Video Games Live, which plays your favorite video game music (including some of WoW's greatest hits) with a full orchestra, is off on a world tour this year. This means that wherever you are, there's a reasonable chance they'll be playing somewhere in the vicinity. The tour kicked off in Phoenix, Arizona this weekend and is heading to Mexico before jumping around the US and then moving on to China, the Middle East, Europe, South America, and Canada. (Sorry, Australia!)
If you're interested in catching Video Games Live, well, live, check out their tour dates page for tickets and backstage packages -- though tickets to shows later this year and next year aren't available yet. And if they aren't stopping anywhere in your area, they have three albums of great gaming music -- Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3 -- available on iTunes and Amazon to get your game on.
If you have a love for video game music or just Blizzard music or just Hearthstone music, you'll be pleased to know that Blizzard has posted several of Hearthstone's music tracks online for the very affordable price of free. So if you're in the beta, but enjoy Hearthstone's tavern-style tunes -- or you aren't in the beta but really want to be -- you can download or stream three Hearthstone tracks from the game's media page. Whatever your interests, they're good listening -- and if you want to know more about the music itself, Destructoid has a music-centric interview with Hearthstone team members Eric Dodds, Jason Hayes, and Peter McConnell.
Hauntingly beautiful music from a hauntingly beautiful voice ... You'd have to have the soul of a black dragon not to be transported by the strains of video game music composer, arranger, and musician Malukah of Monterrey, Mexico. Malu's evocative cover of "The Dragonborn Comes" from Bethesda's video game Skyrim catapulted the unassuming musician to more than 8 million views across her own channel, Bethesda's blog, and countless other gaming sites that couldn't get enough of her ethereal voice.
And wouldn't you know it? She's a World of Warcraft player. While she was reluctant to discuss exactly which WoW track she's been toying with for an upcoming cover (but come on, given her style, is it so difficult to figure out?), we did get her to chat with us about her music and her love of gaming: Malukah, on the cusp of becoming a musical force to be reckoned with.
From Hollywood celebrities to the guy next door, millions of people have made World of Warcraft a part of their lives. How do you play WoW? We're giving each approach its own 15 Minutes of Fame.
You have to admit: Running your own choir to perform video game music is a pretty sweet gig for a portfolio-building college student. "We perform student arrangements of game music, and last fall we decided to do a WoW medley," explains Video Game Choir Founder/Director Julia Seeholzer, aka Bloodsong of Perenolde (US-A). "The choir and orchestra are all student-run, and we're all incredibly passionate about video games!" Julia's passion obviously extends to World of Warcraft; her thoroughly professional tip to WoW Insider concluded with a friendly, "Now, back to my raiding..."
The Video Game Choir is made up of students from Berklee College of Music, the largest independent college of contemporary music in the world. Known primarily as a school for jazz and popular music, the Boston, Mass., school also offers degrees in composition, contemporary writing and production, film scoring, jazz composition, music business/management, music education, music production and engineering, electronic production and design, music therapy, performance, professional music, and songwriting -- a perfect meeting spot for enthusiasts of the burgeoning field of video game music.
World of Warcraft is a game with great sound and great sound design. Players might not always notice it, but for those of us who play with the music on, these themes can really set the tone for the game. Ashenvale music never fails to remind me of my first foray into the zone; after Darkshore, which was a bit bleak, my baby druid stepped into Ashenvale and it seemed like all of Azeroth opened up, wide and colorful and filled with swelling orchestral tracks. Though the game world seems much smaller to me now, I still remember that moment whenever I hear the Ashenvale theme.
My favorite piece of WoW music, however, has got to be the one in Mulgore. I play mainly Alliance, so I don't go there often, but every time I visit the zone for the Darkmoon Faire or head to Thunder Bluff for some holiday achievement, I'm struck by the beauty and tranquility of the Mulgore music. It really fits the environment, and it never fails to relax me when I fly through. The slow, soft yearning reminds me of the Tauren people and their culture, while the undercurrent of tension hints at the conflict brewing in the world outside that secluded valley.
What's your favorite piece of WoW music? Does it remind you of a particular time or a nostalgic feeling, or is it the pure beauty of the composition that you admire? When do you feel the WoW music is at its most epic?
Video Games Live, the wildly popular traveling concert series that performs music from major video games, is visiting a new venue this August: the television. VGL was founded in 2002 by video game composers and game industry veterans Tommy Tallarico and Jack Wall. Since its inception, the symphony performance has prided itself on introducing the experience of a live orchestra performance to an entirely new generation of listeners; most attendees are viewing the symphony for the first time. In addition, it's a celebration of the gaming industry, the creative process of designing music for video games, and a showcase for art of video game music to both gamers and non-gamers.
The concert series literally travels the world, performing in countries such as Canada, Mexico, Brazil, England, Scotland, France, Taiwan, New Zealand, Spain, Portugal and most of the United States (including, of course, BlizzCon). Both because of the subject of the concerts and because of the quality of entertainment, concerts can easily sell out. Thankfully for those of us who haven't been able to afford the cost or simply live nowhere near the touring locations, PBS will be airing a 90-minute Video Games Live special, consisting of never-before televised live musical performances from the Mario, Zelda, Sonic, Halo, Final Fantasy, Castlevania, God of War, Civlization, Chrono Cross and Guitar Hero franchises, including a musical journey through classic gaming. And of course, music from both Warcraft and StarCraft will be making an appearance as well.
For those who don't catch the televised performance, there will also be a CD and DVD/Blu-ray release that coincides with the nationally televised special, including over three hours of bonus material. Check out the trailer above for more details about what is sure to be a gorgeous night of entertainment!
If you're looking for a way to relax this weekend, why don't you hie off to Houston and get tickets to the Gamer MusiCON '09, an all-day event celebrating music from the video game industry. If you're familiar with the Video Games Live, the whole event has expanded somewhat with the help of Blizzard Entertainment and will now have a full hour-and-a-half Blizzard Live! to go along with the traditional Video Games Live! concert.
Blizzard Live! will feature music, both old and some never performed ones, from Blizzard's different game worlds - Diablo, Starcraft, and Warcraft - paired with exclusive game footage and synchronized lighting. The Video Games Live! segment features music from other popular games like Chrono Trigger or Mega Man.
Of course, just like any great geek and gamer event, Gamer MusiCON will feature a lot of fun in between, such as costume contests, Guitar Hero faceoffs, a Q&A with Blizzard's composers, autograph signings, and lots of swag. The event, conducted by Jack Wall and hosted by Tommy Talarico, comes to life with the help of the Houston Symphony. It will be held at the Jones Hall in downtown Houston. You'd better get your tickets today! Oh, and don't forget to bring a date.