27 July 2011

Episode 39: Side-Scrolling and Platforming

Brent and Rob share some great tracks within the side-scroller/platformer category.  They also partake in another exciting edition of VGM Karaoke!  Enjoy.  Try to enjoy.  Full track listing below.



Game - Composer - Song - Company - Console - Year (North American release unless otherwise indicated)

Super Mario World - Koji Kondo - Castle - Nintendo - SNES - 1990

Super Mario All-Stars - Koji Kondo, Soyo Oka (arr.) - Lost Levels Title - Nintendo - SNES - 1993

Rocket Knight Adventures - Masanori Oouchi, Hiroshi Kobayashi, Masanori
Adachi, Aki Hata, Michiru Yamane - Stage 1-1 - Konami - Genesis - 1993

Valis III - Hisao Inoue, Jun Hasebe, Shingo Murakami, Takaharu Umezu, Michiko Naruke, Minoru Yuasa - Joshou-Cham no Theme - Telenet Japan - Genesis - 1991

Magical Pop'n - Ichirou Ishibashi - Around the Castle (Level 1) - Pack-In-Video - Super Famicom - 1995

Time Lord - David Wise - Castle Harman, England (1250 A.D.) - Milton Bradley/Rare - NES - 1989

Mega Man V - unknown - Uranus - Capcom - Game Boy - 1994

Eek! The Cat - Barry Leitch, Dean Evans - Zoo - Ocean - SNES - 1994

Legacy of the Wizard - Yuzo Koshiro (comp., arr.), Mieko Ishikawa (comp.) - Overworld - Falcom/Broderbund - NES - 1989

Majyuuou - Tomohiro Endo, Hiroshi Izuka - Ice Palace - KSS - Super Famicom - 1995

Kirby's Adventure - Hirokazu Ando - High Hills - HAL Laboratory - NES - 1993

Bubsy in Claws Encounters of the Furred Kind - Matt Berardo, Rudy Helm - Shadow Bopping (Shadow Shirt Theme) - Accolade - Genesis - 1993

Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts - Mari Yamaguchi - Castle of the Emperor (Stage 6) - Capcom - SNES - 1991

James Pond: Underwater Agent - Richard Joseph - From Three Mile Island With Love - Electronic Arts - Genesis - 1990

Plok! - Tim Follin, Geoff Follin - Beach - Tradewest/Software Creations - SNES - 1993

Dynamite Headdy - Katsuhiko Suzuki (Nazo² Suzuki), Aki Hata, Kazuo Hanzawa (NON), Yasuko, Koji Yamada (Kouji) - Crosswalk of Love - Treasure - Genesis - 1994

Sonic & Knuckles - Tatsuyuki Maeda, Tomonori Sawada, Sachio Ogawa - Mushroom Hill Zone 1 - Sega - Genesis - 1994

20 July 2011

Episode 38: New Age Music

In this soothing yet provocative episode, Brent and Rob explore new age music found in video games of the 8-bit and 16-bit era.  They discuss Turkish baths, "junk," and more.  Put on your avocado mask, cucumber slices on your eyes, and RELAX to the sounds of The Legacy Spa.  Full track listing below.



Game - Composer - Song - Company - Console - Year (North American release unless otherwise indicated)

Chrono Trigger - Yasunori Mitsuda - Memories of Green - Square - SNES - 1995

Secret of Evermore - Jeremy Soule - Ebon Keep (Town) - Square - SNES - 1995

Ys III: Wanderers from Ys - Mieko Ishikawa - Premonition (Styx) - Riot - Genesis - 1991

Ecco the Dolphin - Spencer Nilsen, Brian Coburn, AndrĂ¡s Magyari - Welcome to the Machine - Novotrade International/Sega - Genesis - 1992

Junction - unknown - Background 1 Ocean - Micronet/Konami - Genesis - 1990

Equinox - Tim Follin, Geoff Follin - Atlena (excerpt) - Sony Imagesoft - SNES - 1994

