Monday, February 3, 2020

"Noise from the Hearts of Nerds" - “C1E51: Mishmash Monday - vol 9” (40th Birthday episode)

Episode can be found here: https://www.podbean.com/eu/pb-j6p4h-d221b9


Today’s broadcast is C1E51 for Mishmash Monday, February 3rd, 2020. Today’s broadcast is Mishmash Monday - vol 9. The inaugural episode of Season 40, and a special celebration of St. John's 40th birthday, guest hosted by various members of his family.

01 - Ear Catcher - 00:00:00
02 - Intro - 00:00:12
03 - Sonic CD - Sega CD - Stardust Speedway Zone (Past) - Naofumi Hataya and/or Masafumi Ogata - 00:02:10
04 - FIFA 20 - Multi - Vámano - Buscabulla - 00:04:33
05 - Prey - multi - Everything's gonna be Okay - Mick Gordon - 00:07:57
06 - Lumines II - PSP - Star Guitar - The Chemical Brothers - 00:12:37
07 - Jurassic Park - SNES - River - Jonathan Dunn - 00:18:58
08 - TMNT: TF - Genesis - Sisyphus Stage - Miki Higashino - 00:21:10
09 - Jet Set Radio - Dreamcast - Funky Radio (IN-GAME VERSION) - BB Rights - 00:25:32
10 - Dragon Sabre - Arcade - Volcano - Shinji Hosoe - 00:28:56
11 - Last Resort - Neo Geo - The Melting Point -  Toshio Shimizu and/or Yasuo Yamate - 00:32:28
12 - Wolfenstein 3d - PC (Adlib) - Zero Hour - Bobby Prince - 00:35:03
13 - Zillion - Mastersystem - Computer Room – Tokuhiko Uwabo - 00:37:16
14 - Mountain King - Atari 2600 - Flame Spirit (an arrangement of "Anitra's Dance")  - c: Edvard Grieg a: E. F. Dryer and/or Ed Salvo - 00:38:00
15 - P.O.W. - NES - Inside Truck – Toshikazu Tanaka and/or Kikuto Hataya - 00:39:49
16 - Spiderman - Genesis - Cavern - Mark Miller, John Karr, and/or David Javelosa - 00:41:42
17 - Teki Paki - Arcade - Quick, Junk, Sequence - Tomoaki Takenohashi - 00:44:28
18 - Vegas Stakes - SNES - The 2020 - Kimitaka and/or Manami Matsumae - 00:48:51
19 - Splatoon 2 (Octo Expansion) - SWITCH! - frisk - DedF1sh - 00:50:38
20 - Vindicators Part II - Arcade - Target Select - Brad Fuller and/or Hal Canon - 00:52:48
21 - Deneb - Atari 8-bit - Song 2 (Title) - Robert Drag - 00:53:12
22 - Tube Panic - Arcade - Attract Mode - Ichiro Takagi - 00:54:08
23 - Bosconian - X68000 - Blast Power - Yuzo Koshiro - 00:55:59
24 - Yuu Yuu Hakusho: Makyou Toitsusen - Mega Drive - Sub-Space 2 BGM - Aki Hata, Katsuhiko Suzuki - 00:58:45
25 - Hyperzone - SNES - Title Theme - Jun Ishikawa - 01:02:07
26 - Chaos Seed Feng Shui Kairouki - SFC - The Last Hermit's Cave – Yasunori Shiono, Katsuhiro Hayashi, and/or Yukio Nakajima - 01:03:15
27 - A Dinosaur's Tale - Genesis - Cecilia's Apartment (track 04)- Kim Jensen - 01:05:28
28 - Grim Fandango - PC - Neon Ledge - Peter McConnell - 01:07:17
29 - God of War - PS4 - Witch of the Woods - Bear McCreary - 01:08:18
30 - Lost Eden - CD-I - Moorkus Rex's Lair – Stephane Picq - 01:11:11
31 - Splatoon 2 (Octo Expansion) - SWITCH! - regret - DedF1sh - 01:12:57
32 - Silent Hill 2 - PS2 - Betrayal - Akira Yamaoka - 01:15:42
33 - Doom - PC - Nobody Told Me About Id (E2M8) - Bobby Prince - 01:18:24
34 - Metroid Prime 2 - Quadraxis Battle - Kenji Yamamoto - 01:21:11
35 - Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 - multi - Adrenaline - Jack Wall - 01:24:07
36 - Final Fantasy XIII-2 - PS3 - Paradigm Shift - Masashi Hamauzu, Naoshi Mizuta, and/or Mitsuto Suzuki - 01:27:27
37 - PILcaSEX - PC98 - Groove Machine - Muse - 01:31:10
38 - Castlevania II - Gameboy - Praying Hands - Hidehiro Funauchi - 01:33:09
39 - Sonic 3D Blast - Genesis - The Final Fight - Jun Senoue, Tatsuyuki Maeda, Seirou Okamoto, Masaru Setsumaru - 01:36:04
40 - F-Zero - SNES - Silence - Yukio Kaneoka - 01:37:52
41 - Metroid Prime 3 - Wii - Skytown - Kenji Yamamoto, Minako Hamano, and/or Masaru Tajima - 01:40:31
42 - Snatcher - Sega CD - Tear-Stained Eyes - Konami Kukeiha Club - 01:43:53
43 - Outro - 01:48:44
44 - Exit Earcatcher - 02:09:30
45 - Blooper Reel - 02:09:57

Music Block Runtime: 01:46:43, Total Episode Runtime: 02:45:42

Our Intro and Outro Music is Funky Radio, from Jet Grind Radio, on the Sega Dreamcast, composed by BB Rights, and Happy Birthday from Gimmick, on the Famicom, composed by Masashi Kageyama. Our outro music is Neighborhood 2 from The Sims, on the PC, composed by Jerry Martin and/or Marc Russo.

The "Nerd Noise Radio" audio podcast feed can be found here:


or here


You can also find our audio episodes on Archive.org

The "Nerd Noise Radio - RERUNS!" channel can be found here:


or here


Our YouTube Channel can be found here:


Nerd Noise Radio is also available on The Retro Junkies Network at www.theretrojunkies.com, and is a member of the VGM Podcast Fans community at


Or, if you wish to connect with us directly, we have two groups of our own:

Nerd Noise Radio - Easy Mode: https://www.facebook.com/groups/276843385859797/ for sharing tracks, video game news, or just general videogame fandom.

Nerd Noise Radio - Expert Mode: https://www.facebook.com/groups/381475162016534/ for going deep into video game sound hardware, composer info, and/or music theory.

Lastly, you can also follow us on Twitter at @NerdNoiseRadio.

Thanks for listening! Join us again April 1st for a very special bonus retrospective. Delicious VGM on "Noise from the Hearts of Nerds"! And wherever you are - Fly the N!

Cheers!

Monday, December 30, 2019

"Noise from the Hearts of Nerds" - “C1E50b: The Golden Episode - part 2”

Link to Episode (Podbean): https://www.podbean.com/eu/pb-mk4yb-cb804a


Another extended play, very non-standard format, very talk-heavy retrospective of the first 49 episodes and three years of the show - in the style of an old W.A.R.T. Radio episode meets The Diad Presents meets Sound Test Roulette meets VGM Jukebox – multiple short micro-music-blocks with talking between.

Part 2 is "personal picks" - picks that I really like myself, most of which were near picks from my previous two "Best of 20XX – John's Picks" episodes - 1 track from each previous episode (minus best-of episodes), tracks chosen by either John or the listeners in any "Best of 20XX" installment are ineligible for The Golden Episode (and if a track that appeared in say, Episode 2, was chosen, but it also appears in Episode 17, 36, and 48, it is stricken from the eligible pool all the same. Each track must be totally unique to a "Wayback Wednesday" episode of NNR, which narrows the playing field, both in terms of tracks I can pick for myself as well as tracks I can pick for the listeners (part 1).

Each micro-music-block will be five tracks long, and each will represent the episode which it comes from. Rather than the usual NNR practice of focusing on the music block creating a logical, pleasing "flow", the Golden Episode (both parts one and two) will focus  instead on playing the tracks in episode order. So they won't flow nearly as well (unless by happy accident). But they will run in the order in which they appeared in the history of the show. Differing priorities this time. A typical NNR episode is all about a "journey through sound", and of course, this episode is that as well to some extent, but the real priority here is not about being a "journey through sound", but instead, is about being a "journey through time".

Here are the tracklists for the micro-music blocks for part 2, the "personal picks" installment:

Show Intro Music: somer assault (episode 1) - 00:00:00

Block 1 – Episodes 1-5 (2017 – part 1)

BGM Block 1 Music: yuukai douchuuki arcade (Episode 2)

Spoken Introduction - 00:05:04

01) Title – Spider-Man / X-Men – SNES – Tim and/or Geoff Follin - 00:13:06
02) Track 11 – Illusion Blaze – DOS – D.AC. - 00:14:07
03) Aitos – Actraiser – SNES – Yuzo Koshiro - 00:16:41
04) After the Battle – Loz: TP – Gamecube / Wii – Toru Minegishi and/or Asuka Ohta - 00:19:24
05) The Mechanic – Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake – MSX (SCC) - The Konami Kukeiha Club - 00:21:40

Block 2 – Episodes 6-10 (2017 – part 2)

BGM Block 2 Music: Fushigi no Umi no Nadia (episode 10)

Spoken Introduction - 00:23:42

06) September 2015 - N/A (System Music) - 3DS / WiiU – Kazumi Totaka - 00:30:22
07) Jiji Theme – Sword of Vermilion – Genesis – Hiroshi Kawaguchi and/or Yasuhiro Takagi - 00:33:33
08) Citizens of Luala - N/A (Battle of the Bits) - N/A (TG16) - Strobe - 00:34:18
09) Juno Unleashed – The Force Unleashed – Multi – Mark Griskey - 00:37:19
10) Space Opera – Tiny Toons: Buster Busts Loose – SNES – Kazuhiko Uehara and/or Yukie Morimoto - 00:38:23

Block 3 – Episodes 11-15 (2017 – part 3)

BGM Block 3 Music: Tyr (Heavy Armor) - Cosmic Carnage (Episode 13)

Spoken Introduction - 00:41:06

11) Enemy Turn (Stages 6-10) - Hisou Kihei X-Serd – PC Engine – Masaya Sound Team - 00:53:06
12) Stage 1 – Alien 3 – Genesis – Matt Furniss - 00:54:28
13) Zena Lan (Light Armor) - Cosmic Carnage  - 32X – Hikoshi Hashimoto - 00:56:59
14) Lazarus (feat. Rudy Escobar) - N/A (Neon Dreams Album) - N/A - DYA - 00:59:13
15) West Side Andore Cage Match – Final Fight CD – Sega CD – c: Harumi Fujita, Hiromitsu Takaoka, Junko Tamiya, Manami Matsumae, Yasuaki Fujita, Yoko Shimomura and/or Yoshihiro Sakaguchi / a: T's Music - 01:02:53

Block 4 – Episodes 16-20 (2017 – part 4 of 4)

BGM  for intro to Block 4 Music: Kage Theme Genesis (Episode 18)

Spoken Introduction -  01:05:59

16) A Cool Reception – Shovel Knight – Multi – Jake Kaufman - 01:13:24
17) Vampyre Book – Bram Stoker's Dracula – Genesis – Matt Furniss - 01:16:06
18) Stage 3 – Jackie Chan's Action Kung Fu – TG16 – Masakatsu Maekawa - 01:19:11
19) Rainbow Road - N/A (Super Mario Kart) - N/A - c: Soya Oka a: The OneUps - 01:21:01
20) Fly Like a Butterfly – Jet Set Radio Future – XBox – Hideki Naganuma - 01:26:28

Block 5 – Episodes 21-26a (2018 – part 1 of 4)

BGM for intro to Block 5 Music: Take Back – Fighting Run (episode 22)

Spoken Introduction - 01:29:44

21) Whisper and a Mantra – Secret of Mana – SNES – Hiroki Kikuta - 01:37:18
22) Aqua and Trees – Tobal No. 1 – PS1 – Yoko Shimomura - 01:38:23
23) Superleggera – Forza 3 – XB360 – Lance Hayes - 01:41:28
24) Inside Vah Naboris (1 Terminal) - LoZ: BoTW – WiiU / SWITCH! - Manaka Kataoka, Yasuaki Iwata and/or Hajime Wakai - 01:46:55
26a) Music to Watch Girls By - N/A - N/A - c: Andy William a: RushJet1 - 01:48:46

Block 6 – Episodes 26-30 (2018 – part 2 of 4)

BGM  for intro to Block 6 Music: Ranquest (episode 30)

Spoken Introduction - 01:51:10

26) Boomer Kuwanger – Mega Man X – SNES – Setsuo Yamamoto, Makoto Tomozawa, Yuki Iwai, Yuko Takehara, and Toshihiko Horiyama  - 01:58:54
27) Challenge – Chu Chu Rocket – Dreamcast – Tomoya Ohtani - 02:01:14
28) Coldman (Rockman and Fortissimo) (VGM Karaoke - originally "Coldman" from Mega Man and Bass (GBA) - original c: Toshihiko Horiyama, Naoshi Mizuta and/or Akari Kaida, Karaoke written and performed by Pieness 64 - 02:04:08
29) Brinstar - N/A (Metroid) - N/A - c: Hirokazu (Hip) Tanaka a: Luminist - 02:06:15
30) Sodden Hollow – Binding of Isaac: Rebirth – Multi – Matthias Bossi and/or Jon Evans - 02:07:59

Block 7 – Episodes 31-35 (2018 – part 3 of 4)

BGM for intro to Block 7 Music: Shinobi – theme 3 (episode 33)

Spoken Introduction - 02:11:57

31) Jungle Base – Streets of Rage 2 – Genesis – Yuzo Koshiro and/or Motohiro Kawashima - 02:25:50
32) Meteor – StarFox – SNES – Hajime Hirasawa - 02:29:24
33) Slammin' Sea – Bomberman '94 – PC Engine – Jun Chikuma - 02:32:25
34) Under the Feet – Super C – NES – c: Kazuki Muaoka and/or Muoaki Furukawa a: Hidenori Maezawa - 02:35:29
35) Lagoon - Fury of the Furries - PC (OPL2) - Frederic Motte - 02:36:39

Block 8 – Episodes 36-40 (2018 – part 4 of 4)

BGM for intro to Block 8 Music: BGM 12  - Cross Wiber (Episode 38)

Spoken Introduction - 02:39:36

36) New Donk City – Super Mario Odyssey  - SWITCH! - Naoto Kubo, Shiho Fujii and/or Koji Kondo - 02:49:05
37)  The Torture Chamber – Super Castlevania IV – SNES – Masanori Adachi and/or Taro Kudo - 02:52:03
38) Chapter 5 - Cross Wiber - PC Engine - Hiroto Saito - 02:56:05
39) Planet 3 – Cyber Knight – PC Engine – Michiharu Hasuya, Osamu Kasai, Junko Yokiyama - 02:57:11
40) Seven O'Clock – Crackin' DJ Pt. 2 – Arcade – c: Hiroshi Kawaguchi a: Mitsuhru Fukuyama - 02:58:17

