September 25th, 2009

hack hack

Faxanadu Soundtrack (OST)

A while ago I got interested in obtaining a high-quality version of the music to the old Nintendo game Faxanadu. I searched high and low, but could only find some crappy MP3s. I considered the idea of using an emulator to make mathematically "perfect" emulations of the sound chip in the NES, but once I realized that Mr. Beatings actually had a physical copy of the game, I could go right to the source, and sample the hardware itself.

So I did. Weird Stuff had an old NES sitting in a back room, and they sold it to me for twenty bucks. Then I got ahold of directions for modding it to produce "stereo" sound - or at least, to separate the sounds that the Nintendo could create into two separate channels. So I cracked open the case and soldered some wires. Then I hooked this Franken-Box up to a tiny television set and my firewire audio box, and started playing Faxanadu.

Having the raw audio wasn't enough, though. I wanted it to be a good listen, and I wanted to personalize it a little. So I applied some sneaky stereo imagery filtering to the audio tracks, and took a low-pass version of the bassline and doubled it down an octave. I threw in some in-game sound effects. Then I "remixed" two of the tracks, by dropping in some old Braindead Monkeys loops. I also took pictures of the mod process, and the game on the little television screen, and turned those into track-by-track "album art".

The result is available in full, below. Note that these are 48Khz lossless encodings (downsampled from 96Khz). They can't be burned to an audio CD without being downsampled to 44, but they will play on any computer, and any decent portable audio player made in the last six years or so, including all iPods.

Altogether this release is about 20 minutes long. NES games weren't known for long soundtracks. Let me know what you think!