There were a lot of fantastic moments at last year’s VGO concert, “Live At Symphony Hall.” While we all eagerly await the album release, GameArts gave permission for the “Theme of Grandia” to go up, for free, on YouTube for your consumption. This may have been my favorite moment.
There was a lot of emotion involved with this one. The piece was self-arranged by composer Noriyuki Iwadare, who was in attendance. Also in attendance was Hiroko Miyaji, widow to Grandia creator Takeshi Miyaji (who passed away in 2011). This performance was a perfect tribute to a great man who created one of the finest RPG adventures ever.
Watch this video and get yourself psyched for the album release. I know I’m ready!
On September 14, the MIT campus hosted the second annual Boston Festival Indie Games. The one-day event featured games by local independent developers, talks by people from the game industry, and viewings of gaming documentaries. To end the event, a concert was held at the Middle East Downstairs, a small music venue just a few blocks away from the MIT campus. This concert, titled Boston Plays Indies, featured music by Deadbeatblast, Control Group, DJ Cutman, and the Video Game Orchestra. I had the chance to see the VGO (Video Game Orchestra) perform before and I was also familiar with the work of DJ Cutman, but I was not as familiar with either Deadbeatblast or Control Group. Having some idea of what to expect, I entered the club and took my seat for what ended up being a great evening of music.
Starting up the show was solo artist Deadbeatblast, a chiptune DJ from Toronto, Canada who’s setup consisted of two Nintendo Game Boys and a set of devices to mix and manage the audio being generated by the two handheld devices. All of the music was original work by the artist. No covers or remixes, but all of it created with the 8-bit sounds available to him on the Nintendo hardware. To describe the music as simply chiptune or 8-bit is too inaccurate and vague. Many of the pieces he performed had an aggressive and experimental sound, similar to what you would hear in industrial genre music. Even with this experimental vibe, Deadbeatblast’s tunes maintained a good steady dance beat that the audience could rock out too. A particular favorite of mine was “Hyperspace”, a piece that started with a simple pattern and steadily built up as he continued to stack more and more music elements into the mix. Pieces took sudden but brief shifts in tempo, incorporated improvised interruptions, and always kept me guessing as to where the music would go next. The performance was full of great rhythms, memorable moments, and some great chiptune sounds. He has definitely made a fan out of me. (more…)
The Boston Festival of Indie Games (aka “Boston FIG” or just “BFIG”) is going to have an awesome music concert this year. On September 14th at the venue “The Middle East Downstairs,” a cavalcade of awesome musicians will be performing –live– renditions of great indie game music. Performers include:
The Video Game Orchestra
Darren Korb (composer for Bastion!)
Control Group (a band featuring Darren Korb)
deadbeatblast (on visuals, etc)
I’d personally recommend anyone in and near Boston attend the entirety of BFIG. But if you can’t make the whole convention, be sure not to miss this exciting concert! We’re not sure what all will be covered at the show, but I would be surprised if we didn’t hear music from FEZ, Super Hexagon, Bastion (obviously), and many more…
[Left to right: Dennis Rubinshteyn, Patrick Gann, Noriyuki Iwadare, Damian Thomas, Hiroko Miyaji]
The four guest composers at the VGO show in Boston on October 7, 2012, each managed to squeeze into their busy schedules some time with myself and some of my old friends from RPGFan. Above you’ll find a photo we took with Noriyuki Iwadare and his own guest, Ms. Hiroko Miyaji (wife of the late Takeshi Miyaji, creator of Grandia).
Before you read the interview, try taking this pop quiz. For one of these composers, we ask about all the action one of their earliest work has seen in the “SQ” arrangement series. For another, they are surprised to learn we know what the game Esper Dream is. For yet another, we find out a peer composer they really admire and respect of late is Michiko Naruke. And finally, one of these composers talks about his partnership with a particular game designer who used to work for Square Enix and is now with Level-5. Can you match up these four composers properly *before* reading the interview?
After the jump, check out our short but informative interviews with each of the four guest composers. And be sure to check out RPGFan for their questions and respective answers from each of these VGM luminaries! (more…)
We’ve been ceaselesslypromotingthe VGO in the past month. Full disclosure: VGO founder Shota Nakama is technically an OSV member, as he has provided many translation services for us over the years. But he is much more than a translator. He’s a guitarist, an arranger, an organizer and producer.
