Jam of the Day: Wild Street (The King of Fighters XIII)

Having just reviewed The King of Fighters XIII (and thus spent an entire weekend marathoning it), I couldn’t help but notice the game’s music. With games like Street Fighter IV mostly switching to hard hitting electronica (which I admittedly love in its own way), it’s nice to see The King of Fighters focus on very catchy melodies. Like the beautiful 2D art that stands out in this 3D-centric world, this soundtrack feels like it’s from a bygone era, and I mean this in the most positive way.

Of course, instrumentation and production is a bit more modern than its quarter eating predecessors, but the spirit of the arcade shines through brightly.

Listed KOFXIII Composers: Tetsuhiro Ogawa, Iku Mizutani, Toshihiko Hiraguchi, Tomonao Niiya, Makoto Suehiro, Tasuku Mizutani

Jam of the Day: White Devil by Rio Hamamoto (Ace Combat: Assault Horizon Limited Edition Music Soundtrack)

I haven’t really followed the music (or games for that matter) of the Ace Combat series. But after hearing the soundtrack to Ace Combat: Assault Horizon, I think I probably should.

Assault Horizon’s score has a very full sound that’s a hybrid of full orchestral performances, heavy metal, choral sections, and even bits of electronica and world music. This diverse set of elements works fantastic together and really took me by surprise.

No single song can capture all the OST has to offer, but “White Devil” is a great example of the orchestral and metal combination at play.

Composition & Performance: Rio Hamamoto
Orchestra Arrangement: Jonathan Sacks
Orchestra Performance: Northwest Sinfonia

Jam of the Day: Casino Night Remix by SEGA (Sonic Generations)

I find myself actually looking forward to Sonic Generations. It’s a weird feeling. Colors was decent and the Generations demos seemed promising (minus a gripe or 2) despite my scrutinizing.

But what I’m really looking forward to is the soundtrack. Well, maybe like one third of it anyway. What I’ve heard of the modern remixes of classic songs has been pretty great so far and Casino Night (which is technically DLC of some sort) is no exception. The spirit of the original is perfectly captured while adding plenty of wonderful little tangents. It’s a real pleasure to listen to. Unfortunately, I don’t know who to credit for the arrangement at this time. I’m sure the info will be readily available after the inevitable official OST.

Jam of the Day: Setting Sail, Coming Home (End Theme) by Darren Korb (Bastion Original Soundtrack)

A testament to the quality of the Bastion soundtrack is how many people who never normally talk about video game music were begging for an official OST. In any discussion of the game, the music was always brought up. That’s something that just doesn’t seem to happen outside of niche, game music enthusiasts.

"Setting Sail, Coming Home" combines two vocal tracks ("Build That Wall" and "Mother, I’m Here") from some of the most powerful moments earlier in the game into something new for the ending theme. It works beautifully and still sends chills down my spine when I hear it.

The year’s not over yet, but at this point I still don’t think anything is standing in Bastion’s way for being my soundtrack of the year.

Buy this Soundtrack: Bandcamp

Jam of the Day: Song of the Ancients / Devola ~ Song of the Ancients / Popola by sasakure.UK (NieR Tribute Album -echo-)

I haven’t really had time to keep this blog active lately. Hopefully that will change again.

The NieR Tribute album just released this month and it has some truly great stuff on it. It shouldn’t really come as any surprise since the source material was already incredible. Still, tribute albums from various artists can be a gamble.

I always love when a remix completely changes the tone of a track and turns it into something new. It can be especially fascinating on vocal tracks like this one.

Jam of the Day: Untitled Track (Final Fantasy XIII-2)

There’s a lot of uncertainty in today’s post, but after hearing it I just had to share. This track was posted by XIII-2 Synth Programmer Keiji Kawamorion on the Square-Enix Music Blog. While he mentions everybody involved in the performance, I haven’t been able to confirm the composer. Masashi Hamauzu is the game’s main composer, but I didn’t see him referenced in the post. I am told this will be a battle theme for a Bahamut fight, but I haven’t seen that confirmed through official channels either.

If this is an indication of what Final Fantasy XIII-2’s soundtrack will be like, I am on board. I love to see a series branch out to other musical styles when it works. Coincidentally, I was just thinking about that while listening to the Crystal Bearers soundtrack earlier today.

Performance Credits:
Guitar: “Mr. Shigekazu” (I’m assuming Shigekazu Kamaki)
Bass: Kentaro Nakao
Drums: Takashi Kashiwakura
Violin: Mr. Hiroshi Manabe
Piano: Takuro IGA
Engineer: Mr. Seigo Sugai

Jam of the Day: Little Fugue in G Minor remixed by Shoji Meguro (Catherine Sound Disc)

The soundtrack to Catherine can essentially be divided into 2 sections, both of which are handled by Persona series composer Shoji Meguro. The first is an original score that plays in the background to the real world. The second is an assortment of classical remixes that play during the games nightmare stages.

While the original material certainly does its job, I find the latter far more interesting, not just because of the quality of the time-tested compositions, but because of how odd it is to hear them arranged this way and placed in this context.

The arrangements vary in style and are consistently enjoyable, but Meguro’s take on J. S. Bach’s Little Fugue in G minor hits me in all the right places. Perhaps it’s the infectiously heavy beat or the source’s use in another game I love. Either way, it’s my favorite track featured in the game thus far.

Jam of the Day: The Sole Regret [unofficial name] by Darren Korb (Bastion Soundtrack)

When I played the demo for Bastion, I immediately fell in love with the game’s audio. The music accompanied by the gravelly, dynamic narrator was enough to convince me to purchase the game so I could experience more. Fortunately the game is pretty fun, too.

There isn’t an official Bastion soundtrack as of this moment, but they’re looking into releasing one. Once they do, it’s and instant purchase for me and it should be for you, too. Described by the composer as “acoustic frontier triphop,” Bastion’s soundtrack gets in your head and stays there. There’s some interesting variety in the instrumentation at play here and each track is just really easy to love. There’s even a few vocal tracks that, when heard in game, really stand out. An official soundtrack release can’t come soon enough.

Jam of the Day: Karma by Akitaka Tohyama (Tekken 6 Soundtrack)

I love fighters, but I’m really not much of a Tekken guy. In fact, most of the fighters I enjoy are 2D. Still, I can’t deny Tekken 6’s awesome music. The official OST is pretty large for the genre, spanning 3 discs by tons of different artists. A lot of it is really high energy electronica which is something I’m quite partial to. Akitaka Tohyama in particular is responsible for some of my favorites including Karma (featured above) and Hacked. It’s definitely an OST worth checking out.

Jam of the Day: SURVIVE by Yousuke Yasui (ESCHATOS Soundtrack)

Eschatos, a Japan-only SHMUP with an interesting history, is one of the best games I’ve played this year. Besides having rock solid mechanics and a great scoring system, the retro styled soundtrack is absolutely stellar.

When I picked the game up, I couldn’t stop listening to SURVIVE, the song that plays in what is essentially the second major area after the first boss battle. This is exactly the type of music that I miss hearing more of. With cinematic scores dominating the industry today, it’s always refreshing to hear catchy, energetic melodies like this that don’t rely on big budget production to hide forgettable composition.