Block 9 – Episodes 41-46 (2019 – part 1 of 2)

BGM for intro to Block 9 Music: What Can You Do (Episode 44)

Spoken Introduction - 03:00:25

41) Process Control – GT Sport – PS4 – Yasuhisa Inoue - 03:19:33
42) My Dear D – Shinobi 3 – Genesis – Masayuki Nagao, Hirofumi Murasaki, and Morihiko Akiyama - 03:23:05
43) Subtune 1 – Flash Gordon – C64 – Rob Hubbard - 03:24:57
44) The Blazing Sands – Final Fantasy X – PS2 – Masashi Hamauzu, Junya Nakano, and/or Nobuo Uematsu - 03:31:17
46) Trance Parlient in Blue – Night Striker – Sega CD – c: Masahiko Takaki a: Shuichiro Nakazawa - 03:34:16

Block 10 – Episodes 47a-49 (2019 – part 2 of 2)

BGM for intro to Block 10 Music: Gulliver Boy (episode 47b)

Spoken Introduction - 03:37:35

47a) Stage 1-3 – Ai Chou Aniki – PC Engine – Iwasaki Taku - 03:57:14
47b) Outside Ref, the Pyramid of Ice – Dungeon Explorer 2 – TurbografxCD – Masaaki Inoue and/or Akihiro Honma - 04:00:50
47c) Tengai Makyou 3 – Reminiscence: Daimonkyou - Kohei Tanaka and/or Keita Hoshi - 04:02:55
48) I Came, I Saw, N/A (Battle of the Bits) - N/A (SNES) - Kung Fu Firby - 04:05:43
49) Your Sunset - Tekken Tag Tournament - multi - Taku Inoue - 04:11:12

Show Outro Music: ESPIRIT.wav -  ESPRIT 空想 (episode 44) - 04:16:01

Bonus: Key - by Chris Chandler - 04:48:12

Total Episode Runtime: 04:52:57

The "Nerd Noise Radio" audio podcast feed can be found here:


or here


You can also find our audio episodes on Archive.org

The "Nerd Noise Radio - RERUNS!" channel can be found here:


or here


Our YouTube Channel can be found here:


Nerd Noise Radio is also available on The Retro Junkies Network at www.theretrojunkies.com, and is a member of the VGM Podcast Fans community at


Or, if you wish to connect with us directly, we have two groups of our own:

Nerd Noise Radio - Easy Mode: https://www.facebook.com/groups/276843385859797/ for sharing tracks, video game news, or just general videogame fandom.

Nerd Noise Radio - Expert Mode: https://www.facebook.com/groups/381475162016534/ for going deep into video game sound hardware, composer info, and/or music theory.

Lastly, you can also follow us on Twitter at @NerdNoiseRadio.

Thanks for listening! Join us again on Monday, February 3rd 2020 for C1E51 (Channel 1, Episode 51): Mishmash Monday - vol. 9 - Delicious VGM on "Noise from the Hearts of Nerds"! And wherever you are - Fly the N!

Cheers!


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BLOGSPOT-SPECIFIC BONUS: The following is the text I read off of while recording: through a mix of deliberate in-the-moment changes, simple mistakes on the mic, and even simple mistakes in the document, this text and the e-mail are not a 100% match. But are 99%+ and "essentially a match".

Enjoy

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THE GOLDEN EPISODE (part 2)!




Welcome back, everyone! Yes, you are still tuned to Nerd Noise Radio, and this is C1E50b – The Golden Episode – part 2.

Like Part 1, we’re doing things very differently today. While our standard “loosely HoS-like format” of brief semi-standard intro, housekeeping outro with a long, winding, twisting, flowing journey through the vast and various sonic spaces of VGM will return with episode 51, today will be multiple, miniature music-blocks, intermitted by verbal journeys through the history of Channel 1 up to this point – a robust recap of the first 49. Also like part 1, this was originally intended as a “return the favor” homage to the original format of Trey Johnson’s W.A.R.T Radio.

As a quick recap: Trey Johnson, Jerome Makowski, and Jon Knitter are the hosts of the Nintendomain Podcast based out of Chicago. But Trey has a side-project of a VGM podcast where episodes release occasionally called W.A.R.T. Radio. Today, the format of W.A.R.T. is similar to that of Nerd Noise Radio, but it was not always so. I’ll refer you back to the Part 1 intro for the full story of what brought about the change. But originally, W.A.R.T. followed the format of multiple two to four track mini-blocks per episode, with Trey returning to the mic in-between to announce and recap the tracks. Because the W.A.R.T. transition to a more NNR-like format was inspired by, and in tribute to getting to work together on Channel F, I’ve always wanted to return the honor by doing the same thing in reverse – albeit, as just a one-off.

The original design of the episode 50 project was to do just that. But as the project evolved, it changed from just announcing and recapping tracks, to telling stories and providing inside information on the past episodes themselves, and as such, really bears as much resemblance now to an episode of Ben’s “The Diad Presents”, or KeyGlyph’s “Soundtest Roulette” or her and Josh’s former project, The VGM Jukebox. In the end, it morphed into an amalgamation, and co-tribute to the three. As such, a future outing in a more distinctly and directly W.A.R.T. format shall still be required.

The formatting of Part 2 will be identical to part 1. We’ll have 10 5-track mini-blocks that take us through 1-49 in episode order, so a journey through time, rather than the typical NNR “journey through space”. Before each block, I will talk about the episodes – some covered in part 1, others covered in part 2, but collectively covering each of the five episodes in the coming music block. Afterwards, I’ll quickly recap the tracks you just heard before moving onto the next segment. Barring episodes 25 and 45, which were retrospectives already, and including April Fools 2018 and all three parts of the TG16 / PC Engine focus, parts 1 and 2 each include one track from every previous outing, bringing the total number of music block tracks to 50 a piece. In addition, there is music in the background during the speaking portions which are also from previous episodes. For instance, our intro music for part 2 is Title Theme, from Somer Assault on the TG16, composed by Hidehito Aoki and Katsuyuki Inose, originally appearing in Episode 1.

What makes part 2 different from part 1 is the focus. I didn’t have time to get a listener picks thing together for part 1, so I made my best guess of what tracks you the listener might’ve picked had there been the opportunity, and called it “Popular picks”. In one sense, both parts 1 and 2 are for you, and both parts 1 and 2 are for me. But in another sense, part 1 was for you, the listener, as a loving tribute and heartfelt thanks for having come along with me on the journey up to this point and for being loving, supportive, and engaged. I couldn’t do any of this without you. Part 2, on the other hand, in the sense separate from the sense that both episodes are for both of us … is for me! It is my collection of personal picks from the show’s history, and is called “Personal Picks”. Not very original, but it works. However, true of both, I did not want to reuse any tracks that were already featured in 25 or 45, or in my personal picks parallels to each – lest this just become “best of 25 and 45”, so all those tracks were outlawed during the selection process. In the case of episodes 1-40, what you heard in part 1 were my best guesses of the tracks that were left, and in part 2, you will hear my own favorites of what was left. Since the Best of 2019 episodes haven’t come along yet, the season 3 episodes were not likewise encumbered, and so for those, I went for the top.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed part 1, and I hope you will enjoy part 2. Let’s begin!


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Our first block (or season 1 part 1) takes us through episodes 1-5.

Revisit part 1 for my notes on episode 1.

Episode 2 was a themed episode as well, focusing on music from FM synthesis-based systems, with a heavy emphasis on that of the Sega Genesis and 32X). 17 of the 33 tracks were YM2612, aka OPN2 (16 Genesis, 1 32X, and no FM Towns or Arcade). Of the remaining 16, 8 of them were YM2151 (OPM), which was the most prolific (and powerful) of the chips used in mid-80's to early-90's arcade games. The YM3812 (aka OPL2, which was also used in the AdLib and early SoundBlaster PC sound cards was the second most prolific in the arcade during the same period, though less powerful. OPM was also the chip used in the Sharp X68000 Japanese desktop computer. So, half of this episode was Genesis and 32X, including each of the opening three tracks, a quarter of the episode was either Arcade or X68k, and the remaining quarter (all mixed in and interspersed amongst each other) were a hodgepodge of all the rest: OPL2, OPNA, OPN, OPLL, OPL, and OPL3. There was even a VRC7 track in there. So, I feel like I was able to really do the space some justice. Despite it being so early in the show's history, and despite the poor production in the intro and outro, as well as also having suffered the silly "mono audio" error in the music block, it remains one of my favorite episodes, and one of the most acclaimed by fans. I do think we've certainly gone on to see even greater heights since, so I don't at all consider it as my peaking way too early, but if there is an upper echelon of episodes out there, this one definitely makes the list!

Episode 3 was the Actraiser soundtrack for the SNES. We rented this game shortly after getting the SNES for Christmas 1992, and it completely changed the way I saw game sound. Since then, my ears have gotten a lot more attuned, and the "fakery" of the small sample instruments is clear to me now. But at the time, it wasn't, and it absolutely blew my mind in that it sounded like an actual symphony orchestra inside the game system. I was simply blown away! I discovered Actraiser before I discovered Streets of Rage. But Yuzo Koshiro first appeared on my radar through the latter. So, when I found out years later that it was actually the same guy behind these two such radically different sounds, I was absolutely blown away. That would be like learning that Louis Armstrong's "Wonderful World" and Marilyn Manson's "Beautiful People" were actually both written by the same person. In fact, even all these years later, Streets of Rage and Actraiser remain perhaps the most profound example to me of stunning compositional range in a VGM composer.

Episode 4 was our first TwoFer episode. It is sort of a "proto-super-sized episode", being the longest episode in pre-2019 history to not bear the designation. Like episode 2, this one is one of my favorites as well, and it's probably between this one and episode 24 for my favorite Twofer Tuesday episode to date. I just really love the tracks that we have included here, and the way they flow, and the kind of adventure they take you on. It's an early example of having nailed the formula.

And Episode 5 was the soundtrack to the MSX game: Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake – featuring the Konami SCC wavetable synthesis sound chip, the technological "nearest of kin" to the PC Engine / Turbografx16's HuC6280, each having their advantages and disadvantages over the other, and loyal fans / ardent proponents on both sides. Basically, more wavetable channels and more flexible channels plus proper ADPCM support, and the ability to merge channels for higher bitrate samples on the HuC6280 side vs higher wavetable bitrate (8-bit vs 5-bit) on the SCC side, allowing for cleaner, smoother, rounder, and more dynamic voices. There are cases to be made both ways, but where do I come down on the matter? Well, if we're talking usage as a standalone setup, that is HuC all by itself vs SCC/AY all by themselves? I think I prefer the flexibility of the HuC. But if it were going to be in a super chip ensemble, paired with pretty much anything else, then I'd prefer the SCC for its greater wave dynamism. Either way, listening to both are very pleasurable experiences that are multiples more alike than they are different. But if you know what you're listening for, you can hear and appreciate, and enjoy the differences on each side of the fence. Still, in the most "real world" / "c'mon, yeah right' sense, I do find myself in the HuC camp on this.

So, in my opening five, I was able to give heavy focus to FM synthesis, ADPCM synthesis, and Wavetable. The technological "Holy Trinity", in my opinion, of retro game sound. Metal Gear 2 is also an incredible and incredibly deep game. Basically unknown to Western Audiences until the previous decade, it is probably the closest precursor to the modern Metal Gear Solid game in terms of depth and story twists and all the rest. The music is also the deepest and most diverse of a pre-solid Metal Gear game, and among the finest of examples of SCC usage. So, it was not a hard decision at all to feature it!

Another thing about episode 5, as it pertains to the YouTube version: In the first four episodes, I had just been using a super-stretched version of the tiny NNR avatar for the backdrop of the episode. It was terrible. There were also no pop ups, so you were literally just looking at nothing but that smeary, stretched, pixely logo the whole time. For episode 5, a fellow YouTuber named Supe (of Supe's Longplays - real name Nick Kirby) had created a better NNR logo for me to use as a backdrop, and also suggested I start doing pop ups when new tracks appeared. This is a practice I began on episode 5 and continued for the remainder of Channel 1's run on YouTube, with the only real change being the adoption of new backdrops at episode 21 that I created myself and used up til the end.

Anyway, let's get into the music. From these epiosdes


You will hear

From C1E1: Press Start (originally released 01/05/17) - Title – Spider-Man/X-Men: Arcade’s Revenge – SNES – Tim and/or Geoff Follin
From C1E2: Twisted Sine (originally released 10/19/17) – Track 11 – Illusion Blaze – DOS (AdLib) – D.A.C.
From C1E3: The Actraiser [SNES] Soundtrack (originally released 02/04/2017) - Aitos – Yuzo Koshiro
From C1E4: TwoFer Tuesday – vol. 1 (originally released 02/21/17) – After the Battle – LoZ: Twilight Princess – GameCube / Wii – Toru Minegishi and/or Asuka Ohta

And

From C1E5: The Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake [MSX SCC] Soundtrack (originally released 03/11/17) – The Mechanic - The Konami Kukeiha Club

Our background music was Main Theme from Youkai Douchuuki - Arcade – Hiroyuki Kawada and also from C1E2. Enjoy!

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That was music mini-block 1 of 10 for episodes 1-5 (or "Season 1, part 1 of 4, if you prefer). To recap, you heard...

- Title – Spider-Man / X-Men - SNES
- Track 11 – Illusion Blaze - DOS
- Aitos – Actraiser – SNES
- After the Battle – LoZ: TP – GameCube and Wii

And

- The Mechanic – Metal Gear 2 – MSX (SCC)

For Season 1, part 2, we'll look at episodes 6-10.

Episode 6 was a themed episode, focusing on the music of the Nintendo eShop, primarily as it appeared on the 3DS and WiiU, but also with the original pieces from the Wii and the DSi. The episode was produced prior to the launch of the Nintendo Switch, but didn't actually release until a few months afterward. I remember getting the Switch on launch day and being both very disappointed that the Switch eShop had no music, but also very relieved as that meant that I didn't have to go back and do last minute production changes. The episode remained complete as it stood.

There are a number of episodes, mostly theme episodes that have clever pun names for their themes, such as "Press Start" and "Twisted Sine" for the Title Screen and FM synth focuses, or "The Fiery Furniss" for the Matt Furniss episode. But I am still especially fond of the name of this episode focusing on the eShop: "Buy Something Will Ya!" - a loving nod to the original Legend of Zelda, which of course is a Nintendo franchise, the fact that it's the Nintendo software market site, and you're doing commerce there. The unspoken request when opening the eShop, and perusing all the splash graphics of various titles, is, of course, "Buy Something, will Ya!"This episode, like our Episode 50 has been, was also more a journey through time, than a journey through sonic "space", as I presented the pieces in chronological order of their first appearance on the shop. Only unlike this episode, it was still all just one big music block with the standard intro and outro.

Episode 7a, was our first April Fool's episode, which just directly ripped the audio from Beardwulf's YouTube video (with credit, of course), featuring two hours of the Name Entry theme from Sword of Vermilion, which goes absolutely bananas due to no coda being programmed into the music, and the system just continuing to eternally pitch up, well beyond the timbral range of the sound hardware. Because of the nature of that ultra-extended track, I decided not to include any of it here. But it is an interesting listen, and an important piece of NNR history and lore. It was also where Malo Mart from Twilight Princess was established as the default special outro background music for our April Fools episodes.

