my brain. I’m not sure which one came first as I’d discovered them pretty much at the same time in 2000. Back then I’d stuck to the game music I’d been limited to as a kid, which was 90% Sega Genesis titles, which some Amiga, NES and Gameboy thrown in here and there for variety.
Castlevania being one of my most beloved game series back then (despite only owning 2 titles, and playing others elsewhere), I remember somehow traipsing across an arrangement from Castlevania The Adventure by Mike “McVaffe” Vafeas called “Tempest Mix“. Trance and techno music appealed to me heavily back in those days, and this arrangement of “Revenge” from Castlevania Adventure hit the spot for me. It had just enough of the source to grab me and keep my head bobbing for days. This is the same reason I’d come across the other arrangement I remember as being one of the two “firsts” I’d found. Golden Axe was another penultimate title for me as a kid, so “Death Adder Trance” by OCR founder David “djpretzel” Lloyd also hit the spot in terms of appealing to my love of Golden Axe’s music, in this case level 1’s “Wilderness”, and satisfying my fixation on dance-able music. For years I’d pop both of these tracks on from my burned CDs of remix music I’d accumulated and blast them in my beat-up Buick Century.
So what was your first video game music remix? It doesn’t have to be your favorite, but the first you remember listening to ever. Were you specifically looking for arrangements from a certain game? Where’d you find it? Let us know in the comments!