A Helsinki Location in The Last of Us Part II Cover Version

Game Music Collective is a Finland-based orchestra, band, and studio production company lead by cellist Lukas Stasevskij. As the name implies, they produce and perform game and other soundtracks.

Their latest project is a cover version of Ellie’s song “Through the Valley” from the PlayStation4 game The Last of Us Part II. The music video for the cover was filmed in Helsinki, Finland.

THE LAST OF US 2 OST – Through the Valley REAL LIFE ELLIE’S SONG [4K] Shawn James Guitar Cover(2020) by Game Music Collective on YouTube

The original song was written by Shawn James; the Game Music Collective version features Mokka Laitinen (vocals and guitar), Sujari Britt (cello), Leonardo Carrillo (oboe), and Eeti Nieminen (drums).

Pretty neat, isn’t it? (Although strictly speaking I would’ve been happier to see outdoor locations, too.) #FinlandNerd 🙂

Found via Helsingin uutiset (NB. Finnish only).

An occasional feature on music and sound-related notions.

New-to-Me Music Style: Bardcore

I recently learned of a new-to-me music style: bardcore.

It means making versions of modern pop / rock songs in the style of medieval ballads. And, oh boy, is there a rabbit hole to fall into!

Verily, behold “Sandstorm” by my fellow countryman Darude:

Darude – Sandstorm (Medieval version) by Marcus Aurelius on YouTube

Another neat bardcore version of a song from Finland, this one a trad: “Ievan polkka”.

Ievan Polkka (Medieval Cover) by Middle Ages on YouTube

Sadly, some are merely badly rendered synthesizer versions. When you do hit gold, though, it’s really good!

Below are other bardcore versions that tickled my fancy. (I saved the best for last, so keep scrolling!)

Gangnam Style (Medieval Style) [Bardcore] by Muckwick on YouTube

Macarena (Medieval Cover) by Middle Ages on YouTube

Nothig Else Matters [sic] – Medieval Style – Bardcore by Early Style on YouTube

Walk Like An Egyptian (Medieval Style) (Vocals!) by Mystic Zaru on YouTube

We Will Rock You [Bardcore] by Graywyck on YouTube

Surprisingly, also the theme for X-Files works quite well:

The X-Files (Medieval Cover) by Middle Ages on YouTube

Hildegard von Blingin’ is by far the best, most dedicated bardcorer (if that’s what they’re called) I’ve found so far.

Somebody That I Used To Know (Bardcore/Medieval Style Cover with Vocals) by Hildegard von Blingin’ on YouTube

What is Love (Medieval Style with Vocals – Original by Cornelius Link) by Hildegard von Blingin’ on YouTube

Crossposted from the Playfully Grownup Home blog.

An occasional feature on music and sound-related notions.

Video Mashup Tribute: Danger Zone with X-Wings

Anybody else who grew up in the 1980s and remembers the song “Danger Zone” by Kenny Loggins? Here’s a treat: Jackson McKay mashed it up with X-wing clips from Star Wars movies for a really thrilling video.

Danger Zone: X-Wing Tribute (Ep IV-IX & Rogue One) by Jackson McKay on YouTube

What a blast! 😀

Found via Tor.com.

Hey, look! We found a thing on the internet! We thought it was cool, and wanted to share it with you.

Listening to Sappho

Sappho, like many ancient poets, wrote her poems not to be read on the page but to be sung. We don’t know specifically what her poems originally sounded like when performed, but we know enough about the notes, rhythms, and structure of ancient music to make some reasonable guesses. Here’s a version of Sappho’s first poem (my translation here) performed on a reconstructed ancient lyre by artist Bettina Joy de Guzman.

Sappho fr. 1: to Aphrodite via Bettina Joy de Guzman

An occasional feature on music and sound-related notions.

Delightful Music: Fringe Theme

One of the most enjoyable things about Fringe is the theme song. Here is a full, 6-minute version:

Fringe Theme [FULL] via mrbrzoskwinka on YouTube

It’s composed by Michael Giacchino, who has an extensive music department background in genre tv, movies, and games (Jurassic franchise video games and movies, Alias, Zootopia, some rebooted Mission Impossible and Star Trek movies, Rogue One and both of the new Spider-Man MCU movies, for instance).

It’s rare to come across a speculative show theme that uses the piano so unapologetically, let alone a story of an FBI agent investigating weird crimes. I’m in no way an expert, but I seem to have noticed that piano has fallen out of fashion these days, so for me the Fringe theme is valuable on those grounds as well.

An occasional feature on music and sound-related notions.

Lego Star Wars Droids Play Star Wars Music

What else is there to say about this video? It’s an orchestra of Lego’s programmable Star Wars droid models playing the Star Wars theme on real instruments. What more can you ask for?

