Guess Who is Going to MAGFest 11(2013)?


magfest-logo

People.

Edit: My editor told me I need to elaborate more, because apparently one word doesn’t make an article. Anyways, MAGfest is up for its eleventh get together in the general DC area. If you don’t know what MAGfest is, it’s a big festival for fans of video games and music. There’s going to be shows, panels, concerts, tournaments and oodles of other neat events. Some notable people that you may know are going to be there:  Yuzo Koshiro and Kinuyo Yamashita (composers for Shenmue and Castlevania respectively), James Rolfe (Anger Video Game Nerd), Brent Black (brentalfloss), Arin “Egoraptor” Hanson and Jon “Jontron” Jafari (Game Grumps) and so much more. You can see the whole list of guests here.

Also, along with the guest, there’ll be bands and performers as well, which you can check out here. The band which I’m particularly excited for are the The Protomen, who have rock opera concept albums about Mega Man. ‘Nuff said.

You can see more information about MAGfest at http://magfest.org/.
Gaylord National Hotel and Convention Center
201 Waterfront Street
National Harbor, MD 20745
Jan 3 – 6, 2013 (Thu – Sun)

Edit: The editor just told me that people from NUReviews will be there as well. So, for whatever reason, you want to so hi to us, just look for the guy with the big head and a short guy. If there’s anything you want us to do, like recording panels or concerts, or try to get an interview, we’ll see what we can do.

Ch-Check It Out: Kind of Bloop: An 8-bit Tribute to Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue


Here on NUReviews, we’re tend to keep things classy. Sure, most of us enjoy video games and other nerdy ventures, but that doesn’t mean we’re not gentlemen. And as gentlemen, we must strive to introduce plebeians to a more refined culture. Obviously, this sort of thing doesn’t happen overnight, but rather by one step at a time. So we’ll start with this.

The first video is a 8-bit cover of the song found in the second video. The song is ‘So What’ by Miles Davis, one of the most of the most influence jazz musicians in the 20th century. ‘Kind of Blue’ is Miles Davis’ best known album. Andy Baio would agree as well, so he decided to commemorate the album’s 50th anniversary (back in 2009) with ‘Kind of Bloop: An 8-bit Tribute to Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue”. Baio got promient chiptunes artists like Ast0r, Disasterpeace, and Shnabubula to create covers for the songs in ‘Kind of Blue’. The result: jazzy bloopin’ bliss.

You can download the album at http://kindofbloop.com/ or Amazon.

Next week? We’ll cover which bowler hat is right for you (no we won’t).

“Aurora” – Hans Zimmer’s Tribute


Hans Zimmer, the soundtrack composer for the Christopher Nolan ‘Batman’ Trilogy and ‘Inception’, has  released a special track dedicated to the victims of the Aurora theater shooting. ‘Aurora’ is  available on iTunes: http://smarturl.it/Aurora. All proceeds from the track will be donated to the Aurora Victims Relief Fund at Community First Foundation (GivingFirst.org).

About the track, Zimmer says, “‘Aurora’ is dedicated to those who lost their lives and were affected by the tragedy in Aurora, Colorado. I recorded this song in London in the days following the tragedy as a heartfelt tribute to the victims and their families.”

PlayButton: A Fashion Statement You Can Jam To


It seems that nowadays, just about every new device that comes out can play MP3s. It ranges from phones to clocks to even refrigerators. Even to this day, I’m still taken back that my iPod rendered all of my CDs and cassettes useless.

I just happened to come across this particular gizmo while looking through my FaceBook. The Pillows had a post about the frontman’s side project, THE PREDATORS, is going to have their new album released soon. That’s when I notice this bit of info:
“We are happy to announce the release of PLAYBUTTON!!
“PLAYBUTTON” is a button badge music player and it just needs to hook up to your headphones. You can enjoy listening to THE PREDATORS’ “Monster in my head” on Aug 1st, or you can just wear it as a part of you fashion!”

After some Google-Fu, I checked out the PlayButton site. It turns out these button MP3 player have a capacity of 128 megabytes, which about is 70 minutes worth of audio. Some well known artists and bands, like Florence and the Machine and Lady Gaga,  actually have their music available on PlayButtons, all with custom fronts. You can also order a custom one for yourself, with your own custom image embedded in the button. Only thing is that you are required to order in bulk (25 buttons minimum at $15 each).