Episode 7, the non-April Fools episode, was in fact, the actual Sword of Vermilion soundtrack – including Name Entry but trimmed to well before chaos starts happening.

We talked at length about episodes 8, 9, and 10 in part 1, so I invite you to go back and hear what we had to say about them there.

Now, for the music


You will hear

From C1E6: Buy Something Will Ya! (originally released Thurs, 03/23/17) – September 2015 – N/A (system [eShop] Music) – 3DS/WiiU – Kazumi Totaka
From C1E7: Sword of Vermilion [Genesis] Soundtrack (originally released Sat, 04/08/17) – Jiji Theme – Sword of Vermilion – Genesis – Hiroshi Kawaguchi and/or Yasuhiro Takagi
From C1E8: Battle of the Bits – vol. 1 (originally released Sun, 04/23/17) – Citizens of Luala – N/A (Battle of the Bits – N/A (PC Engine) - Strobe
From C1E9: May the Fourth be with You (originally released Thurs, 05/04/17) – Juno Unleashed – The Force Unleashed – Multi – Mark Griskey

And

From C1E10: Mishmash Monday – vol. 1 (originally released Mon, 05/22/17) – Space Opera – Tiny Toons: Buster Busts Loose – SNES – Kazuhiko Uehara and/or Yukie Morimoto

Our background music was Track 12 from Fushigi no Umi no Nadia - PC Engine - Shiro Sagisu - episode 10

Enjoy!

*********************************************



That was music mini-block 2 of 10 for episodes 6-10 (or "Season 1, part 2 of 4, if you prefer). To recap, you heard...

- September 2015 – eShop – 3DS / WiiU
- Jiji Theme – Sword of Vermilion - Genesis
- Citizens of Luala – BotB Chiptune original for PC Engine
- Juno Unleashed – The Force Unleashed - Multi

And

- Space Opera – Tiny Toons: Buster Busts Loose - SNES

For Season 1, part 3, we'll look at episodes 11-15.

We talked at length about episodes 11 and 12 in part 1.

Episode 13 was another soundtrack, but this one was one of my favorites of all time. It was the Cosmic Carnage soundtrack for the 32X. While the 32X did add a few added sound channels of its own that were sometimes used to bring bigger, cleaner samples to the music than you'd get out of the DAC on the YM2612, many 32X games reserved those channels for sound effects or voice clips, and leaned entirely on the standard YM2612 / SN76489 FM / PSG tag team in the base Genesis to handle the music, and thus was the case with Cosmic Carnage. From a sound design perspective in the music, it's just an ordinary Sega Genesis soundtrack – though one that I would argue is an example par excellence, not only in its masterful handling of the sound hardware, coaxing so much gold out of it. But also, in the great sound adventures it took you on, and all the moods it contains and explores. The game may have been panned as a terrible game (I'll maintain that it is merely mediocre instead). But the soundtrack REALLY delivers.

We got the 32X for Christmas 1994 along with two games: Virtual Racing Deluxe....and Cosmic Carnage. So, here we are on the cusp of the 25th anniversary of that momentous occasion – an occasion which itself occurred on the 5yr anniversary of our getting the NES – which, of course, is a memory which turns 30 for us. While I always admired and respected the soundtrack to Cosmic Carnage, it wouldn't be til 2003 or so that I would REALLY fell in love with it – through a dream of all things. Indulge me a story about that dream:

In the dream, I was standing in this sort of laboratory. The walls were green tile, with a row of black tile about halfway up, and looked very much like an operating room, or maybe one of the triage rooms in the ER from the 90's NBC primetime hospital drama of the same name. On the far wall was a bank of windows that people in white lab coats were looking out of as they scribbled notes. Out on the floor of the lab where I was were people all about me bustling about in white lab coats, paying me no mind, busying themselves on whatever projects that were engaging them. I, in turn, wasn't more than passively aware of them myself. My focus was on the sleek, vase-like polished white marble pedestal in the middle of the room where sat a computer monitor with a slideshow of space scenes on it, and some kind of progress bar. When I approached the monitor, Cylic Heavily Armored Theme from Cosmic Carnage started playing. It was ever so slightly slowed down, but otherwise completely faithful, and the slight slowdown only made each note feel more impactful and substantial. The space scenes in the background were either directly from, or in the exact style of the space backgrounds you found as the background graphics layers in the stages of Cosmic Carnage (presumably a mix of the two), and the progress bar was a Windows 95/98 style progress bar pop up window, with no title. It was the only UI element visible on the screen. But it was advancing. What happened at this point in the dream is such a simple thing but is so hard to describe in words. You know how when you're watching a keynote presentation of some kind, such as a Nintendo Direct, or, as was a big deal to me a couple months ago, the Pixel 4 / 4 XL reveal event, and there's a person on a stage talking with a PowerPoint, or whatever being projected onto the wall behind them, and the web feed of the presentation switches from the camera pointed at the person with the PowerPoint visible in the background to a direct feed of the PowerPoint itself? Well, that's what happened to my perspective in the dream. It went from the "camera of my eyes" looking at the computer monitor with the bezels and the remainder of the room perceptible in the periphery to a "direct feed", if you will, straight into my brain of what was on that screen itself, the space scenes, and that very mysterious progress bar.

Most remarkable of all is that the precise instant of when that progress bar completed, I woke up.... madly in love with the Cosmic Carnage soundtrack, and most particularly, Cylic Heavy Armor. In fact, if memory serves, the VERY FIRST thing I did was jump out of bed, hurry off to the living room, and fire up the 32X. And those newfound feelings have remained with me to this day, these more than 16yrs later.

Now, I'm one who just happens to believe that dreams are just the delightfully random misfires of a brain in rest mode, fusing the most outlandish, preposterous, and unthinkably absurd, with the most credible, plausible and immediate elements of one's own life, creating in the process this incredible piece of experimental, Avant Garde art such as the most artistic, visionary, revolutionary, and off the wall person could never, in their waking mind ever hope to conceive of - something so out there and beautiful in their entire life's body of work as the most dull, uncreative, unimaginative person might conjure completely by accident in their sleeping mind on any given night. And then, on top of all that, we then pair it with the most absolute suspension of disbelief, and largely passive acceptance of the conditions we find ourselves in – usually as the center of whatever universe this is - and that is the world of dreams that I love so very much, and find such endless amazement and entertainment, and speechless, befuddled delight in – something to absolutely revel in as art pieces, but nothing to attempt to psychoanalyze, or attempt to glean the future from. Nothing MORE than a great story, you might say.

So, with that view of dreams in mind, this is obviously not a genuine proposal or a sincere belief of mine, but I nevertheless like to imagine, and pretend, and fantasize, and romanticize that what that progress bar was in the dream was my newfound love and admiration for the Cosmic Carnage soundtrack "installing itself" in my mind. And when the process was done, the installer program (that is, my dream) closed (and I woke up). And 14 years, give or take a few months later, via a medium I'm not sure I had even envisioned at the time, I got to share the love from that installer program with all of you in the form of episode 13.

Episode 14 was also another first. It was the first episode to feature a guest host. Now, in the way that my show is set up, that's not as robust or as impressive as a guest host on a normal show would be, as it's not a guest panelist sharing ideas and perspectives, and conversation, but rather, just a different voice reading essentially the same script. So not as significant of a thing....but still significant, and especially so to me, given that it was a) a first, b) a shooting star in the chiptune scene, and c) a friend who I've met in person – Aaron Hickman of DYA – also known as diagamblic, who actually spent a week up here in Des Moines a few years ago with Erik Purscell and family, and who I got to spend a decent amount of time with during the period. The occasion was the feature of DYA's first full-length album, "Neon Dreams". It was an album which was primarily chip, but featured real instruments as well, such as Rudy Escobar's electric guitar, as well as collaborations with other chipists, such as Jredd, made sure to cover a hallmark piece of VGM or two, and just covered an incredible amount of sonic range, and a wide selection of chips. It was truly a very special, remarkable album, and a very serious and subtantial piece of art. And we featured it cover to cover on Episode 14.

There were actually two firsts in episode 15. It was our first "Super-Sized" episode. It was also our first "Nerd Noise Radio Crossovers". In short, this episode was an extended play focus on music from the Sega CD with the twist that we heard two pieces per game, rather than one. To riff on that, the episode was called "Welcome to the Disc Level Disc Level"… clever, eh? One other thing about this episode: I cheated. Sonic CD actually saw six tracks featured, rather than two. I put them all back to back …. to back to back to back to back at the end of the episode, so we got to ride out a blue wave to take us home. So, how did I game the system to get away with this? I made a distinction between music that ONLY appeared in the JP / EU “Mega CD” version of the soundtrack, music from the alternate soundtrack that appeared in ONLY the US “Sega CD” and Windows 95 versions, and music that appeared in both versions (the “Past Themes”), and treated them all as different things. I did two of each kind. First the universal Past themes, then the US version themes, and then finally, to round it all out, the JP / EU version. I even did a fun thing where the last of the two tracks from the US version and the first of the two tracks from the JP version were each their respective renditions of Collision Chaos Zone: Present. So, we had a direct comparison there. CD-Rom music from that generation in general, and Sega CD music in particular is among my absolute favorite music in all of VGM history. So it was a tremendous joy to get to make this episode, and finally get some of these gems out.

Anyway, now for the tracks!

You will hear

From C1E11: Hisou Kihei X-Serd [PC Engine]Soundtrack (originally released Sat, 07/01/17) – Enemy Turn (Stages 6-10) – Koji Hayama
From C1E12: The Fiery Furniss (originally released Thur, 07/20/17) – Stage 1 – Alien 3 – Genesis – Matt Furniss
From C1E13: Cosmic Carnage [32X] Soundtrack (originally released Sat, 08/05/17) – Zena Lan (Light Armor) – Hikoshi Hashimoto
From C1E14: Neon Dreams (originally released Sun, 08/20/17) – Lazarus (feat. Rudy Escobar) – N/A (Neon Dreams) – N/A - DYA

And

From C1E15: Welcome to the Disc Level Disc Level (originally released Thurs, 09/14/17) – West Side Andore Cage Match – Final Fight CD – Sega CD - c: Harumi Fujita, Hiromitsu Takaoka, Junko Tamiya, Manami Matsumae, Yasuaki Fujita, Yoko Shimomura and/or Yoshihiro Sakaguchi / a: T's Music


Our background music was Tyr (Heavy Armor) – Cosmic Carnage – 32X – Hikoshi Hashimoto (Episode 13)

Enjoy!

*********************************************



That was music mini-block 3 of 10 for episodes 11-15 (or "Season 1, part 3 of 4, if you prefer). To recap, you heard...

- Enemy Turn (Stages 6-10) – Hisou Kihei X-Serd – PC Engine
- Stage 1 – Alien 3 - Genesis
- Zena Lan (Light Armor) – Cosmic Carnage – 32X
- Lazarus  from the Neon Dreams album

And

- West Side Andore Cage Match – Final Fight CD – Sega CD

For Season 1, part 4, we'll explore episodes 16-20.


Episode 16 was our second Mishmash Monday episode, and the first "REAL" one. As I alluded to in part 1, and detailed in depth in the Chandlerfest tribute, Mishmash Monday – vol. 1 should've been a Theme Thursday instead. While episode 16 remains to this day one of my favorite episodes of all, has already been featured on the reruns channel, and will probably be a relatively frequent flier there, from the perspective of noteworthiness, the only other really special thing about this episode is that it is the first of two times that I got the opportunity to feature works of my own. I don't really consider myself a "VGM composer” and am even less likely to bill myself as one, because of how many layers exist between myself and the final product, as well as the fact that the two products I was involved with never saw independent commercial release. Here are the details:

My friend Jay Cook is a hobbyist programmer, and he was one of several such commissioned to create demo software to ship with this development kit called Hydra. The way I understand Hydra is that it was a tool to help homebrew game developers get started. I did look, and it does have a wikipedia page if you'd like to read more. Both of the games I was involved with are games that were part of the demo software of two such kits, the specifics of which you'd have to ask Jay about. The two projects were separated by five years – the first of which was a racing game named X-Racer from 2006, which can best be described as "imagine roughly Outrun quality car sprites on a roughly Pole Position quality racetrack. The lady in the passenger seat was a redhead to match the hair of Jay's then girlfriend, now wife, Lacey. The second game was a vaguely Zelda-like game named Ranquest, which we did in 2011. I'll talk more about Ranquest and the Ranquest track when we get to that episode. But the X-Racer track was the one featured in this episode. Called "Floor it!", it was originally two piano parts, or much more than that when you factor in each key press, a bass guitar, and a simply atrocious drum kit performance that I had to loop to even sorta get to work.

The reason I said that I was a few layers removed from this was that all I did was compose a simple melody and perform it on those [quote unquote] "real instruments". After that, I had to call my mom over to the house, who is a serious musician, and who transcribed it to sheet music for me, and then, mom's sheet music, and my MP3 went to Jay who coded it note by note into the sound hardware of the Hydra. By necessity, the "chip version" had more of a "snapped to the grid" feel to it rather than the sloppier, but more free flowing original I had put together. Also, due to hardware constraints, Jay had to drop the percussion and the second piano part and convert the primary piano part to just its root notes, leaving just a melody piano track and a bass track. So, the final work bore striking differences to the original. But if you knew the one version, you'd certainly recognize the other.

As such, the track was billed on Nerd Noise Radio as "composed by John Wedgeworth and arranged by Jay Cook", of course, because what you're hearing is Jay's line-by-line code chip arrangement of my guitar and bass and drum composition. It was the exact same arrangement for the Ranquest track, but more on that later. So, yeah, technically speaking, I am a VGM composer. I am. However, until I can see the process from start to finish all on my own, and/or until my works appear on a game that is not just part of a demo package for a coding device, but a “general release”, I am a bit reluctant to call myself one. Anyway, "Floor it! appeared in this episode, and that is special, at least to me. :-)

Episode 17 was a Halloween-focused episode. But I just decided to feature an apropos VGM soundtrack. In this case, Bram Stoker's Dracula – the Sega Genesis, Matt Furniss version, which, agree with me or not, I esteem to be the best version, not just in terms of music, which is the only important consideration for the purpose of the show, but also graphically, and gameplay-wise, with the higher-resolution, denser DPI on a tube, larger playfield, generally larger, more detailed sprites, and faster, more fluid gameplay decisively outweighing the SNES version's somewhat more colorful graphics and cleaner output which it offers instead. The only thing that is noteworthy about this episode is that I sorta hesitantly dipped my toes for a second during the intro into invoking a sort of halloweeny, spooky character role. But this was before I had returned to acting, which at this point was almost 20 years in the rearview, and I lacked the confidence to really put myself properly into the character, making it embarrassing for me to listen to now. Also strange to me to think about is that in the course of less than two years I would go from being so self-conscious that I couldn't really do a simple one liner role justice on my own show to being cast for one of the largest speaking roles in a movie. How quickly life can change, sometimes.

