Classical Music is Dead*

Music to Your Virtual Ears

Posted in music by Sugar Vendil on 12/11/2010

Video games have been a part of entertainment culture for the past four decades, ranging in a variety of genres, from puzzle games, to girly cooking games (blah), to of course, the alpha-male, bloody and (at times hilariously) violent. Whether we like it or not, the industry is huge and growing, as is the need for video game music. A lot of noteworthy music has emerged, including scores from Final Fantasy and Mass Effect, and I love the music from the iPhone game Eliss (which I beat! Truly one of my top 3 accomplishments in life thus far).

Little has been written about video game music, as video games are still relatively new, as compared with film, Broadway shows, etc., and also because some might question its artistic merit. Not to get all philosophical and state any *big ideas* about anything, but art that is created for anything that reaches people, and especially something with as massive a reach as video games, is to me, artistically relevant.

What made me think about this is a Kickstarter project, ‘Videogame Music in Context,’ a Japanese DVD series that will investigate videogame soundtracks. Featured composers include Nobuo Uematsu (Final Fantasy), Akira Yamaoka (Silent Hill), Hip Tanaka (Game Boy Camera) interview by Baiyon, Hideyuki Fukasawa (Super Street Fighter IV), Hideki Sakamoto (echochrome ii), Noriyuki Asakura (Tenchu 4), Takashi Tokita & Naoshi Mizuta (Final Fantasy Legends.

There are only 8 days left to pledge, and there are really cool rewards!  Check out the Kickstarter page here.

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Independent and Innovative

Posted in random by Sugar Vendil on 12/11/2010

I just got an article from JC Report in my inbox about how small, eclectic, independent shops are popping up in exchange for huge, commercial, cookie-cutter retailers, offering more personal and one-of-a-kind shopping experiences. As I read the article I instantly thought about how we like to have our concerts (which are coming soon! We’ve been spending time planning) in small, intimate venues, and how all sorts of indie music groups and collectives are sprouting up all over the city. Lo and behold, towards the end of the article, owner of independent shop Occulter, Derrick R. Cruz paralled this change in shopping to the music business: “The big music monsters fell and supposedly the music business died,” he observes. “Funny thing happened though: a thousand little independent bands came out of nowhere and made a thousand little movements and new genres…So, one could argue that, creatively, music is more successful than ever…” (Read the full article here.)

Granted, he was talking about pop or rock, but there are parallels to be seen here in classical and new music as well. In music, our small ‘shops’ include (le) Poisson Rouge and Galapagos, who regularly feature independently run composer collectives and music groups that dominate the new music scene. Perhaps because of the economic downturn, many of us have become less dependent on winning grants, competitions, or waiting for something to happen. As far as Nouveau Classical goes, it’s hard for us to get placed in a grant category (the fashion part throws it off) and we’d rather just figure things out on our own sometimes! It really forces us to think about what would make an impact on our audience–the ones who attend our shows–and not just classical music aficionados, who naturally are the ones who make the decisions.

Tell us about your favorite indie music group in the comments (any genre of course), and your thoughts on indie classical/new music groups.