So when the Video Game Orchestra put on their first no-strings-attached show (no Distant Worlds, no association with a convention, no “film and game music in the same concert”), we at OSV were all on board to see it succeed.
And this past weekend, that’s exactly what I saw.
Next week, we’ll have our interview with the four guest composers at the show (Noriyuki Iwadare, Hitoshi Sakimoto, Yoko Shimomura, Kinuyo Yamashita). But for now, after the jump, I’d like to give you my detailed report of the concert, as well as some strange and wonderful encounters I had with industry veterans and fans alike. (more…)
Though randomly selected, it’s worth sharing here: Mike’s proposed statements for each composer and for the VGO are very cool. I share many of his sentiments (and his request to Shota at the end!). Here’s what he wrote in:
What I would say to the guests:
Sakimoto: Your music was the soundtrack of my childhood. Even today I’ve never played a game more than I played Final Fantasy Tactics. More recently, I love your work in Valkyria Chronicles!
Iwadare: Objection! I haven’t played enough of the Phoenix Wright games you’ve composed for, so I plan to fix that. Also, thank you so much for the brand new Grandia medley, it was absolutely amazing! [I'm assuming, but how could it not be?]
Yamashita: What is it like knowing that your very first video game composition has become such a popular classic? Also, what do you think of the more recent arrangements of your songs, like Vampire Killer from tonight? I hope you like living here in the US!
Shimomura: You are an inspiration to me. You’re my favorite composer of all time, I love all of your work, and you’re the reason I started playing piano again after stopping for ten years. Thank you for everything.
Shota: Which composer’s music was your favorite to arrange? Just kidding, you don’t have to answer that. Seriously, thanks so much for bringing live video game music to Boston when most other concerts are focused on the west coast. You’ve brought so much joy to myself and many others. And thanks especially for enabling us to meet so many wonderful artists. I only have one request: Yasunori Mitsuda was a planned guest for last year’s concert, but had to cancel. Dare I hope he might try again sometime soon… ?
Mike K., you will be receiving an email shortly with more show information including how and when to pick up your VIP tickets! Thanks everyone for playing, and if you didn’t win them here, there’s still time to purchase tickets before the Sunday, October 7th show!
For today’s Original SoundCAST, we have Brenna as host and Patrick as sidekick as we interview the founder and operator for the Video Game Orchestra in Boston, Shota Nakama.
We ask Nakama-san about his interest game music, how it originated, etc. We get more details about the coming show in October, the special guests, the set list, and even a special request from Shota for the fans regarding a planned “Sakimoto Medley.” We also talk shop re: musical performance and building talent, the sights and sounds of Boston, our mutual love for Audun Sorlie, and plans for MAGFest 11 (VGO will be there, but in a “band plus chamber music” form — not the full orchestra).
Alright people, we’ve been telling you every last detail we can squeeze out of VGO founder and concert organizer Shota Nakama at every turn of the way. We even have a special episode of Original SoundCast going up tomorrow with more details on the October 7 show, the guests, MAGFest 11 plans, and more.
But today, I have something EXTRA special. Two VIP tickets (great seats plus access to the meet-and-greet with Shimomura, Sakimoto, Iwadare and Yamashita), courtesy of OSV, to anyone who would be able to attend the show on Sunday, October 7 2012 in Boston.
To enter: email me (email@example.com with subject line “VGO Boston Tix!” telling me what, if you got the chance, you’d want to say in person to these four special guests and to the Video Game Orchestra and its founder Shota Nakama. The winner will, of course, get that chance. We’ll be giving both tickets to the winner, who is free to bring a friend or give the ticket to another VGM fan. Please, NO re-selling! These tickets combined are worth $200, making them the most valuable giveaway OSV has done to date.
Start sending those emails, and good luck! We’ll announce the winner on Friday, so the window of opportunity to win is tight!
We have a couple of very important bits of information regarding the upcoming VGO concert on Sunday, October 7 in Boston. You’ll notice, first of all, that we’ve added a banner for the concert in our site header that will stay in-place until the show has taken place. That’s because we are really excited about this show and want to see it succeed!
