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Interview: ‘Transistor’ Q&A with Darren Korb

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Last week, Bastion creator Supergiant Games revealed their upcoming titleTransistor, and over the weekend at PAX East they gave gamers a chance to get their first licks in with it. Having interviewed Darren Korb before regarding his work on Bastion, I wasted no time getting in touch with him to ask him a few questions over e-mail about what his fans can expect from the musical side of the game.

Before we get to the Q&A, though, if you haven’t seen the reveal trailer, you may want to check it out:

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What have you worked on musically and/or listened to between Bastion and Transistor and how have you seen those things affect your work on the title so far?

I’ve been listening to a ton of Imogen Heap, Radiohead, and Bjork to get myself in the headspace of the kind of stuff I’m trying to write at the moment, but in addition to that I’ve been listening to a bunch of unrelated stuff: The Darkness, Tenacious D, The Belle Brigade, Nada Surf, Ozma, The Beatles, etc.

That’s quite the unrelated group (that’s being said admirably as a fan of a number of those bands, by the way, haha). Would I be going too far to hope that maybe The D will power you to win more VGM awards for your songwriting prowess?

HAH… The D does possess great power…

What’s the musical direction that you’re taking for Transistor and how has it been evolving during the development process?  Any bleed over from BastionMore

Interview: Darren Korb (‘Bastion’ OST)

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Less than a week ago I decided to get in touch with Darren Korb, composer of the VGA-winning soundtrack Bastion, to try and get an interview.  Thankfully, Darren responded immediately and I was able to speak with him for almost 40 minutes a few days later (Sunday) regarding, among other things, some specific questions I had regarding his work after having reviewed it in December.

Below I have posted the audio file and even further down I have posted a few highlights that I found interesting in case you are strapped for time.  However, the listener will be heavily rewarded, as Darren does most of the talking and doesn’t skirt around specifics.  Plus, he shows a lot of personality, which makes the interview both fun and quick-moving.

Thanks again for the billionth time, Darren!  And, I must say, from one lover of the burns to another: nice chops!

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[Score.] heads to MAGFest X!

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MAGFest, in its most basic form, is an annual fan-run video game convention that takes place at the beginning of the year in the Washington, D.C., area.  It’s not a showcase-type of convention; rather, it’s one that is all about playing and enjoying video games and the like to their fullest potential (read: party).  Some of the key features of the convention are its 24-hour game room that holds tons of arcade cabinets and console setups, its diverse set of panels hosted by veteran and up-and-coming gaming professionals and organizations alike, and its multitude of concerts by video game cover bands and chiptune artists.  This year – its tenth – MAGFest runs from January 5th through the 8th at the Gaylord National in National Harbor, MD..

My friends will be there, ready to rock out accordingly.  You will know us by our shirts, which contains the blog’s new logo:

Art ©Natalie Parisi

If you’re going and see one or more of us wearing the shirt, stop us and say “hi”!  I can’t guarantee that I’ll be the one that you stop, but anyone wearing one should have a good indication of where I am if you’d like to speak to me directly.  If you do stop one of us, I think I might have a couple extra shirts to give away… (we’ll work out how to find you later and get one to you).

This will be my second MAGFest, but some of my friends have been a part of the convention since its inception.  The sense of community between the longtime attenders is infectious, and its energy sucks in everyone that attends.  Needless to say, I highly recommend attending and staying for the weekend if you can get to the area.

Not only will I be getting my fill of all of the gaming that I can dream of, I will be attempting to get an array of material to post for the blog.  After all, VGM is a huge thing there, from the concerts to the panels.  Last year, goers were graced by the presence of none other than the great Hiroki Kikuta (Secret of Mana), and, just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, this year we will be standing before, and listening to, the man himself: Nobuo Uematsu.
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VGM Review #2: “Bastion” Soundtrack

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Update 1/31/12: Check out my interview with Darren Korb after reading the review!

A few weeks ago I stumbled upon a list of nominees for the 2011 Video Game Awards (or “VGAs,” if you will).  Naturally, I was interested in the “Best Original Score” category.   The soundtracks that are up for it derive from Bastion, Batman: Arkham City, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, and Portal 2.

Being that a goal of this blog is to listen to new game soundtracks, the reader shouldn’t be too surprised to know that I had heard none of those soundtracks.  Yes, it’s a travesty that out of all of those games I haven’t yet played Arkham City or Portal 2, but you know… I just haven’t yet.  The other week I bought Skyrim, Rayman Origins, and Skyward Sword, so needless to say, I have my hands full.

Since it’s my job to inform you of which soundtracks are worth listening to, I immediately started delving into these nominees.  Bastion was first and I jotted enough notes to blog.  Deus Ex was next and I quit listening to that because I didn’t have the patience to wade through the tracks to find which ones were the best at the time (the ones I did listen to weren’t particularly impressive, but my sample was by no means representative).  Then my workday was over and I had stuff to do at home.

So, I got as far as Bastion and you know what?  I’m fine with that.  If Saturday reveals that some other soundtrack got the award, I’ll check it out; otherwise, I’m moving on to games that I have wanted to explore.

The first thing that the reader should know before taking my opinions on the soundtrack to heart is that I have never played Bastion.  This fact will affect my review a bit because I won’t be able to give any insight on how the music interacts with the game itself.  When I did “Time’s Scar” from Chrono Cross, I made references to the medium that the music was presenting—here I will not.  I will solely base my opinions on how I feel about the musical content and what I like in my VGM.

If you feel like listening to the soundtrack while reading, go here.  I will have individual examples posted below as well, though.

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