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Tournament management has taken up a bit of time, so I'm returning momentarily to the Everhood OST, because it's still one of the best soundtracks of last year.

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Also I didn't mention in the original feature that the game utilized some pre-existing music from other sources.

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I've been replaying Sonic Adventure 2 and I never realized how good some of Tails' themes are. Shame you can barely hear them in-game with all the beeping.

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It's been too long since my last Monster Hunter feature, since for a long time I've been wanting to mention the soundtrack of Monster Hunter Frontier - which can be described as the "dark pegasus horse" of MH games. But first, to understand that - what is Monster Hunter Frontier?

Frontier was essentially an MMO version of Monster Hunter that never made it over to western audiences - emphasis on the word "was" because although it had a long run, the online service was shut down in 2019, making the game now impossible to play except through private servers. It was developed by a different team to the usual MH games and differentiates itself from mainline Monster Hunter in a lot of ways - although it essentially just started out as "online Monster Hunter with some unique monsters", there was always something a little bit "extra" about the game, even by MH standards; and being a continually supported online service there had to be something to keep people interested in the game, leading to an extreme amount of power scaling for both players and enemies over time and culminating in progressively more and more outlandish monster (and weapon) designs. Seriously, MH has always been a little OTT but Frontier is just something else. Some monsters have a lot of fans who want to see them brought over to the main series, although most fans also agree that not every monster from the game would be suitable for mainline MH. Still, there are actually two monsters in mainline MH who did originate from Frontier, however they were brought over a long time ago, and Capcom seems to ignore the existence of the game outside of this...

...until now. With the latest trailer for Sunbreak finally confirming a new monster from that game becoming canon, and confirming the fact Capcom remembers the game exists, it's reminded me that I finally ought to show some of the music from this game.

The game's music is stylistically a bit different to typical Monster Hunter, which leads me to believe that not only the programming team but also the music team was different for this game. While the soundtrack is still orchestral, Frontier's tracks tend to have a more cinematic grandeur to them.

This is also the point where Ken becomes very glad he doesn't list expansions separately from the base game in his end-of-year roundup, because being an MMO, Frontier has countless expansions that are probably impossible to understand unless you actually played the game.

Also, I know I said I would get the track names but this a game that never left Asia and isn't even playable anymore we're talking about. Just don't even bother.

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Note: "Diorekkusu" (Diorex) is a variant of a mainline monster, Tigrex, and there's a part with the original Tigrex theme in this that I absolutely love.

 

 

 

To finish off, a medley someone helpfully put together of all phase themes for Shantien (plus a kind of bonus at the end).

 

 

 

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5 hours ago, buskerdog said:

Just don't even bother.

A challenge?

First, second and fifth tracks, respectively:
Javon Dance
The Rumbling Ultramarine Armour
The Silhouette's Transformation

The remaining three tracks are proving more difficult, but three out of six isn't to bad, eh? ?

Edited by Ken Hisuag
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After two years of near complete silence, we have finally been graced with an update on the development of Hollow Knight: Silksong, and I could not be more excited. As it is on my mind, I've noticed I never featured any of the boss themes in the previous Hollow Knight features. Now is as good a time as any:

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13 hours ago, Ken Hisuag said:

  

A challenge?

First, second and fifth tracks, respectively:
Javon Dance
The Rumbling Ultramarine Armour
The Silhouette's Transformation

The remaining three tracks are proving more difficult, but three out of six isn't to bad, eh? ?

I didn't want to leave you with an incomplete list, but since you've impressed me by managing to find some of the ones I didn't know, I'll tell you the other names I had happened to come across. 

Odibatorasu: Gigantic Castle of Vicious Sand - Odibatorasu

Shantien:

  • phase 1: The Azure Dragon's Advent
  • phase 2: The Azure Dragon Soars to the Heavens
  • phase 3: Storm Preceding the Verge of Death
  • phase 4: Imperial Wrath of the Azure Dragon

(idk about the website music)

I didn't have the Kuarusepusu / Highlands area theme name before, but did some digging and was able to run into it quite luckily here

Kuarusepusu / Highlands: Sanctuary in the Sky - Highlands

Can't believe we actually managed to find all of that...

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I'm on a re-feature streak lately, and I feel a bit guilty for it. Sonic Origins is coming out this week, and I was intending to do a Sonic CD feature for it, but I haven't reviewed the soundtrack in a while and I ran out of time. So I figured I'd do a Sonic Mania feature instead, as it's one of my favorite soundtracks and I did say I'd come back to it eventually. Coincidentally, Tee Lopes recently did the soundtrack for Shredder's Revenge, so I'll have to check that out soon.

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While I'm on the subject, a shoutout to Jahn Davis, one of the best Sonic-style musicians out there and composer for the Sonic Studio project.

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I just finished playing Furi, something I've been wanting to do for some time, and boy does it have a great soundtrack. Not only because it's enjoyable on its own but it complements the atmosphere and aesthetic of the game so well. Also in-game the boss themes only progress as you get further into the fight, which is always a neat touch.