We talked more about episodes 18-20 in part 1. So, let’s just get straight to the music, then.


You will hear

From C1E16: Mishmash Monday – vol 2 (originally released Mon, 10/09/17) – A Cool Reception – Shovel Knight – Multi – Jake Kaufman
From C1E17: Bram Stoker’s Dracula [Genesis] Soundtrack (originally released Sat, 10/28/17) – Vampyre Book – Matt Furniss
From C1E18: FaceOff Friday – vol 1 (originally released Fri, 11/17/17) – Stage 3 – Jackie Chan’s Action Kung Fu – TG16 – Masakatsu Maekawa
From C1E19: Keeping Up with The OneUps – vol 1 (originally released Sun, 12/03/17) – Rainbow Road – N/A (Super Mario Kart Album) – N/A – c: Soya Oka a: The OneUps

And

From C1E20: TwoFer Tuesday – vol 2 (originally released Tues, 12/19/17) – Fly Like a Butterfly – Jet Set Radio Future – Xbox – Hideki Naganuma

Our background music was Kage Theme – Virtua Fighter 2 – Genesis – Takayuki Nakamura - episode 18

Enjoy!

*********************************************



That was music mini-block 4 of 10 for episodes 16-20 (or "Season 1, part 4 of 4, if you prefer). To recap, you heard...

- A Cool Reception – Shovel Knight - Multi
- Vampyre Book – Bram Stoker’s Dracula - Genesis
- Stage 3 – Jackie Chan’s Action Kung Fu – TG16
- Rainbow Road from The OneUps’ Super Mario Kart Album

And

- Fly Like a Butterfly – Jet Set Radio Future - XBox


For Season 2, part 1, we'll consider episodes 21-26a.


We talked about what was new in 2018 in part 1. Now let's talk about the episodes.

Episode 21 is a soundtrack episode – The Secret of Mana on the Super NES. I tend to be a bigger fan personally of the Sega Genesis and TG16 / PC Engine sound systems (and their fellow FM and Wavetable cousins) than I am of the low-grade ADPCM of the Super NES, and as such, historically, I've tended to feature more Genesis etc than SNES. Nevertheless, I know full well that the SNES music library is veritably bursting at the seams with excellent music, and has many truly epic soundtracks, soundtracks that given the nature of the competing plusses and minuses, strengths and weaknesses of the comparative sound hardware would really not plausibly work as well or sound as good on those other systems as they would on the SNES, and so one of the ways that I've partially made up for that SNES wild track deficit in my repertoire is to lean a little more heavily into SNES when it comes time to do soundtrack episodes, showcasing some of those simply wonderful, exquisite , rich and lush SNES soundtracks. Among the ones I've featured, it's not at all impossible that the Secret of Mana may be the chief among them. Your mileage may vary, of course.

Episodes 22-24 are all ones that are among my personal favorites, and at least one of them, maybe even two of them have already been featured on the reruns channel. But from a storytelling standpoint, they are not extraordinary. Episode 22 is another Mishmash Monday episode, Episode 23 is a focus on the menu music suite from Forza 3 (what I titled "Pedal to the Menu" in another one of those great punny titles), and another TwoFer Tuesday episode. The only really noteworthy stories from these are threefold:

1 and 2, we talked about in part 1 – the Eric Barks DOOM tracks, and the great So Many Me soundtrack smuggle. Episode 22 was one of the DOOM track episodes, and both 22 and 24 featured music from So Many Me.

That leaves interesting tidbit number 3) and that’s that the track list I had put together for what would eventually become episode 20 had been way too long, by almost double. Too long even for what a "Super-Sized" episode would’ve accommodated, so I split it more or less in half, one half becoming episode 20, and the other half, with perhaps a light tweaking or two, episode 24. The two were originally one great big whole, and the original version began, like episode 24 would go on to do, with Sega Rally Championship. Reckless Running, in my opinion, is on the very, very, VERY short list for strongest show-openeing tracks I've ever featured. Blazing Jazz Fusion at its finest! I was rather fond of the opener on episode 22 a well – Yudai Saitoh's "Current of the Times" from Gran Turismo 5. Given that episode 23 was entirely focused on music from a racing game, that means that for three episodes in a row, we began them all with racing game music (and even better yet, two of the three also end with music from racing games as well. 22 was the outlier there).



Episode 25 is the first NNR episode (besides 2017's April Fool's episode) that we will NOT be hearing from in this retrospective. Why? Because it itself is a retrospective. It is the Best of 2017 – listener picks episode. There would be a channel F F-isode with my picks shortly thereafter. But this one was picked by five listeners, including two fellow podcasters – Trey Johnson of W.A.R.T. Radio, and The Diad from The Diad Presents. The contributors also ranged from as near to me as Chicago, just 5hrs to the East, to all the way from Sophia, Bulgaria. It is a fantastic episode and was a joy to make. But since it's just a cumulative review of episodes 1-20, I didn't feel like it belonged in a cumulative review of episodes 1-49.

2018's April Fool's episode, however, DOES make it into our retrospective. "C1E26a: The Secret [Extra] Lives of Lounge Singers". I went and found a bunch of chip covers of old songs by the likes of Frank Sinatra, and Barry Manilow, and Andy Williams, and so on, with the gag being "but did you know that these guys actually got their starts in chip music?" / " well, here are the long-lost original chip versions of a number of very famous old-time songs. The really funny part is that I actually did get a few people respond to the effect of "wait, really?" For the most part, these tracks didn't do a whole lot for me, making this, from that perspective, one of my least favorite episodes, or maybe even my very least. But I thought the gag itself was so fun that it still is a beloved episode for that reason.

So, what are we listening to next?

You will hear

From C1E21: Secret of Mana [SNES] Soundtrack (originally released Sat, 01/06/18) – Whisper and a Mantra – Hiroki Kikuta
From C1E22: Mishmash Monday – vol 3 (originally released Mon, 01/22/18) – Aqua and Trees – Tobal No. 1 – PS1 – Yoko Shimomura
From C1E23: Pedal to the Menu (originally released Thurs, 02/08/18) – Superleggera – Forza Motorsport 3 – XB360 – Lance Hayes
From C1E24: TwoFer Tuesday – vol. 3 (originally released Tues, 02/27/18) – Inside Vah Naboris (1 terminal) – LoZ: Breath of the Wild – WiiU / SWITCH – Manaka Kataoka, Yasuaki Iwata, and/or Hajime Wakai

And

From C1E26a: The Secret [Extra] Lives of Lounge Singers (aka “April Fool’s – vol 2”: originally released Sun, 04/01/18) – Music to Watch Girls By – N/A – N/A – c: Andy Williams a: Rushjet1

Our background music was Take Back – Fighting Run – PC Engine- Unknown - Ep 22

Enjoy!

*********************************************



That was music mini-block 5 of 10 for episodes 21-26a (or "Season 2, part 1 of 4, if you prefer). To recap, you heard...

- Whisper and a Mantra – Secret of Mana – SNES
- Aqua and Trees – Tobal No. 1 – PS1
- Superleggera – Forza 3 – XB360
- Inside Vah Naboris (1 Terminal) – LoZ: BotW – WiiU / SWITCH

And

- Music to Watch Girls By – Rushjet1’s chip cover of the Andy Williams original


For Season 2, part 2, let’s turn our attention to episodes 26-30.


We spoke about episodes 26-28 in part 1.

Episode 29 is special too. I discovered Luminist through Mike Levy of XVGM Radio, formerly of PixelTunes Radio. James (aka Luminist) is a British cover artist who’s calling card is that he likes to cover VGM using a selection of 70’s and 80’s era analog synthesizers, creating rich, lush, Vangelis-like layers of sound to the tune of hallmark VGM. James and his work are really something very special. After hearing and falling in love with his treatment of the original NES Metroid soundtrack, I knew I had to feature it. And thus was born NNR’s shortest episode to date. With a music block of only 16 minutes, it earned the distinction of being our only “Bite-Sized Episode”. It was also the second episode to feature a guest-host. It was done just like I did episode 14 with Aaron Hickman, with James reading my intro and outro script, and adding in my own voice at one or two key points. If you have not checked out Luminist Music yet, please do James, and I….and yourself the favor of doing so.

Episode 30 is on the very short list of “Best Nerd Noise Radio episodes EVER”. It was a theme episode focusing on the music of indie games, which of course, is one of the broadest, richest, most diverse, and greatest of scenes in modern video gaming today. I tried to capture as broad a swath of it as possible, ranging from big names in the indie PC and console scene like Shovel Knight and Binding of Isaac, all the way to simple iOS and Android mobile games. And I feel that this episode was uniquely successful at that, and at creating a great big sound space in the process. In fact, while featuring chill, ambient, ethereal tracks, by which I attempted to channel my inner Hearts of Space was nothing new, this episode was sort of the unofficial birth of what has since come to be known of as “the chill zone” in music blocks - something which has since gone on to become a more mainstay feature in future episodes of the show, and will likely be something that I endeavor to work into every episode as far as I can help it going forward. In fact, this episode has a mini-chill zone around the ¼ or ⅓ mark, and then a deeper, more extended chill zone at around the ¾ mark. At the time, I didn’t necessarily intend it to become the new normal, but that dip into deep space amid a sea of all sorts of rich diversity of emotion and energy made this episode resonate with me in a way that no prior episode up to that point had done. Aside from it being just a stellar collection of music, again, it gave birth to what has gone on to become one of the most important aspects of NNR, and the chance to really exercise my “inner Stephen Hill”, my inner “HoS” .... the chill zone.

Also, as I had alluded to in my notes to episode 16, this episode is the second of two episodes to feature my own music. The in-game theme to Ranquest on the Hydra Development System not only appears in this episode, but it is the very track which kicks off this singularly special and meaningful excursion into space. As I detailed in the episode 16 notes, I am reluctant to bill myself as a VGM composer because I composed pieces on [quote unquote] “real instruments”, but it is the work of others that saw it converted to chip, and actually featured in the game - also, the very narrow, limited release of the game plays into that reluctance. When I can see music start to finish in a game that then goes on to see a general commercial release, THEN I will more readily wear that VGM composer hat, and brandish that badge. Til then, I remain a VGM composer only in the very strictest of technicalities, though I suppose that even that is more than the average bear can say.

The thing about the Ranquest track vs the X-Racer track featured in episode 16 is that “Floor It!” (the X-Racer track), was me “being me” as a composer. It was a simple composition but was a composition that would totally be at home in my limited body of non-VGM works. The Ranquest Track (which I suppose doesn’t have a proper name), by contrast, was me trying to deliberately invoke and echo other’s existing compositions. There was a melody, and a bass. Between them, I was trying to marry a more atmospheric, ambient version of the NES Brinstar theme in the melody into the marching, pomp of the bass from NES Zelda 1 overworld into one piece without straight-up ripping off either one. It was one of the very, VERY few instances of my actually deliberately attempting to “copycat” other music. You’ll have to be the judge in terms of how well I did.

Let's hear those tracks!


You will hear

From C1E26: Mega Man X Soundtrack (originally released Sat, 04/07/18) – Boomer Kuwanger – Mega Man X – SNES - Setsuo Yamamoto, Makoto Tomozawa, Yuki Iwai, Yuko Takehara, and Toshihiko Horiyama
From C1E27: Mishmash Monday – vol 4. (originally released Mon, 04/23/18) – Challenge – Chu Chu Rocket – Dreamcast – Tomoya Ohtani
From C1E28: Sense of the Scene – vol 1 (originally released Sun, 05/06/18) – as promised in part one: “Coldman (Rockman and Fortissimo)” – originally “Coldman” from Mega Man and Bass (GBA) – Toshihiko Horiyama, Naoshi Mizuta and/or Akari Kaida. Karaoke written and performed by “Pieness 64”
From C1E29: VCO Metroid (originally released Sun, 05/27/18) – Brinstar – N/A (Metroid) – N/A – c: Hirokazu (Hip) Tanaka a: Luminist

And

From C1E30: The Big Sound of The Little Guy (originally released Thurs, 06/14/18) – Sodden Hollow – Binding of Isaac – Multi – Matthias Bossi and/or Jon Evans

Our background music was In-Game Theme – Ranquest – Hydra Development Kit – c: John Wedgeworth a: Jay Cook

Enjoy!

*********************************************



That was music mini-block 6 of 10 for episodes 26-30 (or "Season 2, part 2 of 4, if you prefer). To recap, you heard...

- Boomer Kuwanger – Mega Man X - SNES
- Challenge – Chu Chu Rocket - Dreamcast
- “Coldman” – Pieness 64’s VGM Karaoke over the piece of the same name
- Luminist’s 70’s Analog Synth cover of Norfair from Metroid

And

- Sodden Hollow – Binding of Isaac – Multi

Before we get to our next segment, one quick note about Sodden Hollow: When I put to gether my Best of 20XX John’s picks episodes, I make a list of candidate tracks which is about double the length of the final episode. I sort them into three categories: top picks, backups, and backup to backups – the latter two being something akin to the sideboard in a Magic the Gathering card deck, and then as listeners begin submitting tracks, if they inadvertently pick one that I picked for myself, then I scratch it off my list, and as necessary, I dip into my sideboard lists to fill in the blanks and bring me back to 75. However, there was one instance where I deliberately sidelined a “top picks” / “main list” track for one of my sideboard tracks, and that’s where Sodden Hollow comes in today. Sodden Hollow was one of my “main list tracks”, and “Terminal Technicality” from “Ultratron” was in my sideboard. But as I was arranging my music block into order, I realized that the Ultratron track would go perfectly in one spot of the episode, whereas there wasn’t any remarkable standout locations for the Isaac track. So, I swapped them. The inclusion of Sodden Hollow here was my “moment of redemption” for this most excellent track.


For Season 2, part 3, let’s have everyone turn in the books to episodes 31-35.


Episode 31 was a Soundtrack Saturday episode featuring one of my favorite game soundtracks - Streets of Rage 2. Only noteworthy thing about it was the inclusion of the unused tracks in the game, such as the alternate versions of Go Straight and In the Bar, as well as Little Money Avenue and Walking Bottom.

Episode 32 is very special, though, as it was done in collaboration with my wife, Jodee, on the occasion of our 19yr wedding anniversary. The focus was on music that was special to her. About half of the tracks she picked herself, and the other half I picked based on what I knew or thought she liked. There were a couple I picked that actually weren't standouts to her, but she suggested we leave them in because they worked well with the rest of the episode. The two tracks in question were Results from Everybody Votes Channel, and Dire Dire Docks from Super Mario 64. In the case of the latter, I had simply overestimated Mario 64s impact on her. In the case of the former, she said I was right about Everybody Votes' impact on her as a game, and for the joyous period of lots of social gaming we did amongst ourselves and with our, in those days, much more abundant guests. It was a sweet, magical time in our lives that this game represents. However, the music itself, I guess didn't do that much for her.

