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Rustling of the Wind

Howdy everyone!

It’s been well over a year since my last actual music post–my deepest apologies–but I assure you that I have been using that time wisely in regards to both education and the study of music. When i say study of music, I refer to the [additional] historical study of composers, their music, and the cultural surroundings that assisted in shaping both (yes, the composer and the music). It was a very pleasurable study that has greatly broadened my horizon in not only musical matters, but also the social implications that surrounded the composer and their compositions. But, that’s enough of talk of that; what about game music? Hrm…that’s a good one.

Actually, my views on video game music has not changed much from the last time I posted here. I greatly respect the field in both academic means and hobby listening. I originally wanted to bring the two into matrimony…and well, that still reigns true today–only without the pretensions that I had originally bore while making such a claim. I began many projects on the field, only to have them halt within days of research. At each roadblock, a inkling came to me as not to take that road of intense research, so as not to begin to abhor it. Me? Abhor video game music and academic research? I never. Well, guess what? it was happening.

This is when I began to take things easy and focus my academic research on Music History, while separating game music as a form of pleasurable enjoyment. Good Idea! But you know what? You would think that would have been the best answer, separate the two and keep them at bay; don’t turn your hobby into a job. Nope, not true! In fact, I shattered that theology’s hold on me when I wrote my [J.S.] Bach Seminar paper on his music in video games, in the form of an ethnography dealing with the youtube community. I had a blast writing! (Thanks YouTube users, horror film writers, and game composers!)

So where does this leave me and video game music research through [intense] academic means? DON’T! Instead, research video game music in a more practical manner that is both fun and educational. It took me a long time to learn that. I’ve always been a bit slow with these things–especially with some technology–so I wasn’t too surprised. So, where does that leave me now? What do I have planned for you guys in the future? Well, nothing really, except my musical musings and soliloquies that will become part of the rustling of the wind that will grace your twitter feed and inbox, ever so sweetly.

n.anosou.com

Scrolling down my tweets on echofon, I saw something of great interest that will possibly peak your interest as well if you’re a fan of video game music.  The tweet was about how anosou created an independent netlabel called n.anosou, a…

small independent netlabel that releases original music by artists active as video game music composers or arrangers. n.anosou was founded and is run by Mattias ‘anosou‘ Häggström Gerdt and is mainly an excuse for him to release more music

Wonderful news, correct? Well I hope so because I plan on keeping my tabs on the netlabel and posting about future releases that are to come. Speaking of netlabels anyways, did you check out GM4A’s netlabel? Check both of them out if you haven’t!

Sources: n.anosou, GM4A Records, anosou.com

Rhode Island College “Collage Concert” 10/30/09

Just recently I attended the Collage Concert over at Rhode Island College and decided to write a short review on the performances of my fellow students. Nearly all the performers were dressed in costumes, as well as some of the audience members including myself, and delivered a good performance all around.

The First piece on the bill was Sarah Hopkins’s “Past Life Melodies”, which was performed by the Rhode Island College Chorus with Dr. Coffman conducting. The piece was delivered successfully and sent chills down my spine with every note that emitted from the chorus.

Following the Rhode Island College Chorus after a very speedy transition, we have the RIC Trumpet Ensemble performing “Concerto for Seven Trumpets”, written by Johann Altenburg. The ensemble delivered us a nicely performed piece of music that rung sweetly through the Roberts Auditorium.

Next on the program was a suite for two pianos on a medley based on a selection of songs from The Nightmare Before Christmas, arranger being Alex Tirrell. The performance was done well enough so that I could only wonder what would be the next arrangement crafted together by Alex Tirrell in the next concert like this one. Good job Alex.

“Aux bords du torrent” from d’ete a la montagne, by Eugene Bozza, followed soon after and was performed by Garret and the Flutastics. The quartet did a job well done on delivering you a piece with gusto and accuracy, so a round of applause was rightfully earned to them for gifting us a pleasurable listen.

But for the sake of site relevance, we jump right to the RIC Guitar Ensemble that presented us a piece called “Variations on a Theme of Mario”. Yes, you read correctly and have reason to be well excited about seeing a guitar ensemble performing game music…well if you weren’t, I sure as heck was. fortunately, one of my buds was played in the medley and sent me the game tracks that were used and the order. Thanks Joel!

