Prelude to a Fantasy (Music from the Final Fantasy Series)
March 31st, 2017 –
Today is release day! We are celebrating the 30th anniversary of Final Fantasy and we are honored to have this released with Sebastian Wolff and Materia Collective. I can’t thank my team (Masha Lepire, Ian Martyn, John Montoya, Matheus Sardinha Garcia Souza, and Chyng) enough because they are just so awesome! From the production to the artwork, this album makes me proud to be a Traveler!
For three decades, Nobuo Uematsu’s timeless music has captured the attention of video game music fans from all walks of life. His compositions put RPG music on the map and have played a critical role in game music, both as an industry and art form.
We as musicians owe our careers and passion in some part to Uematsu-san and the Final Fantasy series. We hope to contribute to and honor that legacy by creating acoustic folk arrangements of our favorite songs. Happy 30th anniversary, Final Fantasy!
You can purchase (or stream) this $5 album at the following retailers:
The Travelers VGM Celebrate Final Fantasy 30th Anniversary with New EP
March 29th, 2017 –
My silence is due to The Travelers being quite active this year. Among the work we have done, we created a mini album of folk arrangements from the Final Fantasy series.
I present to you Prelude to a Fantasy which is an EP album of arrangements from five different FF titles in honor of the 30th anniversary of Final Fantasy. The album releases March 31st, 2017 but you can pre-order it now for just $5 on Bandcamp. Thank you all for your support and we hope that you will pick it up and let us know what you think!
Much thanks to Masha Lepire for co-producing and arranging (which she does both extremely well!), Ian Martyn for also co-producing and playing all parts except for one, Matheus Sardinha Garcia Souza for playing the violin so beautifully, John Montoya for mastering, Gloriane Chyng Yu for the AMAZING art, and Sebastian Wolff of Materia Collective for supporting us and helping us get out there! Most importantly we thank the fans who support us and spread the word!
A preview can be heard on the Bandcamp page of my arrangement of Bran Bal from Final Fantasy IX.
Art by Chying
Level with Emily Reese
February 10, 2017 –
I had the immense pleasure of sitting down with Emily Reese to talk about The Travelers VGM and our first album titled “The Travelers”. I discuss the concept behind the album, the group, and what I want to achieve with it in the coming years. Please have a listen and support Emily’s show at her Patreon!
You can buy the Travelers at the following outlets!
And for those who like to stream…
The Travelers releases on Bandcamp!
January 27, 2017 –
When working with the Materia Collective and getting to know so many along the way, I wanted to create something truly unique with live music and music from all over. Above all, I wanted a music representation of the diverse world we have before us and to show that music bridges gaps.So I got with Masha Lepire to help produce this album because my experience was not so great in that regard and my knowledge of folk music was close to none. I brought on people such as Ian Martyn (who pulled a Doug Perry and played in every track just about), Jordan Chin, Joe Chen and Ashley Lynn Watts to help me create arrangements for the album. Then we brought on many musicians such as Chris Ferrara and Jacob Roege from Triforce Quartet, Michaela Nachtigall from Tetrimino, David Ramos, Catboss, Joanne Moo, Andrzej Filipski, and of course ETHEReal String Orchestra (Andrew Steffen and Andrew Stern) and many others!
Together we made music that I believe no other album (in the VGM world) has done. We learned new music, challenged ourselves, and in the end made something we are proud of! And I am very proud to release this with Sebastian Wolff under the Materia label. It felt right to bring this project there as we all are from this place :). Anyway, I ramble but I really hope you will join us tonight for the Listening Party and that you will pick up this album at the link below!
Listening Party Link:
Travelers Trailer Revealed!
January 20, 2017 –
Yes! The Travelers trailer is released! Please check us out below and please don’t forget to share this everywhere!
Trailer created by Gloriane Yu
Album is out this month!
Artwork by Val Choung
Winterhearth: New Travelers EP
December 25, 2016 –
In the Concert Hall
November 6, 2016 – This month will be the first live premiere of my arrangement of “And Thus Fate Becomes Cruel” from Heroes of Mana. The arrangement comes from my album ETHEReal String Project and is originally composed by Yoko Shimomura (Kingdom Hearts, Final Fantasy XV).
The performance will be done by the Iowa City Community String Orchestra under the baton of Carey Bostian. Admission is FREE! Details are below.
A History of Video Games Through Piano and Voice!
November 4, 2016 – As promised, here is Song Cycle: The History of Video Games. The album concept is to present the history of game music from its earliest stages to its most recent with piano and voice arrangements. Each one tells an amazing story from lighthearted and silly, to dark and mysterious this album properly shows the timeline of game music. I am honored to be part of that as I contributed two arrangements to this amazing project!
