Mike’s Prattle


Prog Rock and Video Games

Posted by Mike on March 20, 2009


I came across this page today and my eyes popped out when I realized how dominant this ex Deja Vu kekyboards player is in the video game soundtrack world. Now this isn’t something I’d probably normally care about, but for some completely odd and unknown reason, I do enjoy a good segment of the bombastic Japanese keyboard prog style (although Deja Vu itself wasn’t one of them). It’s an odd thing because the dominant influence, Emerson, Lake and Palmer, I don’t really like at all, and there’s also quite a bit of Japanese symphonic rock (like Teru’s Symphonia, Mu-gen and others) I don’t like either.

I think maybe it was really etched in stone when I saw Gerard live in concert towards the end of last decade. In many ways the Gerard style’s very close to Motoi Sakuraba’s, heavy organ, lots of bombast and drama, in fact when Sakuraba played live in 2003 he used Gerard’s bass player. Sakuraba I’ve also always liked, although I haven’t kept up on his stuff in recent years, but I was kind of surprised to realize that most if not all of his music comes from video game soundtracks, including Shining the Holy Ark and Beyond the Beyond, both of which I really liked when I finally came across copies (most of the Sakuraba canon doesn’t even really make it over to the US, small copy pressings and such).  I think the latest games he’s worked on which are on Xbox 360 are Star Ocean: The Last Hope and Tales of Vesperia, so I’m pretty curious (I admit that the Star Ocean soundtracks I have heard are a bit foofy, although I suppose that’s like complaining that a brownie hot fudge sundae has too much chocolate in it).

Anyway I’ve noticed before just how so much professional work of previous electronics and progressive composers are in the world of video games. Such as Michael Hoenig’s work on Baldur’s Gate and even when the names aren’t obvious how similar music is to previous composers, the Genesis-like cops in the Elder Scrolls series, the almost scary Pulsar – Halloween like soundtrack of Diablo, etc etc.

I think I’ve just proven that symphonic rock is childish. 🙂


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