This is a very creative way for artists, bands, or even podcasters to share their work. The only thing that might be a hassle would be changing the battery. But if it can allow me to wear a bag or jacket with PlayButtons of all of Rush’s albums, I’d totally rock them. Sure, I got Rush on my iPod. But sometimes, you just gotta let people know what you are listening to… without damaging anyone’s earbuds.

The Predator’s new album (with PlayButton): http://shop.mu-mo.net/a/list1/?jsiteid=mumo&artist_id=TPRED
PlayButton’s website: http://playbutton.com/

Why I Enjoy Chiptune Songs


I believe chiptunes (8-bit music) is  under-appreciated. “But Steve, I’m a gamer/nerd! Of course I like chiptunes!.” Good for you, imaginary reader. What I’m actually referring to the overshadowing of chiptunes in today’s video games due to advances in technology. By no way does that mean that I don’t enjoy soundtracks found modern video games (Like Catherine or Skyward Sword). But now chiptunes is mostly enjoyed by a niche audience.

There are some songs of the 8-bit era that everyone instantly recognizes. When I says “Super Mario Bros.”, I think there’s a good chance that the theme song will be playing in your head. And if it wasn’t, it probably would be now. That’s an example of I find chiptunes great. Despite what limitations a chiptune artist is present with, the artist is still capable of creating a song with the same amount of range and creativity as using practical instruments. No doubt you will hear familiar bleeps, bloops, chirps, and buzzes among songs. What’s amazing though is the amount of diversity the sound of a chiptune song can have. It can create an epic with feelings of adventure or create an atmosphere of loneliness and imminent danger lurking around every corner. Chiptunes also have the capability of emulating genres of music that we’re familiar with, such as rock, metal, classical and hip hop. When you put it all into perspective, and in keep in that these song only take up a couple of kilobytes and are originally heard on consoles more than 20 years old, it’s rather astonishing.

Chiptunes isn’t an prominent as it was in the 80′s and 90′s, but thankfully, game makers haven’t forgotten about it. Games like Super Meat Boy, The Bit Trip Games, and Scott Pilgrim vs The World: The Game have fabulous soundtracks, oozing of bleepy nostalgia. What’s great is that chiptunes artist actually have moved beyond games and actually make the music with a game. Anamanaguchi, who can be heard in the video above as well as in the Scott Pilgrim game, are one of the more prominent examples of keeping the spirit of 8-bit music alive. In fact, there are even sub-genres of chiptunes now, like Nintendocore, which is the fusion of rock/hardcore music with chiptunes. If you wish to hear some of Nintendocore bands, check out ‘Horse the Band’ and ‘The Advantage’ .

If you know of any lesser know chiptune songs or artists that I didn’t mention or wouldn’t be aware of, please leave a comment, and I’ll be sure to to check them out!

Ch-Check It Out: The Legend of Zelda Post Rock Album


Introducing Ch-Check It Out! These segments are consists of  recommendations of lesser known thingy-mah-bobs that I come across during my interwebs ventures. It can be anything from a video series, music, crazy recipes etc.

This time, I’d like to share this magnificent post-rock tribute to the nostalgic musical score of the Legend of Zelda series, created by Cory Johnson. For those who don’t know what post rock is, allow me to drop this brief tidbit off of Wikipedia.

Post-rock is a subgenre of rock music characterized by the influence and use of instruments commonly associated with rock, but using rhythms and “guitars as facilitators of timbre and textures” not traditionally found in rock.

Johnson put his heart and soul into this album, and you can definitely hear it. The video I posted above is called Zelda’s Reprise. It takes a bit to kick in, but any Zelda fan would instantly recognize and appreciate it.

You can download this album off of his website at http://coryjohnson.bandcamp.com/album/the-legend-of-zelda. You can actually get it for free if you place $0.00 at the check-out. But if you really enjoy this album, please show your support and throw some bucks his way. Johnson is currently working on a Gundam Hip-Hop remix album, so look out for that as well!