Kenley Kristofferson

Composer.

Tag: video game

VGM Wednesday – “Fiddler’s Green” from Uncharted Waters, Special Edition

“Fiddler’s Green” from Uncharted Waters: New Horizons, by Yoko Kanno
Arrangement from the album “Uncharted Waters: Special Edition”.

I write this from the seafaring island of Cape Breton on the Canadian eastern shore.  My wife and I are on our honeymoon until the end of the month and we’ve been spending our two weeks here frolicking through the long grass, eating seafood, touring the rolling hills and valleys and listening to some killer East Coast fiddle music in pubs throughout the island.  Life is good 🙂

The fiddle is a really big deal here on the island, it’s as though everyone plays it and knows all of the tunes.  I know that’s not really true, but when you go to a jam session and there are six fiddlers getting in the circle, calling out tunes and shredding up a storm, it sure seems like it.  It’s culture in the truest sense.  It’s not manufactured for tourists and there aren’t parties planned to make a summer schedule, it’s simply what the people do and we get to be part of it.

For this week’s VGM Wednesday, I decided to pick a fiddle tune from a reasonably obscure game.  I’ve presented another tune from this game called “Close to Home” a few months back, but in keeping with the spirit of “VGM-inspired tunes” this August, I chose an arrangement.

The arrangement album, “Uncharted Waters: Special Edition,” is really the definitive way to listen to this soundtrack.  The OST feels limited in what the SNES and Genesis/Megadrive can do, but this disc is a real tour-de-force of the music that exists inside the score.

It maintains the head of the tune with fiddle and guitar, then goes into the feel of a jazz-feel solo section.  The violin and guitar call-and-response harkens back to the time of Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli and it’s really fitting for the pub feel of the tune (which is where the music plays in the game).

At 2:31, the guitarist sounds like he’s quoting “Jingle Bells” (though, of course, he’s not) and plays the wrong third of the chord and it drives me bananas every time.

Anyway, enjoy!
Kenley

PS: The photo in the picture is from a jam session at the Red Shoe Pub in Mabou, NS, which is on the island and about a 30 minute drive from our cottage.

VGM Wednesday – Aurora (Meet Me in the Stars) by Anamanaguchi

“Aurora (Meet Me in the Stars” from Summer Singles 2010, by Anamanaguchi.

I want to do something different with VGM Wednesday this month.

Instead of finding tunes from games, I want to flip that expression around and find game-inspired tunes.  That could mean a lot of things and over the next five weeks, it will 🙂

The first is from the fabulous 8-bit band, Anamanaguchi.  Their music is all original and has the feel of classic gaming, but with modern harmony and parts/riffs that would normally push any 2A03 to the limit.

The piece is called “Aurora (Meet Me in the Stars)” and, having written and re-written this description several times, I still have a hard time putting down my thoughts.  I love it – that’s it.  Maybe you will too.  You can hear all of their music on their Soundcloud… all of it 😐 One of my other favourites is “My Skateboard Will Go On,” and it makes me want to high five everyone everywhere.  SO GOOD.

I love this band and bought their albums, I recommend you do the same.

(and by “buy,” I mean with money and not download them illegally. They’re indie, so support them).

Clear skies, everyone!
Kenley

VGM Wednesday – “The Turnabout Sisters’ Ballad” from Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney

“The Turnabout Sisters’ Ballad” from Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, by Masakazu Sugimori and Naoto Tanaka, and released in 2001.

When I first got a DS (in about 2006, I know), this was one of the first games that I played.  I remember liking it, but I just couldn’t get over how much reading there was.  I feel silly about it now, but maybe I just wasn’t into it at the time.  Oh, and I sucked at it, let’s not forget that one.

Then about two months ago, I tried it again and loved it.

I was better at evidence, I was more interested in the story, I liked the characters more… it was just the right time to play it.

But even more so than before, I heard the classic feel of the music.  Maybe I just wasn’t thinking about it at the time, but now that I hear it, it harkens back to the Japanese melody-centric VGM that I grew up with.  Keeping in mind, the game was released in 2001, so the music wasn’t that far out of the “golden era” (mid-80s to late-90s) of VGM.

In case you’ve never played it, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney is an adventure game about a rookie lawyer (named Phoenix Wright) who takes over the law practice after his partner (Mia) is killed.  See? Not a spoiler.  The game has two main sections: The investigation and the trial.  During the investigation, you gather evidence and information from various places and people and use it in the trial against various witnesses to win the case.  All of the chapters are uniquely interrelated, which I really enjoyed this second time around.

“The Turnabout Sisters’ Ballad” plays after Mia dies – that’s not a spoiler, she dies right at the beginning.  Her younger sister (Maya) becomes your partner and has a theme of her own, which later becomes the de facto theme of the the Wright & Co. law offices.

As we hear, they’re both arrangements of the same theme.  The first moves a lot slower and is a bit more emotive, whereas the second is more rhythmic and shows the lighter feeling of the office.  I just love the both of them, but the “Turnabout Sisters’ Ballad” gives me a stronger emotional response.  Maya often recounts missing her sister around these parts and the dialogue is really sharp here.

(Also, I am a huge sucker 1-7-1-^5 movements, like the background line at 0:38… GAH!)

Have a great week.
Enjoy the 4th of July, American friends.
Enjoy the discovery of the Higgs Boson, human race 🙂

Kenley