Archive for the ‘RW Blog’ Category

A Premonition/Chrono Trigger (Chrono Trigger)

Thursday, July 31st, 2008

At last. It has come to pass. What, you ask? Of course, I’m referring to Square Enix’s announncement that they are to re-release (or port in this case) the SNES classic Chrono Trigger to the DS. This is exciting for us in particular, as we are in Europe, that barren wasteland that in the days of the SNES never saw release of games such as Chrono Trigger or Final Fantasy, in part because of Square’s localization teams lacking the ability to do so, and in part because back in those days, this was Sega-land.

So at last, Chrono Trigger announced. This combined with the many requests from our friend Craig to cover another track from the game (his favourite ever) finally made us look at the game’s music once more and get off our asses and do it. As we’ve already done the best piece of music in the game, Frog’s Theme (download coming soon!) it was a toss-up between this and Wind Scene. This slightly won out. But Wind Scene will also be coming. In time

This track has a lot of synth parts in it. The entire “Premonition” track is synth, and then throughout “Chrono Trigger” there’s a lot of quieter synth parts to help keep it close to the original. One major difference is where the original piece ‘pulls back’ and gets quieter, ours just gets louder and louder, building up to an even bigger ending. We had to. We are a rock band, after all.

Did You Know?
The original character in Chrono Trigger was meant to be called Chrono, but the game engine couldn’t handle a name that long for the English language version. As such, the h was dropped, and he was renamed Crono. In the subsequent PS1 release despite longer names being allowed, Chrono was still a blacklisted name – the game wouldn’t let you have it even if you swapped o’s for 0’s and so on. Press at this year’s E3 confirmed that the DS version will be the same, true to the original.

We’ve got some new banners…

Thursday, July 31st, 2008

We’ve got some banners avaliable for anybody who wishes to link to us – feel free to hotlink these and link back to our website or myspace using these! To avoid stretching the page, these images are not shown at full size – click to see the full image!

Banner 1 Large
Banner 1 Large

Banner 1 Small
Banner 1 Small

Small Square
Square Button

Avaliable long-term at the “Link to Us!” page.

Dr. Wily Stage 1 (Mega Man 2)

Thursday, July 10th, 2008

This one has actually been sitting around on my hard drive for quite some time, and I’ve just been sitting around waiting for the most fitting moment to release it. Lucky for me, then, that Capcom announced Mega Man 9, a true 8-bit sequel in the vein of the NES masterpieces for the Wii’s WiiWare download service. It’s time to finish this one off and release it.

As I’ve mentioned before, there are certain tracks that as a game music cover band, you almost have to do – as a rites of passage, per se. Fast, awesome tunes that are built for rock instruments and are great fun to cover. The Decisive Battle is an example of this, and there’s some others which we intend to record in the future, such as FFVII’s Those Who Fight Further. Suggested by Lloyd who is a huge Mega Man fan, it was when he could already play the tune in full on his guitar that I knew it was time we recorded it.

There’s not a whole lot of synth in this piece. There’s some very low string backing to give the rhythm guitar a bit of support, and that’s it. Past that, it’s just guitar, bass and drums, and a few of Lloyd’s solos scattered in the piece to give it a bit of our own Red Wings flavor, seeing as almost everybody covers this track at some point in their VG Music career. We’re pretty happy with this, and we had a lot of fun arranging it, even if one particular part took hours to nail. I have no doubt we’ll be revisiting Mega Man’s music soon, too…

Did You Know?
Rock covers and remixes of this track are so widespread that a quick file-count reveals 25 different versions (or medleys containing this track) on my hard drive alone. We’ve just made that 26.

The Genius of Doctor Robotnik (Sonic Series)

Friday, July 4th, 2008

Sonic the Hedgehog is was awesome. Back in the day, his games were undoubtedly the best around, and one in particular, the epic “Sonic 3 & Knuckles” – two games combined into one – remains my favorite platform game of all time. ever. Even over juggernauts like Mario 3 & Mario 64. The music is fantastic too, with a wide variety of composers working on games throughout the series. This track features a few pieces from a few different composers.

