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[Music] Worth Mentioning - Nov. 9th, 2011 to Nov. 15th, 2011

Posted 11-15-2011 at 05:07 PM by Mr. Murphy
Another big week in a big season for video games! We got Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 with music by Brian Tyler, the composer who wrote original music for the recent Battle: Los Angeles movie and the cult classics Frailty and Six String Samurai.

Tyler has done a lot of stuff, actually, including the 2004 and 2006 Olympic Games and the 2006 SuperBowl. Attaching him to your game is going to cost you a lot of money and not get noticed by a lot of people. Was it worth it? When you're barrel-deep in multiplayer, do you even notice his score? I don't have the game so I can't speak for the in-game experience, but as symphonic music on it's own terms, I enjoyed listening to the album quite a bit while I was working. It's the kind of chilling, sweeping symphony pieces that carry you along with strings and ghostly choir voices while war-drum beats drive you onwards. It's action movie music, but even though it's not groundbreakingly original, it is certainly good. The soundtrack is available for purchase on Amazon, iTunes and a number of digital download services.

L.A. Noire: The Complete Edition takes place during the 19040's, and the music is a huge part of taking the player back to that grittier time. Composed by Andrew and Simon Hale, obviously inspired by various film noir scores, the main trumpet theme sets the mood right off the bat, and it's super-smooth and crazy sexy.

Not a radio.

The dramatic elements that spring up during gameplay maintain the jazzy feel, and the action tracks have a busy-city environment embedded in the very music itself. There are a few tracks composed for a small jazz ensemble, credited to Andrew Hale, and three 1940's style original pieces at the end of the soundtrack CD, performed by The Real Tuesday Weld with synthpop singer Claudia Brucken on vocals, and it all blends together into a really, really great soundtrack CD that anyone who enjoys the film-noir vibe should experience. There's also a Verve Remix album, six tracks from the noir era, remixed by modern artists.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim has had it's score composed by the award-winning Jeremy Soule who was first heard on the videogame scene when he did amazing things with the SNES sound capabilities in The Secret of Evermore. His work was the first time the boopy-beeps of the 16-bit era were used to create environmental, ambient effects rather than strictly melody-based catchy tunes. In the almost two decades since then, he's probably become best known for his work on many Harry Potter titles or for the Elder Scrolls games Morrowind, Oblivion and now Skyrim. Soule uses electronic equipment to emulate an orchestra so well that you really can rarely tell the difference, although in this release he utilized a live choir for the vocal sections. His production quality leaves the tone of his music very open and expansive, and it suits the mood beautifully while exploring the vast world of Skyrim. If you're familiar with the series, you might have noticed the classic Elder Scrolls theme move it's way into the melody of the main theme of Elder Scrolls V. Chanting vikings, deep and booming rumble-drums, and resonant horns mark the style of the frozen north, and it's hard not to get goosebumps when his epic score comes barreling in on the wings of a dragon.

With his brother Julian he has founded DirectSong, a company that sells DRM-free downloads of several composers. His Skyrim soundtrack is available there, and all physical copies ordered before December 23rd will be autographed by the man himself.

Rhythm Releases

Michael Jackson The Experience wants you to bring the glittered glove home to your children. 27 tracks, each with a unique dance choreography to master.

Hopefully it's an experience that doesn't require years of therapy to repair.

You get all the classics, so if you wanna be starting something, bad, take that money you earned working day and night, beat it to the store like a speed demon and grab a copy to rock with you.

The Black Eyed Peas Experience will provide you with 32 tracks worth of Black Eyed Peas inspired dances to learn. The songs remain generally uncensored, although you won't hear the F word in any of them. The legendary masterpiece "My Humps" will play in full glory while your little girl (or for added surreality, little boy) breaks it down.

Nickelodeon Dance features Nickelodeon theme songs and classic oldies-station staples, all sung by Nickelodeon characters for the enjoyment of children and irritation of adults alike. If you have a little tyke in your home who loves to move, this could be a fun way to teach them some preliminary dance-moves, but the age range here spikes fairly low. I could see my 8 year old niece calling it "babyish", although your kids might not be in such a rush to grow up.

Maybe You Missed It

This week we had an awesome High-Def re-release, the Metal Gear Solid HD Collection. They kept the original music with this one, pieces by Harry Gregson-Williams and Norihiko Hibino. Gregson-Williams used to work on film scores with Hans Zimmer in the nineties, and you can hear the influence in this score. That isn't a bad thing. Recently his movie work has included X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Cowboys & Aliens and the upcoming Amazing Spider-Man reboot. Norihiko Hibino is a Japanese composer (and saxaphonist!) who has been mentioned twice already in Music Worth Mentioning for his work on Ace Combat: Assault Horizon and Otomedius Excellent. He is something of a First Officer on the games he works on, providing original compositions but rarely taking the captains' chair for full musical control. Both Gregson-Williams and Norihiko Hibino have been involved with all the music for the Metal Gear Solid seires since Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, and this HD Collection of three PS2 era Metal Gear Solid titles is a great way to experience their work. Their music is fun. Gregson-Williams is a master at the Zimmer inspired epic action music score, and Hibino loves to use Bond-style spy-movie stings to flavor his bad-guy themes from metal Gear Solid 3 with a certain cold war flair. Check out what I mean.

These games aren't everyone's cup of tea, what with the eye-blisteringly long cutscenes and convoluted plots, but the soundtracks for both games are available for sale at Amazon and maintain a high star rating. This is mostly action music, with a lot of momentum! Play it in your car and all the sudden driving through town is a living a chase scene. The work this duo did on the early PS2 title Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty helped cement video games as a medium for cinematic experiences, and captured the strange combination of light humor and intense espionage action that is the defining mood of Metal Gear Solid, and if you missed these games the first time around, there's no better way to bone up on your gaming history than by picking up this collection.

Oddly enough, I found this picture during a Google image search for LA Noir.

Check out more video game music over at the rainwave streaming radio, and I'll see you next week, when we'll be talking about Saint's Row: The Third and ABBA!
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