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50: Unused and Unheard

Sometimes great video game music doesn’t end up in the finalized video game, but that doesn’t mean it's gone forever. Singing Mountain celebrates its fiftieth episode (!) with a playlist of lesser-known, lesser-heard music from famous franchises, including Super Mario Bros., Sonic, Final Fantasy, Streets of Rage, Mega Man, Ys, Castlevania and of course Chrono Trigger, the game whose “lost” track gave this podcast its name. Track listing: 0:08: Singing Mountain / Chrono Trigger / Yasunori...


Bonus Episode: The Nintendo Naptime Mixtape

Relax with all your favorite Nintendo franchises except F-Zero, because that one is never relaxing. But hey, Fire Emblem is here and even Metroid. There’s even Panel de Pon! But with this podcast, there is always Panel de Pon. Track Listing: 0:12: Piranha Plant’s Lullaby / Super Mario 64 / Koji Kondo 2:58: Shooting Star Summit / Paper Mario / Yuka Tsujiyoko and Taishi Senda 6:32: A Rainy Day / Pikmin 3 / Asuka Hayazaki, Atsuko Asahi and Hajime Wakai 9:37: Daytime (Globe) / Wii Weather...


49: Little Nemo in 30 Minutes

Little Nemo: The Dream Master was a NES-era Capcom platformer that didn’t star a robot or a gargoyle or a millionaire duck. This title was one of the tougher 8-bit platformers, but it was also one of the best composed, with a soundtrack by Junko Tamiya that features melodies that will stick with you… or at least stuck with Drew for almost three decades. Track listing; 0:06: Prologue Theme / Little Nemo: The Dream Master / Junko Tamiya 0:58: House of Toys / Little Nemo: The Dream Master /...


48: My Stepdad Is the Game Master

In a Singing Mountain first, this episode features a person who is not me: Katherine Spiers, friend and business partner, comes in to talk about TableCakes, the Los Angeles-based podcast network we started together and what that means for Singing Mountain listeners. She also talks about growing up being the stepdaughter of Howard Phillips, the American spokesperson for Nintendo back in the NES days and then we play a loosely structured game about video game music. Plus two stories about...


47: Street Fighter But With Vampires and Werewolves

Singing Mountain’s celebration of Halloween comes to an end with the most Halloween-appropriate fighting series in history, Darkstalkers. This is a “music only” episode befitting the season, but Drew is pledging to give this franchise a fully annotated spotlight episode one day. For now, please enjoy a taste of the series that made a mummy fight an evil bee. Track listing: 0:09: Player Secret 1 / Darkstalkers: The Night Warriors / Takayuki Iwai and Hideki Okugawa 2:05: Continue Theme / Night...


46: 16 Bits of Terror

The horrors of the Halloween season never sounded creepier than when they were channeled through the audio processors of the Super NES and Sega Genesis. Welcome to my 16-bit nightmare. Track listing: 0:07: Prologue / Super Castlevania IV / Masanori Adachi and Taro Kudo 2:48: The Nightbreed / Treasure of the Rudras / Ryuji Sasai 5:33: Mystic Chanting / Chrono Trigger / Yasunori Mitsuda 7:30: Mystic Cave Zone / Sonic the Hedgehog 2 / Masato Nakamura 9:30: Macabre Funk / Magic Sword / Kouji...


45: Cursed Spinach (a Game Boy Halloween)

Why does creepy music sound even creepier when channeled through a Game Boy? Maybe it’s that we still think of the Game Boy as a system we played on family trips. Maybe we think about it being more innocent, like when we were kids. Regardless the reason, when it skews sinister it gets uncomfy real fast, and this Halloween episode features some of the most unsettling music yet. BTW, this episode is limited to creamed spinach-era Game Boy and Game Boy Color only. Track listing: 0:09: Tower /...


44: An 8-Bit Halloween, Part Two: The Sequel

It’s October, and Singing Mountain celebrates the Halloween season with the first actual, fully fledged sequel episode: a follow-up to Episode 10: An 8-Bit Halloween from October last year. Like the original, it’s a celebration of the spookiest music to ever be created for the NES and/or Famicom systems. Boo. Track listing: 0:08: Prelude / Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse / Yoshinori Sasaki, Jun Funahashi and Yukie Morimoto 6:23: The Ghoul Realm / Gargoyle’s Quest II: The Demon Darkness /...


43: Legend of the Haunted Arcade

Horror-themed games are relatively rare in the arcade, but this first October episode looks at a handful of ’80s titles that sound spooky in the good way. This Friday episode features tracks from Haunted Castle (the arcade version of Castlevania), Splatterhouse and Ghouls ’n Ghosts. What’s your favorite spooky-sounding work of VGM? Track listing: 0:08: The Crypt Elevator / The Simpsons (Arcade) / Norio Hanzawa 2:21: Bloody Tears / Haunted Castle / Kenichi Matsubara 3:40: Evil Cross &...


42: A Beautiful Place by Moonlight

Night doesn’t have to be scary. This episode brings together video game music that suggests the ways night can be the most exciting part of the day. I’m calling this a sequel to Episode 11, Moonlight Drive. Track listing: 0:09: Gloom of the N.H.B. / NiGHTS into Dreams / Tomoko Sasaki 5:00: Silvery Light of the Moon / Thunder Force IV / Toshiharu Yamanishi, Takeshi Yoshida and Tomomi Ootani 7:48: Planet 7 / Street Fighter 2010 / Junko Tamiya 11:34: Prayer of a Tragic Queen / Castlevania:...


