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Post feature RSS Crusher Chronicles #5: The Music of MCE

Our composer, Ville (aka Kuwabara Voltage), shares his influences and work process on the creation of the MCE soundtrack.

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Hello there! I’m Ville, a video game composer and the creator of Mushroom Crusher Extreme’s soundtrack. In this article I’ll discuss my history as a composer, my musical influences, and in greater detail, the work that went into MCE’s tracks. Hopefully you’ll find this an interesting read!

Music composing and video games have always come hand in hand for me. My very first arrangements from around 2006 were heavily game-influenced and sounded like the upbeat, catchy tunes you’d expect to hear in late 80s/early 90s Nintendo games. Back then I didn’t really know how to use FL Studio properly, so my compositions were pretty simplistic, and truth be told, not that great. But, at the same time, they were sporadic and unpredictable in ways that I have a hard time trying to emulate these days. However, since then my understanding of composing and musical structures in general, as well as FL Studio, has increased greatly, so all in all I feel that my music has constantly improved over time.

Over the years I’ve assimilated other influences as well, though they have also originated from the world of gaming more often than not. The single most influential one is without a doubt the music of Touhou Project, a Japanese game series by indie developer Jun’ya Ota, more commonly known by his pseudonym ZUN. Being the only person in his development team, in addition to doing everything else, ZUN also composes the music for his games. His unique style of composition, sometimes traditionally Japanese, sometimes a mixture of Japanese and Western elements, completely swept me away when I first played the games. It was unlike any music I’d ever heard in a game before. I think Touhou was the thing that seriously inspired me to become a video game composer.

So this time around, I’ve composed the soundtrack of Mushroom Crusher Extreme, a game by my good friend Tuukka and his team. This project was actually started way back in 2011 as our Game Jam entry. I composed the music for the original game, and have continued to compose tracks for several subsequent iterations of MCE. Having been more or less involved with the project for years, it only felt natural to compose the soundtrack for this final, definitive edition. For this one, I’ve toned down my usual Touhou-inspired style and tried to draw more from my original inspirations of retro-style game tunes. I’m sure some of ZUN’s influence has snuck in without me even realizing, though. Well, that’s to be expected.

I’ve prepared some samples of tracks in the game, so without further ado, let’s have a listen.

Kinoko Blaster

This track is a remix of the original theme from our 2011 Game Jam project:

I originally thought that I’d make Kinoko Blaster pretty similar to the original, but somewhere along the way the feeling changed completely, haha. I don’t mind though, I think it turned out very well.

Mushroom Hunter Z

This is yet another arrangement of a previously composed theme:

Mushroom Hunter Z sounds more like the original than Kinoko Blaster, just with updated samples and overall sound quality. The melody is pretty simple, but I feel it’s the kind that gets stuck in your head for whatever reason…

The Road Of Vermilion

This one’s a bit different. I usually reserve the piano for my more Touhou-inspired tracks, but I thought to experiment here. The combination of a low distorted guitar sound and the lead grand piano creates a pretty unique feel.

Elementary, Dear Watson

Pretty heavy, huh? I originally thought to make the whole theme quite menacing and heavy metal-ish, but then I got stuck when trying to come up with a second melodic theme, so I just resorted to my usual fast-phased solo-heavy fare, haha.

Well then, I hope you enjoy the soundtrack of MCE and if you do, check out my SoundCloud profile, where you can find more of my compositions. Cheers!

- Ville Laaksonen (Kuwabara Voltage)

You can also listen to Ville's music in the game itself! Check out MCE demo: Indiedb.com
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