Final Fantasy III - Nobuo Uematsu - Awakening - Square - SNES - 1994

Secret of Mana - Hiroki Kikuta - A Prayer and a Whisper - Square - SNES - 1993

Ys III: Wanderers from Ys - Mieko Ishikawa - Key of Light - Riot - Genesis - 1991

Last Bible III - Hiroyuki Yanada - Brantika - Atlus - Super Famicom - 1995

Chrono Trigger - Yasunori Mitsuda - Secret of the Forest - Square - SNES - 1995

Donkey Kong Country - David Wise - Aquatic Ambiance - Rare - SNES - 1994

The Karate Kid - Hirohiko Takayama - Title - LJN - NES - 1987

Star Ocean - Motoi Sakuraba - Guitar 2 - tri-Ace/Enix - Super Famicom - 1996

Final Fantasy III - Nobuo Uematsu - The Mines of Narshe - Square - SNES - 1994

EarthBound - Hirokazu Tanaka - Dr. Andonut's Lab - Nintendo - SNES - 1995

Ys III: Wanderers from Ys - Mieko Ishikawa - Sentimental Twilight - Riot - Genesis - 1991

Alice no Paint Adventure - Takahisa Hirano, Takeshi Miura - Cloud Kingdom - Epoch - Super Famicom - 1995

Final Fantasy II - Nobuo Uematsu - The Lunarians - Square - SNES - 1991

13 July 2011

Episode 37: Movies

Lights, camera, video game music!  Brent and Rob take a look at some of the finest 8-bit and 16-bit era music from games based on major motion pictures.  So grab a bowl of popcorn, maybe a box of Red Vines, and enjoy the feature presentation!  Full track listing below.



Game - Composer - Song - Company - Console - Year (North American release unless otherwise indicated)

Rambo - Tohru Hasahe, Minki Motoyama - Headquarters/Safe Zone - Acclaim/Pack-In-Video - NES - 1988

Rambo III - unknown - Missions 2 (Part 1) and 6 - Sega - Genesis - 1989

Ghostbusters - Kazuhiko Nagai (Nav.) - 1st Case: Home Sweet Home - Sega - Genesis - 1990

Batman - Naoki Kodaka, Nobuyuki Hara - Stage 1 - Sunsoft - NES - 1989

Gremlins 2: The New Batch - Naoki Kodaka, Nobuyuki Hara, Shinichi Seya - Ventilation Shafts - Sunsoft - NES - 1990

Platoon - Jonathan Dunn (New) - Title Screen - Sunsoft/Ocean Software - NES - 1988

Super Back to the Future II - Hitoshi Sakimoto - Round 3-1 - Toshiba EMI - Super Famicom - 1993

The Terminator - Matt Furniss - Time to Escape - Virgin Games - Genesis - 1991

Willow - Harumi Fujita - House, Item and Dialogue Theme - Capcom - NES - 1989

The Karate Kid - Hirohiko Takayama - Daniel in Okinawa - LJN - NES - 1987

Godzilla: Monster of Monsters - Masatomo Miyamoto - Earth - Toho/Compile - NES - 1989

Die Hard - Junichi Saito, Masaki Iwamoto, Hitoshi Saito - In-Game - Activision/Pack-In-Video - NES - 1992

A Nightmare on Elm Street - David Wise - Town of Elm St. - LJN - NES - 1990

Jurassic Park - Sam Powell - River - BlueSky Software/Sega - Genesis - 1993

The Goonies II - Satoe Terashima - Caves - Konami - NES - 1987

Dirty Harry - Steven Samler, Elliot Delman - Alcatraz - Mindscape - NES - 1990

Top Gun: The Second Mission - Hidenori Maezawa, Yuichi Sakakura, Harumi Ueko - Missle Arm - Konami - NES - 1990

The Untouchables - Keith Tinman - Title - Ocean - NES - 1990

Total Recall - David Warhol - Earth - Acclaim/Interplay - NES - 1990

06 July 2011

Episode 36: Kinuyo Yamashita

Brent and Rob focus on famed Castlevania composer, Kinuyo Yamashita.  Through an exclusive interview with Yamashita-san herself, the Legacy Music Hour reveals some very interesting information regarding the composer credits of Castlevania.  Special thanks to Kinuyo Yamashita for taking the time to do this interview and prepare her answers in English.  Text version of the interview and track listing below.