Two other things make this episode special: the lesser of which is that it was the only time I ever tried anything like this, where I split the mood of the episode. The first half was supposed to be "sweet" tracks - light and bright, and effervescent, where the second half was supposed to be more "savory" - moodier, darker, more complex. In retrospect, it worked pretty well, although it was more of an S curve than a straight A and B. The final track of the sweet segment, from UN Squadron, was more savory than sweet, and the final track of the savory section from Final Fantasy IX was just as sweet as it was savory. I can defend this by saying the music block flows more naturally this way and was better for it, as it glides between moods, rather than leaps between them. But it does muddle the distinction a little bit. The much greater of the two is that the outro was done collaboratively between Jodee, Chloe, and I. Wyatt hadn't been born yet, and so this was the whole family at the time that was involved in the project. Chloe was 10 at the time, and in addition to having a higher pitched voice, and being several inches shorter, she was a sweeter, more innocent soul back then, who stressed over saying Yoshitomi because of a certain bad word hiding in the middle of the name. Working with Jodee and Chloe on this was very special for me, Jodee's dry wit and demeanor was a wonderful addition, and Chloe was so sweet. As fellow podcaster KeyGlyph said about Chloe at the time: "she is so adorable, I can't even." I know, KeyGlyph, I couldn't either. We recorded three takes of the outro script that I drafted up and spent a grand total of 30 minutes recording it. I had to do some seriously intense splicing to make it work, especially on Chloe's parts, but we ended up with a solid outro. To add to the magic, I replaced our standard Funky Radio outro music with one of the Purchasing tracks from the Sims. I can't recall which one it was off the top of my head; but you know the vibe. That saccharine 1950's nuclear family commercialistic, ostensibly “wholesome” idealism, with shuffly drums and vibrophones, and unbridled optimism. I certainly am not endorsing the worldview and mindset that the music was probably 75% making fun of, 25% warmly recalling, but it was the perfect sound to add to the sweetness and "magic moment-ness" of the occasion. And then, with all the extra material I had from the session, and a whole lot more editing and splicing, I was able to put together a really good blooper reel as well. In fact, I was so moved by the whole thing, that I even made a Channel F "F-isode" about it, which included the entire recording, even an embarrassing moment or two for me.

Final note about episode 32: there were a couple tracks in here that were originally intended for other episodes, but since Jodee wanted them, she got to have them. Actually, they were both from episode 36. In 36, you heard level 3 from Tetris on the CD-i, and the 3DS atmospheric redo of Surface of SR388. Originally, they were gonna be level zero and the GameBoy original versions instead...but.... happy wife, happy life, and they ended up in 32 instead. Eh, it's okay. For what episode 36 was trying to accomplish with the DOOM 2016 track, the substitutions probably ended up working out better anyway. Oh, and SHE's the one who picked the Bram Stoker's Dracula track. It wasn't me using it as an excuse to sneak one of my favorite tracks back into the show....again. She likes the track just as much as I do.

Episode 33 was our second FaceOff episode. It was well loved. I had at least one listener declare that it was my best episode yet. We certainly did have a lot of good tracks in this one, and it was a lot of fun to put it together. But the big stories on this one all have to do with the extracurricular activities it generated. First, it introduced a side thing that has happened at least one time since, and hopefully will become more of a regular. Chloe and I sat in front of two cameras, one for Facebook Live, and another to become a YouTube video, and did what I'm only just now thinking to call "FaceOff Live", where one contest at a time, we worked out way through the entire music block of FaceOffs in the episode, and each picked out winners, while also engaging with feedback from people on Facebook Live, and taking their votes as well. It was GREAT....at first. However, working our way through the whole thing ended up taking us over two hours, and Chloe's enthusiasm for the project was probably more like 30 minutes. So, by the time we were done, she was clawing and scratching practically to get out of it, and told me she was never gonna do that again. Of course, we did do it again, but the second time on a much smaller scale. Just one contest. So, from now on when we do these, they will be one contest, or possibly a second IF she feels up to it. Hopefully we can make them more regular, and maybe next time we can go live not only on Facebook, but also on YouTube.

The other exciting thing that sprung from episode 33 … ended up not happening. I had a groundswell of volunteers for a series of Channel F F-isode listener picks for the episode. I got their lists, and I put together the music blocks, and then.... then.....Wyatt came along, and the amount of time I had to dedicate to the show dropped off a cliff. All extracurricular Channel F activities halted, as I could barely keep up with the regular episodes that weren't done ahead. The only extracurricular activities that have happened since were the second FaceOff Live with Chloe, guest producing the episode of Hearts of Space, and working with Hugues Johnson of Retro Game Club on the "Best of the Decade" episode. Those F-isodes, the Episode 40 listener picks bonus 60, and a special something else with KeyGlyph are not altogether lost, though. Stay tuned for the outro, where I will tell you what my plan is for getting back to them for you.

Two last things about episode 33:

1) my track for today from episode 33 wasn’t my original pick from the episode. I had originally picked Stage Theme 3 from the PC Engine version of Shinobi – the track that’s playing in the background right now. But I did something with my Best of 2018 John’s Picks episode that I have learned not to do again, and that’s to include a list of honorable mentions in the show notes as well, and not just the ones actually featured. Well one of those honorable mentions was Slammin’ Sea from Bomberman 94 on the PC Engine composed by Jun Chikuma. Apparently, Jun has a thing set up to alert her to mentions of her made across the internet and will occasionally return the favor by sharing with her audience the thing that featured her. So, I’m sure you can guess what happened next. The detector picked up on my honorable mention, and she shared my episode... which did not include her work. I felt so bad about this that I immediately headed down to the studio, removed the Shinobi track, and added Slammin’ Sea in instead. Now Jun Chikuma gets the tribute she very much deserves. The Shinobi track appearing here as our background music is my redemption of that track as well. 

2) an interesting phenomenon: between the seven people participating in the episode 33 FaceOff F-isodes, we had three Des Moinesers, and four non-Des Moinesers. Add to that the audience members on the Facebook Live who weighed in on this (both Des Moinesers and non, though more of the former), and something really fascinating happened with the contest between the Super NES and Genesis versions of Arkham Asylum from Batman Forever: 100% of the non-Des Moinesers,....favored the SNES version, while 100% of the Des Moinesers, including myself - favored the Genesis version. That is so strange that it would be that consistent within that specific variable. But anyway, Des Moines loves Sega Genesis, I guess! Oh, also: between the seven people picking tracks for the F-isodes, every single version of every single piece from the original episode gets picked at least once.... EXCEPT ONE! The only track that absolutely nobody picked was the PC Engine version of the Title theme from Street Fighter II. And that makes me really sad. I really like that version and came sooooo close to picking it myself. I ended up going with the Genesis version, though. Now I have to decide if I can justify changing my answer, or if I am honor bound to stick with it. But as I said, the intent is still to someday release these, so if you're thinking "will he do it?".... stay tuned, as even I don't know the answer to that yet.

We talked about episodes 34 and 35 in part 1. So, tunes…..


You will hear

From C1E31: Streets of Rage 2 [Genesis] Soundtrack (originally released Sat, 07/07/18) – Jungle Base – Yuzo Koshiro and/or Motohiro Kawashima
From C1E32: Mishmash Monday – vol 5 (originally released Mon, 07/23/18) – Meteor – StarFox – SNES – Hajime Hirasawa
From C1E33: FaceOff Friday – vol. 2 (originally released Fri, 08/10/18) – Slammin’ Sea – Bomberman ’94 – PC Engine – Jun Chikuma
From C1E34: Contra [NES] and Super C [NES] Soundtracks (originally released Sat, 08/25/18) -  Under the Feet – Super C – c: Kazuki Muaoka and/or Muoaki Furukawa a: Hidenori Maezawa

And

From C1E35: The Floppy Show (originally released Thurs, 09/20/18) – Lagoon – Fury of the Furries – PC (Ad-Lib) – Frederic Motte

Our background music was Level Theme 3 – Shinobi – PC Engine c: Yasuhiro Kawakami a: Unknown – Ep 33

Enjoy!

*********************************************



That was music mini-block 7 of 10 for episodes 31-35 (or "Season 2, part 3 of 4, if you prefer). To recap, you heard...

- Jungle Base – Streets of Rage 2 - Genesis
- Meteor – StarFox - SNES
- Slammin’ Sea – Bomberman ’94 – PC Engine
- Under the Feet – Super C - NES

And

- Lagoon – Fury of the Furries - PC

For Season 2, part 4, we shall examine episodes 36-40.


Most of what I wanted to say about episode 36, I've already said in either my notes to episode 22, 27, or 32. But I’ll revisit a little bit of it. This was not originally going to be episode 36. Actually, episode 22 was the original 36. This one was originally going to be 24. This episode was also originally going to feature level 0 from CD-i Tetris instead of level 3, and originally going to feature the GameBoy original version of surface of SR3888 instead of the more atmospheric 3DS reimagining. But as I had said, those went to Jodee in her episode 32. This means that the transition away from the DOOM track over to the Metroid track was originally going to be another case of jarring musical irony like it was in episode 22, rather than the graceful, nearly seamless glide that it turned out to be, and ended up more like the serene slide that was the episode 38 post-DOOM transition. Level 3 from Tetris also worked better than level 0 would've in the gradual transition from Pitfall 2 to DOOM. So, in both cases, the episode was only bettered by the unplanned substitutions. Oh, that's another thing: I believe this was the first episode to feature music from the Atari 2600. Now, granted, Pitfall 2 brought additional sound hardware in-cartridge, so it wasn't barebones TIA. You'll have to wait for episode 51 for that kind of action, but it was still an Atari 2600 track. So this episode takes us on a gradual slide from Pitfall 2 to DOOM, and then from DOOM to New Donk City, and as I said, while 22 is my personal favorite of the 2018 DOOM trio, I really think that from a mechanical, nuts and bolts perspective, episode 36 does the whole gradually working towards and away from DOOM thing the best.

Episode 37 was our second annual Halloween episode - something I had originally intended to make into an annual thing. With a music block made in June 2018 intended for the 2019 Halloween episode that never happened. More on that when we reach episode 43. I'm hanging onto it, though as from a design philosophy perspective, it is probably the most cerebral thing I've ever done. I'll plan to use it in the next Halloween episode, which for reasons I'll explain in the outro is not yet determined whether it'll be 2020 or 2021. So, stay tuned.

This one was also a soundtrack from a halloween-y themed game, and also another one of those examples of the singularly spectacular SNES soundtracks! Specifically, I'm talking about Super Castlevania IV. The only other special thing to note about it is that the Halloween-y intro had been significantly expanded and improved upon over the Halloween 2017 episode. In the time since, the whole acting thing had started to come to life. Chloe had really started to bloom as an actress and developing that in her had begun to reawaken long dormant things in me. Next thing you know to get her comfortable with improv, we're doing stupid stuff like walking around Walmart and conversing with strangers in our best fake British accents, and watching them wrestle with whether or not they should ask where in England we're from, etc. We auditioned together for a radio drama via the podosphere (if I said radio drama podcast, that'd paint a different picture) - and we got the parts, but the project fizzled out after just one recording session and came to naught. And as I said earlier, we've been cast to appear in a film that will shoot in 2020, with national distribution, and IMDb pages, and paychecks and all the rest. Maybe I'll bring Chloe on to talk more about that in the outro. But the point is that by the time this Halloween episode was coming together, that sleeping actor had been awoken, and while he was still coming out of hybernation stupor, he really wanted to put his stiff-jointed, still somewhat self-conscious self to work on this. And so that inner actor and I dove in.

It's still not perfect. I should've memorized the lines rather than just tried to improv them, because that resulted in some haltingness that sticks out to me like a sore thumb. Still, much better than the first one. And it was better written too, well, “written”. Maybe “planned” is the better word than “written”. The gag was that I'd come on in a thin, spooky voice, not the stereotypical "spooOOOOoooky" voice, but something almost more like a reedier, more sickly Vincent Price, and I would relish in the devilish and the macabre, and things would take a darker turn, which would result in a big villain laugh accompanied by a loud thunder clap, while the laughter turned to a hacking cough which in turn led to me being my normal self again, apologizing for the bad cold I was getting. Then things would be okay for a little while before the sinister guy eventually crept back in and then it was lather, rinse, repeat. By the end of the intro, I was pledging to the listener that I would go see the doctor and get checked out, but I had one final trick up my sleeve. I let the music fade out extra slowly, allowing the additional howling wind track I had had faintly running in the background the entire time to gradually grow more prominent. But at low volume itself, it lulls the listener, before BAM! Another big thunder crash, louder than any of the others. It was beneficent prank to the listeners, and I must admit, I was pretty tickled over my own deviousness.

The last things to note about the intro was that Funky Radio was replaced with this weird, dark, unsettling piece, which was actually one of the brightest, lightest, and catchiest pieces in VGM history just slowed way down....and I mean WAAAAAAY down. While out derping the internet and falling down the YouTube rabbit hole, I dumb lucked upon a video of it, and thought it'd be perfect. The piece of music is actually none other than the Malo Mart track from Twilight Princess, which incidentally, but unrelatedly, is the music I use for the outros in April Fool's episodes, albeit at regular tempo. I do think the slowed down Malo Mart will probably become a standard for Halloween episodes.... whenever we have our next one. Also, for the YouTube version of this episode, I replaced the NNR backdrop in the intro for a stock image I found online of a spooky haunted house. But when the thunder would hit, I would swap it with a negative image of the same to imply the lightning flash. Nothing remarkable, and certainly technically poor, but it was fun, and still more technical than just having a static backdrop the whole time. In the outro, I read the first half of the first line in the spooky voice, but it was just a fake out. The rest of the outro was standard fare.

We talked about episodes 38-40 in part 1. So, let’s all enjoy this musical interlude.


You will hear

From C1E36: Mishmash Monday – vol 6 (originally released Mon, 10/08/18) – New Donk City (Day) – Super Mario Odyssey – SWITCH – Naoto Kubo, Shiho Fujii, and/or Koji Kondo
From C1E37: Super Castlevania IV [SNES] Soundtrack (originally released Sat, 10/27/18) – The Torture Chamber – Masanori Adachi and/or Taro Kudo
From C1E38: TwoFer Tuesday – vol. 4 (originally released Tues, 11/13/18) – Chapter 5 – Cross Wiber: Cyber Combat Police – PC Engine – Hiroto Saito
From C1E39: Cyber Knight Soundtrack [SFC vs PCE] FaceOff (originally released Fri, 11/23/18) – Planet 3 – PC Engine – Michiharu Hasuya, Osamu Kasai, and/or Junko Yokiyama

And

From C1E40: Listener Picks – vol. 1 (originally released Thurs, 12/20/18) – Seven O’Clock – Crackin DJ Pt. 2 – Arcade – c: Hiroshi Kawaguchi a: Misuharu Fukuyama – originally selected for episode 40 by listener Electric Boogaloo

Our background music was Chapter 12 – Cross Wiber: Cyber Combat Police – PC Engine – Hiroto Saito

Enjoy!

*********************************************



That was music mini-block 8 of 10 for episodes 36-40 (or "Season 2, part 4 of 4, if you prefer). To recap, you heard...

- New Donk City – Super Mario Odyssey - SWITCH
- The Torture Chamber – Super Castlevania IV - SNES
- Chapter 5 – Cross Wiber – PC Engine
- Planet 3 – Cyber Knight – PC Engine

And

- Seven O’Clock – Crackin’ DJ Pt. 2 – Arcade


For Season 3, part 1, we'll look at episodes 41-46.



