17 November 2010

Episode 3: Experimental Music

In this episode of The Legacy Music Hour, Brent and Rob present 16-bit and 8-bit "experimental" video game music.  They picked tracks which they found to be either unusual or progressive or both when listened to in the context of music for video games.  Full track listing below.

Key: Game - Composer - Song - Company - Console - Year*

*The year specified is the year the version that we played was released.  For example, as some music from the same game may vary between Japanese and North American versions, generally, we play the North American version, which may or may not have been released the same year it was released in Japan.

Ghouls 'n Ghosts - Tamayo Kawamoto - Baron Rankle's Tower (Level 3) - Capcom - Genesis - 1989

Bari Bari Densetsu - unknown - gameplay - Taito - PC Engine - 1989

Rygar - T. Hasuya - Garloz - Tecmo - NES - 1987

Cadash - Pinch Punch (Chisa Ichikawa, Yoshinori Ohashi, Kenji Nishi) - Mermaid - Taito - TurboGrafx-16 - 1991

Metroid - Hirokazu Tanaka - Norfair - Nintendo - NES - 1987

Cadash - Pinch Punch (Chisa Ichikawa, Yoshinori Ohashi, Kenji Nishi) - Gnome Village - Taito - TurboGrafx-16 - 1991

Actraiser - Yuzo Koshiro - Bloodpool/Casandora - Enix - SNES - 1991

Cadash - Pinch Punch (Chisa Ichikawa, Yoshinori Ohashi, Kenji Nishi) - 2nd Cave - Taito - TurboGrafix-16 - 1991

Strider  - Junko Tamiya - Siberian Tunnel/Driving Wheel/Big Run - Capcom - Genesis - 1990

Cadash - Pinch Punch (Chisa Ichikawa, Yoshinori Ohashi, Kenji Nishi) - Outside the Final Castle - Taito - TurboGrafx-16 - 1991

Contra - Kazuki Muraoka, Hidenori Maezawa (arr.) - Stage 8: Alien’s Lair - Konami - NES - 1988

Cyber Knight - Toshiaki Sakoda, Keiji Takeuchi - Town - Tonkin House - PC Engine - 1990

DoReMi Fantasy - Jun Chikuma - Windy Cliffs - Hudson Soft - Super Famicom - 1996

Märchen Maze - Tomoka Kawase (Koba) (Satoshi Kobayashi), Norihiko Togashi (Noririn) (arr.) - Time Land (Round 5) - Namco - PC Engine - 1990

Solstice - Tim Follin - Title Screen - CSG Imagesoft - NES -1990

Märchen Maze - Tomoka Kawase (Koba) (Satoshi Kobayashi), Norihiko Togashi (Noririn) (arr.) - Machine Land (Round 2) - Namco - PC Engine - 1990

Karnov - unknown - Stage Theme - Data East - NES - 1988

Psychosis - unknown - 3rd Cause (Stage 3) - NEC - TurboGrafx-16 - 1990

Strider - Harumi Fujita - Briefing Room - Capcom - NES - 1989

Volfied - Hisayoshi Ogura - Name Entry - Taito - PC Engine -1989

Equinox - Tim Follin - Quagmire - Software Creations/Sony Imagesoft - SNES - 1994


  1. I think the experimental theme was better serviced by odd time signatures than with the "spooky" soundtracks. For example, I think the Godzilla (NES) Earth stage would have fit better than half of the tracks above.

    (Still, love the show. I'm going through them all on my way to work, so expect more comments in the weeks to come.)

  2. I just discovered this podcast and am loving it, but was a little annoyed that you cut off the Strider medley before it got to the best part, the next section of the song. One of my favorite songs in that great game, which I thought was pretty experimental. In fact, the entire soundtrack is experimental.

    If you ever expand to 32 bit, I would definitely nominate One-Winged Angel from Final Fantasy 7 as a very experimental (and, I believe, successful) song.

  3. I know you guys are trying to stick to lesser known franchises, but I was expecting to hear an Earthbound tune on this podcast. Lots of odd experimental tunes on that cart! Great show :) So glad I found it.

  4. Windy Cliffs is freaky scary! At least, I think so. Those ambient sounds, and then that dark, murky latin sample... There is something about out of context samples, that is just so unsettling to me.

    Quagmire is dark, and haunting. I feel like I am exploring a dark, empty castle when I listen to it. Fantastic sample quality as well. This track has amazing atmosphere. For more Follin goodness, go to Youtube, and look up a longplay of the Commodore 64 version of Ghouls 'n Ghosts. Tim's arrangements in this are borderline minimalism, yet completely entrancing. Look it up, it's worth it!

    It always bothered me that you guys faded out the title track to Solstice before it was over. Was it because you were trying to keep the show as close to 1 hour as possible back then?

    1. Ah, we don't know why we didn't let that track finish. Yeah, back in the early episodes, we didn't let long tracks play out all the way, but then in later episodes, it was the opposite, where tracks needed to be played in their entirety. Anyway, at least the full version is on the mixtape now.

  5. I have the titles for the 4 Cadash tracks labeled as "gameplay" for those who are curious. I listed them in the order they are played on the episode (and numbered as their position in the episode track listing):

    Track 4 of the episode - Mermaid
    Track 6 of the episode - Gnome Village
    Track 8 of the episode - 2nd Cave
    Track 10 of the episode - Outside the Final Castle

    1. Thank you! This is helpful. Track list updating doesn't happen as often as it used to, but this will definitely be included in the update.

  6. You guys do enough research as it is. Anything I can contribute to help build up the collective knowledge base.

  7. Wow really really interesting episode! Weird time signatures and an overall rocker feel, makes me realize where the inspiration for some of Buckethead's songs must come from.

  8. Just discovered this podcast yesterday and really enjoying it so far. Awesome that you did an experimental episode so early on and was really enjoying some of the weirder ones in there. Feel really lucky i've still got 100s of episodes to get through!

  9. "Sperm Jazz"
    Never enjoyed the music in this one that much before but as i lay in bed,half asleep, that Cadash music is really quite good

  10. Psychosis is credited to Atsuhiro Motoyama elsewhere on the internet. Maybe you know about it already and don't give it credence, but I didn't want to leave it unsaid if you weren't aware.

    1. Yeah, it's too bad there isn't a more concrete source for that info. This site, which tends to be on the more accurate side, doesn't appear to list it: