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Music Special: Level With Emily Reese

Thanks for listening to this special WYSO episode of Level. I’m Emily Reese, Level’s host.  
The Level podcast is all about the music and sound in modern video games. Each week we feature the composers, performers, sound designers, audio directors, voice actors and anyone else connected to creating audio for a video game.

Today’s video game music sounds very different from the music of early games. And that has a lot to do with the evolution of computer technology we’ve seen over the last several decades.
In the ‘80s, there simply wasn’t enough space on a cartridge or a computer hard drive for composers to create scores using real instruments and audio. Thanks to digital technology, there is now plenty of space. And it’s common for orchestras from around the globe in cities as diverse as Los Angeles, London, Seattle, Nashville and Prague to record in some of the world’s best and most famous studios, including Skywalker Sound, Abbey Road and Bastyr Chapel. 
For this special WYSO episode of Level, we sat down with modern game composers Jason Graves (Far Cry Primal, Dead Space series, Until Dawn), Garry Schyman (BioShock series, Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor) and Disasterpeace (Hyper Light Drifter, Fez). 

Graves and Schyman often score the biggest games with the largest overall budgets. BioShock Infinite, developed by Irrational Games and published by 2K Games in 2013, had a nine-figure budget. The following year, game developer Bungie released Destiny to the tune of $500 million.
Not all games cost that much; these days, some of the most moving and artistic games on the market come from independent developers and publishers.
Disasterpeace has scored such independent games, including Fez  and Hyper Light Drifter. Yet rather than using live musicians and orchestras to record his scores, Disasterpeace uses sounds from ‘80s video games, known as “chip tunes,” to make his symphonic electronic music.
In this episode you’ll hear Graves, Schyman and Disasterpeace talk about their influences, including composers Béla Bartók, Gustav Holst, Maurice Ravel and Krzysztof Penderecki. You’ll hear music from these influential composers, and hear music from games scored by Graves, Schyman and Disasterpeace.

Thanks for listening to Level. If you’d like to check out our archive of past episodes, you can find more than 50 shows on iTunesPatreonand Podbean. We’re also on Twitter and Facebook. Level is produced by Joon Media’s Emily Reese and Sam Keenan, the creators of Classical MPR’s long-running Top Score podcast.