We talked about what was new in 2019 in part 1. Let's talk about episodes 41-46.

While Episode 41, another Mishmash Monday is one of my all-time favorites of the show, the only real noteworthy things besides my hamming up the intro and outro for the occasion of the launch of Season 3 are:

a) it features my favorite NNR track of 2019, Process Control by Yasuhisa Inoue from Gran Turismo Sport, and that this track has turned up everywhere. It was the opening track to my episode with Hearts of Space, it appears here in The Golden Episode as my personal pick from the episode, has been all over my Facebook wall, appeared in “Nerd Noise Game Club” my one-off collaboration with Hugues Johnson of Retro Game Club, and the ONLY way that it will not be in my “Best of 2019” outing next year……is if it’s in yours.

b) It was not the original Episode 41. I produced three Mishmash Monday music blocks all at once in September or October of 2018 because my "candidate track list" for Mishmash episodes had grown so long that it made up three episodes' worth, even with our longer "always Super-Sized" new format. So, just as I had done with the Battle of the Bits track list that I had amassed, I first arbitrarily split them up by just assigning them all A, B, or C designations, creating the original draft of the three. Then I decided to optimize a little bit by substituting and trading a little bit between them, a little here, a little there, til they made just a little more sense. Then it was time to decide track order on each and produce, produce, produce. The original intent was to make them episodes 41, and 49 of 2019 and episode 52 of 2020. This was before Mario's guest episode came along. So, I had to work that in somewhere. I decided to make it episode 49 (late 2019) rather than punt him all the way back to 2020 from late 2018. Then I had to decide whether to keep or swap episode 41, leave or swap another for episode 52, and then let the remaining one be late 2020. And while it was a very tough choice between the original 41 music block and the music block that you know as 41, obviously, I was eventually able to make a decision. As for the fate of that other music block, beyond an assurance that no, it has not landed in the abyss or atop the scrap heap, I’ll refer you to the outro.

Episode 42 was the Shinobi III soundtrack - another favorite of mine. Not much to say here except that it is quite possibly the last official Channel 1 Soundtrack Saturday episodes we'll have. Not that I don't still plan to do Soundtracks, but with the reduced number of Channel 1 episodes we'll be able to do, I would like to save that bandwidth for something else, maybe. If so, I'll just move Soundtrack episodes over to Channel F and then I'll be able to do them as often or as seldomly as I want, probably resulting in a final balance of MORE soundtracks on NNR, not less. In fact, I have a certain LaserActive soundtrack that I’ve been eyeballing for the first such “F-isode”, and while it's hard to believe that NNR would be the first VGM podcast to feature LaserActive music, I at least have not heard of it happening anywhere else before. And there is at least one other soundtrack that I would already have in the hopper for a quick follow-up. I won’t say what it is, but maybe one or two of you will be able to figure it out when I say that it was my favorite soundtrack discovery of 2018, and that one track from it did make it into “Nerd Noise Game Club”. So definitely be on the lookout for that, and if Episode 42 really is to be our last official soundtrack of Channel 1, then at least we went out on a very high note.

Episode 43 is a very special episode, because it features a very special guest, on a subject that was not only very special to me, but even more special to him. It also was an "across the globe" project, as my collaborator was a fellow VGM podcaster from Örebro, Sweden. For many of you, the individual of whom I speak needs no introduction. For the rest of you, I am talking about Henrik Andersson, from the Commoflage podcast, which focused on C64 music as well as covers and remixes of the same. He had two versions of the show, the original version in his native Swedish, which I wanna say ran for something like a decade, and a more recent alternate version in English. Though the subject was the same in both versions, and the basic formatting was also the same – other than the obvious language difference, of course, the content itself was different. The Swedish version assumes a Swedish audience that would by and large be as familiar with C64 as an American audience would be with NES, so he focused a lot more on covers and remixes, and when he did feature actual C64 music, it tended to be the very obscure, very deep, very off the beaten path cuts, whereas with the English language version, he assumed an international, and particularly American and Canadian audience who would be a lot less well versed in the system - about as poorly versed as a European kid would likely be about the NES....a contrasting parallel that always struck me as so interesting and strange. So, he featured a lot more actual C64 music and less covers in his English Language version, and a lot more mainstream “big hits” for the less well-versed audience. So, Swedish version was basically “C64 for experts”, where the English version was “C64 for beginners”. Now, this could’ve possibly backfired with, say, a British listener who speaks English, but knows C64 as well as he did. But his audience was much bigger than English-speaking Europe, and besides, what I observed among that crowd was that they were more excited to share the nearly endless wonders of the system to those of us in relative darkness than they were concerned with having their own itches scratched, so it worked out. And another draw for the international audience was that Henrik, like most Swedes, as I understand it, speaks perfect or nearly perfect English, only with this fabulous accent, which is very mild by the standards of non-native speaking accents at large, but still profound enough to be signature.


As an aside, if my understanding of the Swedish cultural approach to language is accurate and ubiquitous, then it may be the very best thing I've ever heard. If I understand it right, then the idea is to transcend their own culture while making sure it's not abandoned in the process. So if a Swedish person is in mixed company, they will speak their essentially perfect English (or whatever the language of the group is if they know it), setting aside their particularities in that moment for the betterment of the whole. And yet, when Swedish people are only around other Swedes, then there is an understanding, and a nearly absolute insistence on only speaking Swedish, so as to preserve and celebrate their own culture in the process. That's wonderful all around! Looking at Henrik's Facebook profile, when he is speaking to, or with fellow Swedes, his posts and comments are always in Swedish, but when he's speaking to a general audience, it's always in English. When he's engaging with the VGM Podcast Fans group, it's always in English. Even when Henrik and the other Swedes that I know in the group, Ramtin Gomer Deyhim (of the VGM Tracker podcast), and Rebecca Gruber, also known as Zinn of the English-language blog "Jinxed Thoughts", are talking amongst themselves in the group, they're still speaking English because they know it's a general audience of predominantly English speakers. Again, I think it's just a wonderful philosophy, and practice that perfectly respects and captures both sides of the local / international without sacrificing either one. I absolutely love it.

Anyway, predictably, when Henrik did the intros and outros for the show, he did them in English - with just two exceptions: we had agreed, as a gag, to have him to come on as an ear catcher, before the episode proper even began, speaking in Swedish, only to then be interrupted by my yelling at him – in Swedish - about how this is an English language program, and then admonishing him with mock exasperation to speak English. Now, my Swedish is so very limited and so very poor that after submitting my intended Swedish script for the bit to him, he said it was unintelligible, and asked for it in English, at which point he furnished me with the proper Swedish for what I was intending to say. So, don't think me too much of a badass for coming on the mic and yelling in a foreign language. I had help. The other instance of him speaking Swedish was when he got to the list of chip names towards the end of the outro, as he reasoned that most English-speakers were not gonna understand that part anyway, and that it's like a foreign language to them already. Hey, I couldn't argue! He also worked into the intro his signature move of cracking open and drinking a can of "ice cold Pepsi", and it worked to great effect! Lastly, as it concerns the intro and outro of this episode, the way we did it was that I gave him a script and told him to stick fairly close to it, but that he could embellish a little bit as he saw fit. He then sends me an audio file where he had added his side of a tongue in cheek mock argument about "Fly the N", and about doing drugs and all the rest, before he concedes and gives a sort of withered sounding "Fly the N!" sign-off followed by his typical Swedish farewell of "Ajö!" (which he used in both the Swedish and English versions of his show). I gladly obliged the fake argument by completely improvising my responses. There was no script writing there at all to my lines, and only the very most rudimentary level of mental preparedness and forethought. He was actually quite pleased with how that argument turned out, which in turn made me very pleased. A good time was had by all!

So, that's neat and all, the intro and outro stuff, and the languages and whatnot. But what was the show actually about? And if it was C64-related, then what made it so special to a guy who had done a C64 show for years? Glad you asked! In his show, since it's so talk-heavy, he can't let the music block portions run on too long. And yet, there is a bunch of C64 music, particularly loader music that can run on for a half hour, just the one track, and that's not a 30 second loop played 60 times, that's an actual piece on a single playthrough. But since his own formatting didn't allow them, he had to just sit on those tracks...until this episode came along. Since my show is an uninterrupted music block, and since we were no longer really bound by time constraints, here at long last was his chance to go nuts and share a bunch of them. As such, the episode was called "Commodore 64 EPICS". And just to give you some perspective on just how insanely massive these tracks were, this music block has the fewest tracks of any music block in Nerd Noise Radio history, and yet is still, what, the third, fourth, maybe even second -longest music block in our history? And the longest individual track in the episode? 25 minutes...for just the one track. That one track alone is longer than the entire episode 29 music block...by almost 10 minutes!

This is also the only music block in show history that I did not produce. Oh, I've had listener picks events before, and will even have a few more to talk about in 2019's catalogue. But even in those cases, the listeners gave me track lists, or tracks, and I still figured out running order and handled mixing and fading and level balancing them all together. This episode is the only one where that is not the case. I still did the final production of the intro and outros, and of course, the final episode master. But the music block, start to finish, tax title and license was 100% Henrik. That makes it special to me! What a joy it was to get to do this episode. If you haven't heard it yet, well then what are you waiting for? Also, this episode is the reason that we didn't have a Halloween episode in 2019. I had had the year all booked already when the subject of doing this episode came up, and I definitely didn't want to pass, or punt Henrik to 2020. So, it was a matter of my having to find an existing episode to bump, and the only one that I could justify passing on was the Halloween episode since the Shinobi III Soundtrack episode had already come out at the time. So, if any of you are really salty over our not having celebrated Halloween this year, then send your complaints care of Henrik Andersson.

Episode 44 is 2019's  TwoFer Tuesday. And besides being another personal favorite of mine, it also has two quick notes about it: 1) it is the last of the continuous episodes to get a YouTube video. Episode 46 was the very last one, but by then, the stream had already been interrupted, and it only came out because it had been prepared months in advance, and I didn't want to waste the work - plus it also featured a guest. 2) this episode has, to date, the longest "chill zone" of any episode. it begins about halfway, maybe two thirds of the way through the formerly "Super-Sized" music block....and we simply never came back.

Episode 45, like 25 before it was a “Best of 20XX” pair of episodes, and as such, being a retrospective, will not be covered here in The Golden Episode. But two things of note: 1) as I had mentioned earlier, the ultra-giant “John’s Picks” follow-up this year was not billed as a Channel F “F-isode” like it was in 2017, but now with no time constraints anymore, I could just call it Episode 45 part 2, and add it to the official canon. 2) These “Best of 20XX” outings do a really great job of distilling down, and giving summary of the year’s content and character as a whole, and it’s really interesting to listen to the Best of 2017 and Best of 2018 outings back to back to see how much different they feel, indicating how much different the two years felt. Take the two “John’s Picks” for instance: 2017 was brighter, fresher, more effervescent, and 2018 was deeper, moodier, more cerebral, and richer. If 2017 had the enthusiasm and optimism of fresh beginnings, 2018 had settled down a little bit more into a measured, matured stride. Which one do I like better? If we’re being honest, whichever one I’m listening to at the moment is the one I like best. There is so much that I like about both that I really can’t pick a winner. It also makes me really eager to hear the eventual “Best of 2019” episodes next year, to see how the show has changed this year. This is a question that even I, as your intrepid host has only the very vaguest inklings of an answer to and will not see it clearly himself until he can hear the next “Best of” episodes.

Episode 46 is our 2019 FaceOff Friday, guest curated, guest vetted, and guest hosted...well..."hosted" by Electric Boogaloo, or rather, the cocky, self-inflated, showboaty British text-to-speech program that I had standing in for him, which again, does not match the demeanor or spirit, or humility....or even accent and nationality of the real person behind it whatsoever. This “fake Booglaoo” even had the audacity to scrap the standard music early on in the outro to replace it with something “much more to his liking”, that is, something much more robotic sounding – specifically, “The 2020” from Vegas Stakes on the Super NES. Keeping with his standard, though, the track selection in here is broad, diverse, and excellent, and it was a real treat to get to work with him again. I sincerely hope that it is not the last chance I get to. However, because of the baby, and the move, I didn't get the chance to do the listener picks F-isodes for this one either. But like the lost ones on 33, fear not, they're coming.

What else is coming? The music block.

You will hear

From C1E41: Mishmash Monday – vol. 7 (originally released Mon, 02/04/19) – Process Control – GT Sport – PS4 – Yasuhisa Inoue
From C1E42: Shinobi III [Genesis] Soundtrack (originally released Sat, 03/09/19) – My Dear D – Masayuki Nagao, Hirofumi Murasaki, and/or Morihiko Akiyama
From C1E43: Commodore 64 EPICS! (originally released Thurs, 04/11/19) – Subtune 1 – Flash Gordon – Rob Hubbard – originally selected for Episode 43 by Henrik Andersson
From C1E44: TwoFer Tuesday – vol. 5 (originally released Tues, 05/07/19) – The Blazing Sands – Final Fantasy X – PS2 – Masashi Hamauzu, Junya Nakano, and/or Nobuo Uematsu

And

From C1E46: FaceOff Friday – vol. 3 (originally released Fri, 08/09/19) – Trance Parlient in Blue – Night Striker – Mega CD – c: Masahiko Takaki a: Shuichiro Nakazawa – originally selected for episode 46 by Electric Boogaloo

Our background music was What Can You Do? – Gran Turismo Sport – PS4 – Lenny Ibizarre

Enjoy!

*********************************************



That was music mini-block 9 of 10 for episodes 41-46 (or "Season 3, part 1 of 2, if you prefer). To recap, you heard...

- Process Control – GT Sport – PS4
- My Dear D – Shinobi III - Genesis
- Subtune 1 – Flash Gordon – C64
- The Blazing Sands – Final Fantasy X – PS2

And

- Trance Parlient in Blue – Night Striker – Mega CD


And lastly, for Season 3, part 2, we'll wind down with episodes 47a-49.

For episode 47, we need to speak in plurals, as there were not one, but three episode 47s: 47a: "Turbotastic", 47b: The Little Engine that Could, and 47c: "Tidal Wavetable, aka 'The Continuing Adventures of Buzz Lightyear'". It was our show's first ever mini-series - something that wouldn't have been possible with the time constraints of previous years, unless we wanted to do something really hackneyed like an episode proper, and two F-isodes in follow-up - which actually was the original idea, since this project had gotten started so far ahead of time, summer or fall of 2018, that the idea of killing the Channel 1 feed hadn't really started being taken seriously yet. But when that changed happened, these were all rebranded as Channel 1 episodes, and I'm much, MUCH happier that way.

