All About That Bass, No Rebels

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a must for anyone who is a fan of video game music, of all ages. It was a welcoming and fun atmosphere where like minds could chat and make new friends
— Alistair Lindsay

The first All Your Bass videogame music festival took place last month, and what a debut it was. We were joined by legends of composition such as David Wise, Rob Hubbard and Masaya Matsuura, who all performed amongst a line-up of upcoming and established creatives and innovators. All Your Bass is, and will continue to be, more than just a music festival though; the performances were supplemented with expert walkthroughs detailing how each composition was constructed, unveiling the genius behind the sublime. These people are not only game creators, but true artists and brilliant musicians.

Photos by @Samathy_Barratt

Every performer was a highlight, but Blake Troise and Yshani Perinpanayagam treated the audience to renditions of popular music soundtracks like never heard before – who knew Electronic Wind Instruments (EWI) were a thing?! Yshani, whose original compositions combining classical piano and retro game sound left the audience in raptures, told us how important AYB had been for her: “All Your Bass provides such fertile ground for the exploration of cross-genre creating. Like in netball when you pivot, you can have one foot in gaming and the other foot in, well anywhere!”

Yshani has described here precisely what AYB and the Continue network aims to achieve, getting people from all backgrounds into everything games related.

Take Jessica Curry, for example, who readily admits that she’s not a ‘gamer’ yet is responsible for the creation of one of the greatest soundtracks to come out of The Chinese Room, and indeed the United Kingdom. Dear Esther was performed live as a walkthrough and orchestral piece at Nottingham Royal Concert Hall as the festival’s Friday night headline act. Speaking about her affinity for videogame music after the show, Jessica explained her background before Dear Esther: “There’s so much more you can do with a videogame composition than you can for a film or for television. I learnt my craft as a I went along — I think naivety can be a help, I’m not classically trained and I learnt my trade as I went along”

All Your Bass provides such fertile ground for the exploration of cross-genre creating. Like in netball when you pivot, you can have one foot in gaming and the other foot in, well anywhere!
— Yshani Perinpanayagam

There were also experts and key figures from the videogame industry – Alistair Lindsay, Head of Audio at Sony Interactive Entertainment Europe, spoke about his journey into videogames at the festival. He told us that AYB is “a must for anyone who is a fan of video game music, of all ages. It was a welcoming and fun atmosphere where like minds could chat and make new friends”

There really is something for everyone at AYB, with the thundering drums of Donkey Kong from David Wise and the serene, minimalist piano from Mike Bithell and David Housden’s Thomas Was Alone, every taste was catered for.

Our headline act for the Saturday was the legendary Masaya Matsuura, who performed music live at our bar venue, Antenna. His unique style is perfect for a collaboration the National Videogame Arcade recently completed with Masaya, who has written a soundtrack for the building.

Inspired by the jingles used in Tokyo underground stations, the announcements combine function and funky to provide the NVA with its very own melody – listen out for them next time you’re here!


 
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Christopher Milner
Research Assistant at the National Videogame Foundation and Masters Student at the University of Nottingham