I chose to rework my ETHEReal String arrangement of Jeremy Soule’s Ancient Stones from Skyrim for piano and high soprano. I got to enlist Laura Intravia (Video Games Live, Transfiguration: Journey Piano Album) for this as well as pianist Joel Everett and Ashley Lynn Watts to create the amazing, yet vivid lyrics. We even changed the title to “The Dark Path” as the lyrics tell a dark tale of a person joining the Dark Brotherhood. Ashley came with the idea when watching her husband play the Dark Brotherhood quest line in Skyrim.
The second work, The Mourning Tree, is quite a personal one as I love Jessica Curry’s score to Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture. The ideas of love, death, sorrow, and hope of eternal reunion are powerful. So to do this I created a piano arrangement similar in structure to that of John Williams. With Joel on piano and Elizabeth Zharoff on vocals, we created a very beautiful yet sorrowful sound. Ashley wrote some very emotional lyrics in addition to the original lines. Ashley and I sought to extend the story of the original to encompass a woman grieving the passing of her husband at the tree they proclaimed their love at. Ultimately, she mourns a long time until she is close to death. At that moment, she sees the spirit of her husband and he reaches his ethereal hand to hers, she dies, then is reunited with him in death for eternity. Never to part.
I strongly encourage you all to buy this wonderfully, creative album as it truly encompasses the great legacy of game music. I am honored to be among such great arrangers and much thanks to Elizabeth Zharoff for putting this all together!
VGM Enters the Fall Program of Iowa City Community String Orchestra
October 5, 2016 – Well I have been quiet about this, but now I have been permitted to share ;). My arrangement of “And Thus Fate Becomes Cruel” (Heroes of Mana) from ETHEReal String Project is now part of the Fall Concert Program with the Iowa City Community String Orchestra. If this goes well, I hope that I will further contribute works to this amazing group under the direction of Carey Bostian. Thank you for this wonderful opportunity! And special thanks to Andrew Steffen for helping me prep the sheets! Specific concert information will be available soon!
To learn more about the Iowa City Community String Orchestra, please visit their website!
Travelers Make Official Album Debut on Patient Corgi’s TRIBUTE ALBUM 64!
September 29, 2016 – Released by Patient Corgi , Tribute Album 64 pays homage to the Nintendo 64 era of game music. With over 200 musicians and 87 tracks, this album perfectly represents a wonderful era of gaming in music form. And the best part is it is 100% FREE TO DOWNLOAD!
With my work for the debut album for The Travelers comes close to being complete, I decided to use this opportunity to demonstrate this great group! I chose to arrange “Kokiri Forest” from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. To stick with The Travelers theme, I arranged the piece in a traditional Irish Jig with some modern contemporary Irish sounds (not unlike what you hear with Mumford and Sons). I brought on Michaela Nachtigall (Mklachu) for the violin as a Jig needs a strong violinist, Ian Martyn for bodhrán, bones, mandolin, AND bass, Andrew Steffen: my regular ETHEReal String Orchestra collaborator for viola, and finally Jordan Chin for his godly guitar skills. Of course the merry band wouldn’t be complete without John Montoya on the mixing side. This recording is definitely a labor of love from start to finish. It is about hanging with friends and relaxing with those whom have helped your through some tough times, but at the end of the day… life is good!
You can find the complete FREE album HERE. There are so many amazing artists part of the album and I encourage you to check out the whole thing! It’s free so why not?
Also, please join The Travelers Fan Page!
MULTIPLAYER III: WAVE Release
August 19, 2016 – Today marks the release of Multiplayer III: WAVE! I am both proud and honored to be part of this project as 100% of the proceeds go to Water.org! What better way to not only listen to great music but to also help provide fresh, clean water for those that sorely need it.
I would specifically like to thank John Montoya (mixing engineer), Catboss (Flute), Joe Chen (Viola), Ian Martyn (Guitar, Bass, and Bodhran), and Jordan Chin (Guitar Solo). You all made this production so successful and brought this arrangement to life! Thank you very much!
You can find this album above and at this link! For more links such as Spotify and iTunes, please visit the Discography page above!
To learn more about how you can help our beloved Earth please visit, Water.org!
Album Art by Ian Murray
August 13, 2016 – Today is preview day! The first is the second preview for MULTIPLAYER III: WAVE which will be releasing this month and the second is a clip from the rehearsal of my arrangement of music from Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture. Folklore Guild really nails the emotion here and this really makes me excited to hear the rest with the organ included! This is the opening to my massive work Requiem for the Apocalypse which will be, in its final form, a symphonic and choir work.encompassing select themes from the game Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture.
To learn more about Folklore, you may go here.
