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Adam Corn Apr 11, 2013

Just found out about this via OSV today.  Long-time VGM composer Jeremy Soule of Skyrim fame (not to mention many other soundtracks) has taken to Kickstarter to fund his first original symphonic album "The Northerner".

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/499 … phony-no-1

Though I can't claim to keep up with Kickstarter aside from the news I've seen here, this is the first project where I've felt compelled to contribute (and just did).  If anyone else would like to sign up for $15 and get a signed CD of the album when it's released you have until Sunday Apr 14, 2:59am EDT to do so.

Personally I think a $10 contribution for a digital copy of the album would have been the ideal starter pledge, but this being an early fan-funded VGM album and a talented and respected composer I'm willing to go the extra five.  Please note as stated in the project's FAQ the album may not be 100% live orchestral but some mix of live orchestral (by Skywalker Sound apparently) with sequenced music, depending on the amount of funding.  Skyrim turned out well enough with the same mix so I'm willing to believe the end result will be equally impressive here.

I'm having trouble thinking of any game music artists to compose and produce their own large-scale original orchestral work.  Will this be the first?

avatar! Apr 11, 2013

Thanks for the heads-up! I contributed my $15 smile
Just to clarify, this is NOT a VGM album, but rather as noted on the kickstarter page "Symphony No. 1, "The Northerner" (Opus 1) will mark Jeremy's first foray into the grand traditions of classical music." So, expect a symphony of some sort. If you're a classical music fan, I think this is well worth it.

LiquidAcid Apr 11, 2013

I took a quick look at the page. But when I saw about the FAQ entry with the 24bit/96kHz bullshit, I laughed and closed the page.

avatar! Apr 11, 2013

LiquidAcid wrote:

I took a quick look at the page. But when I saw about the FAQ entry with the 24bit/96kHz bullshit, I laughed and closed the page.

Yeah, that would be the bonus download they plan on giving everyone for free. The CD will still be uncompressed. I really don't see what your problem is, but whatever.

LiquidAcid Apr 11, 2013 (edited Apr 11, 2013)

My problem is, that I can't really take Soule serious when he's talking such a nonsense openly on the FAQ. 24bit/96kHz gives the listener no benefit at all -- it just increases file size. The format is advantageous when editing and mastering material, but _not_ for listening. Also, this has nothing to do with digital (lossless) compression of the material.

This is just this: Pure misinformation to persuade uneducated people to back the project. This, or Soule has literally no clue how digital audio works. And either of these options doesn't help to convince me to back this.

Be factual and a bit more modest. It's better in the long-term. Just look at what became of Ouya's self proclaimed "Stradivarius controller"... big talk, nothing more...


EDIT: Since this is a very recent example, I want to point this out. SQEX released FINAL FANTASY Orchestral Album in December 2012. It was released on BluRay, but as audio only. The audio is encoded in LPCM with 24bit depth and 96kHz sampling rate. It was advertised as such, pointing out the "higher quality" of the release. Looking closely, the dynamic range of the tracks never exceeds 20dB. This is well beyond the theoretical DR of the CD/Redbook (which is 96dB), and also well beyond the practical DR when we subtract 6dB for headroom.

If I remember correctly, then 24bit yields 144dB dynamic range. Let's just assume that we actually have a sound system which can reproduce this range, and let's further assume that we have a recording that actually offers this range. Under these assumptions, the acoustic pressure would first kill you and then devastate the room (before someone pulls the plug).

And the aforementioned 20dB are already a lot. You encounter these ranges mostly on classical records.

Here are e.g. the values for UnchainBlades Exxiv Original Soundtrack:
6.84 LU / 8.35 LU / 8.20 LU / 6.33 LU / 2.14 LU / 3.73 LU / 6.13 LU / 8.64 LU / 2.25 LU / 6.49 LU / 9.39 LU / 3.07 LU / 9.09 LU / 14.97 LU / 4.99 LU / 11.22 LU / 7.30 LU / 9.04 LU / 8.07 LU / 2.76 LU / 12.05 LU / 8.83 LU

EDIT2: Let's also point out an exception. 22.33dB range on track 1.15 (Area III - Sacred Mountain of Silver Wind), the Sekaiju no MeiQ 4 OST album. Of course not all tracks are "gold" here. You also find the usual <3dB candidates. Just to give you an impression what DR is really "in use".

GoldfishX Apr 11, 2013 (edited Apr 11, 2013)

I just can't take it seriously because Jeremy Soule is the poster child for bland, American VGM. This is the same guy that once said that game music should be considered a niche of classical music.

