Shovel Knight Soundtrack – Jake Kaufman

A couple of weeks ago, I was close to completing a game that I have been continously playing since its release on the Nintendo 3DS, the indie game, Shovel Knight. Last year I placed Shovel Knight as my game of the year. Shovel Knight had started out as a kickstarted project, gaining a vast amount of funds, procured by avid fans won over by its proposal.

During 2014, the majority of games I’d played (PC / XBOX / PS3 / WiiU / 3DS) had been close to tat, with only a few being intriguing (Super Smash Bros, Wasteland 2, Grim Fandango Remastered, and a couple more). However none compared to Shovel Knight.

There were many a reason as to why I loved Shovel Knight: it’s NES art style, the gameplay, the hidden secrets, the difficulty… however the one reason which won me over was it’s music (created by Jake Kaufman, who i’ll keeping an eye on).

Every single song was well crafted to faithfully follow the style of NES. It showed me that you could still do so much with just a tracker, and with it actually compose an epic soundtrack, to rival most AAA games. Each track suited its particular level well, the melodies capturing both the tension and struggle to had to face, with its crescendo being when you had to face the boss. God, was that hard…

Below I have picked two songs that really outshone for me whilst I have playing this game (because I couldn’t just pick one).

My first is:

In Hall The of The Usurper (Pridemoor Keep)

This song captured the level fantastically. The pace and melody and progression  is all well imagined here, and you’ll find yourself humming along to its catchiness. This is also a prime example out of the Shovel Knight soundtrack which a song clearly lays out your goal. You have a mission to defeat the King Knight, who usurped the throne from the real King of Pridemoor Keep and its up to you to take in down!

My next although I thought it would be strike the earth, (it has been my ringtone for pretty forever) however I thought I had to go with:

La Danse Macabre (Lich Yard)

The fact I chose this was that it grew on me. When I first played the spectre knight level, I found it actually harder than most levels, the song helped me learn that the level, was a place where I had to keep my guard up, especially when it came down to Spectre Knight (that bastard)! The spine tingling scary melodies were also won me over the main riff, bouncing around and acting rather ghostly.

In the end I feel the soundtrack really shaped my playtime on Shovel Knight as the idea was steadily realised and executed perfectly. Only a few games have won me over through their music (Super Meat Boy anyone?) which is why I diligently await for next one to capture my attention and hopefully soon.

Listen to the rest of the soundtrack via Bandcamp

See Shovel Knight on Youtube

Buy Shovel Knight on Steam

FYI: if anyone knows of any games with killer soundtracks, please leave them in comments below and I’ll have a play through them later!

.Mpegasus – Quixotica

 I’m typing this out Sunday, but sending it out Monday, so for the sake of sanity, let’s say this is Monday. Okay? Brill!

You’ve probably already read my previous article on cTrix who will be turning up for Manchester’s Superbyte 2015 (if you haven’t well, you’re in luck! Here’s a link). By a stroke of a coincidence, I recently found that the next guy I decided to write about is also attending the event, .Mpegasus.

To start, let me tell you a bit about him. .Mpegasus (real name, Martin Binfield) is an artist who focuses more on the electro and breakbeat side of music, each of songs delivering heavy bassie hooks, along with drum beats cutting through all that chip, with his style drawing from sounds the likes of, the classic Spectrum Console and brilliant Commodore 64 (two fantastic machines).

Hailing from Cambridgeshire, .Mpegasus has been smashing of music for over 6 years, and has built up a collection of songs under his banner, primarily Quixotica, which I came across.

When first listening to Quixotica, I didn’t really know what to expect. The opening song, Allergens took me so surprise with it’s pounding, jumping bass and through me off (I suppose I haven’t listened to enough breakbeat)! However as soon as it set in, I found myself grooving off the vibes, it’s tip-tapping rhythm sounding like echo of a tap. From then on music took an interesting turn with it’s descent into the next song, Breakdown, probably one of my favourites of the Album.

