Pokemon, Celeste, Zelda, Majora's Mask, YOMOTSU

Pokemon, Celeste, Zelda, Majora's Mask, YOMOTSU

This week features Lena Raine's highly rated Celeste album, Tributes to Zelda in Marshall Art and Cory Johnson's Timeline EP as well as Pinhead Larry's new remix album, Memory Palace 2. Shinesparkers present Harmony of a Champion, a compilation tribute to the original Pokemon Red/Blue/Green/Yellow. Then it's another indie game OST with Chris Porter's YOMOTSU album.

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Check out the debut, self-titled chiptune rock album by Marshall Art

One of those albums you hate yourself for not posting when it dropped.

I love the shizz, and I love all the shizzies and other folks who appear on this far too short album.

This album seriously has everything, even SPAMTRON!

Review definitely incoming, been a while since I had some time alone with a brilliant chiptune album. 

Marshall Art is a transatlantic band made up of Jeffrey Roberts from Canada and Mikhail Ivanov from Russia. Combining the cold structural beauty of NES chiptunes and the hot energy of live guitar, they play instrumental music influenced by post-rock, progressive rock, ambient and various electronic genres.

Papercut You Into Little Pieces (05:21)

Asteroid Driller (06:11)

They’re Like Locusts (feat. spamtron) (05:52)

Nothing Can Be Fixed Here. God, Burn! (05:42)

Marshall Art (19:19)

All songs by Jeffrey Roberts / Mikhail Ivanov.
Except “They’re Like Locusts” by Jeffrey Roberts / Mikhail Ivanov / Guerin McMurry.

Additional vocals on “Marshall Art” by Cory Johnson, Cydran, C-jeff, destoo, Erik Peabody (Viking Guitar), GearX2, Harmsing, Hoodie, Janx, John Schock, Katamari, Level 99, Mama Ryn, Masha Zalivanskaya, Monte, Multi-Memory Controller, norg, Ryn, Travis Morgan, ViridianForge and zyko.

Mixing and additional production by Cory Johnson.
Cover art by Andrei Karlin.

Marshall Art would like to thank Andrei, brodan, Cory, Dino, Dmitry, Emily, Guerin, Hoodie, Remy, Legacy Printing & Design, pixie druid, The Shizz, Mandy and Masha.

Listen to Towns I (Hello World) from Cory Johnson's Earthbound tribute album

The world could be falling apart around you, but you just don't care. That's how it feels in this heroic track from Cory Johnson's Earthbound tribute album. This song creates a much needed break in the grim opening of this album, but you can read the review for more about that.

Arranging a Legend: A review of Cory Johnson's "The Legend of Zelda" tribute album

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I actually wrote about this album once before, but that was a couple years ago. They were trying times, what with trying to keep my website from crashing, back when I had to spend much more time focusing on the basic functionality of the site more than the actual content.

It's a new era though, and I am here to give the Legend of Zelda album by Cory Johnson the love and affection it so richly deserves, even if I am a few years late.

Having no formal training in music, I often describe music based on the mood or images it conjures up in my mind. This album would best be described as immense. This album is more an epic to be traversed than an album to toss on in the background while doing homework. Something about Cory Johnson's music grabs me by the ear and forces me to really soak it all in. Well I think two years or so of this album is long enough to get properly soaked, so let's get started.

The album is off to a great start with "Fairy Fountain," my personal favorite song from the entire Legend of Zelda series. Johnson's rendition of the well known menu theme starts off meandering, but don't be impatient as the song closes with an upbeat, drum driven rush of music that will take you back to your own personal favorite Zelda game. This is a good state of mind to be in, since we've got nearly two dozen more songs to go. The next song, "Hyrule Field," is an arrangement that one could imagine a wandering minstrel performing quietly under a tree just outside of town. The song rises and falls and rises again with inspiring waves of sound that create the feeling of an ever building adventure. 

Don't unsheath that sword just yet, perhaps it's time to remember what this adventure is all about, and "Zelda's Lullaby" is just the track for that. The song is less royal, and a little more gritty thanks to the rock arrangement Johnson provides. The track quickly goes from somber to driven as the instruments build and twist around one another. The album moves seamlessly into another theme. This time for Link's noble steed in "Epona's Interlude" which takes on much of the same vibe as the previous arrangement. If I owned a horse, I'd play this song for her every day. At about the halfway mark, I thought I heard everything I needed to hear from this track, but Johnson changes things up just past the two minute mark with a crashing of drums that leads into a sort of aged reprise, finally culminating with a hint of piano. The song gives way to "Zelda's Reprise", which excellently sandwiches the previous track, creating the feeling of a nearly fifteen minute medley of beautifully arranged music.

