Veterans of the MAGfest stage, progressive metal geeks Armcannon make a return to form this coming MAG 11 to grace the stage with their usual brand of gaming and pop-culture music with their distinctive flare.
Hailing from Buffalo, NY, the boys from Armcannon have been performing since MAGfest 5 in one capacity or another and each time deliver a combination of old favorite tunes along with fresh, new imported mixes from video games and pop culture alike. Featuring the dual-shredding guitar power of Dan “Danimal Cannon” Berans and Mike Willard, the keyboard stylings of Chris Dlugosz, power-drumming of Larry Steele and heavy bass of Ian Machniak, Armcannon covers a wide spectrum of familiar tunes ranging from songs from Castlevania 3: Dracula’s Curse and MegaMan 2 all the way through Power Rangers and ThunderCats themes. Nothing is safe from these metal maestros. (And Mike Willard has a, in the words of Nathan Explosion, “Totally Metal Voice”)
Performing on the main stage on Friday night at 9:20pm before Video Game Orchestra, Armcannon might even feature a few new tracks from their upcoming new album release, Armcannon III: Leg Vacuum 2, so be sure to stop by and rock out with your cannon out.
Every once in a while an artist comes along who presides over a subsection of music with a staff, a crown, a throne, a cape, a sequencer and a legion of followers. It is in this fashion that Danny Baranowsky has conquered the world of indie game soundtracks. With thunderous power chords of which arpeggios sometimes flee from and tubular bells that ring out with a sonic plasma shock wave, Danny B has established himself as nothing less than the supreme chancellor of indie game composers. On December 4th, 2012 at 20:30 Pacific Time, Danny B graciously decided to sit down with us and discuss his past and current projects. Join us below! (more…)
The 55th Annual GRAMMY Awards Nominees have just been announced, and with it, a piece of history. For the first time ever, a video game’s full soundtrack has been nominated for this award. Austin Wintory’s beautiful score for Journey, the downloadable title from thatgamecompany (makers of 2009′s Flower) finds itself among the biggest of the big boys up alongside other nominees like Hans Zimmer (for The Dark Knight Rises) and John Williams (for The Adventures of Tintin). Although we have a seen a huge influx of accomplished, big-studio film composers make their way over to gaming, it is not any of them or Activision or EA that can boast of such an honor, making this an even more notable occasion.
I do not expect Mr. Wintory to come home with the prize as I am sure that too many who vote have not heard Journey‘s unique and sweeping score. Even still, this is an incredible boost to the legitimacy of the art produced in this genre. The exceptional music writing in video games comes as no surprise to the readers and contributors to this site, but it’s about time the rest of the world took notice and learned what it was missing!
Congratulations, Austin Wintory! A well-deserved nomination for a beautiful score that helped to shape one of the most memorable experiences I have had in quite some time. And if any of you have not yet bought this soundtrack, what the hell are you waiting for?
When it comes to Touhou Project, there seems to be an endless stream of music coming out on the doujin music scene every year. A cursory look inside stores specializing in doujin products in Akihabara reveal large swaths of retail space dedicated to all types of Touhou Project music. Monthly sales ranking from shops such as Toranoana also reflect the dominance of Touhou Project although Vocaloid-related music appears from time to time to shake up things up. Nevertheless, it becomes a bit of a workout to sort through the horde of music out there, especially for the uninitiated.
Enter Arte Refact’sGensouYuugikan -Fantastic Casino-. Released originally during Reitaisai 10, the annual doujin event dedicated to Touhou Project, the 10 track album featuring a veritable who’s who of major doujin music groups with Touhou Project being there common link. This concept album’s theme centers around the idea of what it would be like if Gensokyo, the place central to the Touhou Project series, had a game center in it. Alongside this theme is the character, Marisa Kirisame’s adventures through said game center. The anachronistic theme aside, I had rather high expectations for this album given the star power driving it. As mentioned before, with such a wide variety of arranges, remixes and so forth out on the market, it can be difficult finding a gem in an endless sea of music.
Did Arte Refact nail it on their release? Or perhaps this is simply the case of more of the same? Hit the jump and find out! (more…)
I’ve been using Reason ever since version 1.0 to make video game remixes. Reason has always been plagued with problems that its community has suffered through, accepting its flaws as features. I have always been a huge supporter of Reason but it’s only until recently that I have grown to dislike Reason 6.5 due to certain features offered in the latest software. I’m talking about Rack Extensions, which is essentially Propellerhead’s version of Plugins for Reason. It’s such a gamble to allow plugins after releasing 6 versions of Reason that I feel it’s only fair in critiquing them on their flaws surrounding Rack Extensions. For me, these flaws are so bad, I’d rather not use Rack Extensions. I’d like to go though some of these flaws, and offer some solutions to the problems in Rack Extensions.