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A passive reference by SasaMisa put me on the trail of The Last Ninja, a Commodore 64 game with composers Ben Daglish and Anthony Lees. This soundtrack surprised me; my preferences in chiptune favour complex arrangement, but I rarely come across it in the retro era. Many of these tracks are composed in a progression of movements, seemingly multiple tracks transitioning one into another while retaining the features of one track.

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Additionally, in connection to this game is a rare instance of the composer having an opportunity to remix a chiptune piece into something resembling its instrumental inspiration. Not all (perhaps not even many) retro chiptune soundtracks were composed in enforced minimalist replication of "real" instruments, but when such is the case it's fascinating to be able to hear the comparison later on.

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Digging deeper into unfamiliar territory (for me), I pulled out the soundtrack for Willow (the game not the movie). Typically, the older the chiptune, the less likely I am to be impressed by it; having been spoiled by the likes of the Follin brothers or Eric W. Brown, it's sometimes harder for me to appreciate the less complex arrangements that limited hardware instigated at the time. Despite this, the objective aspect of musical quality is worth striving to discern, lest worthwhile experiences be missed.

In this case, I appreciated the effort put forth by the composers to make the most of their simpler compositions. For more atmospheric pieces, drawn out notes inflicted with tremolo sets the tone very well, while more active pieces can employ a baroque style to capture the desired mood. The fight themes are more typical for chiptune, using rapid movement to simulate energy, but are nonetheless well composed in melody.

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I also encountered a slight usage of leitmotif, though without context for the pieces I can't be sure of the specifics. The adjustment to mood was noteworthy, though.

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I would be remiss if I did not note the release of the long-expected Cuphead D.L.C., with it's generous supply of new music! As one might have guessed of a game known for its attention to detail, these fresh tunes compare more than favorably to their predecessors. In addition to the big band and jazz of the originals, a splattering of other genres have been mixed in, usually complimentary but occasionally as a sharper contrast. I've omitted some of the more unique pieces to avoid spoilers, but hopefully the spirit of the addition is still felt in these tracks.

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A Fracture FeatureTM

this week, just 'cause.

I've just about given up on getting to hear the full Critadel soundtrack; what I can find is really good, but for some reason it hasn't been released either officially or unofficially.

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While I wasn't motivated to plan out a feature for the rest of the soundtrack, the trailer music for Dead Estate impressed me (surprising, considering it's partly English vocal).

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Sonic Origins was in no way what I was hoping it would be, but at least we got a new Hyper Potions composition out of it.

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I've been playing an amazing game called "Katana Zero" [it's currently available on Steam!] and there are many good tracks as well. Originally I wanted to share many ost here but I also want those who are interested in "Katana Zero" to play the game and experience it with the music themselves. Because personally I think the music, gameplay, story, atmosphere,... of the game really go with each other.

That's why I want to share not only the music but also the whole game itself. With that being said, here's some of them:

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'--->LOOK HERE<---'   for the link to the game :D

https://store.steampowered.com/app/460950/Katana_ZERO/

Edited by Jaz:3
lol not gonna tell you
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I covered Moss a long time ago; at the time it stood out from my other VGM experiences as being exceptionally well instrumented, and featuring an exemplary use of leitmotif. Since that time, this short soundtrack has remained just outside my "personal top ten" criteria, mostly for it's short length and limited relatability (why isn't that registering as a word?). I knew next to nothing about the game (only what my brother told me), but I had the impression that this would not affect my impression on the music.

The impending release of it's sequel, Moss: Book II, was unexpected but eagerly anticipated. With this expanded collection of music, I feel comfortable now counted the franchise among my favorite collections; a greater range of tone is accomplished by additional instrumentation, and the original's prominent leitmotif is joined by a lesser but complimentary musical phrase. These compositions are not necessarily any more accomplished than those of their predecessor's, but they nonetheless spark some curiosity in me, to understand them more thoroughly, that I did not feel before.

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Been listening back to some music from the first two Ys games. I really need to play more of the series when I get the time but the contrast of the very, very basic gameplay and this music is so funny to me. Only played the Chronicles re-release so I can mostly speak for that but, I've heard some of the other arrangements and they do have a different feel to them. Specially the Ys Complete versions, I actually prefer some of those over the more modern sound.

also the games originally released on pc-88, the pc-98 series' predecessor, so that's neat

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Edited by Tenkko
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I had the urge to do something truly random and unpredictable this week. So I reached into the depths of my memory, to the earliest of my experiences with game music. What did I find?

An ancient typing course.

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Actually, does this even count as VGM?
Probably should have saved this for next year's April Fool's, but it falls on a Saturday and I don't trust myself not to forget anyway.

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Holding to an obscurity streak, I remembered the soundtrack to Zero Deaths from a couple years ago; for such a hasty project, the music is pretty good. The primary style is synthwave, but there's a fair bit of variety to the arrangements; most tracks are relaxed or at least of low energy, though not quite what I'd call ambient, with enough activity to balance a range of tones. I found it surprisingly satisfying to listen to; even though the melodies are not prevalent, they are more present than I commonly find in similarly styled pieces, adding a unique structure to the progression.