Edit: Ah, this thread brings back memories. Back when I once passionate about VGM and its' future. The original interview is offline, but you can still tell the context from the discussion.

http://www.gamingforce.org/forums/gener … rview.html

Adam Corn Apr 12, 2013

LiquidAcid:

I don't think you'll find many people here who'd disagree with you that 24bit/96kHz is overkill, unnecessary and quite possibly pointless.  That said for Soule Symphony the 96kHz files are a footnote in a FAQ as a free bonus in a project for which the main draw is an old school audio CD, the type we all know and love.  Whereas for Final Fantasy Orchestral Album it's the main selling point for an expensive Blu-ray special edition that doesn't even include an audio CD for the buyer to enjoy.  If you're going to complain about 24bit/96kHz I think it better belongs in that thread.  (Granted another member asked you about it.)

Goldfish:

I perused the thread you mentioned and I think you're overreacting here as you did there.  Soule is a classically trained composer creating mostly orchestral, classically influenced music for video games.  So from his perspective it's not surprising that he considers the evolution of classical music to largely lie in video game soundtracks.  (I would agree with him, that along with most film soundtracks and orchestral anime music.)  I sincerely doubt he thinks that all VGM must be a subset of classical music, and it seems harsh to disregard a composer over a point in a six-year old interview that may well have been misspoken or misconstrued in the first place.

Also when you throw about terms like "bland, American VGM" I wonder if that equates to "bland orchestral VGM".  Are there many orchestral soundtracks that you like?

I can't claim to be a frequent listener of Soule's soundtracks myself but I have given Skyrim a few listens and there is definitely some quality orchestral music on there coming from a composer with talent.  I'm curious to see what a completely original orchestral project from such a composer will turn out like and hope it's a success.

GoldfishX Apr 12, 2013 (edited Apr 12, 2013)

Adam Corn wrote:

Also when you throw about terms like "bland, American VGM" I wonder if that equates to "bland orchestral VGM".  Are there many orchestral soundtracks that you like?

I'm actually quite a fan of the Dragon Quest Symphonic Suites. They are what turned me on to "traditional" classical/baroque music (Mozart, Haydn, Bach, Telemann, Handel), as a lot of it can pass for quality JRPG music. And while I'm no Sakimoto fan, I'm finding on most of his soundtracks, he generally comes up with a small collection of tracks I enjoy nestled among a bunch of ones I can't tolerate (similar findings as your FFXII review). I went through Final Fantasy Tactics again recently and found it surprisingly enjoyable (mostly battle themes) and am looking forward to going through Valkyria Chronicles. And SNES stuff like Actraiser, Mystic Ark or parts of Uematsu's FF scores, of course. I also liked most of Sakuraba's synth-orchestral work (I feel like his music got really dull when he started writing for real instruments, but I want to give a few of them closer listens, like VP2 and Baten Kaitos...SO3 was as bad as I remember it though).

But there are many I don't like as well. Soul Calibur musc, Hamaguchi's overly safe upgrades where I mostly prefer the originals, most Falcom orchestral arranges, the Shining Force Suites, the OGC's are just okay, the newer Castlevania scores are junk. I just don't see orchestral music as a large part of VGM and it is largely a novelty to me within the VGM realm, whereas it is more the standard for film and some anime.

Also to be fair, I only recently (last year and a half or so) upgraded to earphones that portray orchestral music well. So now I'm hearing details that I wasn't hearing before. Atrios are good for rock music, not so good for Mozart or Sugiyama, lol. But I'm still cutting out anything that has the words "andante" or "adagio" in it...I prefer the allegros and prestos.

I've just heard too many tracks from Soule that linger aimlessly in the background to regard him in any type of high regard. The whole argument about VGM needing to be in the background and out of the way is nonsense to me and I still feel Soule is just a film composer in VGM composer's clothing. Admittedly, I haven't loathed every single track of his I've heard, but little has done a single thing to stand out. But I stand by my comments from six years ago, I just don't expect miracles from modern VGM composers anymore and generally look to the 8/16/32 bit eras for most of my VGM fix.

And my point about his "vgm being a subset of classical music" reflects more ignorance than stupidity. I don't think he is stupid enough to believe that, but I do believe he is ignorant enough to disregard things like chiptunes and other genres that VGM encompasses (since his demo was what he felt VGM "should" sound like). I am happy to see composers like virt and Souleye come onto the scene, where the classic 8-bit scores and the like are seen as real art and not just bleeps and bloops. Their style was not really common six years ago, it has been rather refreshing the past couple years.