“Watch this awesome droid orchestra! – LEGO Star Wars™ BOOST Droid Commander” via LEGO

This project is the work of Sam Battle. Find more of his inventive musical performances at lookmumnocomputer.com.

Hey, look! We found a thing on the internet! We thought it was cool, and wanted to share it with you.

Most Famousest of The Hobbit Soundtrack Covers

Recently we rewatched The Hobbit trilogy, which made me—again—root around looking for Dwarf-ish music. This time, though, I went wider and also included cover versions of melodies from all of the six Peter Jackson movie soundtracks.

Taylor Davis is one of the fabulous violinists out there doing YouTube covers. Here is her “Misty Mountains”:

The Hobbit – Misty Mountains (Dwarven Song) Violins Cover – Taylor Davis on YouTube

Nathan Mills aka Beyond the Guitar’s version of “Misty Mountains” by classical guitar is so lovely:

THE HOBBIT: Misty Mountains – Classical Guitar Cover by BeyondTheGuitar on YouTube

Guitar at its best, hands down.

This orchestral cover medley/remix by Parademics has an impressive range of instruments—I think we spotted an electric guitar in the background in the Ring Wraiths melody towards the end:

The Hobbit | Epic Orchestral Cover by Parademics on YouTube

Albert Chang’s arrangement of “Misty Mountains” incorporates 6 violins, 6 cellos, and a cajon, and shows why underappreciating cellos is a bad idea:

The Hobbit – Misty Mountains Orchestral Cover by sleightlymusical on YouTube

So much depth comes from the deeper-voiced string instruments!

Scott Sutherland’s tuba version is really solemn and somber:

Misty Mountains Cold – The Hobbit (Euphonium and Tuba Cover) by Scott Sutherland Music on YouTube

I have an impression that the tuba family is typically considered a bit silly, at least in the mainstream culture, but it shouldn’t.

The following Lord of the Rings medley also has an incredible cello part:

Lord of The Rings – The Hobbit (Piano/Cello Cover) – ThePianoGuys on YouTube

By ThePianoGuys aka Jon Schmidt, Steven Sharp Nelson, and Al van der Beek, with van der Beek’s arrangement.

Jasmine Thompson’s cover of “I See Fire” from The Desolation of Smaug is as good if not better than the original:

“I See Fire” Ed Sheeran The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug – cover by Jasmine Thompson on YouTube

Guitar for Thompson’s cover is by Seye Adelekan.

This gender-flipped version of “Into the West” from The Return of the King is awesome:

Into the West (Cover) – Josh Sahunta & Nicholas Yee on YouTube

Josh Sahunta singing and playing the piano, with Nicholas Yee on the cello.

Finally, being a Finn, I would be remiss not to include this instrumental metal version of the Lord of the Rings theme by Doug Anderson:

Lord of the Rings Theme – Epic Metal Rendition by Doug Anderson on YouTube

Do you have a favorite cover from either The Hobbit or Lord of the Rings? Please share!

An occasional feature on music and sound-related notions.

Joy to the World (of Warcraft) 14

Alunaria, over at Alunaria’s Avenue, has proposed a holiday challenge: stay away from the griping, grousing, and general grinchiness about World of Warcraft that’s all to easy to find these days and post something positive instead.

My final entry is for the music. Each and every expansion has brought a new twist to the main theme plus a sizeable selection of anthems and tunes for various scenes. Everything is incredibly beautiful, haunting, or exciting; rarely do I disagree with or dislike the game music selections. In fact, I often play WoW music when working or doing house chores. 🙂

The music from vanilla, however, will always have a special place in my heart. I especially love the Nightsong. Here’s an extended version:

Nightsong Extended – HD via shadowsnstuff on YouTube

 

* * *

As this is my final post for the positivity challenge, here are some concluding thoughts. (Be sure also to read Alunaria’s final experiment post!)

Yay, I made it! 🙂

I don’t think this challenge changed my thoughts of Battle for Azeroth much; since the launch, I’ve had enough other things on my plate to make following negative Nellies impossible. It’s good to know, however, which sites are safe and which I should stay away from.

My playing also hasn’t changed a lot, but a bit. I’m still new enough to the expansion that I have to actually pay attention when I’m questing. I’m starting to remember some of the tricks to particular quests and areas, though, so soon I’ll have to be on my toes to remember to stop and enjoy instead of brainlessly churning through the content.

What has changed for me after compairing the previous epansions to the current iteration is my appreciation of many changes in recent years. I already talked about the Flight Master’s Whistle, the gathering nodes and the landscaping; I also think the world of mass looting and the ease of scrapping. While I’ve never cared for the mission board quests that much, I find the BfA version smoother to operate and slightly more interesting. Most of the armor and weapons in Pandaria and Cataclysm I find too boring to look at, but BfA has a lot to like again. And the quest chaining has also become more interesting along the years, I think. And the cities! I love Suramar from Legion and both Dazar’alor and Boralus in BfA.