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One of the first things I featured here was The Messenger, noteworthy for its double-soundtrack of exemplary chiptune in two different styles. It has remained one of my favorite soundtracks since, yet for some reason I've never brought it up since (except to reference it in relation to other things). I had something else lined up, but I've decided to adjust it, and thought it would be an ideal time to remember The Messenger here again. However, instead of doing a refeature, I'm going to present some of the scarce-but-impressive arrangements that I've come across. For some reason, there are very few remixed from this soundtrack compared to other games with its reputation, but the upside is those that do exist are often more memorable. These are some of my favorites.

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Twas my intention to feature Stray today. While the game did not initially catch my interest, I chanced upon the knowledge that the soundtrack was composed by Yann Van Der Cruyssen, arranger for the Cave Story+ soundtrack. I was curious what his original music would sound like, especially in such a different project, and so sought it out.

In general, the entirety of this soundtrack is mellow ambience, but not to such an extreme degree that it is devoid of progression. Each individual track has a range of moods transitioning in and out of each other (occasionally, the difference is so contrasting that I wonder why it isn't its own track). While this captures the atmosphere of the settings, it also manages to emerge from the background a bit with occasional melodies. Even that aside, the instrumentation is noteworthy for its uniqueness and cohesiveness.

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Since the Red Alert 2 feature, my perspective on the soundtrack has gradually evolved from fond nostalgia to genuine appreciation, and I am now considering it as potentially one of my favorites. Despite the heavy tones, there is a greater presence of melody than many of today's soundtracks, and even a limited range of mood amongst the different tracks.

In the initial feature, I stuck to tracks from the base game. Now, I will add a few from the Yuri's Revenge expansion, in essence a DLC that improved on its foundations in every way. The composer for both (and for other entries in the Command & Conquer series) was Frank Klepacki, who has a reputation for this genre of music.

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This coming month . . .

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Edited by Ken Hisuag

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As I was refreshing my memories of Red Alert 2, I discovered a mod project comparable to Beyond Skyrim in ambition; a complete overhaul of the original game's faction system, gameplay, campaign, and even (to a certain degree) aesthetic. Most relevantly for this thread, however, was the inclusion of a freshly complied soundtrack. After a bit of consideration, I have decided to dedicate a month-long feature to it.

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The soundtrack for Mental Omega is divided into four parts, each specific to a faction. For the Allied faction, the developers compiled a variety of Frank Klepacki's music from various albums of his. There is a focus on specific tone and mood in the selection, leaning away from Klepacki's heavier tracks in favour of his relatively more balanced styles. Granted that it's still Klepacki, but the difference will become apparent when compared directly with his heavier works (more on that later).

I suspect each faction's soundtrack is intended to somewhat characterize (or, more accurately, match the characterization of) the faction it accompanies. As the Allies are one of the two original factions, Klepacki's familiar sound relates well, while the distinct trend in selection helps mold the perception of the listener according to the developers' designs. I might be reading too heavily into it, but future features should act as reinforcement to my postulations.

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The Soviet faction soundtrack is also constructed of Klepacki pieces, many of which are from the same albums that contributed to the Allied soundtrack. The major difference is the tone of the selected tracks, which is much harsher in comparison.

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Because both parts are made up of pieces from the same composer (who is composing in his customary style throughout), there is a similar sound between them. Yet there is still an intentional differentiation, and each choice was made to highlight it.

The Allies consider themselves more noble, citing the fight for freedom as their cause; they are "good guys" in whatever conflict they participate in. Their fighting style emphasizes strategy in assault. Meanwhile, the Soviets prefer a visage of strength and might, focusing on their will to dominate the world. They don't acknowledge or seem to care about their ethical position, maintaining a manner of superiority over everyone else. Their fighting style emphasizes brute force. Yet behind their internal considerations, the two sides aren't that different from each other; for both, the primary focus is always beating out the other, and everything else (including ethical considerations) comes secondary.

At least, that's the impression I'm getting.

On an unrelated note, the soundtrack also includes a few fan remixes, most notable a medley that serves as Mental Omega's own version of Hell March.

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Unlike its predecessors, the Epsilon soundtrack is composed by Black Ice 9, who uses a hybrid style similar to Klepacki but with a strong Middle Eastern folk influence. Pieces from this part of the soundtrack are also utilized for the mod's main theme and other important placements.

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Overall, these pieces are more foreboding, having limited movement as they slide through their melodies. The Middle Eastern instrumentation and progression is parred with strong electronic elements, complimenting and contrasted as the need allows. I perceive the Epsilon faction as an underhanded group, eschewing straightforward strategies in favor of subversive ones, seeking victory by means of deceit and espionage. Their fighting style emphasizes stealth and sabotage. By incorporating music so distinct from Klepacki, the faction is clearly distinguished from the previous two. However, the genre is just close enough to avoid being out of place.

Edited by Ken Hisuag

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