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Music, Music, Music!

October 31, 2011 Leave a comment

Hi there folks, how are you all doing?

Going to share another bunch of new tracks and projects here… lol

First of all, our band (recently named “Salvante Norte” making a reference–in Portuguese, of course lol–to good winds that save sailors from storms) is taking part in an awesome contest by Philips called “Philips Sound” with the collaboration of Mr. Steve Lillywhite (producer of U2, Dave Matthews Band, Morrisey, among others). They’re looking for some interesting tracks from all around the globe to make new orchestral arrangements to be executed by the Metropole Orchestra. Maybe we can stand a chance. :)

Capela:

(Click here to like it on Facebook)

Cubo Mágico:

(Click here to like it on Facebook)

Also, there’s a new project on compositions with partners called “Tutta La Gente”. You can take a listen to the first recording here (while looking at the beautiful cover lol):

Valsa No1

Cover art over "Nozze di Cana" (1563) by Veronese.

I hope you enjoy all the new tracks. See ya!

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Top 5 #2: Best Videogames Repetitive Battle Music

October 24, 2011 3 comments

Hi there, how are you doing?

Just to follow my previous post here is another top 5 list formerly published at Gamespot regarding videogame music. Enjoy!


I’ve been into a lot of research on how to make loop music without being annoying (oh Hotel Dusk, I love you so much…) and that led me to another Top 5, another one that’s (game)music related. I just can’t help myself… :P

#5: Summon Night: Swordcraft Story (GBA)

This game deserves a place in this list because… It managed to stuck the battle theme to my head even if I DIDN’T really played the game. I just listened to it while my (ex)wife was playing and still I’m not able to forget it.

#4: Yie Ar Kung-Fu (NES)

Yie Ar Kung-Fu is a quite simple arcade port from the NES early days with a single battle music for all levels – which are infinite since the game will start over again after you beat it just with different colors for the backgrounds. What can I say about this theme? The Xmas night my mother gave me a Dynavision II (a Brazillian NES which came with Yie Ar Kung Fu) I played the entire night until the score exploded into 999,999. And I STILL like the in-game music. It’s a little too much cliche using those eastern melodic modes but it worked quite well anyways.

#3: Final Fantasy (NES)

Grinding… in… the desert. Oh my. The music is great though despite of the weird (due to arrangement technical limitations at the time) gap between parts A and B in the theme.

#2: Ninja Gaiden (NES)

The game that almost made me cry. I’m ashamed to say that even after 20 years I can’t beat the last freaking boss. And the fact that the game is not an RPG or a fighting game shows well how many times I’ve listened to that theme.

#1: Chrono Trigger (SNES)

There’s not much to talk about this one, it’s just plain awesome. I still catch myself whistling this while walking the streets every now and then. And the timbres are perfectly choosen as well.


Have a nice week, see ya next time!

Top 5 #1: Favorite Videogames Soundtracks Ever!

October 17, 2011 2 comments

Hi there guys, how are you doing?

Sorry for the delay (despite being into my “Sunday-through-Monday” schedule yet lol), my last three days barely left me time to sleep/eat properly. :)

This time I’m here to share an old article I wrote at Gamespot on my favorite soundtracks in Video Games.  Sorry for the bad quality on some videos but at least the sound is decent… :P

#5: de Blob (Wii)

de Blob is an outstanding game artistically speaking in every way and the soundtrack is not different. The energy of a real band playing some funky/relaxing tunes is something you simply can’t let pass while playing this game. Aside that–and even more important–there’s the way the music is merged with the gameplay: painting the city in different colors will work as a sound mixer since each color ‘opens’ a different instrument in the soundtrack. Brilliant.

Composer: John Guscott

#4: Soul Star (Sega CD)

Sega CD was the first system I played which was able to run REAL music recorded as audio during a gameplay section. Of course there were strange limitations–in Soul Star for example the music had to be the same lenght of the actual level (it was a shooter with auto screen progression)–but that didn’t keep Soul Star’s soundtrack from being absolutely superb. Muted trumpets and timpani never sounded so clear in a game before – and the composition work can easily walk on its own legs with or without technology at its side.