Several other key songs that I particularly enjoyed include: Different, with it’s bouncy lead intro; Fragments, it’s great uplifting melodies shining the most in the album; and Penultimately, Gauss flask, possibly the most ‘video game like’ song in the Album.

Finally, last but not least we have, JustLetGo, the longest but most progressive song out of the Album. Reasons for why this song is awesome are mainly down to the fact, that this is such an song epic to end everything, and man do I love progressive songs!

Overall it was a great (and maybe perhaps a bit too long) listen and I could definitely see where his roots came from. It also made me wonder if he’d actually thought of composing vide game music, as I think, without a doubt, his style would definitely fit in.

After listening to Quixotica I can say that .Mpegasus will be a very welcome addition to the this years Super Byte festival and I look forward to seeing him perform with chiptune’s finest.

Listen to rest of of .Mpegasus via Bandcamp

Visit .Mpegasus’ Website

Have a look at Super Byte 2015

Spectra – Chipzel

Time for some hardcore chiptune, and if you’ve managed to actually play though Super Hexagon, you may have already heard this artist. Chipzel is the alias of Niamh Houston, an artist who solely uses gameboys to in order to create some hard hitting rave beats.

Starting off in Northern Ireland, but now based in London, Chipzel has become hugely popular amongst fans, due to her frantic melodies that get everyone dancing like (in her own words) “raving loons”. To say she small is a huge understatement as Chipzel has been placed on par with many indie chiptuners such as, Sabrepulse and even the mighty Disasterpeace and now is all over the world playing to avid chiptune enthusiasts. Tokyo Chip in Manchester even had the delight of exhibiting her fantastic music at Fab Cafe for its first opening night (I sadly missed it!)

So anyway, let me introduce you to my select track, Spectra from Chipzel’s album (with the same name).

The tract instantly opens up with grinding hardcore melodies, ringing out like a several phone tones at once. Let me say this track isn’t for the faint hearted. Already we’re thrown into the deep end of Spectra, the ever so pounding drums knocking through the melodic scuzz, only to a crescendo towards the end and slowly play out.

There is a reason why this is my favourite on the album, and that’s down to it’s fantastic melodies, which frantically noodle about, but progress ever so brilliantly. This and it also nicely wets your appetite for the next song, Tokyo Skies, which is almost as good as the opener.

So that’s it, Chipzel and Spectra. I just hope she plays tokyo chip again!

Listen to all Chipzel’s stuff via her website!

Live near Manchester? Try Tokyo Chip!

FYI: I also got an awesome tee-shirt from her, the other week, probably one of the coolest bit of clothing I’ve ever bought! See it below:

Reach The For Stars – Ctrix

Last night I recently heard that Aussie based producer Ctrix was joining the line up of Manchester’s rising Chiptune festival, Super Byte 2015. I was hugely over joyed to be hearing that one of my favourite Amiga exclusive bands would flying hundreds of miles just to play rainy Manchester.

For those who have not heard of Ctrix, he released his first Album with Bleep Street, A for Amiga, and was mega popular with chiptune enthusiasts around. For me the reason why I liked his style was based of his exclusive nature to use the Amiga consoles; the commodore and 400 respectively. At that moment, I hadn’t approached the demoscene, so this was an ideal opener for anyone who wanted to move into certain waters which weren’t filled with game boys.

The track that I have featured, Reach for The Stars, is the first one on the LP, and is a nice hard hitting track to start an album.

Listen to the rest of the album via bandcamp

Have a look at Ctrix’s awesome website!

Have a look at Manchester’s rad festival, Super Byte 2015

FYI: If you live near Manchester or the Northwest and you like chiptune, I urge you to go Super Byte this year. By far one of the best indie festivals I’ve been to and previous years they’ve had the likes of, Mega Ran, SabrePulse and even Anamanaguchi!

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