Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Overlooked VG Music #1: Sedge Tree

Video game music has come a long way since the early days of gaming. Tunes have evolved from the simple electronic loops of the 8- and 16-bit era into grand, well-produced orchestral scores that rival, if not exceed, the quality of scores for many films. Still, for every instantly-recognizable Final Fantasy or Halo theme out there today, with legions of fanboys/girls screaming "OMG THIS IS LIEK MY FAVORITE SONG EVAR!!!!!1", there are hundreds of equally wonderful video game pieces that are unfairly overlooked. My intention with this series is to shed light on a few of the more obscure tunes in the video game universe, purely for public benefit. Great music is still great music, no matter where it's found, and deserves to be heard by as many people as possible.

The piece I'd like to share with you today is a piece from the 1999 Sega Dreamcast game Shenmue. Shenmue's in-game music, written by Takenobu Mitsuyoshi and a team of other talented composers, was largely synthesized, but an independent, special soundtrack was concurrently released. Known as the "Orchestra Version," this soundtrack featured many of the main tunes from the game beautifully arranged for full orchestra and recorded live. Although Shenmue itself failed to achieve much commercial success, its soundtrack went on to be performed at various venues, including the first Symphonic Game Music Concert in 2003 in Leizpig, Germany (which marked the first time a video game music concert had taken place outside of Japan). Check out the video below to hear Shenmue's main theme and Track 1 of the Orchestra Version soundtrack, "Sedge Tree."

If you enjoyed what you heard, I urge you to check out the in-game version of Sedge Tree, as well as the rest of the orchestral soundtrack. It's really an amazing score, and I'm firm in my belief that the Shenmue games wouldn't be half of what they are without the breathtaking music. Check out the links if you so choose; perhaps curiosity will get the better of you, and one day you'll even join us in the small but passionate Shenmue fanbase.

Until next time,


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