Tag Archives: music

Retronauts Micro returns with a double-length episode

Well, I say “double-length,” but Bob has been stretching the definition of “Retronauts Micro” for quite a while now, so I suppose you’re used to “Micro” episodes being nearly half the length of a full episode by now.

But, anyway! Because you demanded it, Retronauts Micro has indeed made its grand and glorious return. Not that it was gone all that long. Nevertheless, to mark the occasion I’ve put together what is by far the most involved and complicated Micro I’ve ever produced. It’s a follow-up to the FM synthesis episode from a few months back, which means it centers around music. And lots of it.

This episode offers a very loose overview of the use of sampling in video games, exploring a large number of permutations and tripping a bit over the ambiguity of some of the terminology used on the tech side. Before that, though, I’ve outlined the history of sampling as a concept as well, since the concept has a significant existence outside of gaming — though of course it has to a certain degree evolved and developed alongside video games. Eh, I’m making a mess of this. Just have a listen to the episode. It’s nearly half an hour in length and incorporates dozens of examples (and samples). And, of course, that one track that EarthBound blatantly just stole from Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

(Incidentally, it seems like PodcastOne’s system has a habit of overwriting custom episode art with the generic show art, so if you’re into the individual covers we create, you can snag the one above and add it yourself. Sorry for the inconvenience.)

Episode description: Retronauts Micro returns on a biweekly schedule! Jeremy kicks things off with a follow-up to last year’s look at FM synthesis in games by exploring a flip side: A brief (and at all comprehensive) history of audio sampling vis-a-vis video games.

MP3, 12.7 MB | 25:31 | Direct download
Retronauts on iTunes | Retronauts at PodcastOne

Music in this episode comes from… oh boy, where do I even begin? There’s a ton — and by no means is this list a comprehensive breakdown of all the examples I could provide.

  • Revenge of Shinobi
  • SoulBlazer
  • EarthBound
  • Psycho Soldier
  • Summer Carnival ’92: Recca
  • Pierre Schaeffer “Apostrophe”
  • The Beach Boys “Pet Sounds”
  • The Beach Boys “Caroline No”
  • Pink Floyd “Money”
  • King Crimson “In the Court of the Crimson King”
  • Led Zeppelin “Stairway to Heaven”
  • David Bowie “Space Oddity”
  • Yes “Siberian Khatru”
  • King Crimson “Epitaph”
  • Genesis “Watcher of the Skies”
  • Gentle Giant “Free Hand”
  • Yellow Magic Orchestra “Computer Game”
  • Rick Wakeman “Catherine Parr”
  • Rally-X
  • King & Balloon
  • Ghostbusters (Commodore 64)
  • Wild Gunman
  • Ninja Gaiden (NES)
  • Zelda II: The Adventure of Link
  • Otocky
  • Quadrun
  • Journey (Arcade)
  • Super Mario Kart
  • ActRaiser
  • Final Fantasy VI
  • Jet Grind Radio

Yeah, OK, I think that’s it. Whew, I’m fried. Enjoy the show, and there’ll be the usual full-length production on Monday… which also is about music. It’s like a theme or something.

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Episode 86: Retronauts Radio for February 2017

Welcome to the second monthly Retronauts Radio! Last month’s trial episode went over quite marvelously, so it’s back for a return engagement and will become a regular feature unless there’s some sort of angry mass uprising against it.

I appreciate all the feedback that came in after the trial episode. For the most part, it really seems like everyone enjoyed the show. There were no real complaints of, “This is terrible and I hate it,” only minor suggestions for improvements that were balanced out by an equal number of people indicating their satisfaction with that particular aspect of the show as it was. As such, I’ve made only the most modest of tweaks to the format this time around.

First, I’ve tried to splice in a greater number of tracks for variety while giving each track more time to breathe. Hopefully you’ll find the balance between play time and monologue works more to your liking.

