Wednesday, December 14, 2005


Originally composed by Rich Vreeland from The Chronicles of Jammage the Jam Mage.

Rich Vreeland is this monster whose music I was introduced to on the Metroid Metal message boards. It was (and still is) music unlike anything else ever, and it’s extremely good and extremely clever and we used to bounce ideas off of each other all the time. The original version of this song is called “Martianmallow Town” from his album, The Chronicles of Jammage the Jam Mage which is the soundtrack to an imaginary game of his. I loved it when I heard it but couldn’t help hearing it differently in my memory and figured I’d might as well record it the way I remembered it. I asked his permission and not only did he give me the go ahead, he sent me his actual song files to play with. I don’t recall expecting an open-source angle into the song, but how generous!

In retrospect, I think I took his unique music and made it more conventional sounding than anything else. I intended to evoke the energy of live musicians. Classic Motown recordings have that quality to them where you can almost hear the room itself and I had a feeling that a sound like that might be right for what I wanted to do. Rich programmed the original instruments himself using his own peculiar methods, and much of this data is what I imported to use as I wished. In essence, this song has been re-produced rather than performed entirely myself, and the personality of the music is still very much his own as a result. It was plenty good to begin with so I honestly didn’t see the need to try and copy what he’d already done. As I said, open source!

Please visit Rich's site: !!

Friday, December 2, 2005

Attainment Suite

This is one of my own original concoctions.

My goal was to take a set of motifs and styles through an emotional journey based loosely on the K├╝bler-Ross model of coping with grief (skipping over the first stage because, musically, “denial” really wouldn’t fit). Many artists prefer to leave their work open to interpretation, but I know that really, everyone wants to know what the artists themselves meant or felt about something they’ve made. So the explanation above is, in my own view, what’s going on. Naturally, I still encourage anyone to make of this work what they will (within the rules outlined by the Creative Commons license of course!).

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Norfair and Title Themes

Originally composed by Hirokazu Tanaka from Metroid for the Nintendo Entertainment System.

Game music, for all its variety and breadth of styles, is more often than not re-arranged by fans for guitar because, I imagine, that’s simply the instrument of choice as it has been the most commonly used instrument in popular music for over fifty years now. And of the children who played Metroid when it was new and have now grown into music-creating adults, many of them naturally do so with their guitars.

By virtue of not being a guitarist, any cover coming from me was surely going to be approached very differently. Rock and metal have become the most common styles used for video game covers, and one could do no better than Stemage’s amazing examples of this at Metroid Metal. However, as wonderfully as metal and game music apparently fit together, I’ve personally never thought of Metroid as being very “metal” at all and wanted to use some of the eerie, sci-fi elements of the game and its positively dense atmosphere to influence the sound of my mix and thus ended up taking it in a direction closer to what I thought that would sound like.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Title and Village Themes

Originally composed by Naofumi Hataya from Golden Axe II for the Sega Genesis.

Like all of the game music I cover, I chose these themes because I really enjoy listening to them and wanted to learn how they worked in the way that a curious tinkerer disassembles and reassembles a gadget to understand it. I also wanted to hear the music again for the first time as well as apply my own ideas and creativity to these already great pieces as both a tribute to them and as a challenge to rise to their level of awesomeness. If my versions are inferior to the originals, then I’ve failed in that respect, but still learned a great deal just the same. I’m definitely more than happy if my versions are on at least the same level as the originals though.

The Village is the theme to the first stage of the Sega Genesis game after the introductory story (from which the music at the beginning comes from, obviously) which takes place in a village. This presumably peaceful place has been overrun by raiders and evil minions and it’s the job of the player to drive them out in a 2D sidescrolling brawler format.