 

And as if this lengthy review wasn't enough convincing, you can grab the album on a pay any amount you want scale through Cory Johnson's The Legend of Zelda album bandcamp page.

The enemy of all zombies: A review of Earthbound by Cory Johnson

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Disturbing, haunting, plaintive, and even hopeful. Definitely Earthbound. Cory Johnson follows up his monumental Zelda album with something more like an audio event than an album. Johnson channels his inner Orson Welles to create a sonic account of the war against Giygas.

Back when the site had recently gone through another torrid upgrade by my hands, Cory Johnson released a one of a kind tribute to the Legend of Zelda. Since then I have been an immense Cory Johnson fan, but due to circumstances beyond my control, I have never had the opportunity to commit many words to paper about this wonderful musician. Coincidentally, as I have revamped this site once again back in July of last year, I run across a brand new collection of music from Cory Johnson, and it appears he has been grinding and leveling up during GM4A's dormancy, because his latest, a tribute to the fantastic, ultimately niche music of Earthbound, is a SMAAAASH!! Homerun.

The introductory tracks paint an ominous picture using dialogue that would sound at home in any 1950's space opera, the audio equivalent of that memorable opening image from Earthbound. The spoken word portions paint a picture which is steadily reinforced by the musical arrangements in an incredible way I haven't heard since some of Jay Tholen's chiptune classics. The tension builds sharply as the actors weave a tale of the chaos raining down from the skies.

It's not until we are well into "Prophecy of Bee" do we start to approach a world far less antagonizing than earlier. "Towns I (Hello World)" runs with that hope and launches it into an upbeat melody of heavy drums and a whirlwind of instruments lead by some evocative guitar playing. The album takes a turn for the somber and beautiful for much of the meat of the album, but don't let that fool you into a fall sense of safety.

"The Cliff That Time Forgot" lays waste to some of the most truly memorable tracks from Earthbound, the type of songs that seemed to be little more than noise in some instances. The trumpet like warbling of Dungeon Man or the pulsing drill sounds that seemed to have no rhythm at all, seem to be best represented by this song. The mood and style of the song vary wildly until we reach the penultimate track.

Penultimate is a great word in this situation, because nothing conveys the grandiosity of the track "I Am the Evil in Your Heart". An 18 minute build up of dramatic speeches and slowly building music that eventually culminates into a stirring finale.

At least, it would, were it not interrupted by the gestating rumble of something completely not of this world. Perhaps not even of this dimension. The music lurches like a lava stream inching it's way forward until we are plunged back into the depths of chaos that the album began with.

Like all great rock albums, this one ends with a reprise like finale. "Town IV (Because I Love You)" is a heartwarming rearrangement of the theme from the bustling town of Fourside.  No tricks here, despite Giygas' greatest efforts, Ness, Paula, Jeff, and Poo have overcome evil and are triumphant in their quest.

Now much like the hope for that day that Mother 3 gets an official US release, I long for the day that Cory Johnson graces the world with another grand tribute to another heralded video game series.

You can grab the Earthbound album for free or name your own price via Cory Johnson's bandcamp album page.

All star VG musicians pay tribute to the Donkey Kong Country series in the DKC Mix't Ape '94

Nearly 3 Dozen tracks honor 20 years of superb video game music.

Over a dozen VGM musicians contribute to a celebration of a Gorilla, who once, along with a few sidekicks, beat up a bunch of reptiles. 35 tracks of music from the original Donkey Kong Country trilogy for SNES. Hours of high quality listening that I couldn't even begin to cover, so I'm not even going to try. The album speaks for itself, with the all star gathering of VGM talent, along with the source material by David Wise.

Grab the album completely free at the official Bandcamp page for the DKC Mix't Ape '94.

The full list of contributors, which I feel compelled to provide, are Cory Johnson, Grant "Stemage" Henry, Marshall Art, Super Guitar Bros, Droidekka, missingNO, James Moats, William Reyes, MegaBeardo, PokeMatt, Lucio Baldomero, Dave ReardonJosh EdgintonJoe CorbettWild GunmenThe World is RareEight Bit DisasterDJ SonikBusterJohn WeibleJer RoqueJoshua CorteseAdam HenryJustin Taylor, Codename Trigger Thumb, and The Nate Horsfall Experience.

Can't wait for the next oneThanks to Big Mat for curating the release, I am very excited for the next compilation in 2015, which will be curated by Nate Horsfall.

Cory Johnson - The Legend of Zelda album

Wonderful rock arrangements of classic Legend of Zelda themes. If you could imagine the Indigo-Gos going electric (and not getting electrocuted) then you are hearing the sounds of Cory Johnson and his 23 track tribute to The Legend of Zelda. From the original game to Skyward Sword, Johnson covers 25 years of this classic game with precise, rockin' musicianship.