Celtic Collection Review: Team Effort

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is one of my favorite games of all time, so when I saw the announcement trailer for Celtic Collection: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, I knew I had to get an early listen. Thankfully, Sean Schafianski, one of the album’s producers, offered me a review copy so that I could fully immerse myself in this album before providing my thoughts. After five or six listens, I’m still collecting my thoughts, but I feel confident in calling this album an intriguing escape from reality.
From the moment that “Let Us Play” starts, you embark to a world of mystery, fantasy, danger, and despair. Producers Sean Schafianski and Ashlee Busch stick closely to the original arrangements and instrumentation, but I should call attention to the wonderfully blended virtual instruments which are nestled quite nicely with the live performances. This is a folk album paying tribute to folk songs, so there aren’t too many surprises, but each track manages to stand on its own without blending together. Nevertheless, the highlight of Celtic Collection is Ashlee Busch.
Ashlee’s voice is the guiding light of the album, drawing the listener in and bewitching them. While “Kaer Morhen” and “Game of Gwent” serve as delightful instrumental interludes, the real magic happens in moments like the beautiful duet during “Wolven Storm” or the haunting final moments of “Lullaby of Woe”. Of course, I can’t mention Ashlee’s voice without mentioning the excellent production by Sean. The mix is perfect with each instrument in its rightful place, and the mastering allows Ashlee to shine. Celtic Collection is a team effort, and Sean and Ashlee make a wonderful team.
Listen to the album on Spotify

Video Game Menu Music Gets Its Own Tribute Album


Mike Fahey

The music we listen to as we play our favorite games is nice, but what about the music we hear when we aren’t playing? The Materia Collective community celebrates the music of the start screen with Menu: An Homage To Game Title Themes, a 52 track remix album featuring music from Final Fantasy, The Witcher, Mario Kart, Doki Doki Literature Club and more.

Sometimes we only hear these tunes for a brief moment before pressing start. Other times we leave them running in the background for ages while doing other things. Game titles themes and menu music are some of the best earworms, and the Materia Collective community has done beautiful things with it. You can hear some of that in the trippy teaser trailer they put together for the album.
I’ve been listening to the album all weekend. So far my favorites are Fabian Fabro’s delightful take on the theme to
Doki Doki Literature Club and David Russell’s rendition of the file select music from Super Mario 64.

Here’s the track listing for Menu, complete with links to the songs on Bandcamp, where the entire album can be purchased digitally for $16 (or more). Menu can also be found on iTunes, Google Play and Spotify.


Pints and Piccolos


“A lot of the music is written by classically trained composers, but there are influences of jazz and rock that you can hear,” said M.I. Concerts founder Tia Harvey. “It is contemporary classical music in that we’re playing classical instrument and the composers have written out the music, but it’s not something that would be out of place in a bar.”

Harvey, a Ferndale resident and Michigan State University doctoral student, lined up the musicians and selected the repertoire for concert. The program includes two works written specifically for the concert: “US 2” by Philip Rice and “Petoskey Stones” by Ashlee Busch. Both composers are Michigan natives and alums of Michigan State University’s graduate composition program. Other works on the program include “Original Blend” by Grand Valley State University professor Bill Ryan and “Lost Lines” by MSU doctoral student Justin Rito.”
-Ty Forquer

Source: Lansing CityPulse

Connecting People and Places with Classical Music


“We spend a lot of time playing to each other as college musicians,” says Harvey. “I think we need to work to make chamber and classical music more accessible to general audiences, and get the music out to the community.”
-MSU College of Music

Source: MSU College of Music

[REVIEW] ELF: A Multimedia Performance


“All of the live material blended quite smoothly with the electronics, creating the illusion of one large instrument. In particular, the strumming of the piano strings created a dark wash of sound with indistinct pitch that was almost indistinguishable from the electronics.”
-Reilly Spitzfaden