This series was done in collaboration with Bryce Dumond of the TG16 game by game podcast "Turbotastic". I had reached out to him, asking him if he’d be game for doing such a collaboration, and when he said that he would be, I asked him for tracks for what was originally intended to be just the one episode (originally intended to be called "The Little Engine that Could"). I told him that the idea would be that I wanted the final episode to be right around 40 tracks, and that he and I would split them as close to right down the middle as possible. So, he gets back to me with….20 tracks? No. 30 tracks? Nope! He gets back to me with….39 tracks! Haha! So much for splitting them up, eh? After, I replied with a kinder, gentler version of “What the frick, Bryce?”, he says he’d narrow it down. And he did...to 29! Ha! So, I said, "No problem! I'll pick some tracks too, and we can just make a series out of this”. A pair of episodes was the idea at the time. So, we restored his original list – minus two from Blazing Lazers, due to a simple mistake on my part, plus an additional one from Legendary Axe, since there was confusion between which of two tracks he wanted, and we just included both, bringing his final contribution to 38. My intent was to pick about the same number of my own tracks, so that we'd have enough for two episodes of about 40 a piece...Only if the original problem could be categorized as Bryce getting a little overzealous in picking too many tracks at 38, then what can we call what I did in response but “going completely out of my mind” with a simply outrageous 94. 94!! Yikes! Nearly triple the number of tracks that we had just finished gently chiding Bryce over as being “way too many”. That's bananas! Apparently, self-control is hard to find as it concerns PC Engine and Turbografx16 music. So, what the heck were we going to do now?

Thus was born the three episode approach.

Bryce and I’s picks both leaned “chip of center” in terms of the ratio of HuC6280 system “chip” music (that is, music produced by the system’s actual internal sound hardware) to Redbook CD Audio (music read off the game disc the same way it’d be read off a regular music CD). At 13 and 14 respectively, Bryce and I had nearly the same number of CD Audio tracks. I just had a TON more chip tracks to go along with them - 80 to 25 for anybody who’s counting. Actually, 79, since one of my tracks was a hybrid track, where it featured the HuC6280 system chip, but then also added percussion from the CD-Rom add-on’s built-in additional ADPCM channel (which would customarily be used for things like voice clips in dialog sections, or for the audio on animated cutscenes, and was only very rarely used as an additional sound channel to buff otherwise standard HuC6280 chip music).

So, we made parts 1 and 2 each a mix of CD Audio and chip tracks, as well as a mix of Bryce’s picks and my picks, where part 3 was all me and all chip. Parts 1 and 2 were each 40 tracks, and part 3 was 50. To get to this nice round set of numbers, I dropped two of my tracks (for a final count of 77 chip, 14 CD, and 1 hybrid, totaling up to 92 tracks), and would’ve dropped an extra two, and restored Bryce’s missing two instead, had I caught my mistake in time. Now, so far, parts 1 and 2 sound the same on paper. But the million-dollar difference between them was all in how we divvied the tracks up. Part 1 was Bryce-heavy. 27 out of the 40 were his, with only 13 coming from me. Part 2 was the opposite. 29 of the 40 were mine, with only 11 of them being his. At one point, I toyed with giving him his own episode, and taking my one of my own, but a) that kind of went out the window once we had a third episode, and b) I thought it would be so much better if we combined our energies, and blended our styles into something greater than the sum of its parts. So that’s what we did.

Talking about the list of tracks that Bryce picked, and my own list, there were at least three other major differences besides the size. If any of what I am about to say sounds like it’s being said as either a positive or a negative, I apologize. All statements are being made as neutral statements, and indeed, the fact that we both went such different directions here, I think only made the final product so much better as a result:

1) Bryce went pretty all-in on big impact, blockbuster, AAA tracks, whereas, I tended more towards the deep cut, off the beaten path tracks and games. I mean, as big as my list was, there certainly were AAA and AA tracks in there, but that's not where I placed my focus. I knew that Bryce had that space very well covered.

2) Bryce also trended very, very heavily towards high energy, and particularly, hard rockin' tracks. That is not to suggest that he didn't have a few smooth, mellow, or happy tracks. He did. It's just that the balance of them were more high-octane. By contrast, only, what, maybe a tenth, maybe a fifth of my tracks were on the higher energy side, and really none of them were outright rockers. Bryce had that space very well represented already.

3) Bryce tended towards "going deep", as in multiple tracks from the same game, where I tended to "go broad", as in featuring more games and fewer tracks per game. In fact, most of my tracks were tracks where it was the only track from the given game. Looking at the numbers, Bryce’s 38 tracks came from just 13 distinct games, only four of them were games where there was only the one track featured. He had three where there were two featured, two where there were three featured, three where there were four featured, and even one where there were six featured (Ys Books 1 & 2, with five of those six being CD Audio). My 92 tracks came from 64 distinct games, with 44 of them only featuring one track per game. I had 14 games where I featured two tracks, four games where I had three tracks, and only two where I featured four each. Namely, those games were Ai Chou Aniki and Metal Stoker.

Again, not a “better than / worse than” comparison. Both approaches worked complementarily to benefit each other and the whole. This is just a demonstration of “how vastly different the approaches were”. I certainly did indulge myself a little bit with deep focuses as well, but I wanted to mostly keep myself broad to cover as much ground as I could manage. I did decide, though, that I didn't want any more than three tracks per game per single episode, so the “four and overs” were broken up. Ys was 3 and 3 between parts 1 and 2, Lords of Thunder, and Salamander were split 3 and 1 between 1 and 2, Ai Chou Aniki was split 1 and 3 between episodes 1 and 2, Bloodlines and Legendary Axe were split 2 and 2 between 1 and 2, and Metal Stoker was split two and two between 1 and 3. Many of the two and three tracks games were split up between episodes as well, though I won’t go into those here. In the show notes, I will include a link to a YouTube video which shows the breakdown. There were no games that appeared in all three episodes.

Anyway, because of all of this, all three episodes ended up with very different energies, souls, feels, and personalities. I take great pride in that and like to say that for two guys and one system, these three episodes are about as unlike each other as possible. I am very proud of all three of them and will cherish the memory of getting to work with Bryce on them always!

Part one was the rocker. It was the party animal of the three. It was pretty much all go no quits. There was no "chill zone" in this episode at all. Even the tracks of my own that were thrown in were thrown in to complement Bryce's, and to keep the energy going, rather than to provide significant contrast.

Part 2 was about as polar opposite of part 1 as two episodes featuring heavy metal from the same system, often from the same game, and picked by the same guy can possibly be. Part 2 covers, by far, the broadest spectrum of emotion and energy of the three, whereas part one covers the narrowest band. Part 2 features moments as heavy, and as energetic (and maybe even more so) than what is found in part 1, but then also features the deepest chill moments of the three. And despite having those high-octane moments, part 2 is, overall, the mellowest, most laid back, and coolest outing of the three. It features happy music, spacey, ethereal, and even experimental music. It also features a pretty deep, pretty extended chill zone. If part one is the party animal, part two is the moody deep thinker.

Considering how part 3 is all chip and all me, where episode 1 and 2 are both a mix of CD and chip, and both a mix of Bryce and John, and given how both one and two feature hard rock / heavy metal moments, where part 3 not so much, you'd think that part 3 would be the outlier, the odd man out of the three. And, I mean, in some ways it certainly is. In some ways, they are all stand outs. They each take their turns being the remarkable one. However, overall, in terms of style, and flow, and personality, somehow this one ends up, I feel, kinda being the middle child of the three. If part one is the party animal, and part two is the moody deep thinker, part 3 is the well-rounded, but agreeable gentleman. If part 1 is fire, and part 2 is water (ice), part 3 is earth. If part 1 flies like a rocket across the skies, and part 2 floats, like in a sensory deprivation tank, part 3 cruises, like a respectably cool car going down the freeway at about the speed limit. It never reaches the energy level or octane of part 1, and its chill zone doesn't last as long or go as deep as part 2, but it does cover the whole space in-between. Like part 2, it trends towards deep cuts. But like part 1, it tends to keep the toes a'tappin' as it doesn't dip into chill very often or for very long. In short, despite all the on-paper similarities between 1 and 2, and all the on-paper differences between 1 and 3, I still think 3 feels like the middle ground.

A couple quick last things about the 47 trio:

1) this was another project where the gestation period was very long, much longer than intended. I first reached out to Bryce about the possibility of doing this project all the way back in July of 2018. By August, he had his track selections to me, and by early October, all three music blocks were fully produced. So, by the time they came into your world, they had already turned a year old in Bryce and I’s. See what I mean about living in an alternate timeline as the show’s producer?

2) I made a decision that there would be no games that Bryce and I split, meaning, no games where he and I both picked tracks from them. There were a handful of tracks that Bryce picked that would've been on my radar to pick had he not, such as the Legendary Axe and Bloody Wolf tracks, and Bonk's Adventure was on my radar too, but for different tracks. But I wanted all picks from a given game to all come from one person. So, I featured some Legendary Axe 2 and Bonk's Revenge instead.

3) Despite episode 3 having ten more tracks than the other two, it was actually not the longest music block of the three. It was the middle. Really all three were remarkably close in length, with the part one being the longest at 1:44:57, part 2 being the shortest at 1:41:20 (despite having the longest individual track with Shadow of the Beast), and part 3 being 1:43:53. All three were within three minutes in length of each other. 3 also had the shortest "outro proper" since we didn't have to list who picked which track on it. So, 50 track WOULDVE BEEN the shortest of the three overall... had it not been for the blooper reel. Bryce and I both made a lot of screw ups during the recording process, and capturing, sorting, and distilling those made for some good listening. I don't know that it rose to the level of greatness that was the episode 40 blooper, of course. But it was still fun. Because of the blooper, part 3 ultimately ended up being the longest of the three at 2:10:45, vs 1:59:33 and 1:56:45 for parts 1 and 2 respectively.

4) the biggest reason that I so love and am so proud of the three episodes all sounding and feeling so different is that it greatly increases the range of musical itch scratching that can be done for potential audiences. It meets more needs for more people, catching both the rocker and the space fan and the chip fan all at once. If we had left it to just Bryce, it would've been a rock fest. If we had left it to just me, those rockers would've found it to be a snooze fest. And had it not been for part 3, chip and hardcore retro purists would've been left wanting.  And yet, between the two of us and the three of them, we covered the whole space, and left everyone happy. Bryce, the TG16, and I … we make a fantastic team.

And finally,

5) Legacy. In terms of my level of pride and gratitude for the three episodes, they are equals. I love all three and have listened to all three multiple times. In terms of the public’s reaction, I can see various people choosing each permutation of hierarchy: 123, 132, 213, 231, 321, and 312, and would not quibble with anyone over any of them. I think of the three, my personal favorite is part 2. Of course, I’m a space fan, who loves chill zones, and the rich, lush textures that the CD audio tracks are able to create. And also, I’m one who loves broad spectrums in an episode, and the challenge of making wildly disparate tracks into a music block that makes sense and works, and I feel that they are the ones which make the best journeys in general. And 2 was definitely the vastest journey. I do think that part 1 is the most important, though, in part because it is so abundant in styles of music that my show in general is lacking in because of the personal biases of its host, and of his putting too much of an emphasis on scratching his own itches, rather than the itches of a broader audience. Related to that, it is also the most important because it had the biggest "outreach impact" of the three. It's also the most important because it is the one where our esteemed guest is the most prominently featured. And it's also the most important because it gets the first word in a very big mini-series, featuring a combined total of 130 pieces and just shy of six hours of music. When it comes to reruns, it is the one that I will be the most likely to feature. In fact, the TG16 mini comes out in March next year, does it not? So, I would not be too surprised to hear these rocking CD spins or velvet gravel wonderfulness of HuC6280 somewhere around that time if I were you.

We talked about episodes 48 and 49 in part 1.

So, sit back, relax, and enjoy our final mini-block of the series.


You will hear

From C1E47a: Turbotastic (originally released Thurs, 09/12/19) – Stage 1-3 – Ai Chou Aniki – PC Engine – Iwasaki Taku
From C1E47b: The Little Engine that Could (originally released Thurs, 09/19/19) – Outside Ref, the Pyramid of Ice – Dungeon Explorer 2 – PC Engine – Masaaki Inoue and/or Akihiro Honma
From C1E47c: Tidal Wavetable – aka 'The Continuing Adventures of Buzz Lightyear' (originally released Thurs, 09/26/19) –  Reminiscence: Daimonkyou - Tengai Makyou: Fuun Kabuki Den - PC Engine – Kohei Tanaka and/or Keita Hoshi
From C1E48: Battle of the Bits – vol. 2 (originally released Sun, 10/13/19) – I Came, I Saw – N/A (Battle of the Bits) – N/A (SNES) – Kung Fu Furby

And

From C1E49: Mishmash Monday – vol. 8 (originally released Mon, 11/11/19) – Your Sunset – Tekken Tag Tournament – multi – Taku Inoue – originally selected for episode 49 by Mario Mendez

Our background music was Marseille City – Kuusou Kagaku Sekai Gulliver Boy – PC Engine – Kouhei Tanaka and/or Kazuhio Sawada

Enjoy!

*********************************************

Well, at long last, listeners, we find ourselves at the end of our 3yr, 50 outing retrospective. You’ve reached the finish line – the outro to The Golden Episode – part 2.


To recap music mini-block 10 of 10 for episodes 47a-49 (or "Season 3, part 2 of 2, if you prefer), you heard...

- Stage 1-3 – Ai Chou Aniki – PC Engine
- Outside Ref, the Pyramid of Ice – Dungeon Explorer 2 – PC Engine
- Reminiscence: Daimonkyou – Tengai Makyou: Fuun Kabuki Den – PC Engine
- I Came, I Saw – a BotB Chiptune original for SNES

And

- Your Sunset – Tekken Tag Tournament - Multi

Our background music for this outro is ESPIRIT.wav from Data Wing on iOS and Android, composed by ESPRIT 空想 (Espirit Kūsō, or simply, Espirit Fantasy) and first appearing in Episode 44.

Before we go to the housekeeping and say goodbye, though, there are a few updates that I’ve been promising you over the course of our two part journey that I said we’d get to here. So, here goes:

First, and most substantial: you have just made it to the midpoint of the projected lifespan of the show. That’s right. My intent is to wrap up Nerd Noise Radio Channel 1 after its hundredth Episode – and we just got halfway there. I’ll let that sink in for a second.

Now, as I said in the outro to part 1, John Lennon once famously lyricized that “life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans”. Others have waxed poetic about the best laid plans of mice and men, while others have taken a more theological tact and have said things like “man plans and God laughs”. They all mean the same thing. We don’t know the future. I lost my DeLorean to Genghis Khan on my very first road trip with it, and never had a chance to go forward and have a peek. So all I can share with you right now are plans and intentions – plans and intentions that may change over time via circumstances, or even whim. We may all find ourselves in a very different future than the one I envision here today – one where we either made it nowhere near to 100, or even one where we went way past it, and may all share a good laugh looking back on this. But, with all those caveats in place, this is what the future of Nerd Noise looks like through the eyes of her intrepid host from the vantage point of December 2019, and the end of season 3: 100 is the end, and we’re halfway there.

On a related note, the next time I plan to do an outing like we’ve had here with episode 50 will not be until we make it there (or wherever we end up if we stall out sooner). The intent is for episode 100 to cover 51-99 the same way that this one covered 1-49. If you loved this episode and this format, I’m very glad, as it makes all the work I put into it that much more satisfying and rewarding. But I also regret to inform you that it will be a long time before we do it again, and the next time it comes it will be a much more somber, bittersweet outing, bringing with it all the gravity of finality, of a journey’s end. If it comes sooner than expected, then it will only be sadder and less triumphant than expected. If, on the other hand, you didn’t like the non-standard format, then fear not, for you won’t have to worry about it again for quite a while, and at that, in as best as can be foreseen, only the one more time. Our next episode, other than it being the start of a new season, and very special for another more external reason that I’ll continue to sit on for just a few more moments, it’ll be back to the regular Nerd Noise Radio formula that you’ve come to know and love for the past three years.

