Sunday, May 1, 2016

Soundtrack of the Month: May 2016


I am a vocal fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The quality of Marvel movies has far exceeded that of most other films in the industry, and has remained consistent in this top-notch quality for half a decade. The storytelling and direction has been absolutely superb, and beyond industry standards nearly every step of the way. Along with this impeccable level of presentation, we have the music.

Iron Man 3 is a subject of much controversy among Marvel fans. I may value it as one of my favorites, but many people don't feel the same way. Even if you found the film less than satisfactory, you'll undoubtedly still very much enjoy the music. Brian Tyler paints an incredible backdrop to the story and Tony Stark's struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder, following the events of The Avengers.

When it comes to film soundtracks that could be described as "epic," the names of a few composers often get tossed around. They're typically from past generations, known most prominently for works from decades ago. Brian Tyler, on the other hand, has only been rising to fame in the last decade, and stands on his own among long-time legends in the industry.

Brian Tyler is the perfect fit for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and the scale of its films. After Iron Man 3, he would also return to score Thor: The Dark World on his own, and Avengers: Age of Ultron with legendary composer Danny Elfman. No further collaborations with Marvel have been announced, but it'll be no surprise if he returns to the film universe in the future.

Featured Tracks

Track 1: Iron Man 3 – Epic. Epic, epic, EPIC. That is the word the comes to mind when I listen to the main theme of Iron Man 3: Epic!

Track 3: Attack on 10880 Malibu Point – I'm not sure, but this might just be the most intense soundtrack cue in my library.

Track 6: New Beginnings – On the contrasting side, we have softer, more melodic music to accompany the less active and more hopeful portions of this film.

Track 20: Can You Dig It – This song admittedly took some time to grow on me. It's a more active, energy-pumping rendition of the film's main theme, used for the film credits. It's the kind of music you could work out to.



Purchase Iron Man 3 (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) on Amazon or iTunes.
Or listen to it for free on Spotify or YouTube.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Game Review: Momodora


I’ve had my eye on a particular game series for some time now. It's called Momodora, and it's a series of action platformer games that just released its fourth installment. While Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight looks to be a highly sophisticated and polished game, the original Momodora was released in 2010 with a far more amateur look and feel to it. For me, however, this was a very nostalgic period for indie games, especially those created with Mark Overmars' Game Maker, as Momodora was.

Momodora is an intentionally, and sometimes frustratingly, difficult game. The creator even suggests that players skip this game and move on to its sequels, as it was inspired by the difficulty of early arcade games. I, being the gamer that I am, and knowing that I’ve probably played much more frustrating games from the same era of the industry, promptly ignored this warning and played the game anyway.


Throughout Momodora you get access to a number of different weapons that you can cycle through, although you'll probably just end up alternating between a couple of them. Players are also given two secondary items you can cycle between that you’ll find yourself using quite frequently. One creates an easily-breakable shield around the character offering more defense, and the other is a boomerang that basically works as a secondary weapon, which comes in handy a lot.

The story... is almost entirely in a text document. It's not actually addressed in the game until the end. This, as well, may have been inspired by early titles in the game industry, whose stories would be almost entirely restricted to the games' manuals. The graphics well fit the era and style of game, as sort of a medium between Cave Story and Theseus and the Maze. The music is good, and fitting. The entire soundtrack (and all of the other sound effects) are included in the game's zip folder as .OGG files.


While I was able to get through the game and I very much enjoyed it, it's most certainly not for everybody. If you're looking for a more sophisticated experience that's not so much of a frustrating challenge, perhaps you should just jump ahead to a later game in the series as the developer suggested. I might be a little more sympathetic towards this game if it weren't for the fact that it uses one of my least favorite tropes, which is to have a very difficult boss battle after the final level of the game, with no save in-between.

If you want to try your hand at the game, you can check it out for free here. Look for my reviews of Momodora II, Momodora III, and Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight in the coming months.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Soundtrack of the Month: April 2016


Escape Goat 2 is a platforming game about a goat navigating a labyrinth, rescuing sheep, and trying to escape to the surface. Is this a joke? No, it's not. This is a real thing. It's a lot of fun, and the music is amazing.

Ian Stocker, the game's main developer and soundtrack composer, used to work in the mainstream game industry as a sound designer and composer. So players not only get to navigate a goat through a bunch of crazy puzzle-platformer levels, but they get to do it while listening to totally rad music.

You still think I'm joking. The joke is that I'm not. I'm dead serious.

Featured Tracks

Track 1: Restoration – Escape Goat 2 features a graphics style very different from the pixelated style of the first game. The music style gets a renovation as well, to better mach the new visuals.

Track 5: Reunion – This track is used for the game's secret levels. Yes, you are headbanging to music about a goat.

Track 8: Peaceful Sheep – Did I mention that you're trying to rescue sheep?

Track 14: Caper Erratus – The credits music of the game, and one of the greatest masterpieces I've had the pleasure of listening to. Not only is it a reprise of my favorite track from the first game, but it was also given words, sung by a choir, in Latin!

"Caper Erratus" roughly translates to "The Wandering Goat."



Purchase the Escape Goat 2 soundtrack on Bandcamp, Loudr, or iTunes.
Or listen to it for free on Spotify or YouTube.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Miscellaneous Update #483

Hey you. Yeah, you. You're beautiful, you know that? Seriously. Just thought you should know.

It's been a year and a half since I just posted a miscellaneous update. I figured I'd scramble around and try to come up with something new to report about my life. I'm doing plenty of nothings, but also some somethings here and there.

