As some of y’all may well know about me by now, I’m a huge fan of spaghetti western movies. Some of my favorite childhood memories involve watching these iconic films with my Dad or one of my Grandfathers. That said, while I sincerely love the flicks themselves, it’s their soundtracks that gripped and inspired me more than anything else, with Ennio Morricone ranking foremost in my mind among their composers.
That makes it all the more fitting that, today, on Mr. Morricone’s birthday, I’m announcing our latest themed compilation influenced by that very style!
I turn 28 this month, in fact a week from today. At this age, I find myself wishing I had the ability to go back in time and change a number of things that led my life to be the way it is today. And honestly, not only that, but there are certain parts of my life I wish I could live over again, like the parts of my childhood I spent playing my Super Nintendo and my friend’s Playstation 1 after school, jamming out to the Castlevania: Symphony of the Night OST.
This will never happen, of course. I don’t have some kind of time machine to go back, and I’ll never be able to experience Michiru Yamane and Koji Igarashi’s masterpiece again for the first time. What I do have, however, is the next best thing: Timespinner, the first game by Lunar Ray games with an amazing soundtrack by Jeff Ball of Tiny Barbarian DX and Steven Universe fame (among many others), which follows the story of Lunais – a woman who must travel between the ancient past and ruined present of her world to put an end to the tyranny her people face from an intergalactic empire. Funded on Kickstarter back in 2014, this was one of those games I backed and hoped and prayed it would actually come to completion, having been burned by a number of other very promising retro-inspired campaigns in the past – and lo and behold, at the end of September of this year I got my hands on my pledge and devoured the game immediately. Instead of my normal “music only” review column this month, I’d like to actually talk about the game as well – and as with my occasional event coverage, I’ll give you the handy #MUSIC and #GAME tags to Ctrl+F back and forth to if you only want to read one of those reviews.
Greetings and salutations friends! It’s that time once again for a massive postmortem on PAX East. This year, I’m joined by bory of geekbeatradio who was the head of the MAGFest Jamspace this year and also responsible for booking all of our amazing acts. As this article does traditionally cover both the music and gaming portions of PAX East, bory will be covering the music and I will be covering the games – and as per usual, you can navarkigate to each portion by searching #MUSIC or #GAMES. This time around we’ve got a big article for ya, so don’t hesitate to use those to jump around.
Sup y’all? =) Following up last month’s fantastic conversation with stig, I’ve another thoroughly engaging read for you good folk with yet another silly talented friend of mine (how do I find myself surrounded by these amazing people anyways, geez….).
If you’ve been in or around the chiprealm for a good few years now, you’re very likely familiar with Boston chip duo BR1GHT PR1MATE. Then again, if you’ve just gotten into it all in the last year or so, maybe not so much. This is largely because the talented team of James and Lydia Primate have both been deeply involved in the creation and development of a very unique indie game called ‘Rain World‘, which just released via Steam and Playstation. Today’s interview features an in-depth convo with James about his work on such. Really good stuff once again. Read on below.
This month’s edition of ‘What’s on Tap?’ combines three of my favorite things into one deliciously awesome cornucopia: video games, breakfast, and beer. VGM veteran Pete Ellison returns to the soundtrack world with #Breakforcist, a breakfast-themed brick breaking collaboration with Kevin John at Lucid Sheep Games. Demonic waffles fall from the sky and your task is to destroy them by any means necessary, augmenting your ball with bacon lasers and pancakes. #Breakforcist is currently available on iOS devices, with an Android port coming in the near future. In addition to the soundtrack, Pete did the artwork for the game and you can unlock iMessage stickers by progressing through the levels. Play this game for ten minutes and the only person more enthusiastic about breakfast than you is Leslie Knope:
Musically, #Breakforcist sits squarely in an uncanny valley between retro gaming and contemporary music production. Soundfonts resembling the SNES and Dreamcast-era classics mix freely with Absynth-like patches and filters, wrapped up in a tight and clean package. Although designed for handheld devices, the #Breakforcist soundtrack plays well through laptops, headphones, and normal speaker setups – a testament to Pete’s solid production skills. The soundtrack has a common theme of uptempo, danceable grooves to keep the player’s energy high, but there are a surprisingly wide variety of sounds from beginning to end. The more ambient tracks function well as both background music and standalone pieces, with several standout melodies and funky basslines to keep the listener engaged. Perhaps the most unique portion of the soundtrack are Pete’s tracks that utilize the sexy vocaloid known here as Cyber Diva. If you are having trouble envisioning this sound, imagine Laurie Anderson’s ‘O Superman’ with a thumping backbeat and lyrics about waffles instead of nuclear war.
Now, let’s bust out the maple syrup and dig into some of these sweet tunes, shall we?
Happy New Year ChipWINation! There are two things that are innate to the start of another recognized turn of our giant ball of mostly molten metal about the sun. The first is New Year’s health resolutions, and the second is motherfucking MAGFest. Now, as a reader, you’re probably thinking those two things have almost nothing in common, and frankly, you’d pretty much be right. In fact, after my first trip to MAGFest last year, I’d go so far as to say they’re negatively correlated. See, the key component to getting and staying fit is good nutrition. I’ll get into defining that below the fold, but I’m sure we can all agree you’ll be hard pressed to find it at MAGFest.
That’s okay. Get yourselves to MAG, party your asses off, and then come back to this article. Seriously, its on the Internet now. Its not going anywhere.