Secondly, I have made an effort to cover an equal mix of music releases that are available for pay and for free. This is not an ad or a paid sponsored podcast or anything, so I’m not obligated to cover any particular release. Instead, I hope to highlight recent retro game music releases for both collectors (in this case, the vinyl issues of Revenge of Shinobi and Castlevania II) as well as music available for free or for a modest fee (the Etrian Odyssey remixes, SEGA’s Spotify dump, and ZODIAC). My hope is that each episode will highlight something that will appeal to everyone, regardless of their tastes and budget.

Our second Retronauts Radio looks at notable retro-themed game music releases for February: Castlevania II, a Final Fantasy Tactics tribute, Revenge of Shinobi, Etrian Odyssey remixes, and a ton of SEGA jams! Art by Jon Stachewicz.

Libsyn (1:41:34, 70.8 MB) | MP3 Download | SoundCloud)

Here’s the time breakdown of the episode, and where you can find the included tunes for your own enjoyment.

  • 0:00:25: Introduction
  • 0:01:40: Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest [available via Mondo]
  • 0:11:22: SEGA on Spotify [freely available for streaming via Spotify]
    • 0:11:42: Rhythm Thief and the Emperor’s Treasure
    • 0:12:32: Out Run
    • 0:17:39: Jet Set Radio
    • 0:19:38: Sonic Rush
    • 0:21:18: Rhythm Thief redux
  • 0:24:40: Revenge of Shinobi [available via Data Discs, $]
  • 0:34:01: Etrian Odyssey FM synth remixes [freely available via Yuzo Koshiro’s Twitter account]
  • 0:39:24: ZODIAC: Final Fantasy Remixed [available for purchase via Materia Collective or on Spotify]
  • 0:56:49: Skies of Arcadia [freely available for streaming via Spotify]
  • 1:07:05: Outro — Sonic Rush

So: I hope you enjoy this second Retronauts Radio episode. Please feel free to ping me on Twitter (or wherever) over the next couple of weeks to let me know about interesting new releases that would be relevant to next month’s episode. Thank you!

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Panzer Dragoon soundtrack review

I have four more weeks left in my run with USgamer before I go solo and try in earnest to turn this podcast and site into something capable of providing me with a living (or else admitting failure and going into, I dunno, real estate or something). Think of the next 20 work days as a sort of, I dunno, farewell tour. And I’ve kicked it off the only way I know how: By writing about something extremely esoteric and extremely retro in nature. Namely, Data Discs’s recent release of the Panzer Dragoon soundtrack as a double 45rpm vinyl LP set. Because why not go all in when I’m on the way out?

It’s a fantastic release, even by the admittedly high standards of Data Discs. I played through Panzer Dragoon a very, very long time ago, but for whatever reason its music never stuck with me. Going back now and listening to it in this context, I love what I hear. It’s very… well, I can’t think of any other way to describe it except “very ’90s.” But in a good way! Not a bad, cheesy way. There are passages here that remind me of Mega Man Legends —  this one synthesizer hit with a multilayered sound I can’t really describe that both games use — as well as tracks that feel like they served as the basis for huge chunks of the Skies of Arcadia soundtrack, too. But it works most of all as a great collection of music in its own right.

Altogether, the Panzer Dragoon soundtrack feels nostalgic in a way completely different from chiptunes and Super NES or Genesis music. It’s good stuff and I strongly recommend it to anyone who’s into great game music and ever listens to vinyl. But hey, don’t take my word for it; take my word for it.

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Filed under Music, Retrogaming News

Retronauts Micro 5: Yellow Magic Orchestra and the DNA of game music

EPSON MFP image

I’ve talked about pioneering Japanese electronic band Yellow Magic Orchestra on Retronauts before. But never before to the exclusion of all else. But that’s what the latest Micro episode is all about: YMO, baby.

Libsyn (9:30 | MP3 Download) | SoundCloud | Subscribe on iTunes | RSS feed

A brief journey into the music of a band that had an incredible influence on the direction and style of game music in the ’80s and ’90s: Japan’s New Wave-tinged synth rockers Yellow Magic Orchestra. Featuring lots of music by, yes, Yellow Magic Orchestra.

As usual, you can read more about this week’s episode at USgamer.

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