Second, and this is really exciting … a fourth guest has been confirmed. We already know that Hitoshi Sakimoto, Noriyuki Iwadare, and Kinuyo Yamashita will be at the show. Now, the above video from Shota Nakama confirms for us that Yoko Shimomura (Kingdom Hearts, Legend of Mana, Radiant Historia, Parasite Eve, Super Mario RPG, Xenoblade, and many many others) will be attending the show as well. This is very exciting news!! A reminder that anyone who purchases VIP tickets will be able to attend a special meet&greet after the show to talk with the composers and have items signed.
Speaking of purchasing tickets, there is a discount available that we’d like everyone to know about. If you enter “rockestralgamemusic” as a promotional code while doing online checkout for your tickets, you will receive a 10% discount*!
Finally, we’d like to note that the VGO Kickstarter campaign to have this show recorded and pressed as an official CD (and digital album) is currently at over $10,000, which puts it more than 1/3 of the way to its goal of $30,000 with 21 days left to go in the campaign. If you can’t make it to the Boston live show (or heck, even if you can), do yourself a favor and support this Kickstarter! $10 for the bare-bones digital album, $20 for the CD, and some very interesting rewards the higher your pledge goes! Please check it out! (I’m urging you for very selfish reasons: I want this CD!)
*note: this discount is only applicable for non-VIP tickets.
If you can’t go to it, but you want to hear it, there’s a solution: a Kickstarter campaign to get the show recorded and CDs of the show released.
This campaign just went live this morning, and it has a goal of $30,000. $10 nets you a digital version of the to-be-produced album (a live recording of the Oct 7 show featuring Sakimoto, Iwadare and Yamashita). For $20, you get the CD version. $35 gets you a USB stick with a “making of” video. Go up to $50, you also get a T-Shirt. $75, all previous rewards PLUS a program from the show signed by the special guests.
And from there, things get really crazy. If you’re thinking of going, they even have tiers that include tickets (and VIP tickets) to the show. At the $500 level (limited to 4 backers), you can share a meal with the special guests!
I’ve been yearning for the VGO to produce an album, and if this is what it takes, I’ll use my little soapbox here to personally urge you to back this one. The VGO arrangements are unique (not canned arrangements from previous concerts), and really, $20 for that 14 minute Grandia suite alone seems worthwhile. Don’t miss this!
We’ve had our lips sealed on this concert for well over a month, but now we’re finally excited to tell you about this one. Pay attention!!
The VGO (Video Game Orchestra) will be performing (full 70+ orchestra plus 5-person rock ensemble) a live show at the Boston Symphony Hall in Boston, MA on Sunday, October 7, 2012. It will be a night celebrating primarily Japanese game music, and to underscore that point, they have some fantastic guests lined up to say hello and perform live as well!
First, they have BASISCAPE leader/founder Hitoshi Sakimoto (too many games to list, but you know the notables: Final Fantasy Tactics, Valkyria Chronicles). Second, in what I think might be his first public appearance in America (commenters feel free to correct me!), they have Noriyuki Iwadare (Lunar, Grandia, Phoenix Wright). Third, a Japanese composer currently residing in New Jersey and one of my personal favorites in the realm of “sleeper composer making a comeback,” Ms. Kinuyo Yamashita (Castlevania, Megaman X3).
Violinist Aria Aizawa will also be performing, and she’s mighty fine at what she does. Of course, we’ll also have VGO leader Shota Nakama on guitar, and I’m personally psyched about that. Whether or not there will be any more guests announced before the show or surprise guests at the time of the show, I cannot say at this time, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that special guest list were to expand.
[This photo and all proceeding photos taken during the dress rehearsal]
You know that old saying, “the devil is in the details?” I think the saying exists as a reminder for us to pay attention to detail. But for those people who are ever vigilant, who are willing to pay attention to detail, those of us who observe THEM will instead find angels in the details.
In this case, the angels are the performers in the Video Game Orchestra, as well as select soloists and Distant Worlds director / concert conductor, Arnie Roth. After the jump, my take on the March 10th Distant Worlds show at the Boston Symphony Orchestra. (more…)