41: Doshin the Giant in 30 Minutes

It’s a game you maybe haven’t heard of. And if you have heard of it, you probably haven’t played it. And even if you have played it, you probably still haven’t heard the “full” soundtrack. Spend thirty-some minutes with Tatsuhiko Asano’s trippy tropicalia in the expanded soundtrack to Doshin the Giant, a Nintendo series that came and went but is perhaps worth a second look. Track listing: 0:16: The Theme of Doshin the Giant / Doshin the Giant / Tatsuhiko Asano 1:52: Bonfire / Doshin the...


40: Save Point

Sometimes you just need a break. This episode is all about relaxation… and I promise I’ll do an episode where I intro every track next week. For now? Just kick back and go to a pixelly place. Track listing: 0:10: Star Lift / Mario Party 3 / Ichiro Shimakura 2:10: Beacon / Fez / Disasterpeace 4:36: Space Junk Road / Super Mario Galaxy / Mahito Yokota 8:05: Big Water / Ecco the Dolphin 2: The Tides of Time / Gabor Foltan, Csaba Gigor, Laszlo Fazekas 10:54: Game Over / Shin Megami Tensei OST II...


39: Super Adventure Island in 30 Minutes

Streets of Rage and the Ys series most likely top most VGM fans’ lists of the best-composed Yuzo Koshiro games, but they'd likely be leaving out his unlikely turn in Super Adventure Island, where he lent the Hudson Soft platforming series a higher level of cool than it deserved, with a soundtrack that combines reggae, calypso and hip hop influences. Track listing: 0:09: Round 1 / Adventure Island / Jun Chikuma 2:21: Round 2 / Adventure Island / Jun Chikuma 4:59: Blue Blue Moon a.k.a....


Bonus Episode: The VGM Dance Mixtape

It's a super megamix of the dance tracks featured in episodes 29, 30 and 31, plus some extras from previous episodes, all adding up to just under two full hours of video game music you can dance to. (Or so I think, anyway.) Enjoy! Track Listing: 1:29: Levels 5 & 6 / Dance Aerobics / Unknown Composer 3:15: Disco Train / Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest / David Wise 6:42: Chemical Plant Zone / Sonic the Hedgehog 2 / Masato Nakamura 8:48: Track 1 / Top Gear / Barry Leitch 12:34:...


38: Samurai Shodown in 30 Minutes

The classic SNK hacking and dicing fighter finally gets its Singing Mountain spotlight, and everyone is going to lose a limb. In roughly thirty minutes, you'll get traditional Japanese compositions, some stuff inspired by western music and then a little of the nifty ambiance for which the series is famous. Track listing: 0:12: Fifteen Warriors / Samurai Shodown 2 / SNK Sound Team 1:57: Bamboo Thicket (Jubei Yagyu) / Samurai Shodown / SNK Sound Team 4:06: Comma-Shaped Jewels (Kyoshiro Senyro)...


37: The Problem With Chai Kingdom

Mario’s first-ever adventure on a portable system has a great soundtrack, but its final world, Chai Kingdom, features an example of a certain melody that has long been a shorthand for all manner of Asian cultures, accurately or not. This episode — which is one where Drew talks a lot, you should probably know — explores where this nine-note structure came from and how we should regard it now that we know it’s a bunch of malarkey. But what VGM is actually authentic to the culture it is...


36: Mega Man 3 in 30 Minutes

Today I'm rolling out a new feature on Singing Mountain: a regular Friday afternoon "mostly music" episode that gives you a solid thirty minutes of music. This first week focuses on the NES classic, Mega Man 3. Track listing: 0:12: Select Screen / Mega Man 3 / Yasuaki Fujita (a.k.a. Bun Bun) 2:16: Title Theme / Mega Man 3 / Yasuaki Fujita 5:17: Gemini Man / Mega Man 3 / Yasuaki Fujita 8:13: Shadow Man / Mega Man 3 / Harumi Fujita 11:08: Magnet Man / Mega Man 3 / Yasuaki Fujita 14:01: Hard...


35: Least Likely to Be in Smash Bros.

A history lesson (with musical aids!) that explores lesser-celebrated Nintendo games by pointing out which characters are probably not going to be playable in the upcoming Smash Bros. game, from Sky Skipper to Panel de Pon to Captain Rainbow. Track listing: 0:12: Bonus Stage Theme / Balloon Fight / Hirokazu Tanaka 3:09: Recover Health / Mole Mania / Taro Bando 5:11: Stage 3 / Sutte Hakkun / Akito Nakatsuka 7:10: Castle Theme / Mysterious Castle Murasame / Koji Kondo 11:21: Course Theme /...


34: Return to Big Ape City

Long live King K. Rool! In Donkey Kong Land, the Donkey Kong Country games had spinoffs on the Game Boy that tread into weird territory not covered by the Super NES version of the series. This episode looks at the original areas created for the first Donkey Kong Land and how the music for these locations tried really hard to match David Wise’s newly established Donkey Kong Country sound. Track listing: 0:09: Gangplank Galleon / Donkey Kong Country / David Wise 3:38: Main Theme Menagerie /...


33: Rhapsody in Creamed Spinach

This is a celebration of the sounds of the classic, green screen-era Game Boy, which can be as beautiful as what you'd hear on any fancypants console system capable of displaying full color. Thanks much to everyone who reached out with their suggestions for their favorite Game Boy tracks. Without you I wouldn't have ever learned who Yakapoo was. Track listing: 0:06: Stage 1 / Battletoads / David Wise 2:42: Link Awakens (Marin’s House) / Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening / Minako Hamano and...