To his credit, he is not a complete and total fraud like Tommy Tallarico. Tallarico starts out as a somewhat decent primarily rock-based composer (even boasting how he had the first live guitar performance in a VGM soundtrack with the Sega CD redbook for Terminator, being totally unaware Falcom beat him to the punch 3-4 years earlier with Ys Book I and II), now he nut hugs the idea of orchestral VGM like it is truly high-art, while it has been proven that VGL uses pre-recorded music to supplement the live show. He once claimed how excited he was to be writing an 13th century Italian opera. That's kind of hard to do when opera did not really start until the end of the 16th Century (shoutouts to Ongakusei for catching that, back in the day...a quick web search further confirms that). >_<

avatar! Apr 12, 2013

GoldfishX wrote:

Admittedly, I haven't loathed every single track of his I've heard, but little has done a single thing to stand out. But I stand by my comments from six years ago, I just don't expect miracles from modern VGM composers anymore and generally look to the 8/16/32 bit eras for most of my VGM fix.

You're entitled to your own opinions of course, but I don't think anyone will take you seriously with comments such as

"I haven't loathed every single track of his" and "I just don't expect miracles from modern VGM composers anymore".

It almost seems to me that you have a bone to pick with Jeremy Soule, although I don't see why.  Frankly, I've enjoyed Soule's work since his debut with Secret of Evermore, which by the way I thought was one of the best VGM albums of that era. Some of his other works such as Morrowind and Icewind Dale are still some of my favorite albums. For the most part I don't find his music as bombastic as what you listen to (Ys, etc) but to just dismiss him as "bland American VGM" makes me think you are close-minded about American and/or Western VGM and that you have a chip on your shoulder. Also, I mean what I said with due respect, I'm not trying to pick a fight.

Wanderer Apr 12, 2013 (edited Apr 12, 2013)

Soule has written plenty of respectable music. I've been playing a lot of Guild Wars 2 lately and his work does a great deal for the game. I also enjoyed a lot of his Skyrim score. I wouldn't classify the music as classical (nor would I use the term with any film/television/video game music that's orchestral in nature) as it's still music that's intended to accompany a medium. Classical art music, by its very nature is written to stand alone.

TerraEpon Apr 13, 2013

Wanderer wrote:

Soule has written plenty of respectable music. I've been playing a lot of Guild Wars 2 lately and his work does a great deal for the game. I also enjoyed a lot of his Skyrim score. I wouldn't classify the music as classical (nor would I use the term with any film/television/video game music that's orchestral in nature) as it's still music that's intended to accompany a medium. Classical art music, by its very nature is written to stand alone.

So ballet music and theater music (such as Peer Gynt) aren't classical?

GoldfishX Apr 13, 2013

avatar! wrote:

You're entitled to your own opinions of course, but I don't think anyone will take you seriously with comments such as

"I haven't loathed every single track of his" and "I just don't expect miracles from modern VGM composers anymore".

It almost seems to me that you have a bone to pick with Jeremy Soule, although I don't see why.  Frankly, I've enjoyed Soule's work since his debut with Secret of Evermore, which by the way I thought was one of the best VGM albums of that era. Some of his other works such as Morrowind and Icewind Dale are still some of my favorite albums. For the most part I don't find his music as bombastic as what you listen to (Ys, etc) but to just dismiss him as "bland American VGM" makes me think you are close-minded about American and/or Western VGM and that you have a chip on your shoulder. Also, I mean what I said with due respect, I'm not trying to pick a fight.

I think my initial post would have been ideal as to why I shouldn't be taken seriously, because it was me giving a quick opinion on Jeremy Soule without much detail. And everyone has an opinion. My follow-up response was more an elaboration on that, as well as a response  to Adam's comment about my stance on orchestral music. I thought it was fairly well constructed, to be honest.

I'm actually rather curious why you chose the above two quotes out of my response, as they are quite harmless. The first one is me saying that there is a small handful of tracks I have heard from him that I would classify as 'good' and that I got some enjoyment out of. Granted, I can count them on one hand (Morrowind main theme, Dragonborn and 1 or 2 other tracks I've heard) and I really don't care to explore the matter further because the other 95% of his output I've heard, I dislike and find totally boring. But that kind of drives a wedge into your theory of having it in for the guy. And the second is simply me saying when I responded to the GFF thread, I was concerned about the direction that VGM was heading, now it is a total non-issue to me because I rarely pay attention to the modern VGM scene or any direction it might be heading. You've seen me say this before, it's nothing new.

I would have attacked this part, as its way more disrespectful and direct: "I've just heard too many tracks from Soule that linger aimlessly in the background to regard him in any type of high regard. The whole argument about VGM needing to be in the background and out of the way is nonsense to me and I still feel Soule is just a film composer in VGM composer's clothing."

And this: "And my point about his "vgm being a subset of classical music" reflects more ignorance than stupidity. I don't think he is stupid enough to believe that, but I do believe he is ignorant enough to disregard things like chiptunes and other genres that VGM encompasses (since his demo was what he felt VGM "should" sound like)."