The original idea for this mix has to be credited to a guy named Jay Reichard. He’s a musician who likes to mess around with game music in a midi format, and he came up with a medley piece called The Genius of Doctor Robotnik. It’s a medley of the boss themes from Sonic 1, 2, 3 & Knuckles all in one. I found it on his website and fell in love with it, and asked him if we could record it. He agreed, and a great little partnership was formed. Jay’s working with us on a new track right now – he’s a genius musician.

This track was really pretty straightforward to record. I took Jay’s midi and changed it around to fit our style better, adding, removing, expanding and slimming down several parts. And then the three of us went to it, recording the live instruments. The Robotnik tunes are some of the most memorable from Sonic, and this medley covers the best tracks from Sonic’s golden age.

Did You Know?
Sonic 3 and Sonic & Knuckles were originally meant to be one game, but when Sonic 3 was going to slip from a Christmas release, Sega decided to make use of the Lock-On technology and shipped half of the game as Sonic 3 with the latter half to ship later as Sonic & Knuckles.

Aerith’s Theme (Final Fantasy VII)

Thursday, June 12th, 2008

Who spells it Aeris anyway?

Well, I did up until now. However, Crisis Core has officially retconned her name completely, and I can no longer live in denial that my original translation name is the correct one. Which sucks. But let’s move on, because her theme is honestly one of my favourite pieces of videogame music ever. I love it. It’s beautiful, and it speaks volumes about her character.

We usually avoid covering tracks like this. It’s risky. If you bugger it up, it’s going to be collossal, and people are going to think you’re absolutely terrible. This time, I’m pretty glad we decided to bite the bullet and arrange this piece. And arrange is the word – this track features more predominant keyboard and synthesiser work than in any other Red Wings arrangement. I wanted to capture the feel and sound of the orchestra version of the piece, and then mix it with the acoustic guitar style of the Crisis Core version.

The result is the louder, more emotional parts of the piece being carried by the strings & woodwind (helped along by electric guitar, with the acoustic guitar strumming along in the background, and playing the lead line in the verse. The original is by Nobuo Uematsu and from Final Fantasy VII. But you likely already know that.

Did you know?
In Final Fantasy VII, Aerith actually has lines of dialogue after her death, suggesting that at one point in the game she was either meant to die later on, be ressurrected, or not die at all. Via use of a gameshark or PC mod to re-insert her back into the party after her death, you can view these lines.

The Decisive Battle Scene (Final Fantasy VI)

Thursday, June 12th, 2008

It was quite recently that we noticed we’d produced nearly 20 tracks (we haven’t yet released them all!) and a grand total of none of them were Final Fantasy battle themes. Considering the scope these pieces have to be awesome on guitar, our love for the Final Fantasy series and simply how many there are, this was a shocking and unacceptable fact. So we decided to change this.

We started out with our intent as purely covering The Decisive Battle, but there was a feeling amongst the band that The Decisive Battle is a track that is covered an awful lot by rock groups, and we should try something different. A long version of decisive with many solos and original sections – tried and tested. A short mini-version? Also tried. We ended up merging Decisive with a more ignored track, “Battle Scene (VI)” and wound up with this, The Decisive Battle Scene. There are still some solo sections, of course.

Another favourite of many fans, Nobuo Uematsu‘s Final Fantasy VI score is argued to be one of his best. We love them all too much to judge, but we’re happy to say that The Decisive Battle is definitely, definitely one of our most loved Boss Battle themes. The rest of the OST rules, though, and expect to see more FF6 in the future…

-Alex

Did you know?
Final Fantasy VI hasn’t actually ever had a really successful release in our home country – the SNES original never made it over, the PS1 port was arguably painful to play, and the GBA version was released several years after the GBA had faded from stores, and never even ranked on the charts.

Gerudo Valley (The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time)

Thursday, June 12th, 2008

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is arguably one of, if not the greatest game of all time. I admit it’s not my personal favourite, but the magazine scores and critic rating state one thing – it’s definitely one of the best overall. It’s near perfect.

Featuring a soundtrack by the legendary Koji Kondo, arguably one of the biggest names in videogame music, the game features pieces both old and new to the Zelda series, and truly showcases a new direction for the Zelda series overall, both musically and in gameplay, reimagining the SNES gameplay into a more action-packed 3D world. The music reflects this, of course.

