Music Spotlight #7: Benny Oschmann

MAY ISSUE: POST #33

I always struggle with these posts, not because they’re difficult to write, but because it’s hard to choose a composer in the first place. I look at the games on my shelves and I think to myself ‘who’s going to be the lucky sod this time?’ But today, miraculously, I thought, why don’t I do a post on one of my favourite game series? I haven’t done one on the series really, so this is a perfect opportunity to at least feature some of the music.

That series is The Book of Unwritten Tales. It makes me sad that the series, from what I know, isn’t really well known when it should be. It’s one of the wittiest, unique-looking point and click series I’ve ever played. I had tons of fun with it, and I’d play it all over again.

But this post, in particular, is about the award-winning musician who made the music for this series, and of course, plenty of other titles too. He’s taken part in projects such as Kinectimals, Toy Story 3 – The Video Game, Hitman Absolution, Angry Birds Toons and The Raven – Legacy of a Master Thief. This composer I speak of is none other than Benny Oschmann (which is a great name if you ask me).

Name: Benny Oschmann
Country: Germany
Links: Website  

Thank you to the YouTube channels for providing us with the music!

Of course, first of all, I want to remind myself of the great music from The Book of Unwritten Tales. The game follows the story of four characters, whom you play as, named Wilbur, Nate, Ivo, and Critter. They exist in a world torn by war, and a particular artifact in the world is about to determine everybody’s fate. There are great puzzles joined by amazing voice-acting, and of course, music. So let’s have a listen.

I don’t know about you, but this gets me pumped up for the game, especially the beginning.

This one actually feels really nostalgic. It’s really rememberable, and even after a second (or a millisecond) I could tell you which game this piece comes from (if I’m just hearing it that is. Looking at the video would be cheating).

These two tacks, in particular, fit the game perfectly. When you’re playing, they really set the mood and the atmosphere. It’s perfect.

Unfortunately, the soundtracks for the other two games aren’t really uploaded well onto YouTube, but here’s the full soundtrack for The Book of Unwritten Tales: The Critter Chronicles, which from the get-go, you can hear it’s brilliant. It’s a light-hearted and fun game, and you can feel that through the music, which is so important, in my opinion. The music of a game can leave big impressions.

I really want to play The Raven: Legacy of A Master Thief, and the music gives me a pretty good first impression (and reminds me of The Book of Unwritten Tales as well. It’s strange how you can recognise someone’s style across different projects). If anyone has played this game, please let me know what you think of it!

He also composed the music for a game called Black Mirror which released late last year. It currently has mixed reviews on Steam but I think it looks pretty interesting, however, it is a re-imagining of a gothic-horror adventure series, so I think I would want to try those first. But yes! Since this post is about Benny Oschmann, I thought I’d finish off with this beautiful piece for Black Mirror. Please do enjoy.

Thank you for reading and Happy Gaming!

-LDG

Music Spotlight #6: Darren Korb

MAY ISSUE: POST #23

To be honest, I’m going to jump straight in and say that the composer for Bastion is an outright genius. Even though I actually played it first a few years ago, the music has stuck with me ever since then. I never forgot it, and so, I picked the game up again a few days ago and beat it. It’s not a very long game if you aim to beat the story only, but it’s still really worth putting your time into.

If you’ve played Bastion before, you’ll know what I mean when I say that the music is absolutely perfect. Unfortunately, I haven’t played the developers other games yet, but I’m sure the music for those games is fantastic too.

So, who is the composer for BastionWell, his name is Darren Korb, alongside Bastion, he did indeed work on the sound and music for Supergiant’s other games, called Transistor and Pyre.

Name: Darren Korb
Nationality: American
Born: November 5th, 1983
Links: Twitter
Thank you to the YouTube channels for providing us with the music!

Darren Korb is a songwriter and composer for the indie developer Supergiant Games. He attended New York University for music production and music business, and after that, before joining the indie team, he had worked on a few small television and film projects. The co-founder of Supergiant Games is Darren Korb’s childhood friend, so that’s rather sweet, isn’t it? I wish a childhood friend of mine would come to me and ask if I wanted to take part in whatever they were doing. Although, to be honest, I have no idea what my childhood friends are doing right now. Maybe one of them is in jail. If so, perhaps I should be careful what I wish for.

Anyway, moving on. The music for Bastion is phenomenal, really. Kotaku even agrees with me, having stated that it was ‘one of the best video game soundtracks of 2011’. Darren Korb himself describes it as ‘acoustic frontier trip-hop’ which is a very intriguing sounding mix of words if you ask me. You sure don’t hear that every day. Why don’t we have a listen?

This makes me feel like some old dude with a hat ready for a pistol fight. Or, actually, it reminds me of Borderlands a lot, and that’s a good thing because the soundtrack for Borderlands is also one of my favouries. But to be honest, I won’t sit here and compare this game’s soundtrack to any other, because it really is unique on its own and it fits the game like a glove (if that makes any sense). It’s such a beautiful mix of sounds and instruments, and I really can’t get over it.

