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Kingdom Hearts -World Tour- Encore!

It was just announced that KINGDOM HEARTS Orchestra -World Tour- Encore! The official KINGDOM HEARTS video game concert series kicks off starting June of 2018. As many of you know, last year was the first time that the music from the KINGDOM HEARTS series was heard live in concert with the 15th Anniversary of KINGDOM HEARTS Orchestra -World Tour- and now the concert series is heading back on the road for a second time. More cities are added to the tour dates this time around and the concert is being produced under the supervision of series creator  Tetsuya Nomura, with the music program being supervised by the original composer for KINGDOM HEARTS Yoko Shimomura. Here are announced locations and tour dates:

•Los Angeles (USA) – June 9, 2018 – Dorothy Chandler Pavilion
•Sydney (Australia) – July 7, 2018 – Sydney Opera House
•Chicago (USA) – July 13, 2018 – Auditorium Theatre
•Detroit (USA) – July 14, 2018 – Fisher Theatre
•Pittsburgh (USA) – July 16, 2018 – Heinz Hall
•Boston (USA) – July 19, 2018 - Wang Theatre
•Toronto (Canada) – July 21, 2018 – Sony Centre
•Atlanta (USA) – July 26, 2018 – Fox Theatre
•Dallas (USA) – July 28, 2018 - Verizon Theatre at Grand Prairie
•Philadelphia (USA) – August 2, 2018 – Mann Centre
•Phoenix (USA) – August 4, 2018 – Symphony Hall
•Las Vegas (USA) – August 5, 2018 - The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
•Honolulu (USA) – August 12, 2018 - Neal S. Blaisdell Concert Hall
•Sao Paolo (Brazil) – September 8-9, 2018 – Teatro Bradesco
•Munich (Germany) – September 15, 2018 - The Gasteig
•Milan (Italy) – September 22, 2018 – Teatro Dal Verme
•Seoul (South Korea) – October 6, 2018 – KBS Hall
•Mexico City (Mexico) – October 20, 2018 – Auditorium Blackberry

It looks like tickets range from $50-180 with pre-sale tickets already being sold. Tickets will become available to the general public starting on March 13, 10:00am EDT. Sadly, there are only a few cities this time around offering VIP passes to meet and greet composer Yoko Shimomura but if you happen to be in one of those cities and are a fan of KINGDOM HEARTS, I'd move quickly to reserve tickets. I remember last year the VIP tickets sold out in a day near us, so act fast. There will also be a Special-Edition CD available with twelve pieces from the concert, as well as other merchandise. For more information you can visit the Wildfaery website here.

Metroid: Samus Returns - Samus Archives Sound Selection

Metroid: Samus Returns was released in September of last year for the Nintendo 3DS and is a reimagining of the 1991 Gameboy exclusive Metroid II: Return of Samus. The Special Edition of the game comes with the SAMUS ARCHIVES SOUND SELECTION which contains various tracks all across the Metroid series from the first Metroid for the NES to Other M for the Wii. The CD only contains five tracks from Metroid: Samus Returns and since there hasn't been an official score released for a Metroid game since the first Metroid Prime and Fusion, I'm doubtful that we'll see a soundtrack released anytime soon. It'll have to hold you over until we can get around to extracting the music files and uploading it ourselves.  Even if you've played through the original Metroid II, I'd recommend to any Metroid fan, pick this up if you own a 3DS. The visuals, music and controls have the Nintendo polish you'd expect and there some new additions compared to the original Samus II such as: Counterattacks, The ability to freely aim at any angle by using the shoulder buttons and Teleports(thank God) to prevent excessive backtracking. I had a great time playing through the game and now I cannot wait until Metroid Prime 4 is released.

The Soundtrack is going for about $15 on ebay if you want a physical copy. Our copy of METROID: SAMUS RETURNS - ARCHIVES SOUND SELECTION is uploaded in both FLAC and MP3, you'll find it in the archive.

Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness

Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness(Pokémon XD: Yami no Kaze Dark Lugia in Japan) was released for the Nintendo GameCube in August of 2005. While it's not a direct sequel to Pokémon Colosseum, it's considered the successor. It contains some of the same music but re-arranged and it includes some of the same characters. The original score was written by Tsukasa Tawada, known for his work on several Pokémon games such as; Pokémon Colosseum, Pokémon Battle Revolution and Pokémon Shuffle.  After dumping the BGM Files from the ISO image, I had to extract the two single channel DSP audio files from the FSYS files and then convert them to FLAC and MP3. After that we had to do our usual editing, looping(two loops, fade-out on the third), amplifying, tagging and organizing. It's a time consuming process but having it done right, makes it well worth it.

There are a handful of tracks that are identical but used for different events, such as: stm_bgm_XD_battle8  and stm_bgm_B_nikeldark  or stm_bgm_B_colosseum1  and stm_bgm_B_paira_1,  I only included one of those tracks to prevent redundancy.  Other tracks such as stm_bgm_B_lastboss  and stm_bgm_XD_lastbattle  are very similar as well,  but the XD Last Battle  version is unused in the game and is about a minute and a half shorter and has a naturally higher decibel level than the other.  There seems to be some word differences in the music files such as "Snatch Machine" instead of "Snag Machine" but it could just be that different terminology for the Japanese or European versions of the game, I'm not sure.

Most of the tracks were pretty easily identifiable (stm_bgm_B_colesseum1 = Colosseum - 1st Round), while others(stm_bgm_B_wirie =  Rider Willietook Battle) took a little digging to identify and properly label—especially for someone not familiar with the game. As some of you may know if you've been listening to our uploads, we don't want to break the flow music with fanfares, so we like to place the fanfare cues at the end of the soundtrack. For the fun of it, I also included a Sound Effect Selection Clip at the end.  All in all, I came away with 96 tracks and I'm glad to say that I think this is the cleanest upload of the score out there.