This clip features the first big entrance with full choir and is very much identical to the original, but rest assured there will be a lot of things different to this arrangement!
New Album VERSUS is Released!
July 15, 2016 -Combining the talents from both Materia Collective and GameLark Records, is the album VERSUS. All of the music on this album is from a fighting game such as Street Fighter, Streets of Rage, Tekken, Mortal Kombat, Killer Instinct, and MANY MORE! The track I chose to arrange comes from Yuzo Koshiro’s classic score Streets of Rage. More specificaslly I chose to arrange “The Last Soul” which is played on the final stage of the first game. I wanted to make it like the track “See You Space Cowboy” from the end of Cowboy Bebop to where it sounds like a final push to defeat the enemy, but still full of adrenaline and uncertainty.
For this I chose a Jazz/Hip-Hop fusion complete with a live jazz band and lyrics written and performed by Xander Cruise. This was my first venture into Hip-Hop fusion so once again I was nervous at the experiment but I think it turned out alright. But I will let you all be the judges on that!
Special thanks to all the musicians and production crew (Xander Cruise, Tim Keuhlhorn, John Robert Matz, Daniel Romberger, Ann Zeng, Doug Perry, Ian Martyn, and of course Andrew Steffen! You all rock! Purchase links are below! Please support this album!
To listen to the pre-mastered version of this you can listen below, but I highly recommend purchasing the final mastered version to get the best sound quality possible.
Preview of Travelers Music!
June 26, 2016 – We are in the back half of production for Travelers and this means in the next month or so we will have a cool announcement!
This album has been such a refreshing experience for me and the artists involved! We have around 20 people involved in the production of this and I am honored to work with each one of them. To commemorate production getting closer to completion… here is a sample from the album. It is my arrangement of Hiroki Kikuta’s Meridian Dance titled “Ancient Beasts Lay Dormant”. Featuring Performances by David Ramos (Ocarina), Songe (Classical Guitar), Ian Martyn (Bodhran), Joanne Moo (Harp), Michaela Nachtigall (Violin), Joe Chen (Viola), and Michael Evans (Cello).
Bringing Sonic R into the 70s
June 23, 2016 – Today marks the release of an album titled MOBIUS: Sonic the Hedgehog Remixed from the Materia Collective and under the direction of producer Stephen Robert Froeber. I chose to arrange a difficult song (Can You Feel the Sunshine) in a very difficult style (1970’s Power Ballad). This is a completely different sound than what people expect from me. I chose some of the best musicians for my band (John Robert Matz, Doug Perry, Daniel Romberger, Ann Zeng, and Ian Martyn) and a soulful sounding vocalist (Myranda Polk from the Polk Duo). Combining this amazing group really brought my arrangement to life. This was quite the experiment and I hope that you all enjoy this one as much as we all did in producing it!
Below you can find links to support the album and the many artists that worked very hard to bring such great music to life.
And here is the song in its entirety available for listening for a limited time! For higher quality audio, please buy the album in the links above!
Mirror’s Edge meets String Orchestra
June 16, 2016 – With the release of Mirror’s Edge Catalyst, I am simply captivated by its music written by series composer Solar Fields. At first, I thought the Main Theme featuring the band CHVRCHES was odd compared to the very melodic and bright “Still Alive” performed by Lisa Miskovsky. However, the more I listened the more I became captivated by its simplistic and deeper sound.
With that being said, I plan to arrange “Warning Call” from Catalyst using the same ensemble and orchestration technique I used for “Still Alive” from ETHEReal String Project. You can hear the track I did below and if you would like to hear more music like that, please purchase by going to the discography section of this site!
The Next New Thing…
On June 23rd, 2016…
More news coming soon! (I know very anti-climactic). Oh and to add to my vague nonsense, here is a preview. Although my contribution is not in this preview, you will get to hear it at least on the 23rd this month :). Until then, listen to some great music by other artists!
Interview with Emily Reese
Andrew and I had the esteemed pleasure of sitting down with Emily Reese for her show Level with Emily Reese. We talked about the album and our experiences prior and during the recording and I even tease what is to come next with a sample track from my next production The Travelers. Thanks again to Emily for inviting us to talk about what our passions!
You can find the interview in full HERE .
Please support Emily at her Patreon page!
Rave Reviews for ETHEReal String Project
Higher Plain Music:
“The result is an absolutely astounding work of art and Josh has given each arrangement a personal touch to ensure they are successfully transformed.”
“Whether through the alignment of all the planets or simply a partnership with arranger-composer Josh Barron (Kingdom Hearts Album), The ETHEReal String Orchestra presents us with a very lively and pleasurable album.”
“For video game music lovers, this one will sit pretty in your collection.”