Composer: Nathan McCree

#3: ActRaiser 2 (SNES)

ActRaiser 2 has some spotless presentation overall and its orchestrated soundtrack is the highest point of it. As strong as Soul Star’s soundtrack, this one deserves a higher place in the list because of its wider variety of themes and for being accomplished under much tighter technical limitations.

Composer: Yuzo Koshiro

#2: Castlevania (NES)

Castlevania’s soundtrack had some serious competition at the time because there were so many excellent action series/soundtracks around: Megaman, Ninja Gaiden, Contra… But James Banana (nickname of Kinuyo Yamashita) made this one so unique by implementing some needed terror touches through specific melodic scales and chords progressions. Even after more than 20 years it remains influencial.

Composer: James Banana (Kinuyo Yamashita)

#1: Super Mario Bros. (NES)

Some may say this is the cliche choice. Well, it can be; but there’s nothing like that out there even nowadays. Period! Before this there were almost no soundtracks in video games–most of them were made of a single music and a couple blips here and there. But that’s not the only value of this work. Koji Kondo’s creativity for the many different approaches used in each world, mood or environment here–plus the absurd freedom regarding tempo on the compositions–is still unmatched. If all that wasn’t enough there’s the good taste on cutting the right sound channel for the sound effects. An absolute winner.

Composer: Koji Kondo

I hope you liked this one, see ya next time!

Gone. (Just a Song)

October 10, 2011 Leave a comment

Hi there, how are you doing?

This time I’m going to share another new song in English, “Gone”. It makes me feel sorry for my scrapped voice since I can’t scream like I used to when I was younger. :( But I still can try a recording or two, so… Here it goes, no FXs AT ALL (I wish I was Mike Patton lol). :)

Gone

Gotta hit a nail's head.
Gotta find the right place and move there.
Gotta keep it going
with all the things I want or without 'em.

Gotta hit the bullseye.
Gotta blow it out of my mind.
Gotta try a rebirth
but first I must allow myself to die.

Gotta hit the road no matter where I'm heading to.
Gotta let it go for once and all.
Gotta face the sun to recognize the skies above.
Gotta spread the word--an empty one:

Gone.

Have a nice week! :)

Bowie’s Hat Full of Tricks

October 3, 2011 Leave a comment

Hi there, how are you doing?

Time to talk about one of my favorite songs from one of the most unique artists around the globe: “Quicksand”, by David Bowie.

I won’t even start to itch questions on the confuse lyrics here since it describes a wide variety of issues–from Occultism to Nazism, from Nietzsche to science–and Bowie himself states he was about to lose it (“I’m sinking in the quicksand / of my thought / And I ain’t got the power anymore”) but I’ll stick to the anti-climax chorus (“Don’t believe in yourself”) and its harmony. lol

Bowie can be unpredictable in many ways but I always get impressed by his unusual solutions when it comes to harmony. And by analising this particular block we can start to understand his approach on the matter.

The deal here is to drag out-of-the-box chords in by doing some small tweaks into regular chords. It works as tension points that keep the harmony from resolving and allow him to jump to a completely new place if he wants to. “Quicksand” is a nice study case since it’s all about diminished seventh chords.

Here we can see what an “ordinary” chords progression would be for the given melody (2/4):

A E F#m B7 E C#m Bm B7 A F#m Esus4 E

In this case B7 would provide tension enough for the melody to work fine and thing could run somewhat smoothly.

But Mr. Bowie wanted to go one step further and decided to force more tension points inside it with the above-mentioned diminished guys:

A E F#m Cº7 E A#º7 Bm D#º7 A F#m Esus4 E

The result is formidable. The final chords progressions feels much more epic and emotional–and the suspension caused by that Esus4 near the end only sums up to that overall feeling.

Take a listen and see (hear) for yourself how it does behave. It’s a beautiful song no matter what you think about the lyrics matter.

Have an awesome week, see ya!

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