I have been acquiring music at a faster rate lately. I’ve collected game soundtracks for almost two decades now (the power trinity of Nobuo Uematsu, Yasunori Mitsuda and Yoko Shimomura are still the backbone of that collection, some of which is noted in my last music article thisaway), but it has sort of been a trickle. Part of that is the expense of getting CDs often only released in Japan. Part of it is just that I have other things to spend money on.
So what changed? The Humble Bundle guys started including soundtracks with the games they sell. The Indie Royale people followed suit. GoG.com always offered soundtracks when possible, but I’ve been getting more of their games lately, too. OCRemix.org has always been great at cranking out good music (free!), but I’ve been perusing their projects more lately, and they recently stepped up with a big Final Fantasy VI orchestral project.
I’ve also been more aware of articles like this one from Syp. The game music industry is growing up. (I still wish I could get to a Play! concert.)
Edited to add: I also just stumbled across this little gem of a site… I’ll be keeping an eye on their bundles. GameMusicBundle.com
Anyway, I just wanted to share a few of my more recent favorites, and a few oddball pieces that just seemed worth sharing for one reason or another.
Thoroughly Blue, Crystal Chronicles… I love the light, almost Celtic feel to a lot of the music for Crystal Chronicles, and this one covers a lot of the themes in the game.
Captain Jean-Luc Picard’s “Inner Light” Ressikan Flute music, performed by a full orchestra. I love that episode. I’m not the only one. (And is that a Starfleet uniform on the conductor? Awesome. Nerdy, I’ll grant, but I love that nerdiness isn’t a kiss of death any more.)
Secret of Mana has some great tracks, and this is but one collection/overview. I really would like to find that soundtrack on CD someday. For less than $30. Pesky imports.
Tangled soundtrack’s town music… sorry, I’m not sure on the title for this. It’s just one of my favorite parts of a movie I’m very fond of. I wish this piece had been longer.
Magic Taboria, Van Canto… this one is really odd. It’s an a capella metal rock group, weird enough to start with, but they also appear to be… nerds. They based this song on the MMO Runes of Magic. There’s just enough absurdity involved that it makes me smile, even though metal rock is far from my favorite. Really far.
The Bard’s Song, Van Canto… this was my first exposure to Van Canto. A coworker submitted this to our weekly “Bad Music Tuesday” event, and, well, I kinda like it. It doesn’t scream “metal” to me, it’s more of the sort of thing I’d expect from a modern “Gregorian Chant”-ish group, infused with gaming and storytelling sentiment. Weird, I know.
The Final Fantasy Piano collections all sound great to me. I’m a fan of pure, simple music (like the FFX piano version of To Zanarkand), and I grew up around pianos. My mother teaches piano, my wife plays sometimes, my sister plays as well, and my daughter is learning. This is one of my other favorite piano pieces, Eyes on Me from Final Fantasy VIII
And last, but far from least, there’s Austin Wintory, my newest addition to the “favorite composers” group. He has a lot of great stuff at his site, but this one is one of my favorites, with touches of Howard Shore’s Lord of the Rings movie soundtrack, shades of Mannheim Steamroller (one of my biggest musical influences growing up) and hints of Celtic and Viking spice:
I like all of it, but Bound in Stone (track 12) is especially fun. Oddly, perhaps, it reminds me of some of the fun music in the recent Sherlock Holmes movies, but with a more epic feel.
There’s a LOT of good music out there.
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