Game - Composer - Song - Company - Console - Year (North American release unless otherwise indicated)

Castlevania - Kinuyo Yamashita - Heart of Fire (Stage 5) - Konami - NES - 1987

Arumana no Kiseki - Kinuyo Yamashita - Stage 5 - Konami - Famicom Disk System - 1987

Mega Man X3 - Kinuyo Yamashita - Opening - Capcom - SNES - 1996

Castlevania - Kinuyo Yamashita - Walking Edge (Stage 4) - Konami - NES - 1987

Power Blade - Kinuyo Yamashita - Sector 7 - Taito - NES - 1991

Esper Dream - Kinuyo Yamashita - gameplay - Konami - Famicom Disk System - 1987

Medarot: Kabuto Version - Kinuyo Yamashita - gameplay - Natsume - Game Boy - 1997

Medarot: Kabuto Version - Kinuyo Yamashita - gameplay - Natsume - Game Boy - 1997

Mega Man X3 - Kinuyo Yamashita - Gravity Beetle - Capcom - SNES - 1996

Power Blade - Kinuyo Yamashita - Sector 5 - Taito - NES - 1991

Power Blade - Kinuyo Yamashita - Stage Select - Taito - NES - 1991

Medarot: Kabuto Version - Kinuyo Yamashita - gameplay - Natsume - Game Boy - 1997

Arumana no Kiseki - Kinuyo Yamashita - Stage 1, 4, and 6 - Konami - Famicom Disk System - 1987

Power Blade - Kinuyo Yamashita - Sector 1 - Taito - NES - 1991

Interview with Kinuyo Yamashita:

Brent: At Konami, you were given the alias "James Banana."  Do you know why Konami picked that name for you?

Kinuyo Yamashita: No, I don't know why they chose the name James Banana.

Brent:
Aliases for video game music composers were common in the 1980s, especially at Capcom.  Why did video game music composers use aliases for the credits instead of their real names?  How come there wasn't better record keeping when it came to crediting composers?

Kinuyo Yamashita: The Japanese style is very different from the USA.  They are a lot more reserved and don't want to give away their secrets.  So I guess they felt like they had to protect their talent.  And so they used fake names.

Brent: Looking at video game music from the 80s and early to mid-90s, there were so many prominent female composers.  It seems like at least half of my favorite composers are women.  In comparison, there aren't really any prominent female composers in film music.  Why do you think that is?  Why were there so many female composers working on video games during the 8-bit and 16-bit era?

Kinuyo Yamashita: Haha, I don't know the answer to those questions.  But I would like to compose music for films!

Brent: Who are some of your favorite composers from the 8-bit and 16-bit era?  Were there any composers or soundtracks that were an influence on you?

Kinuyo Yamashita: No, I don't really have any influences.  And I don't know all the composer's names.  I played the game called "Mother" in Japan.  I thought that game had great music.  And Mario and Megaman I like as well.

Brent: During the 8-bit and 16-bit era, did you compose on real instruments and then adapt it to the hardware, or did you compose the music from the hardware itself?

Kinuyo Yamashita: Yes, I would compose the music on a keyboard first.  Then I would have to convert the notes to hex numbers.  And program them into the computer.

Brent: Did you play the game first without sound?  Or did you compose the music from storyboards, screen shots, and/or illustrations?

Kinuyo Yamashita: Usually I can't play the game first.  I am given a story or screen shots like you said.

