Video Games Live
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Audio CD, July 22, 2008
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2008 release, the soundtrack to the true gamer's life! Conductor Jack Wall leads the Slovak National Symphony Orchestra and Crouch End Festival Chorus through many of the most popular video game themes and creates a glorious aural paradise for the gamer in all of us. If you are hooked on the music from video games like Sonic The Hedgehog, Myst, Final Fantasy, Warcraft, Super Mario Brothers and others, then imagine those themes as performed by an orchestra. Yes, it is like heaven without the joystick! EMI.
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First thing: Where were these songs when I went this last time to VGL '08? Hahaha. Yeah we had some fantastic music, but one thing I noticed was a total lack of the use of the live choir. It's like they were standing back there for no reason the whole time except to sing in the Halo Suite, God of War, & Sweet Emotion.
That's not the case with this album. If you are a fan of live choirs in orchestrated music, this has an abundance and beautiful harmony.
Track o1:: Kingdom Hearts [3:37]
For fans of the intro track to the KH games...this is the Hikari Orchestrated track, but better. Definitely more bombastic, the horns are louder, the bass is louder. It's gorgeous.
Track o2:: Warcraft Suite [5:05]
A montage of music throughout the Warcraft games. Many of you will recognize the main songs throughout the track as the themes of Warcraft III & World of Warcraft. Emotional music accompanied by a beautiful choir...nothing makes you want to commit massacres of entire villages of centaurs and jungle trolls quite like this. The various different songs are seamlessly interwoven within this track. Definitely a favorite, really gets that dramatic feel down beautifully.
Track o3:: Myst Medley [6:04]
The one and only Myst. Yet another choir-accompanied piece, this track definitely captures the ethereal quality of the Myst soundtracks. This is a beautiful and moving track, complete with dramatic solo chanting and rising melodies. Around [4:10] the ethereal child solo turns into the bombastic melody I'm sure Myst fans will recognize.
Track o4:: Medal of Honor (LIVE) [5:43]
I'm not familiar with the source material, so I'm not sure what particular songs are included in this. All I can say is that it's a beautiful, moving track. Starts off with a choir, then moves down into a soft moving orchestra piece, and then a rising choir and melancholy violin, piano, rises back into a rousing melody, then finishes with percussion.
Track o5:: Civilization IV Medley [4:56]
This has turned out to be by far one of my favorite tracks on the entire album despite not being familiar with the source material (I'm going to go find it now.). A nice medley of various tracks from the game of various ethnic origins, around [2:00] a soloist kick in alongside with the choir for some beautiful African (?) singing. This is a very beautiful, very moving track that both fans and those like myself not familiar with the source material will enjoy.
Track o6:: Tetris Piano Opus No.1 [1:09]
Martin Leung plays Tetris on piano. Yes! Korobeiniki!
Track o7:: God of War Montage (LIVE) [3:35]
I'm not familiar with all the source material, though I do plenty recognize the rousing choir and symphony accompanied by soloist from the various game footage I've seen. Very cool track, GoW fans will definitely enjoy this one.
Track o8:: Advent Rising Suite [6:27]
Again, not familiar with the source material. I feel ashamed to call myself a game music fan now hahaha. Anyways, beautiful and moving track with orchestra and live choir. Definitely a joy to listen to.
Track o9:: TRON Montage [5:18]
I would literally kick an elderly woman (a mean one, of course) to see this song live. The second the first note hit I knew which track it was. The way they've recreated the completely digital soundtrack with a live orchestra, and even have the choir. Oh man. This has hit the nostalgia chord for my favorite Disney film dead on. Beautiful.
Track 1o:: Halo Suite [6:38]
The song I spent the entire show waiting for. Halo's soundtrack is hands down one of my favorites, and this does not disappoint. A montage of themes from Halo 3, the Halo 3 version of the main theme plays a huge part in this Suite. Oh yes, Tommy Tallarico on guitar. This is a very moving track, call me dorky, but listening to this stirs something inside of me. I love this song.
Track 11:: Castlevania Rock (LIVE) [4:44]
To quote Jack's shouts at the beginning of this live recording..."The one, the only, Castlevania!" You've got it: Vampire Killer! If I said this is the best rendition of the song I've ever heard, I wouldn't be exaggerating. Orchestra, electric guitars, drums, everything. It's amazing. Hands down the best ever!
I give this CD a full 100%! Whether or not you've been to a VGL concert before, you MUST buy this album! It's worth it for all game music fans! Even friends and family who do not know anything about game music still enjoy this album as well. The music is just that beautiful.
I already own vol.1 - 3 and number 4 is out now.
I was also lucky to see this show in 2014 in Antwerp, Belgium.
It was a great evening, hope the comle overhere agai this year.
Danny Van Ginhoven
The release of this CD was delayed for quite some time and though the content is excellent, I was a little disappointed. Granted, Kingdom Hearts, Halo and Advent Rising in particular are highlights and worthwhile inclusions but being a 90's gamer more, Sonic, Metal Gear Solid, Earthworm Jim and Mario, not to forget Final Fantasy were all inclusions that I was looking forward to seeing.
However, I had heard that there were some issues with the distribution of those particular themes (with Sega etc) so perhaps it isn't any fault of the producers of the album.
On the upside, you have an excellent album here, perfect for reminiscing or just keeping in the background when you are working. It also means however that there is plenty of scope for a second Volume and I for one am looking forward to it! I would love to hear Command and Conquer: Red Alert and Elder Scrolls: Oblivion one day too.
Incidentally, I purchased this via Amazon's download service and I am well pleased! So great to have DRM free music for a reasonable price.
I just bought the ticket for this concert happening Feburary next year!