Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Interview: Composer and Pianist Aivi Tran

A couple years ago, I was surfing the Internet when I came across a Youtube channel created by a lady named Aivi Tran (also known as "waltzforluma"). Judging by the name, I figured it would have plenty of videos related to video games. Little did I know that almost all of her videos were performances of her own arrangements of video game music. Aivi is an accomplished pianist, arranger, and composer with a passion for video game music. Given her many beautiful arrangements, I recently contacted her to ask for an interview. I soon learned that she also has quite a way with words!

Aivi Tran

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Songs to Grow On: Planet Wisp

This week, I rented Sonic Colors just to try it out. I'd read drastically contrasting reviews (although I've since realized to never listen to anything Jim Sterling has to say), and I hadn't really touched any Sonic games since Sonic and The Secret Rings (which was terrible). I thought I'd give it a shot and see for myself. In my humble opinion, it's pretty fantastic. Gameplay-wise, it's what Sonic Adventure 2 should have been, and the music was composed by five of the six people who worked on Sonic Unleashed, so you know it's good. In fact, a detailed review is to come.

In the meantime, however, I thought I'd share this incredibly relevant piece from Sonic Colors, originally composed by Kenichi Tokoi and performed by the always amazing Aivi Tran. I just received her responses to my questions, so my interview with her will be posted within the next couple days. This arrangement was a collaboration between Aivi and Dave Harris, with Aivi providing the piano and Dave providing the synthesized accompaniment. This rendition is what finally convinced me to rent Sonic Colors in the first place, as a matter of fact. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. (Also, keep a watchful ear and eye out for a small clip of Green Hill Zone and some Sonic pixel art!)

Planet Wisp (Act 1) - Sonic Colors (as arranged by Dave Harris and performed by Aivi Tran)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Interview: William Reyes of The OneUps

Since this blog is about all things video game music related, I thought that I would try to get some inside info from people actually in the thick of the business. The OneUps are one of the more famous video game music cover bands in the nation, and I was lucky enough to get an interview with them for the blog!

The OneUps, from left to right: Jared Dunn (drums, keyboard), Mustin (bass, keyboard), Tim Yarbrough (electric guitar), and William Reyes (guitar, guitar synth)

Friday, July 8, 2011

Songs to Grow On: Zozo (by The OneUps)

This post kind of acts like preparation for my next post (if all goes as planned). In Final Fantasy VI, Zozo is a town filled with liars. The concept is an interesting one; although it's used to solve puzzles, it also transfers to the atmosphere of the town itself. While not inherently evil, it is certainly seedy, and the constant rain and enemy encounters in the area only reinforce this idea. This rendition of the town theme by The OneUps captures this lightly malevolent nature with the use of jazzy saxophone and fiddle. I hope you enjoy it!

"Zozo" - Final Fantasy VI (arranged by The OneUps)

Monday, July 4, 2011

Super Mario Kart, or, The Kart Racer that Could

When I was just a wee lad, I had a very gradual introduction to video games. Our family started with Gameboys (complete with Tetris), and when I was around four years old, Dad got a Super Nintendo Entertainment System, which my sister and I promptly usurped from him. At that point of childhood, I wasn't privy to recent technological advancements in the gaming industry. Therefore, when I saw a Mario Kart 64 demo at Walmart, I thought that this magnificent game was available for the SNES.

Complete with Mario, Wario, and narcoleptic Peach.

So, when I went to McVan's Video Game Store and got what I thought was the same game for the Super NES, I was somewhat shocked at what I saw.