Tagged: soundtrack

Of 2016: The Game Music

Of 2016: The Game Music

For another year my top music post is housed over on Original Sound Version where I managed to write nearly 90 game music posts in 2016 (!). It’d be really great if you’d check out the full post with some very special honorable mentions but since you’re already here I’ll give you the highlights.

Game Soundtrack of the Year: Starbound by Curtis Schweitzer
There’s a tiny caveat with Starbound. Although the game was released in 2016 I’ve been sitting on this massive soundtrack collection since the backer rewards went out… three years ago. I can only give you my solemn Boy Scout promise that I really didn’t start listening (or playing) until the months leading up to the 1.0 release.

Like my pick for Metal Gear Solid V last year, Starbound has a soundtrack I still haven’t tired of even after hearing it on loop for dozens of hours. My wife and I clocked over 90 hours in the game, the majority of it spent farming on our starter world all set to the same few songs. Some of the 60+ tracks are faster or more dramatic but it’s the long, expansive symphonies that stretch for 8, 13, even 20+ minutes that continue to stir me. It’s shocking how much emotion this music whips up in me for a game that looks so simple.

Runner Up: The Flame in the Flood by: Chuck Ragan
Similarly stirring is Chuck Ragan’s original soundtrack to The Flame in the Flood. It’s short but so, so sweet and somber. It’s the perfect accompaniment to the torment of the roguelike gameplay that it accompanies. It’s also a rarity to hear acoustic folk music, heavy with lyrics, on a game’s soundtrack, even if some of these songs aren’t directly in the game. VGMO has a fantastic review of the album and you can listen for free on Chuck Ragan’s YouTube channel.

Arrangement Album of the Year: VGM NXC 001 by: Party Members
How did this April Fool’s joke that spiraled into an actual release become my favorite arranged album of the year? It’s choppy and frantic in all the right EDM/dub/trap ways that speak to me on top of featuring familiar video game themes. It’s the one remix album I’ve come back to the most and the one I desperately wish was longer. You can call me the April fool but I still call this one my favorite!

Runner Up: Fire Pro M: Volume One by: Sonny Bone (and the FP Community)
I’ve only observed a little bit of the Fire Pro wrestling series from afar so when I saw this community remix album pop up on Bandcamp I tentatively clicked to check it out. I did grow up watching the WWF so the samples from early promos and Beyond the Mat were welcome additions to the variety of remixes from the Fire Pro series. It’s another brash, slightly jarring EDM album that really stuck with me through the year.

Hey, that's me in graph form!

Along the same lines as my YouTube Stats post, here’s some data mining insights from Last.fm for 2016. It isn’t entirely accurate as I did some listening on Spotify, Youtube and other apps that I don’t scrobble from but I can’t argue with these figures. I “scrobbled” (meaning I listened to) over 5,182 songs with an average of 21 songs a day. Be it familiar favorites to accompany my daily drudgery or research for a review on OSV, that breaks down to 961 albums from 1,046 artists.

Last.fm gets even more in-depth, pointing out that I listened to music the most from 7:00am to 8:00am on Wednesdays. I apparently had a hot streak going from June 12th through June 30th, listening for 19 days in a row. It was one of the most heads-down periods at work where I frequently turned to Disasterpeace’s Famaze OST and Mindwipe Goes Sonic from Mindwipe for solace while checking out GaMetal V from the self-titled remixer. Appropriately enough, my top tags were Video game music,  Soundtrack,  Electronic, Japanese and Chiptune. Yup, that’s me.

I thought it’d be fun to dig a little deeper and see what the first and last video game related songs I listened to in 2016 were and I was surprised to find they were from the same artist, Shiryu. The first was his remix of Turrican on January 8th and the last on December 30th was from his most recent album, Deckard, B26354. He was one of my top twenty most listened to artists of the year but I didn’t expect it would line up quite so perfectly.

Yes, I’m posting about Dead Star again (the music this time)

Alright, alright, I think this is my final post about Dead Star. After recording some final rounds and the tutorial with the default volume mix I went back to capture what I could of the game’s great, but short, soundtrack. Unfortunately, there was no way to access the Escape Run mode after the servers went offline so there are a couple of tracks we may never hear again without YouTube commentary and sound effects blaring.