Let's just be totally clear: I greatly dislike music -acoustic or electric- that sits in the background, does essentially nothing to stand out (outside of building mood) and is immediately forgotten when it is over. No matter how technically well composed it is or how unintrusive it is, it is fluff to me and I don't feel it should be rewarded or seen as any type of great achievement. If anything, I see its' more widespread use as the very opposite of why I enjoy VGM. This goes for both western and Japanese VGM (as well as ANY type of music) and unfortunately, the majority of Soule's output that I have experienced fits that description. On the same hand, in my above response, I clearly praised virt (who is an American composer) because I like his style and the respect he shows for a lot of classic VGM. I don't feel a lot of American VGM composers have that same perspective and they are trying to copy the style of generally accepted film scores.

Let's be even more clear: I don't like his music, I'm not simply dismissing him. It's empirical. So the idea of him putting together a full symphony is downright laughable to me. It just furthers my suspicion that he is using games to further his music career.

And yes, Wanderer, I generally agree...I feel like the purpose of classical music is to stand out and entertain, not linger in the background of another medium. So I feel soundtracks and classical music are mutually exclusive for the most part.

TerraEpon Apr 13, 2013

GoldfishX wrote:

And yes, Wanderer, I generally agree...I feel like the purpose of classical music is to stand out and entertain, not linger in the background of another medium. So I feel soundtracks and classical music are mutually exclusive for the most part.

Well you may feel that way, but that doesn't make it correct. Because it's not. A lot of classical music (and even Classical music) was written to be 'background' music, be it directly as a ballet or for a play (as I mentioned above) or simply as entertainment the way people might listen to the radio while cleaning the house or eating dinner these days.

Wanderer Apr 13, 2013

TerraEpon wrote:
Wanderer wrote:

Soule has written plenty of respectable music. I've been playing a lot of Guild Wars 2 lately and his work does a great deal for the game. I also enjoyed a lot of his Skyrim score. I wouldn't classify the music as classical (nor would I use the term with any film/television/video game music that's orchestral in nature) as it's still music that's intended to accompany a medium. Classical art music, by its very nature is written to stand alone.

So ballet music and theater music (such as Peer Gynt) aren't classical?

I think it's just semantics. I had several paragraphs in response but ultimately, I don't understand how music is labeled well enough to really argue the point. What makes something "classical" and what makes something "popular" is a very loose thing and got even looser in the 20th century.

GoldfishX Apr 14, 2013

I was primarily thinking in terms of the symphonies, concertos and sonatas (which are designed to stand alone) in classical music where paid audiences went for the musical entertainment, but that is probably true as well. I'm aware of stuff like Telemann's Tafelmusik/Tablemusic, but it's certainly lively and engaging enough to stand on its own for the most part.

Moses Apr 14, 2013

Adam Corn wrote:

I'm having trouble thinking of any game music artists to compose and produce their own large-scale original orchestral work.  Will this be the first?

Technically Christopher Tin should count.

Arcubalis Apr 21, 2013

Haven't been to or posted here in over three years. Interesting to see that the same people still have enough time on their hands to endlessly troll these forums.

GoldfishX Apr 21, 2013 (edited Apr 21, 2013)

Arcubalis wrote:

Haven't been to or posted here in over three years. Interesting to see that the same people still have enough time on their hands to endlessly troll these forums.

Well, and a cheery hello to you too.

BTW, I regularly cruise through originalsoundversion.com. This wouldn't happen to have anything to do with this, eh?

http://www.originalsoundversion.com/jer … upport-it/

Sorry if you're confusing "trolling" with "expressing an opinion I don't agree with". We've been through this with this same composer in the past.

Smeg Apr 21, 2013

GoldfishX wrote:

I also liked most of Sakuraba's synth-orchestral work (I feel like his music got really dull when he started writing for real instruments, but I want to give a few of them closer listens, like VP2 and Baten Kaitos...SO3 was as bad as I remember it though).

BK is one of my favorite Sakuraba soundtracks, and I think we tend to be on the same wavelength where his work is concerned. VP2...eh tongue

GoldfishX Apr 22, 2013

Smeg wrote:
GoldfishX wrote:

I also liked most of Sakuraba's synth-orchestral work (I feel like his music got really dull when he started writing for real instruments, but I want to give a few of them closer listens, like VP2 and Baten Kaitos...SO3 was as bad as I remember it though).

BK is one of my favorite Sakuraba soundtracks, and I think we tend to be on the same wavelength where his work is concerned. VP2...eh tongue

Honestly, I didn't give VP2 much of a chance, but I remember there were a LOT of tracks I skipped on it. My problem with Baten Kaitos was trying to listen to the actual discs straight through, as opposed to picking out favorites (this was awhile ago), so I expect to enjoy that one when I get to it.

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