Last year’s MAGFest X found the debut of “Those Who Fight” to the event’s 2nd Stage, featuring a plethora of wild jamming with a rock opera twist. No strangers to the gaming music scene, the band features “Big Mat,” on keys and backing vocals, and Jon Berglind, vocals and narration , and several members previously familiar with the VGM scene such as Mike Willard, the vocalist and guitarist from “Armcannon,” Amanda Lepre, guitarist from “Descendants of Erdrick,” and both Jake Bryan on drums and Kyle Hoke on bass from “Year 200X.”
The state of the world is in chaos. Under the leadership of General Bizan, the Malacian Army continues its march throughout the northern continent giving only two options: convert to the Empire of Malacia or die. Those who stand up against this injustice, who speak and act out against these acts, those who are labeled as Resistance, Those Who Fight seek to bring an end to this tyranny.
The band itself centers its music around a Final Fantasy-esque story, with lyrics and performance that tell a tale that the band likens to “Final Fantasy 6.5″. This unique direction is something not often seen in most gaming-based bands, and certainly puts the group in a class the deviates from the norm of video game cover bands. However if you’re worried that Those Who Fight may diverge too far away from their roots, take comfort knowing that they have a wide repertoire of both well-known as well as often-overlooked tunes to whet the appetites of any Final Fantasy fan.
Those Who Fight will be gracing the MAGFest main concert stage on Saturday for a complete jamming experience, as well as featuring a merch booth in the merchant hall complete with a cosplay contest vying for a full set of band swag! If you can’t wait that long, though, you can head over to their Bandcamp page to check out their latest EP for a sneak peak of what you can expect to hear at MAGfest 11!
Back at MAGFest 9, I saw these guys preform at an OCR panel as OCR live. It didn’t take long for the audience to experience the raw power these guys produced. Back then, Connor “Cyril the Wolf” Pelkey filled in as the Bass for OCR Live, but it was obvious that something unique had been created with the combo of these four instruments. I have to say, they are one of the sexiest acts I had seen at MAGFest. I fell in love.
OverClocked University is comprised of Steve Bortz (Level 99) and Andrew Luers (OA), both guitarists, along with the Bass played by Deia Vengen (DragonAvenger), and the violin by Amy Hsieh (diotrans). Ander and Steveo are the principle arrangers while Deia and Amy will help in arranging for the band in the near future. I look forward to what they will release next, I can’t help but feel like they are holding back some awesome tunes for the coming concert at Magfest XI.
A quick look at their Overclocked Remix of their Donkey Kong Country remix hints at what kind of post-rock remixes they are capable of making, the mellow rhythm reminds me a lot of Pink Floyd. I wonder if they’ll play something more psychedelic for their debut at MAGFest XI. Be sure to catch them on Friday at the Second Stage. If you like what you heard, like them on their Facebook page. And if anyone from Magfest has attended the OCR panels and have caught a glimpse of them playing live, I’m wondering what you think of their post-rock sound?
I just finished watching this, and I thought I’d share it with OSV readers.
I’m not sure how I feel about the upcoming Tomb Raider … I have hope that it will be the shot in the arm that the all-but-dead franchise could use. In any case, however, Graves has some really interesting insight here. He talks about a unique instrument built for the game, as well as his love for late 19th and early 20th century composers, and how the true precursor to media (film and game) score is opera and ballet.
Another of the MAGFest regulars, and one of the most celebrated at the show, this band has been doing nothing but Metroid for the better part of a decade. And in what style, you ask? Metal, of course. Hardcore, polyrhythmic, math-heavy, no-vocals metal. These arrangements are a music theory lover’s wet dream.
The band is sort of a super-group at this point, as most of its members have their own thing going on. The band’s founder, “Stemage” (Grant Henry), has his own side projects going. The lead guitarist, “Danimal Cannon,” will be playing as part of Armcannon and doing his own chiptune show as well.
I love seeing these guys perform. They’re a personal favorite every single year. The big question: will they have any new material, or will it be a selection of classics? We’ll find out on Thursday night, January 3.
We at OSV have probably written more about The OneUps than any other VGM-based band. Rather than list all the articles individually, I recommend you just search our tag for The OneUps.
This jazz band turned funk band has been doing some really special and important work in the world of VGM arrangements. So many bands go for straight up rock arrangements, or some variation of rock. With a very similar band setup, The OneUps manage to drop the driving beats and go for funky, swing-like grooves in almost all of their songs. Their albums have improved in quality from year to year, with the recent “Intergalactic” albums showcasing a sound unlike anything we’d heard before.
The band’s lead, Mustin, recently opened “Mustin Enterprises” in place of the old OneUp Studios. What this means for the future of the band, we’re still not sure, but we’re hoping to get more details at MAGFest after their Thursday night performance!
The fantastic concert featuring Journey, Legend of Zelda, StarFox, Unlimited SaGa, Final Fantasy and Turrican II among others will be streaming live today worldwide on WDR4 radio. The concert took place last week Friday, and was another smash-hit sell out from Thomas Böcker, producer of Symphonic Fantasies and many other acclaimed concerts.
Be sure to tune in at WDR4 website at 2:05pm EST, and let us know what you think of the show afterwards!