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5 Game Soundtracks That Deserve Your Love

5 Game Soundtracks That Deserve Your Love

2015 is almost over, and there were many awesome new game scores that came with it. However, not enough of them receive the attention and recognition they deserve, so before Star Wars comes out and we all get lost in the new John Williams themes, here are five lesser known game soundtracks that are worth checking out. So, in no particular order, here they are.   Tinertia – Jeff Swingle Turns out platformers are hard without a jump button. Instead, you use rockets to boost yourself around the game, which is fun and INCREDIBLY challenging. Fortunately, the music does a pretty good job of keeping you sane. As you take the little robot Weldon on an intense journey filled with many deaths, you are accompanied by groovy electronica, with synths that change depending upon where you are. The bosses tend to have heavier, fatter synths, while Weldon is represented lighter more punctuated colors and tones. The two types of synths then interact and clash as you rocket jump your way to victory over the boss. Check out the score at https://jeffswinglemusic.bandcamp.com/, and play the game if you want a challenge similar to that of Super Meat Boy! Grow Home – Lewis Griffin Although the official OST is only two tracks, I wanted to include it here because the game and audio soundscape deserve more attention. This game was made in house at Ubisoft to test out new climbing mechanics, and Lewis Griffin is part of the team there. In Grow Home, you take control of B.U.D (Biotanical Utility Droid) and are tasked with climbing up from the planet’s surface towards your...
I Took a Day Off, and Didn’t Feel Guilty About It.

I Took a Day Off, and Didn’t Feel Guilty About It.

And now you’re thinking one of two things: Either, “he’s a complete workaholic and I don’t understand at all”. Or, “that sounds like my life oh man please tell me more.” Now maybe you have a job where work doesn’t follow you home, but many of us, especially in entertainment, are always working. And since I work from home, I always feel like I could be doing something productive. But this was the Friday after Thanksgiving – where most people eat leftovers and sleep. And I opted to join that majority. I spent the day with three of my close friends, and did nothing. We made cinnamon rolls, watched two movies, browsed YouTube, and enjoyed the day. And all the while, I was struck by how refreshing it felt to let go of work for a day, and take a true break. But I have so much work to do! That’s a phrase often heard when you encourage someone to take a break. And I get it. I’m busy too and it can feel insurmountable. Breaks are sometimes seen as being lazy, and aren’t looked upon favorably. As a result, people get trapped in a cycle of “I have a lot of work to do, and the only way to solve it is to work nonstop until it’s finished.” And while this can be effective at first, consistent work without breaks will damage your quality of work, create bad habits, and hurt your physical and mental health if pushed too far. I think that it’s even more important that you take a moment for yourself when you have more...
My Role on The Woman Astronaut

My Role on The Woman Astronaut

Hello again! I’m extremely excited to say that Penka Kouneva’s cinematic orchestral album, The Woman Astronaut, was released on July 10th by Varese Sarabande / Universal Music Group. This marks the release of the first big project I have worked on since moving to LA, and I’m here to talk about my specific role in it. (A big thank you to Renzo Heredia for the idea!) Making Sounds & Coffee So what did I do? I’m credited both as the “composer’s assistant” as well as an “additional synth programmer” for the tracks Looking Up (5), Space (10), and Solar Flare (14). These two titles effectively separate my support work (assistant) from my creative work (synth programming). As Penka’s assistant, I created basic templates, bounced a ton of stems, and did various tasks that she didn’t have time to focus on. As a synth programmer, I helped take Penka’s creative vision and turn it into something tangible, whether that be sequencing a drum part, or designing new sounds. I began working with Penka in September 2014. She had been writing the tracks for the past year, and the majority of tracks were ready for recording when I joined. Although Penka had a large team on the project, I worked exclusively with her. She gave me tasks and direction, and I helped make it come to life. I didn’t meet everyone else until the recording session on October 29th. Any questions I had that Penka couldn’t answer were routed through her to another member of the team. This way, she was kept in the loop with everything. Interpreting Creative Visions So for...
The Struggles of Building A Slave PC

The Struggles of Building A Slave PC

It’s finally time to upgrade my computer. I’ve been running my Macbook Pro mid 2010 for five years now, and it’s officially tired (but still going!) So what do you choose? There are so many options. Could get a full new Mac Pro, maybe an iMac, or even completely switch to PC. But as you may have guessed, I’ve chosen to go the route of slave PC. Why A Slave? There were two reasons I chose this. Partially it was a financial decision. I can get the same amount of power going with a PC than buying a new Mac for much less money. Secondly, I’ll be able to expand my rig easily. The slave PC will always be relevant, and I can just continue to upgrade the master computer. For my budget, building a PC provides me with a better long-term solution, than buying a marginally better Mac and upgrading again in a few years. Plus, I wanted to learn and build the machine myself. So where to start? Building a PC is a pretty daunting task. There are a lot of great online resources, and if you’re about to start upon this quest, I recommend reading this guide! http://lifehacker.com/5828747/how-to-build-a-computer-from-scratch-the-complete-guide It explains each component well, and gives you advice on what to purchase. So instead of me reiterating that, I’m going to talk about some specifics I think are important for a composer’s slave PC, primarily the processor and motherboard.  Processor Wars One of the first components to choose is the processor. It provides all of the power to your machine, and as a result, is one of...
Ori and the Blind Forest – Scoring Cutscenes & Gameplay

Ori and the Blind Forest – Scoring Cutscenes & Gameplay

Oh man this game. What an emotional roller coaster. I’m about 6-7 hours in and it’s been really cool so far. The music especially impressed me, specifically during the opening of the game. It really draws you in. The score is written by Gareth Coker, and features a number of well-known soloists. It’s so refreshing to hear woodwinds again, a family of instruments that was left behind in the recent film and game scoring world because they sounded “too classical”, or because they lacked the power that brass and strings could offer. In contrast to that, Coker’s score makes heavy use of woodwind solos, bringing back colors of the orchestra less seen today. This is the first time I’ve heard his music, and I’m excited to see where he goes after this game. Much like Austin Wintory and Journey, I hope that Ori will help put him on the map as a composer. But okay on to the game itself! SPOILERS AHEAD! Implementation is EVERYTHING So the prologue. There are so many awesome moments. Many people have commented that this is their favorite part, comparing it to Pixar’s film Up, and the music plays a huge role in making that opening so moving.  Why is it so successful at this? Aside from the obvious answer of “it has pretty music”, the real factor is that the implementation of the music is amazing. As the game transitions from cutscene to gameplay and back, the music follows and scores it SO well, and this adds so much to the experience. This is difficult to do in games because the player determines how long...