As a bonus, here’s my Night Elf druid’s Christmas mog viewable in the Wowhead Dressing Room:

WoW BfA Stormsong Valley NElf Flight Masters Whistle Dec 2018

Funnily enough both Erik and I accidentally chose the same staff (here’s Erik’s mog). 🙂

Finally, here are links to my preceding six posts:

Image: World of Warcraft screencap

Of Dice and Dragons is an occasional feature about games and gaming.

A Couple of My Favorite Sea Shanties

The nautical theme and music of Battle for Azeroth has put me in mind of sea shanties, traditional work songs used on large sailing vessels to coordinate sailors doing big jobs like hauling up the anchor or pumping out the bilge.

Shanties, like other work songs, tend to be rhythmic, repetitive, and easy to sing, which makes them great for singing in the car on long drives or while pottering around doing housework. As the songs of folks who had to live together in cramped quarters for months or years on end, they also often have a sly bit of humor to them to ease the tensions.

Here are a couple of personal favorites:

Roll the Old Chariot Along by The Fool via Jiří Šantora

Skipper Jan Rebeck by John Schomburg Shanty Man via John Locke

Hey, look! We found a thing on the internet! We thought it was cool, and wanted to share it with you.

A Round of Dwarf-ish Music

We haven’t talked about music lately. Time to fix it!

One of the new allied races in Battle for Azeroth, the latest World of Warcraft expansion, is Dark Iron Dwarves. (Note: I don’t think there’s much actual info as of yet, but people have been gathering mentions at a Wowhead thread.)

As I’ve mentioned before, female Dwarves are my absolute favorite race / gender combo to play in WoW, so I’m going to want at least one. 🙂 Consequently, my WoW thoughts have revolved heavily enough around Dwarves to push into the real life in the form of music befitting these mountain-dwellers.

Below are some of my current most favorite Dwarf-ish pieces, whether originally something quite different or composed specifically with Dwarves in mind.

An instrumental Nordic folk-based melody:

Dufwa via Hedningarna – Topic on YouTube

A Dwarven melody from a computer game I know nothing about:

The Dwarven Nobles – Dragon Age: Origins Soundtrack via allaboutVGmusic on YouTube

An Icelandic folk song with something to do with a (or more than one?) bigger bird (maybe crows, jackdaws, ravens, rooks, or the like):

Krummavísur – Voces Thules via hahaigotanidea on YouTube

Performed by the group Voces Thules. Wow! Also this next song is by the same group:

Voces Thules – Varizk ér Ok Varizk ér via Vikingskog on YouTube

Commenter EkErilaz added the Icelandic lyrics and an English translation:

“Beware! Beware! For the wind blows high. Blood will rain down on men’s bared bodies. Point and edge will share all men’s inheritance, now that the sword-age cuts sharply upon us.”

To my mind, the lyrics are very reminiscent of Vikings or Anglo-Saxons, but I could also see them applying to a fantasy race in WoW. (After all, the game is called World of Warcraft.)

Another, a very different type of instrumental:

Dwarf Mining Music – Dwarf Mining Town by Brandon Fiechter on YouTube

You can definitely get the mining vibe!

This version of the old Christmas carol “Masters in This Hall” from the album A Feast of Songs by Barry and Beth Hall also reminds me of Dwarves because of the steady rhythm and low key.

A Feast of Songs – Masters in This Hall via supermusic141 on YouTube

The next is a bit special. A music-heavy version of The Lord of the Rings was produced by the Finnish theater company Ryhmäteatteri in 1988 and 1989. Bilbo’s song “I Sit Beside the Fire and Think” from The Fellowship of the Ring, book 2, chapter III (“The Ring Goes South”) was turned into a song for the play, and it’s wonderfully meditative and solemn.

Tulen ääressä istun via Crypticevangelist on YouTube

The lyrics were originally translated into the Finnish version (Taru sormusten herrasta) by Panu Pekkanen; for the play they were slightly modified. The melody was composed by Toni Edelmann and sung by Timo Torikka.

This next piece was made by Simon Swerwer for the 2012 computer game Dwarf Fortress:

Simon Swerwer – The Tankard Basher by Simon Swerwer on YouTube

Awesome!

Lastly, Neil Finn’s “Song of the Lonely Mountain” (the end credits song for Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey) because of the bittersweetness, melancholy, and—just perhaps—glimmer of hope that comes through.

Song of the Lonely Mountain by Neil Finn on YouTube

Anything you’d like to add? Please do!

This post has been edited to correct a typo.

Of Dice and Dragons is an occasional feature about games and gaming.