Brent: As someone who was active in the mid-80s and is still active today, how has technology influenced the way you compose?  Has your compositional technique evolved over time as a result of technology?  Has it evolved as a result of something else?  Or is your approach the same as it has always been?

Kinuyo Yamashita: Technology has greatly changed my composition technique.  With 8-bit music, the sounds had to be programmed.  And I could only use 4 sounds at one time.  So the hardware had a lot more limitations.  Now it's more simple.  I can just play the music on the keyboard.  And have it record directly into the computer.  Now it's a lot more user friendly.  Software allows me to sequence everything easily.  There are almost no musical limitations.

However, with all the advancements in technology.  The arrangement of music became more complex.  Because there are endless possibilities.  So I sometimes get help arranging my music now.

Brent: With regards to the level design, how much did the visual setting of the level factor into the music composition?  For example, the first level of Castlevania takes place in a house.  Does the "house setting" factor into the composition at all?  When you composed the music for that level, were you specifically writing something that you thought would fit a house environment?  Or for the third level, did you write something that you thought would fit an outdoor/balcony/patio-type environment?  Or was this stuff irrelevant?

Kinuyo Yamashita: Yes, I would see the image of the stage.  For example, the stage that has water.  I try to put the the water atmosphere into the music.  And the stage that near the final stage.  I give the music a more tense feeling.  The music is matched with the intensity of the game.

Brent: Did you ever think that the music for Castlevania would become as popular as it is today?

Kinuyo Yamashita: Honestly, no I never thought it would be so popular.  It was a very busy time.  So I was working on a lot of games.

Brent: When you were composing music for earlier video games, did you ever think the music was too good for a video game?  In other words, were you ever discouraged that only a relatively small amount of people would be hearing music that you put so much work into and were proud of?

Kinuyo Yamashita: No, it didn't matter how many people heard my music.  I was glad to work on all the games.

Brent: What was Satoe Terashima's involvement with Castlevania?  Did she
compose any of the music?  Or did she only do sound effects and programming?

Kinuyo Yamashita: Terashima-san composed some music from Castlevania.  She didn't make the sound effects.  We didn't collaborate, we made songs separately.  So all the music from Castlevania is from Terashima-san or me.

Brent: Can you list the songs you composed for Castlevania?  And can you list the songs Terashima-san composed?

Kinuyo Yamashita: Terashima-san composed Stage 1, Stage 2, Stage 6, and Ending.  I composed Stage 3, Stage 4, Stage 5, Boss, Dracula, and Dracula 2.

Brent: After working at Konami, why did you decide to go freelance? Were there things at Konami that you didn't like?

Kinuyo Yamashita: When I worked at Konami, the expectations were very high.  The long hours were too difficult for my body.  So I had to leave.  I went to another smaller company working on video game projects.  When that ended, the people I worked with wanted me to work at Taito.  But it was in Tokyo, and I didn't want to move there.  So I became freelance by default after that.

Brent:
What was it like working freelance in comparison to working at Konami?

Kinuyo Yamashita: Freelance composing is good becaue I can work at home.  But it's inconsistent work.  So that part is a challenge.

Rob: In another interview, you mentioned that you wanted to work on Castlevania II, but were removed from Castlevania to work on other stuff.  Who was the superior that removed you from Castlevania II?  Has he worked on other games?

Kinuyo Yamashita: I don't remember the superior's name.  He directed me to work on other games.  And, I don't remember who composed music for Castlevania II.

Rob: Hideo Kojima was working on Metal Gear around the time you were employed by Konami.  Were you ever asked to participate in the composition of that soundtrack?

Kinuyo Yamashita: He was a peer of mine at Konami.  But I have never composed music for Metal Gear.  But I would love to work on one of the new Metal Gear games.

Brent: Aside from the technical and synthetic aspect, do you think that there is a difference between video game music and non-video game music?  In other words, is there something compositionally and structurally unique about music made for video games?

