The music world has always had an issue establishing to the listener just how much thought and work went into a given song. People don’t think too much about the songs that play through their car’s speakers on their commutes to and from work. The DJ’s selecting the songs don’t provide much help either, just moving right along into the next track. Meanwhile on Youtube people are just as passive. The algorithm always seems to funnel people down a rabbit hole that points them to long-form relaxed videos like Three Hours of Relaxing Super Nintendo Music, or the Lo-Fi hiphop 24/7 Beats To Study And Relax To. It reminds me of an old-channel from the 2007 days of Youtube called Garudoh, who created ten minute medleys of a game’s greatest hits, and let them play over footage he found.
These are fine strictly for consumption, but for anyone that wants to learn more about video game music, or understand just why a song sounds the way that it does, most channels blatantly ignore that.
In comes GST, the best video game music channel on the site. Having started back in 2016, GST takes on the noble task of fleshing out and properly contextualizing video game music to the listener, rather than just plopping the songs into the listener’s ears as if they happened out of nowhere.
The channel is run by an independent composer named anosci, whose music can be found here.
He has three types of videos. First, is his GSTMix series where he creates a playlist of songs across various games that all share the same musical standards and motifs. Like Garudoh’s old videos, the songs play over footage of their respective game, but GST builds on this with text that explains what makes each song special, whether that be its context in the game it came from, or some theoretical tidbit about the song’s time signatures and progressions.
Then comes his Artist Feature series. Anosci forgoes the Harry Gregson Williams’, the Koji Kondo’s, and the Nobuo Uematsu’s of the world to instead give light to lesser-known composers. Rather, the people highlighted on GST are guys like Tim Follin, a chiptune king who made sure to get the absolute most out of the hardware he worked on, Yuzo Koshiro the composer best suited for the Sega Genesis’ unique sound library, or David Wise, a composer for Rare who started humbly on the NES, before creating an absolutely transcendent score for Donkey Kong Country.
Hell, one of the guys featured, Jonathan Dunn, made the song used in that weird Artison ad and Dilbert 3!
All of GST’s featured artists have a strong background in chiptune composing, which keeps each video interesting, as half of what makes their songs the achievement that they are, is the challenges and limitations that accompanied them.
In his GST videos, anosci uses the text to talk about the composer’s inspiration, technique, as well as the circumstances they worked through in order to create the music. The spotlight videos also show quotes from each composer regarding the track playing, as well as clippings from various gaming magazines reviewing the games.
The editing on each playlist is absolutely seamless. He manages to ensure a smooth transition from one song to next, while also aligning them in chronological order, so that the viewer can get a feel for how each composer progresses and matures throughout their career.
Third among the types of videos that can be found on the GST Channel are the more theoretical and technical videos, where anosci speaks and explains a variety of different topics. He’s touched on areas like the capabilities and sampling power of the SNES, the sketchy history of racy 16-bit video games, how Sega Genesis music was made in 1994, and even how to create a slide show on your Super Nintendo.
anosci’s GST Channel stands out mainly because he fills a dire need in the video game music scene, helping others understand the history, and spotlighting the composers who still have yet to be embraced or even acknowledged by the larger gaming community. He makes sublime, well-researched, and easy-to-watch videos that can be enjoyed by casual chip-tune fans, and more serious appreciators of gaming music. All that separates these two audiences is whether or not they have his spotlights and mixes on in the background, or if they’re actively watching them and reading the text.
Follow the GST Channel on YouTube, check out anosci’s bandcamp and his twitter accounts for music and the youtube channel!