  • Metroid – Title Screen [NES]
  • Super Mario Bros. – Mario Theme
  • Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time – Main Theme
  • Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time – Treasure Chest Opening
  • Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time – Item Get
  • Legend of Zelda – Main Theme
  • Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time – Lost Woods
  • Legend of Zelda – Dungeon Theme
  • Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past- Lost Woods (Light World)
  • Donkey Kong Country – Gang Plank Galleon
  • Sonic and Knuckles – Title theme (Two measures, but noticeable if a fan)
  • Tetris – Main Theme
  • Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time – Gerudo Valley

“Variations on a Theme of Mario” lasted for about 5 minutes. I greatly appreciated the idea of this medley and enjoyed the performance. Some chuckles were spotted here and there in the audience, some soft rooting as well when “Mario’s Theme” popped up. My only disapproval of the piece is the name. I think “Variations on a Theme of Zelda” would have been more appropriate and a great deal more accurate, but it make sense applying Mario’s name to the title due to his popularity with the masses. Nevertheless, I found this performance very enjoyable and quite refreshing to hear on a classical guitar.

The next piece was out of the ordinary, almost a trip back to the past where mullets ruled the land. “Mullet”, composed by our very own James Bohn, was boldly performed on stage by local band Pow!!, with a rock band aura that came straight out of the 80’s. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that many Rock On hand signs in one song. By the way, from what I did see on stage, the band was wearing mullets (unsure about the drummer, my path of vision to him was obstructed by the gnarly keytarist). And here is a video to check it out.

Hold it though, we aren’t out of the 80s just yet until we bring in the next song. Performed by the band Friends With Benefits, we are gifted with a nostalgic present of the “Ghostbusters Theme Song”. The band, along with the participation of crowd, filled the auditorium with such intensity I almost felt the need to get out of my seat and throw my fist into the air with vigor.

Jumping to the last performance on the bill, the RIC Concert Jazz Band, Joe Foley as director, performs “The Chicken”, by Jaco Pastorius. Such a strong piece with life and spirit, it was only a matter of time before students came on stage dancing and moving to the groove of the music. What a way to end the night!

After the concert ended with “The Chicken”, I made my way home after enjoying a great concert. There were no intermissions, so hopefully no one had to use the restrooms for the approximate one hour and thirty minutes duration of the concert’s length. The transitions between each set was smooth in some areas, a bit bumpy in others, but overall didn’t detract much from the concert. A job well done with that as well.

Lord Bowser, The Bringer of War

I go through Gustav Holst’s The Planets again and notice a very strong resemblance to the “Airship Theme” from the Super Mario games to “Mars, the Bringer of War”. Both tracks give off a strong foreboding feeling that fills the air with anxiety to what evil may be coming afoot. Unfortunately, the sample below is from the Brawl arrangement and not Super Mario Galaxy, which was the one intended for use, but you get the picture what is being said. Excuse the double peddling(?) in the Brawl arrangement (haha).

Super Smash Bros. Brawl – “Airship Theme”
Gustav Holst The Planets- “Mars, The Bringer of War Cut”

Very cool. This was definitely was one of my better findings of game music comparison over the years. Our next focus will be on a game that still tops #1 on Gamefaqs’s Playstation Section.

Speaking of Rock

The last post reminded me greatly of Final Fantasy Mystic Quest. I loved this game when I was growing up, and enjoyed the music most of all. Rocking tunes in a Final Fantasy? That was definition of awesome for me as a kid. What made me think Mystic quest was “Arab Rock” and the similarities it shared with the battle theme of MQ.

The name of the track is called “Heat of Battle”, or simply “Battle Theme 1” from other places on the interweb. I’ll leave both “Arab Rock” and “Heat of Battle” below for you crazy cats to check out.

Final Fantasy Mystic Quest – Heat of Battle

Genesis Aladdin – Arab Rock

I hear some similarities, let me know if you do too because I’m curious what you guys think. Now that I think back…Aladdin was a pretty awesome game for the Genesis, better than the SNES even, though that’s my opinion.

Back to Mystic Quest. It’s a great game that took a different approach to music in the FF series. The only gripe I held against the game was the multitudes of enemies that littered each stage. There are some monsters that can be avoided, but most of the time you’re forced to fight every single monster. First FF to have jumping in it, so that was a plus! The Dragon Claw was an awesome addition-Oh! That reminds me, I had some bead art done by the 8-bit Artist, there’s your plug for the year :), of the Dragon Claw and Benjamin (main character).

FFMQ Bead Art

I’m actually a bit obsessed with the game now that I think of it. I even gave the bead art their own portrait. I still get a kick out of seeing Benjamin when he does his signature shrug, which occurs a lot during the course of the game.

Before I end this post, just want to make note that I took that pic at the top from a youtube video. The person who was playing was PeTeRL90, and you can see his videos here. A little plug to him as my thanks. Great name choice by the way. :D

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Have any game music topics I should mention here? Send them my way via email at rhythmroo@live.com.