07 August 2013

Episode 145: New Age Music 3

After all the battle music from the last episode, the boys decide to focus on New Age music found in 8-bit and 16-bit era video games, most of it quite calming.  This is their third focus on the New Age genre.  Full track listing below.

Game - Composer - Song - Company - Console - Year (North American release unless otherwise indicated)

Tenshi no Uta: Shiroki Tsubasa no Inori - Motoi Sakuraba, Shinji Tamura, Ryota Furuya, Hiroya Hatsushiba - Meeting - Telenet Japan - Super Famicom - 1994

Valis - Hiroaki Kai, Minoru Yuasa - Opening Visual 1 - Riot/Renovation - Genesis - 1991

The Addams Family: Pugsley's Scavenger Hunt - Jonathan Dunn - House Interior - Ocean - SNES - 1993

Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest - David Wise - Forest Interlude - Rare/Nintendo - SNES - 1995

Marble Madness - Brad Fuller, Hal Canon - Practice Race - Atari Games - arcade - 1984

Sword of Vermilion - Hiroshi Kawaguchi - Jiji Theme - Sega - Genesis - 1989

Solid Runner - Mitsuhito Tanaka, Toshiaki Sakoda, Pure Sound - Irene's Voice - Sting/ASCII - Super Famicom - 1997

Donkey Kong Country - David Wise - Life in the Mines - Rare/Nintendo - SNES - 1994

Mahjong Taikai II - unknown - Matsuo Bashou - Koei - Super Famicom - 1994

Solar Jetman: Hunt for the Golden Warship - David Wise - Approaching Planet 9 - Rare/Tradewest - NES - 1990

The 7th Saga - Norihiko Yamanuki - Kamil Dowonna - Enix/Produce - SNES - 1993

Valis III - Hisao Inoue, Jun Hasebe, Shingo Murakami, Takaharu Umezu (arr.), Michiko Naruke (arr.), Minoru Yuasa (arr.) - Deja-Vu - Telenet Japan/Renovation - Genesis - 1991

Bram Stoker's Dracula - Matt Furniss - Stage 4-3 - Sony Imagesoft - Genesis - 1993

Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest - David Wise - Bayou Boogie - Rare/Nintendo - SNES - 1995

Habu Meijin no Omoshiro Shougi - Cube - Battle Theme 1 - Tomy/Access - Super Famicom - 1995


  1. I loved this episode! It's down to one of two as my favorite. Either the very first track, or the Bram Stoker's Dracula track.

    And my favorite thing about the Bram Stoker's track is not the stereophonic distortion sounds, but that smooth, dissonant almost pearloid voice that runs beneath them. I literally can't get enough of that sound!

    I took this track apart in Audio Overload and it appears the way Matt's getting that sound is by using plain sine waves.

    Time Out: GEEKSPEAK: FM synthesis is done by taking a carrier oscillator which you can hear, and modifying it with modulator oscillators which you can't hear, but who's influence on the carrier you can hear. Collectively, the carrier oscillator and modulator oscillators are also called "operators."

    High end FM synths can use any of the four basic waveforms (saw, sine, square, and triangle) as operators, or can even use non-standard waveforms. Genesis, however, is limited to sine wave operators. However, it still has several options available to it. It can do one voice per channel using anything from two to four operators. Or it can do up two voices per channel with two operators each, or it can even skip the FM process altogether, and have up to four plain sine waves per channel. The multi-voice per channel approach: the voices can be set to different notes, but can't move independent of each other. If one goes up, the other goes up, etc.

    For FM voices, it also has several pre-defined algorithm options that the programmer can use to get different tones, as well as several envelope settings and LFO. Finally, in addition to FM6 being able to be sacrificed in the name of a basic DAC sampler channel, FM 3 and 6 are totally free on how their sine operators can be set, not limited to the set algorithms like the others.

    Anyway, all that to say this: as best as my ears can tell, to get that awesome dissonant tone, he's got FM3 playing 3 plain sine waves, high, middle, and low. He's also got FM4 doing the exact same thing. I can't tell if they're perfectly sync'd with each other, or if there's the minutest staggering going on. But I -LOVE LOVE LOVE- this sound! It's absolute MAGIC! And if I'm right about how Matt did this, it's not even technically FM though it is the FM chip that's doing it.

    Regardless of whether I've solved the mystery or biffed it, I stand in awe of that sound! It's so perfect for a Dracula game!

    1. Okay, I must admit to error.

      I asked Matt Furniss about this, and he was kind enough to respond. It seems that this Dracula voice is FM after all. He believes it's 2 2 op voices with simple harmonics. However, he was kind enough to also point me to a track he did which does use actual unmodulated sine waves. It's "Woody Land 1 & 2" from Mr. Nutz.

      The clean, happy sorta "doot doot doot doot" going on over top of everything else starting at about 4 seconds, dropping out for the "chorus" and coming back for the bridge" (1:13)....those are plain, unmodulated sine waves - not even technically FM, though they're being made by the FM chip. Thanks Matt!

      Here's the track:


  2. That Addams Family song sounds really similar to Golden Brown by the Stranglers


    Great tune. Really nice episode loved all the tracks.

  3. Donkey Kong Country - Life in the Mines, I am certain I loved the music more than the actual game...

  4. I listen to LMH at work, so I always enjoy when new age music comes on. It puts me in a nice, almost zen place.

    But I'm surprised nobody mentioned how the last Donkey Kong Country track "Bayou Boogie" used the exact drum pattern of Phil Collin's In the Air Tonight.

  5. Baggy. Eyes. Now I get it! Great episode, guys. New Age always puts me in the chill-zone.

    Looking forward to the Gambling episode and have a suggestion: Lufia 2 Casino music. It has a tambourine part that I think Rob would like (going back to the 2 note Harvest Moon piano solo he mentioned liking many shows ago).

    Lufia 2 Casino music:


  6. Brent keeps pronouncing Motoi as Motoaki. :P

  7. News from the world of non-retro:
    David Wise did not compose the 3DS Donkey Kong Country title, but will be composing the upcoming WiiU title. Kenji Yamamoto said that he composed the 3DS title with "inspiration" from Wise's previous soundtracks.

  8. I think it's interesting how the timing of the slower notes in the Marble Madness track changes as it goes on. The solo, low note comes in further and further beyond the chord that precedes it.

  9. So I've been listening to these in reverse order and I was so happy to hear Bram Stoker's Dracula come up! but.... then it wasn't the music I was expecting. So I did some digging and I found out the Genesis/ SNES versions have very different music from the NES version that I have:


    Still a solid track all around