Now, this is the song I had on my iPod years ago (actually, I had the extended version on my iPod), because I loved it just that much. I still do. A lot of this music gives me goosebumps, and that doesn’t happen too often with video game soundtracks.

Speaking of goosebumps. This. This. It’s such a calm song and so so beautiful. I was trying to think of a better word to describe it, but unfortunately, beautiful is the only word I can think of. It’s extremely beautiful. Yes. Beautiful.

And then there’s this version. To be honest, it creeps me out. You have been warned. Please never have this on repeat, you will go crazy. I think I’m shuddering.

I honestly think the score should stop giving me goosebumps before my skin decides to leave me. Seriously, it’s clear that Darren Korb worked so hard on this and that he is extremely talented. The soundtrack is full of songs that you can’t forget.

Don’t ask me how, but I sang along with this one sometimes. With doo -doo-doos or something- yes, I’m an embarrassing human. But again, this is what I mean when I say that the soundtrack is easy to remember. There are certain parts of this particular piece that stick with me and will suddenly pop into my head when I’m not asking for it.

Even though I still yet to play Transistor and Pyre, I think it’s only fair in a music spotlight to show music from as many different works as possible. So let’s have a listen to a few.

I personally like this one. It sounds pretty nice, as if you were to relax on a beach or something on a bright day. It also makes me want to dance around with a hula skirt (never ask me what I imagine doing while listening to most music. I’m probably a strange human).

I was quickly listening through Pyre‘s songs and by golly, it’s amazing. These songs already make me feel like the game is full of emotions, and I haven’t even played it yet. I don’t know if I’m ready. To be honest, I’m never ready, and with music like this? Oh boy, I’ll probably need some tissues. Or lots of moral support.

And there we have it! Did you enjoy all that music? I know I certainly did. If you have any appreciation for video game scores, I recommend that you go listen to the full soundtracks for all three games as soon as possible. And, also, give the composer some love. In this day and age, we need to share around all the love we can (I don’t even know what I’m saying. Have a good day everybody!)

Thank you for reading and Happy Gaming!

-LDG

Music Spotlight #5: Christophe Héral

MAY ISSUE: POST #14

Yesterday I beat Beyond Good & Evil, and oh man, I think that the soundtrack is one of the best things to enter my ears in a long long time. So it was pretty easy to find a composer to showcase today. Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to the showcase for Christophe Héral!

Name: Christophe Héral 
Nationality: French 

Thank you to the YouTube channel for providing us with the music!

Christophe Héral has composed and worked on the music for games such as Rayman Origins, Rayman Legends, Rayman Adventures and The Adventures of Tintin: The Gameso it’s no wonder he’s so great when Rayman has frankly been a huge part of his life. It also seems that he’s working on the soundtrack for Beyond Good & Evil 2, thank goodness.

Beyond Good & Evil is an action-adventure game published by Ubisoft and released back in 2003. The game is a fantastic title, where you follow the story of Jade. The gameplay revolves around obtaining photographic evidence as a reporter and taking care of enemies by karate chopping them with your legs. I want to spend a moment here to praise the game for its story and design, but also for its music.

Here are some of my favourite tracks that I want to share, and I think you’ll agree that they’re utterly splendid (I would actually put these on my iPod, and that’s saying a lot).

Goosebumps. I think I have goosebumps.

If you want music that sets an atmosphere, then here you are. I mean, the music for this game was actually really culturally diverse, and that’s what’s great about it. It’s experimental and you have to appreciate the composer a lot for doing that and probably taking some risks. It certainly paid off in my mind.

I’m going to remember this one for the rest of my life because of the many many times that I said ‘oh, crap, not again’ when getting caught by the guards, which caused this music to start up.

It pains me to say that I actually haven’t really played or owned a Rayman title before. It’s disgraceful, I know, but it’s one of those series that I never got around to checking out. I know a little about it though, and now I know even more because I’ve been looking up some soundtrack pieces. I love the sounds in this tune, and it’s pretty well put together. I can’t wait to experience it in the game one day.

Did I ever express my love for medieval music? Well, now is the time for me to do that. Medieval music is the best, especially when it comes to game soundtracks.

I’m mainly putting this in because of the first 20 seconds. I love that first 20 seconds.

You can’t go wrong with some 8-bit stuff! So here’s 8-bit stuff to make you happy, because I’m that kind of a person.

I want to end this post with this piece, because, well, it surprised me at first in the game. Like, I was just racing along and suddenly this dude starts shouting and singing words at me. But, I really love it. It grew on me. It’s perfect. You could probably have it as your alarm. And I think it’s the perfect song to end with today.

If you haven’t play Beyond Good & Evil, then I highly recommend it! Even for the music alone. Give it a go, and see how the music fits into the game.

Thank you for reading and Happy Gaming!

-LDG

Music Spotlight #4: Greg Edmonson

MAY ISSUE: POST #4

Welcome to post number 4. This is another music spotlight, where I introduce you to a member of the composing world and hope that you become enlightened.

I’m sitting in a car right now typing this, and I was thinking to myself who can I write about? What video game has a soundtrack that I love and remember vividly? Well, that soundtrack ladies and gentlemen, popped into my head immediately. The music for Uncharted 2, and who created the music for this game? None other than Greg Edmonson.

Name: Greg Edmonson 
Nationality: American

Thank you to the YouTube channel for providing us with the music!

Greg Edmonson is known for creating music for a number of films, tv shows and video games (well, the first three games in the Uncharted series). He even composed for King of the Hill a number of times! How neat is that?

He grew up in Texas and grew up playing guitar, moving on later to study jazz composition at University. He became a session player and studio musician, and he then studied at the Musicians Institute of Technology. So, all in all, we can say that he’s definitely got a lot of knowledge under his belt.

First of all, I want to jump right in and share with you my favourite tracks from Uncharted 2 and a couple from Uncharted 3. The music fits so perfectly, and in my opinion, it’s pretty rememberable for a soundtrack too. It’s so beautiful and with all those different instruments put together, it really helps you to feel like you’ve been transported to another part of the world. I mean, I have the soundtrack CD, and I’m not going to deny that I would play it and pretend I’m deep in the forests of Bolivia wielding a gun or something. I can dream.

Actually, I’d play this tune in particular when I want to pretend that I can handle a gun.

Aaaaahh, Nate, the memories!

Ahem, anyway, moving on. I’m probably the worst tv and film buff in the world, because I hardly watch films or tv (and when I do they’re animated) so it doesn’t surprise me when I don’t know any of the ones he’s composed for (apart from the animated one, King of the Hill). But I looked some up and here are a couple cool ones I found.

I did read that Firefly was a pretty popular show, so perhaps I’ll take a look! Has anybody seen it? As for the soundtracks, you can’t go wrong (you can actually hear the Uncharted in a couple of the last ones)!

It’s lovely, lovely music- and that’s how I’m summarising this post.

Thank you for reading and Happy Gaming!

-LDG

Music Spotlight #3: Troels Brun Folmann

APRIL ISSUE: ISSUE #26

I have quite a few music spotlight posts lined up because there is so much music in this ginormous universe to choose from, and so much to listen to. Honestly, I think my ears are going to give up on me pretty soon with all those noises drumming into it constantly. I knew that I wanted to write about Troels Brun Folmann at some point though, and I guess today is that day. This is what my fingers are deciding to type, so I’m going to let them continue.

Name: Troels Brun Folmann
Born: 10 January 1974
Nationality: Danish

Thank you to this channel here for providing us with the music 
of Tomb Raider!

Troels Brun Folmann specializes in epic orchestral music and his work is featured in a range of productions, including video games, in particular, a few titles from the Tomb Raider series. The most notable to me is Tomb Raider Legendwhich soundtrack I have listened to countless times. He also worked on Tomb Raider: Anniversary, and some other games too such as Transformers: Fall of Cyberton and Project Snowblind.

I’m mainly going to be sticking with Tomb Raider: Legend for today, just because it is definitely in my top 5 for favourite game soundtracks. Ever. Honestly, you’re really missing out if you haven’t heard these.

Even from the get-go, you can’t go wrong. The Main Theme sets the atmosphere and frankly, is absolutely beautiful. It makes me shiver, and I don’t shiver often.

Continuing on with soundtracks that give me unnatural goosebumps, there’s also this one. I’m always at a loss for words with this type of music, especially because of the voices. It’s so hauntingly angelic in a way. In adventure-action games such as Tomb Raider, where you explore the world pretty much, this sort of music is perfect. I would take this soundtrack with me if I explored the world to be honest.

Even though they’re obviously pretty similar, I listened to both of these when I needed to relax or calm myself down. They’re pretty simple, but they’re so soothing. Croft Manor is such an iconic place though. A huge mansion which is home to Lara Croft, and from the storyline of Legend, was inherited from her father. I remember playing Legend and roaming around the place and trying out some gymnastics and swimming, and for some reason, this really blew my mind. I loved it. Maybe it’s because I would fail dramatically if I tried it out in my room, so the video game version of leaping and doing tricks was the next option.

As for something a tad more upbeat, I really think this was great for racing on a motorbike and defeating enemies (and with that wonderful voice singing and helping you along too. I hope she wasn’t singing on a motorbike beside Lara at the time.)

Of course, I shouldn’t just provide you all with Tomb Raider: Legend stuff, although to me personally, it is undoubtedly the best. There is some great music in the other games too though, and I also had a listen to Project Snowblind’s music, which I was actually nicely surprised by (but then again, this is Troels Brun Folmann we’re talking about.)

This one is pretty neat in my opinion. This kind of proves that Folmann has a style, and this reminds me of Tomb Raiders music in a way.

For the end of this post, I’ll return to Tomb Raider games for a second, and leave you with a few more. Because you can’t have too much Tomb Raider in my opinion.

It always makes me wonder what the behind the scenes must have been like when creating these scores. Like, was everyone serious? Was it fun? Was it jokey? I guess we’ll never know (unless there’s an article about it somewhere. I’m sure there is. I really need to do more research.)

And also here’s the bear theme. Just because.

Thank you for reading and Happy Gaming!

-LDG