So, three years to 50....another three years til the end? Not exactly. As I somewhat cryptically alluded to at the end of part 1, I intend for the second 50 to take longer than the first 50 did. Seasons 1 and 2 were 20 episodes a piece, and I have no plans to return to that pace. The nominal pace of Nerd Noise Radio from here on out will be 10/yr like Season 3. However, and here’s the next big announcement: in the short term, I’m actually going to slow down even further. With the baby in the house, and production sessions being relegated anymore to mostly 8 or 9pm-3am sessions where I have to be at work at 8 the next morning, I was barely able to keep up with the regular episodes, and all the Channel F stuff had gone out the window entirely. In fact, you may or may not have noticed that the ONLY F-isode that we released all year was just earlier this month in my one-off collaboration with Hugues Johnson of Retro Game Club, which simulcast on both of our shows’ feeds. While Wyatt is this young, and this hands-on, I simply don’t think that I have the bandwidth for a full 10 episodes plus a robust catalog of F-isodes.

Also, as I have talked about off and on throughout The Golden Episode, we have a number of really great F-isodes already from 2018 and 2019 that never saw the light of day. We had a giant list of contributors to Face Off Friday vol 2, including some really big names from the scene. Never happened. Also, out of the over 100 tracks that I received from listeners for Episode 40, you only heard 40. The other 60 were going to come out right afterward with Trey Johnson and I finally making good on the W.A.R.T. Radio tribute thing, featuring the remaining 60 tracks that you did not hear. That also did not happen. We never even got off the ground with Face Off Friday vol 3’s listener picks F-isodes. And lastly, there is a collaboration that KeyGlyph and I had gotten a certain ways into putting together. That one burnt down, fell over, then sank into the swamp. But here’s the good news: you’re still gonna hear them all!

Here’s how:

a) Season 4 will still be 10 episodes long. However, instead of season 4 being 2020, season 4 will be split between 2020 and 2021 and spread out over both years. I don’t know if they will be split evenly, five and five, or if it’ll be a 2021-heavy split with more of a breather up front. Those kinds of decisions will be made on the fly most likely, so just stay tuned. But either way, between the two years, there will be a grand total of 10 all new Channel 1 episodes. If 2017 was like two 10-episode seasons in one year, 2020 / 2021 will be like one 10-episode season in two.

I considered other, even more extreme ideas as well, of course. I thought about taking a year off altogether. But I didn’t want to lose the momentum I have built, or just run the risk of never wanting to come back after getting too comfortable not having to worry about anything. I also thought about “pulling a Diad” and just saying “Eh, you’ll hear a new episode every now and then”. I mean, heck, I even thought about quitting altogether here at 50, since it’s a good round number, and I’d be going out on a reasonably high note, where I run the risk, if I continue, of ending at 100 on a low note, or not even making it there at all, but fizzling out somewhere along the way. And besides, three years isn’t a bad run in the greater podosphere, is it? And I’d be ending after featuring 1500 tracks – that’s more than most shows running 10 or more years have even hit, right? It’s not a bad time at all to just bow out and say goodbye. It’d be a relatively triumphal exit, where continuing exposes me to the risk of going out with a very inglorious whimper. Lord knows my life would be a lot easier, and I’d get more time to spend with family, have a more regular sleep schedule, get more time actually playing the video games I celebrate in show, and more time just getting to chill, and relax.

You see? I gave this possibility quite a bit of thought, actually, very serious thought. But the truth is, this old horse has still got some life in him, and there are still things I want to say and do as a show, more territory I want to explore, and a bigger, richer legacy I want to leave behind when it’s all over. Besides, I love the show, am proud of the show, and love all of you who love it as well. As a long-time listener to certain podcasts who have gone off the air, I remember the feeling of intense sadness when they’d quit with little to no warning. It’s like a sudden death in the family. It’s like the loss of a friend. It’s like all the oxygen getting sucked from the room. Having been that listener, and knowing how painful that feels, there’s no way that I could ever do that to you unless the most extreme, spontaneous, and unexpected of circumstances absolutely forced my hand.

So, I decided that the reward was well worth the risk to carry on, and that the best option would be to simply split season 4 in half, and be able to live much more comfortably with two years at 5 episodes a piece as Wyatt ages into a more manageable age and life has had a chance to stabilize and normalize some more. This way, before the show wraps up for good, Wyatt will have aged to a point where I can actually start bringing him onto it eventually and making him a feature in the later seasons, kind of like I’ve done the handful of times with Chloe. So fear not, Nerd Noise Radio is carrying on. And I think I have some great things in store for you. But this is why I always spoke in hedged terms when I’d say things like “it’d be either 2020 or 2021” when xyz thing would happen, such as the long-lost Halloween 2019 episode, or the original episode 41. I still don’t know for absolute certain which year those will appear in .... you know, I guess we’ll just find out together!

b) Those missing F-isodes will be produced over the course of 2020 and 2021, will be interspersed throughout the two years amidst the regular episodes and the reruns, and will bear the series title: “Nerd Noise Radio – The Lost Levels” – I’m actually really proud of that title. So get ready for those! They’re gonna be greatness!

Speaking of reruns: one other note about 2020 / 2021: I plan to leave the dedicated Reruns feed alive through the end of 2021, and then shut it down at that time. Beginning in 2022, I will plan to do two releases a month – one fresh episode, and one rerun (two reruns on the two months of the year where there will be no new episodes). So, that’s that. However, one other small, but significant difference: unless there’s a really special circumstance - such as another Chandlerfest level thing – there will be no more simulcasting, no more redundancy between the feeds. In the instance that the regular feed is running a rerun, it’ll be a DIFFERENT rerun than what’s running on the reruns feed. So, we’ll have more diversity that way – and all the more reason to go subscribe to that reruns feed if you haven’t already done so, and enjoy it for the next two years.

Anyway, that’s 2020/2021 for Nerd Noise Radio. And as I said before, the trend of high collaboration is something that I intend to continue, and will actually probably only accelerate as time goes on. I hope you will stick around for them, as they promise to be quite a ride.

I’ll be back to a 10 episode a year schedule in 2022 and will continue to do so up through the end of 2024, where we will hit episode 90. Then, in order to close use out in December of 2026 and make the show’s run cover a full 10yrs, I will split our final season (season 8) between two years as well. I thought about treating 2020 and 2021 (as well as 2025 and 2026) as separate seasons so we could end after 10 years, 10 seasons, and 100 episodes. But standing on their own, they just won’t deliver a season’s worth of content – and that all felt kinda cheaty anyway. So, 10 years, 100 episodes, and 8 seasons it’ll be. Besides, think of how many simply wonderful video games settled on 8 worlds, rather than 10. So, I’m in very good company. Also, for episodes 60, 70, 80, and 90 (that is, the final episodes of 2021, 2022, 2023, and 2024), I intend for all of them to be listener picks episodes along the lines of what we had with episode 40. So even if you never get your own episode (and a lot of you will), you will still have plenty of chances to get your moment in the spotlight on those! Go ahead and get thinking of your tracks already.

I had also made mention of a movie that Chloe and I were going to be in in 2020. For that, I thought it would be super special for Chloe and I to get to discuss that together. Here’s a pre-recorded clip of her and I doing that.

[play Chloe and Dad clip talking about Sucks to Suck].

Anyway, be on the lookout for that in 2020. In addition, there is an American tech writer who is living in Zagreb Croatia, of all places, with his Croatian wife, who after having our bonded over our common interest in Linux has suggested that we collaborate musically, and assuming that I haven’t absolutely blown that opportunity with him by putting him off too totally for too long, I may just pursue that in 2020 / 2021 a little as well under our lighter, more freeing show calendar. It may give me opportunity to finally begin exploring some of those other things in my life that have kind of been on hold. I may also try taking Japanese seriously again, something that has gone way onto the back burner and stayed there since the launch of the show. So, it might be a couple good years for me.

…we shall see. Anyway, let’s get to that housekeeping wrap-up, why don’t we?

You can find track listing, and program information for all of our episodes, as well as video game related articles on our blog at nerdnoiseradio.blogspot.com, where we now usually also offer expanded show notes in a more blog-like format, including extra, and sometimes inside information. You can also follow us on Twitter, YouTube, Podbean, or on Archive.org, where we every so once in a while will have alternate takes and super bonuses only available there. And you can reach us at any time by email at nerdnoiseradio@gmail.com

We have a Facebook Page, Nerd Noise Radio that you can follow….or better yet, join us on one of our two Facebook groups - Nerd Noise Radio: Easy Mode, where we share tracks, and just have general video game and nerd fun, or for the “gear heads” among you, Nerd Noise Radio: Expert Mode, where you can deep dive sound hardware, composer info, and music theory. Or feel free to join them all! Nerd Noise Radio is also available on the Retro Junkies Network at www.theretrojunkies.com, and we are a member of the VGM Podcast Fans community on Facebook. Join the community at www.facebook.com/groups/VGMPodcastFans.

If you like what you hear, please leave us a review on iTunes, Google Play Music, Stitcher, or just reach out to us on our social media, or email. Your feedback is immensely valuable to us, and we would love to hear it. Your reviews are tremendously helpful, and very appreciated as well, as they help propel Nerd Noise Radio to new and larger audiences.

If you’re not already subscribed to our new Nerd Noise Radio Reruns podcast feed, subscribe to it at www.buzzsprout.com/77944, or just look for “Nerd Noise Radio Reruns” on iTunes, Google Play Music, or your podcatcher of choice.

This is Nerd Noise Radio - Channel 1: Noise from the Hearts of Nerds - a program of the Nerd Noise Radio Network. Your home for the best noise from the YM2612, SN76489, SPC700, 2A03, HuC6280, AY-3-8910, YM2151, LR35902, POKEY, PAULA, SID…and beyond! 

I’m St. John! Thanks for Listening. Join us again February 3rd for the inauguration of Season 4, and a very special 40 track-long Mishmash Monday celebrating something very important to me … my 40th Birthday! Delicious VGM on Noise from the Hearts of Nerds. And wherever you are ..fly the N!...

…. You know, you gotta love a good false ending, don’t you? The very -VERY- last thing we’ll do tonight (and I mean it this time) is that I will be ending this outing, like the Chandlerfest rerun before it, with yet another mulligan, and yet another mulligan involving Chris Chandler. In fact, this mulligan will be a mulligan of Chandlerfest itself.

There was one more wrinkle to the Chris Chandler story that I didn’t feel was appropriate to share in a tribute to the man, but feel it’s okay to share it now – especially when it’s a tale that puts pretty much all the egg on my own face. Chris and I did try to work together on music in 2003, in an aborted joint project called “One Room Planet” – named after a late 60’s / early 70’s garage band of the same name that my aunt Patty was in during her time in California. It ended badly. It ended so badly, in fact, that Chris and I spent an entire six months not having anything to do with, or even speaking to each other. It was much more my fault than his, but pride can be a very powerful, and completely illogical thing, especially in early 20-something males, it seems. It’s why I’ve been hesitant to this day to work with anyone else on music and why these almost 20yrs of my talking and planning and plotting and scheming on doing my own solo album have only yielded a few Soundcloud guitar-only quasi-jazzy, ambient, space rock tracks. I need the collaborative help that I don’t want and am afraid to try, and don’t want and am afraid to try the collaborative help that I need – a rock and a hard place.

Anyway, while it would only be about six months later that first contact would be made, with full friendship being restored very quickly thereafter, lasting the remainder of his life without any further punctuation, one thing that did not recover so quickly was our musical relationship. I still continued to avoid his music, and his musical activities for many more years to come. I would sometimes come to shows of local bands that he was in, such as Midwestern Remedy, and Jimi Pig, but his actual solo works were something I avoided pretty fastidiously. All these years later, it’s very easy for me to see just how ridiculous I was being. But at the time, it was like “that’s supposed to be US!” You know? Towards the very end of his life – neither of us realizing that it would come so quickly and so suddenly, we began making very hesitant, very tentative talks towards the remote prospect of possibly trying again. But he was taken from us before it could come to be. In fact, Chandlerfest was very cathartic for me because it wasn’t until then that the barriers I had erected in my heart and mind towards this very talented man’s singular body of works finally came down in their absolute entirety, and I could actually at very long last finally begin to explore them as a fan, a fan without baggage, without a past. But because of my relative ignorance of Chris’ solo works, a fantastic opportunity passed us by with Chandlerfest, due to a very pure-intentioned, and very well-reasoned design decision my wife had made in curating the Chris tracks that I didn’t find out about til afterwards, and ultimately found myself disagreeing with.

For this, we need even more history….

Jodee and I have been married for over 20 years, since July 23rd 1999, when I was only 19, and she was only 18, and she was less than two months out of high school. Most of those years have been absolute joys. However, there were two years in our past that were very dark years for us, through which we almost did not make it. I absolutely will not share any of the details of those trials, but the years which nearly did us in were 2001, and 2006 – with 2006 being the worse of the two. Things have been pretty great since 2006, and neither of us have any reasonable fears of a return to that darkness, but that year was very dark indeed. Anyway, during 2006, Chris, who was friends with both of us was very pained to see the situation and state we were in, and wrote a song about us that was intended as a means of our reconciliation. It was called “The Key”. However, given my deliberate ignorance of his solo work, I had had no idea that the song even existed, let alone that I was one half of the subject matter therein. Shortly after Chandlerfest released, I mean, like in possibly even less than a week afterward, we were in the car together, and she was driving while I was in the passenger seat and a song comes on that I can tell immediately is a Chris Chandler piece, but that I don’t recognize. However, it’s one that find uniquely enjoyable, and I asked her why she didn’t include this in the Chandlerfest track list. She told me it “was about 2006”, which, of course, is all the more she needed to say, and that she had left it out on purpose because she didn’t know that I’d want our darkest moments featured on Nerd Noise Radio. I was actually really pained at this point because I thought the song was simply remarkable, and that I also felt like we missed a fantastic opportunity by not having it in Chandlerfest, as it’d add a whole other layer of profundity for me as those final vestiges of the barrier between myself and Chris’ music came tumbling down, to have taken a tangible manifestation of 2006 down with it....and just a remarkable track besides that I could share in honor of a dear friend who left us way too soon.

But it turns out that once again, I get a reasonable chance to make up for it. As such, what I will leave you with tonight is “The Key” itself, my final Chris Chandler mulligan, and barring circumstances so remarkable that I cannot now even fathom them, our final time featuring Chris Chandler on Nerd Noise Radio outside of reruns. This moment is unspeakably important and significant and valuable for me. And if it’s even a fraction of that for you, then it will have accomplished its purposes. This track is off Chris’ 2006 album, Ephemera. Sit back, relax, and enjoy….and we’ll see you in 2020! Thanks!

[plays “The Key]