One of our favourite pieces of music in the game is the theme tune to “Gerudo Valley”, the desert locale that is home to a society made up entirely of women but for the one man born every 100 years.. (how does that work, really?) It so happens the only man to come out of the place in 100 years is the rather evil Ganondorf, who leaves his home to serve the king of Hyrule with an eye at taking over. All in all, this track was a pleasure to arrange and record.. and there’s more Zelda coming soon.

-Alex

Did you know?
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time may be considered the pinnacle of the series, but actually does not feature the main Zelda music theme. After fan dismay at this, the theme returned in the following game, Majora’s Mask.

Go K.K. Rider! (Animal Crossing)

Thursday, June 12th, 2008

With the Smash Bros Dojo regularly updating every day with new information on the levels, characters and hidden goodies in the upcoming titles, I was very, very excited. I fucking love Smash Bros. When the site updated one day with a sample of some music from the game – a high quality remix of the tune “Go K.K. Rider!” from Animal Crossing, I knew we had to do it, as a tribute to both the original and the Smash Bros version.

In the game, K.K. is a singing dog who appears at the Animal Crossing town train station and busks for a bit of your money. He performs a number of songs. The dog is based on the composer of the game, Kazumi Totaka. This version is a very simple cover, with a minimal synth (a small backing melody) and mostly just rock instruments. It’s length shows what it was intended to be – fun, fast, and simple.

Animal Crossing has some fantastic music, and something remains a thought in my mind is a possibility of a mini-EP covering most or all of KK’s tunes from the game. All are incredibly well composed caricatures of the genres they’re meant to represent, and they’d be a pretty fun selection of tracks to cover. Maybe someday.

-Alex

Did you know?
K.K. is not only based on the game’s real composer, but actually named after him, too. In Japan, Totaka’s nickname was Totakeke – pronounced Tota-Kay-Kay, and this was the name of the busking dog. In the English release, this was translated to K.K.

Wilderness (Golden Axe)

Thursday, June 12th, 2008

Another suggestion of Lloyd’s, Wilderness came to exist after several hours playing the Xbox 360 Arcade re-release of Golden Axe, originally released in Arcades, later ported to the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis. After growing up in the Mega Drive loving UK, memories of games like Golden Axe and Streets of Rage (more from that one later) are very much burned into the minds of all three of us.

Wilderness, being the first level in the game, is particularly memorable. Another heavy piece, this one is very strange in that it features no synthesised parts whatsoever. Which meant I only had to drum, so I’m quite happy. It was a chance to get in some heavy sounding distortion, and double bass pedal action on the drums.

Later on, the piece moves into slightly different territory, with a small poke at one of the most memorable pieces in the game, “Thief,” a tune to kick little creatures with sacks to. The original composers of this game are somewhat hazy, but our research suggests it is either Naofumi Hataya (幡谷尚史) or Tatsuyuki Maeda (前田龍之). Or both.

-Alex

Did you know?
None of the members of The Red Wings own an actual Golden Axe cart – all three own it, but on one of Sega’s “Mega Games” compilation carts.

Ken’s Theme (Street Fighter II)

Thursday, June 12th, 2008

Ken’s Theme is yet another very important track to us as a band, as it represents several firsts. Ken’s Theme was the first time the band ventured outside of the comfort zone of the Final Fantasy series. Despite being inspired by The Black Mages, we couldn’t let ourselves be contained in one series. It was time to break out, and one of Lloyd’s favourite games of all time beckoned!

Suggested and persistantly suggested until my prototype midi was complete for the track, Lloyd wanted to do a heavy rock version of Ken’s Theme. This, too, was another first – all of our previous tracks were of a melodic rock style, while this piece took a distinctly heavy stance. I can say this midi was a pain in the ass to sequence, but it paid off in the end, giving The Red Wings their first heavy arrangement and their first outright guitar solo.

Taken from Alph Lyla and Yoko Shimomura‘s famous Street Fighter II soundtrack, after a significantly difficult arrangement period, recording came together rather easily, with the totally accidental addition of a saxophone to the background of the track adding the finishing touches. Sometimes accidents are a blessing!

-Alex

Did you know?
Nobody in our circle of friends can play Street Fighter II properly, and most just choose E-Honda and spam that fast punch move. Lloyd, however, can actually play properly. Give me Smash Bros any day.