Kinuyo Yamashita: I think that video game music is similar to film music.  It's different from popular music with singers.  Music doesn't usually stand out in video games.  It's made to go along with the movement of the characters.  But some important scenes from the game make it memorable.

Brent: Did you play video games during the 8-bit and 16-bit era?

Kinuyo Yamashita: Yes, I played some video games.  Usually I played the games I composed music for.  I would have to check the game for bugs.

Brent: What are your favorite games?

Kinuyo Yamashita: I once played "Mother" in Japan.  I thought the story, music and program were good.  And "Medarot" in Japan, which is "Medabots" in the USA.  I beat the game many times to watch the ending, haha.

Rob: What's your favorite Chopin piece?

Kinuyo Yamashita: Nocturne.  Mainly the 3/4 rhythm music, etc.  Also, I like the intense Beethoven.

Rob: Do you think 8-bit and 16-bit music can be romantic?

Kinuyo Yamashita: Yes, it can be romantic.  PSG is inorganic.  But the sound becomes sharp and soft by changing its data.  I liked to make that data.  Also, I think it depends on the listener.  If the music is heard while having a romantic experience, it can take them into it.  But haha, I don't usually think romantically about it.

Rob: Are you married?

Kinuyo Yamashita: Yes.

Brent: Why did you move to the United States?  More specifically, why New Jersey? 

Kinuyo Yamashita:
I moved to New Jersey because that's where my husband lives.

Brent: Well, that's about all the questions we have for you.  Is there anything you would like to mention or promote?

Kinuyo Yamashita:
Please donate to Japan!

02 July 2011

Episode 35: Covers

Brent and Rob deviate from the normal routine and present a fine selection of cover music from a variety of styles.  It ends up being more of a jazzy episode... with a special surprise treat!  Full track listing below.



Artist - Song - Game - Composer - Album/Context - Label - Year

Toshiyuki Mori, Shirou Satou (arr.)  - Troian Beauty - Final Fantasy IV - Nobuo Uematsu - Final Fantasy IV: Piano Collections - Square Brand - 1992

S.S.T. Band - Last Wave - Out Run - Hiroshi Kawaguchi - live video recording - none - 1990

The Advantage - Jungle - Metal Gear - Kazuki Muraoka - demo CD - none - 2002

Playing With Power! - Blades of Steel intro - Blades of Steel - Shinya Sakamoto, Kazuki Muraoka, Atsushi Fujio, Kyouhei Sada - none - none - 2010

Tokyo Memorial Orchestra, Katsuhisa Hattori (arr., cond.) - Final Fantasy V Main Theme - Final Fantasy V - Nobuo Uematsu - Orchestral Game Concert 2/Game Music Concert 2 ~Live Best Selections~ - Warner Music Japan - 1992

Brent Weinbach (arr., per.) - Area 5 - Blaster Master - Naoki Kodaka - live on The Legacy Music Hour Episode 35 - none - 2011

Brent Weinbach (arr., per.) - Marble Zone - Sonic the Hedgehog - Masato Nakamura - live on The Legacy Music Hour Episode 35 - none - 2011

Kiminori Atsuta (arr.) - Main Theme (from Space Harrier) - Space Harrier - Tokuhiko Uwabo - Sega Piano Nocturne - Wave Master - 2005

The OneUps - Rainbow Road - Super Mario Kart - Soyo Oka - Super Mario Kart Album - OneUp Studios - 2010

Joe Pleiman (lyr., arr.) - Zelda - The Legend of Zelda - Koji Kondo - The Rabbit Joint - none - 1998

Ken Matsuzawa - BMG 1 - Bomber King - Takeaki Kunimoto - demonstration of Prophet-5 with TX802 - none - 2009

Eric James - Act 4-2 Metal Version - Ninja Gaiden - Keiji Yamagishi - none - none - 2011

DTH MTN (Gabe Castro) - target vs ken - Street Fighter 2010: The Final Fight - Junko Tamiya - none - none - 2011