First off, I got a writing gig! A friend approached me to write some content for a sci-fi/fantasy entertainment site. I have some ideas brewing, but there's currently nothing of mine up on the site. Let's hope I don't botch this like the last time I got a writing gig. If you're interested, you can check out the site, Legendarium Media. (I love that name, presumably taken from Tolkien's legendarium.)

Secondly, I have a secret project brewing that I'm excited about which involves music. I'm hoping I can get it off the ground, and then pull through once I get it started. It'll probably be harder than I imagine it in my head, but I won't know until I try. Hopefully more information on that in the future, but no promises.

When it comes to entertainment I engage in, you can of course see everything I'm currently watching, playing and reading on my Status page. What you can't see there, because it's constantly fluctuating, is what music I've been recently listening to. Right now two of my favorite albums are Haunted by Poe and The Human Contradiction by Delain. I've also really been digging a four-track EP I found on Bandcamp called Unexpected, which is completely free.

For television shows, I most recently finished the second season of Daredevil, which was sooooo good. In the last year I also watched the entirety of Lost, and Veronica Mars, along with pretty much everything Joss Whedon ever made (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly rewatch, Serenity rewatch, Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, Dollhouse, Much Ado About Nothing). Okay, yeah, I still have a little ways to go. At least I've got his TV shows covered.

For what shows I'm currently watching, as I said, check out the Status page. Which, strangely enough, I love updating. I update the Status page every chance I get. I don't care that nobody reads it. I love doing it! I don't even know why!

The last topic I want to touch on is why this post is labelled as the 483rd miscellaneous update.

...Because I wanted to call it that. Now get out.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Soundtrack of the Month: March 2016


It's all Joss Whedon's fault, honestly. If he'd stop making so many diabolically brilliant television series and movies, I wouldn't have to spend so much money on their incredible soundtracks. Angel: Live Fast, Die Never is the official soundtrack to the television series Angel, created by Joss Whedon and David Greenwalt, which acted as a spin-off to Whedon's television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Robert J. Kral served as the primary score composer for Angel, although the album features a handful of other individuals and artists as well. The soundtrack very much reflects the dark and twisted themes of the series, but also the prominent, ever-focused theme of atonement; of searching for redemption, but knowing you may never truly find it so long as you walk the Earth.

Initially, Robert Kral began work on the series as an assistant to longtime Buffy composer Christophe Beck, who acted as main composer for the first season. One of Beck's compositions made it onto this album with the track "I'm Game", which occasionally acted as a heroic theme throughout the series, from the very first episode. It can be heard for the final time in the penultimate episode of the series.

Featured Tracks

Track 1: The Sanctuary (Main Theme Extended Remix) – An extended version of the series' outstanding opening theme, composed and performed by the band Darling Violetta.

Track 6: Hero – One of the most memorable episodes of Angel's first season, and possibly the entire series. First soldier down.

Track 15: Through the Looking Glass – One of five tracks that cover the several-episode arc that takes place in the mystical, demon(ish) dimension of Pylea, toward the end of Angel's second season.

Track 21: LA Song – This song is performed by actor Christian Kane, written by Kane and series showrunner David Greenwalt. It's performed in-series by Kane's character, Lindsey McDonald.



Note: The physical version of this soundtrack contains four additional songs by other artists that were featured in the series. These songs are well worth the physical purchase.

Purchase Angel: Live Fast, Die Never on Amazon or iTunes.
Or listen to it for free on Spotify or YouTube.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Cat Getting Out of a Bag and Other Observations by Jeffrey Brown


Cat Getting Out of a Bag and Other Observations by Jeffrey Brown is, to put it simply, the greatest thing ever. It's literally a bunch of random, hilarious, and adorable cat videos, in the form of 9-panel (or occasionally 18-panel) comics, instead of actual videos. That's the whole book.

Cartoonist Jeffrey Brown has created over 30 books, about all sorts of different subjects. He even released a follow-up to this book, called Cats Are Weird: And More Observations. This man has way too much time on his hands, and that's why his work is brilliant.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Soundtrack of the Month: February 2016


Remember Me is one of the few incredible games I actually discovered through discovering their soundtracks. I found it one day while browsing Amazon. I'd never heard of the game, but the soundtrack was composed by Alone in the Dark expert composer Olivier Derivière, so I knew that at least the music aspect had to be good. Several months later I acquired the game, played it, and absolutely loved it. I bought the soundtrack very soon thereafter.

I fell in love with Remember Me from the very beginning. I entered the game knowing next to nothing about it, which was intentional as the game begins with the protagonist losing all of her memory. The game takes place in the cyberpunk, dystopian future city of Neo Paris, and has a major emphasis on memory-related technology. The story is unique and highly thought-provoking, and the soundtrack is among the greatest I've heard, with a superb blend of orchestral and electronically altered score.

Derivière composed the entire soundtrack, which was then fully performed and recorded by the Philharmonia Orchestra. He then digitally processed and manipulated the music with multiple layers and effects to create a beautiful, half-orchestral, half-electronic sound which perfectly fits the world and story of the game. I love the amount of detail poured into the world, and the music was a major aspect of that.

Featured Tracks

Track 1: Nilan the Memory Hunter – The jaw-dropping main theme of Remember Me. Our protagonist is Nilan, who used to be the most skilled Memory Hunter in the world.

Track 3: Still Human – I consider this as one of the main themes of Neo Paris, even though a different track is specifically named after the city. Perhaps this is more a theme of the slums.

Track 6: The Enforcers – One of the combat themes for Remember Me, playing when you get into a hassle with the law enforcement, called Enforcers.

Track 10: Our Parents – While Nilan begins with no recollection of who she is or was, her proceeding quest does provide some answers. Which or how many, I will not say.



Purchase Remember Me (Original Soundtrack) on iTunes or Amazon MP3.
Or listen to it for free on Spotify or YouTube.