What I was able to grab were seven tracks including the theme song that’s most familiar to players as it swelled and simmered in the background of all the menus. There are four in-game themes that were tied to several of the different maps. For those I simply named them after the first map I encountered them in. A little more on the subtle side are the Training theme and the Credits music that dial down the pomp of the main theme.

As a videOST I edited each track to some footage from the game, mostly me performing poorly against max leveled veteran players in the final days of the game. Take a listen above or load up the playlist or rip the music from the videos… whatever it is you kids do to listen to music these days.

Watch, Listen and Reminisce About Boulder Dash

Ever since Giant Bomb did that Quick Look of Boulder Dash: 30th Anniversary I’ve been feeling the feels for the Atari PC and NES versions that my sister and I used to play. It’s taken way longer than I planned but I finally finished a new videOST series for the game’s soundtrack and recorded a little session with the game full of stories and memories. I also managed to finish the game without an excessive amount of cheating. It’s the first time I can remember ever seeing (and hearing) the ending!

I Paid $50 for a Cassette Tape in 2016

042616-mgsvtape

Would you look at this little beauty right here? Not only is it a Metal Gear Solid V soundtrack on a cassette tape that looks just like the ones in the game, it contains the soundtrack I’ve been after since the game was released. You know, the soundtrack I spent a week recording and editing out of the Companion App. The soundtrack that is hidden around the game’s open environments on cassette tapes tucked away in remote camps and dark corners. The soundtrack that people thank me for uploading to YouTube on a daily basis. It’s finally real, official and (most importantly) better mixed than my recording!

Somehow I missed the news and the thing’s been out in Japan for a month so I quickly jumped on the Limited Edition package this morning at Play-Asia. If there’s one playlist I’d pay $50 to hear coming out of a cassette tape in 2016, this is the one. Of course, it also comes on a CD because let’s not be totally crazy here. Expect many more photos, an unboxing video and probably a review over on OSV when it arrives in a few weeks.

On a side note, Metal Gear Solid V now has four official soundtracks: The 2-disc Original Soundtrack, the Vocal Tracks album with all the vocal themes from the series, an iTunes exclusive Extended Soundtrack with 5+ hours of music and now The Lost Tapes.

“Boss. That’s too much music.”

Kaz… I’m already an audiophile.”

Of 2015: The Best Game Music

of2015-music

Pardon my link bait but I already did a recap of my favorite game music from 2015 over at Original Sound Version. I even think it turned out pretty well so you should probably check it out over there. If, for whatever reason, you just can’t bring yourself to leave GameLuv I’ll do you a quick recap of my picks.

Game Soundtrack of the Year: Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
By: Ludvig Forssell, Justin Burnett, Harry Gregson-Williams, Daniel James, Rina Yugi, Steve Henifin (Kojima Productions), Donna Burke, Stefanie Joosten

If you still love listening to a soundtrack after spending 200+ hours with it, you know it’s something special! While the storyline of MGSV may be all over the place, the music — from original score to mood-setting ambiance to licensed 80’s pop songs — holds true to the game’s themes of pain and revenge. Even the licensed tracks used only in trailers leading up to its release stick to the overall vibe of the game.

Runner Up: Minna de Spelunker Z/Spelunker World
By: Ken-ichiro Iwasaki, Maro Miyakawa

I don’t know how many hours I spent with Spelunker in 2015 but I kept up with the Japanese and U.S. versions almost every single day from April on. It’s a peculiar combo of punishing retro platforming and modern, free-to-play design that I can’t seem to get enough of. As such the infectiously catchy music has been in my head all year long and I love and hate and LOVE it!

Arrangement Album of the Year: V-Jams by V-Jams

V-Jams’ style hit me so hard back in August that it made me feel like a video game music virgin; as if no one had ever rearranged a video game tune before. It’s not because V-Jams’ renditions are ultra-authentic to the source material, far from it. V-Jams pushes familiar themes to the edge of recognizability and then noodles over them with amazing jazzy style as the minutes unravel. There’s also a bit of mystery around the collective which I’m eager to see revealed in 2016 because it means more of this astounding music won’t be far behind!

Runner Up: Volume III by DJ Cutman

While I love the wildest deconstructions of music I also appreciate the simple art of adding fat beats. It really was that simple on Cutman’s earliest works but for 2015’s Volume III there’s a lot more going on. Chopped and looped with layers of fresh drums and beats, he’s reinvigorated some of my favorites and introduced me to so many new soundtracks. Volume III is simply his most polished and professional work yet and well worth checking out.