It's been a while since a home console has had a Pokémon game but hopefully Nintendo releases a open-world Pokémon game for the Switch. Until then, you can enjoy some Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness Music uploaded in both FLAC and MP3.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Well, this game needs no introduction. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was released on March 3rd of last year for the Nintendo Switch and the Wii U. The Sound Selection comes packaged with the Limited Edition of the game, it is composed and arranged by Manaka Kataoka, Yasuaki Iwata and Hajime Wakai; additional arrangement by Tomomichi Takeoka. A few thoughts I have of the album, the music for Breath of the Wild struck me as.. abnormally passive for a Zelda game—especially a main installment. The music cues are sparse, it's rare you hear any music at all aside from the occasionally piano notes or strums of a violin, that can be a positive or negative depending on how you look at it. On the one side, it allowed me to take in the truly stunning sound design of the game, everything from the wind and rain to the various animal roaming about has that professional touch Nintendo is known for, it fits the game perfectly. On the other hand, I felt the game was missing most of the music that makes the series soundtracks so memorable. For me, the "Main Theme"  is the highlight of the album, my second favorite would be the "Rito Village (Night)" track.  Some of the tracks have interesting design such as "Battle(Field)"  it has a tribal sound that incorporates electronic elements, which is sort of indicating that while this vast landscape is filled with nature or The Wild, there are also traces of advanced machinery throughout the area. Other tracks such as "Goron City" and "Kakariko Village"  have that traditional Zelda feel but in the end, most of the music is just lacking melody and can come across as repetitive. With previous Zelda titles, I typically walk away from the game humming a tune or two and unfortunately that was just not the case with Breath of the Wild.

New physical copies of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Sound Selection are starting to climb in price, so if you plan on picking up a physical copy.. I wouldn't wait too long. You can find a few on ebay ranging from from $38 - $70. Our copy is uploaded in both FLAC and MP3, you'll find it in our archive.

2017 Original Game Score of the Year

And another year of beautiful video game music. Over the weekend, we uploaded our nominees and winner of our 2017 Original Game Score of the Year. This year, I felt was more difficult to choose our nominees then the previous three years that we've been doing these award videos. There are so many great video game soundtracks this year and making the final decision on our nominees is never an easy thing to do but each year we try our best to showcase the top soundtracks the video game industry has to offer and I think we succeeded with that. We listened through over 40 official soundtracks during the course of 2017 and for me, at least 15 of them I've had and will continue to have on my weekly playlists. One of my favorite aspects of video game soundtracks is diversity, everything from sweeping orchestral scores to speedy guitar solos are represented, there is something for everyone. I'm going to list our nominees and winners here on our site as well as original scores that didn't make our cut for the awards but everybody should listen to at least once.

2017 Original Game Score of the Year

  • RIME
  • NieR: Automata
  • Cuphead
  • Destiny 2
  • Gravity Rush 2


2017 Vocal Track of the Year

  • Life is Strange: Before the Storm - Burn it Down
  • Resident Evil 7 - Go Tell Aunt Rody(-Resident Evil 7-)
  • Super Mario Odyssey - Jump Up, Super Star!
  • NieR: Automata - Weight of the World the End of YoRHa
  • The Evil Within 2 - Ordinary World



2017 Rock Track of the Year

  • ARMS - Grand Prix Hedlok Battle
  • Forza Motorsport 7 - Snaps
  • Tales of Berseria - Daemon's Assault
  • Yakuza 0 - Debt Cleanup
  • SONIC FORCES - Fist Bump(Instrumental Ver.)


 2017 Electronic Track of the Year

  • RUINER - Disappear
  • SONIC MANIA - Steel Cortex(Titanic Monarch Act 2)
  • TEKKEN 7 - Artic Snowfall 2nd
  • SONIC FORCES - Arsenal Pyramid-Interior
  • REDOUT - On My Own

Here are a few Original Scores of 2017 that we wanted to give an honorable mention to: Horizon Zero Down(PS4) Gorgeous orchestral work by Joris De Man gives the sense of openness and exploration that fills the lush landscapes of Horizon Zero Dawn; Valkyria Revolution(PS4, Xbox One, Vita)As a big fan of Valkyria Chronicles, the game is very disappointing but that shouldn't distract you from the downright wonderful orchestral score throughout the game; Divinity: Original Sin 2(PC)Soothing soundtrack with ethnic instruments, choir played in bard/tavern style manner  to compliment this medieval fantasy world; Fire Emblem Warriors(Switch)Fantastic blend of rock and orchestra give off an epic sound - it has some impressive guitar solos as well, Persona 5(PS3, PS4)Smooth Jazz, Bass and Rock make this soundtrack an easy listen; Little Nightmares(PS4)Haunting, eerie soundtrack that makes the Maw of Little Nightmares even creepier; The Sexy Brutal(PS4, Xbox One, Switch, PC)Jazz and piano solos make this soundtrack a fun listen; Uncharted - The Lost Legacy(PS4)I personally still hold Uncharted 2 as the best OST in the series but The Lost Legacy has some beautiful orchestral work that keeps pace with the events in the game and Injustice 2(PS4, Xbox One, PC, iOS)An Epic orchestral score that fits the superhero world very well. 

Thanks to all of you that submitted soundtracks, we're hoping to add even more categories next time around so make sure to check back for that in December.  Now, we'll be getting back to our various video game music projects including new uploads, playlists and our own soundtrack recommendations!