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While you're all excited about classic Wing Commander music, now would be a great time to grab The Fatman's Wing Commander soundtrack, "Wing One", through the Amie Street music service. Twenty-six tracks were released throughout the Summer of 2007. Thirty second samples of each track are available to everyone, and once you've bought a song, you can listen to the full version online or download it outright. These are plain old MP3s, free of DRM. The Amie service is a little unusual in that songs start cheap and rise in price up to $0.98 as they become popular. At the time of writing, most Wing One tracks cost "full price" when purchased individually, but the entire album's 26 tracks can be had for just $8.98! Wing Commander fans who missed out on the original premiere of this album are in for a treat. The Fatman has six more albums in his Amie Street catalog, including the soundtrack to The 7th Guest. Check them out here.

This is the soundtrack to the first Wing Commander game by Origin Systems. I was asked by the game's producer, Chris Roberts, to write something that sounded something like Star Wars and Star Trek the Motion Picture. My Team Fat writing partner, Dave Govett, had this little tune (the fanfare/theme) in his head already. It took him about a day to get finished music to me--and with that one tune, game music took what is perhaps a bigger step than it had taken before or has taken since. If you don't believe me, do the research. Try to find a soundtrack with stronger musical sensibility, better composition, or better arrangements. This game supported the then-new MT-32 sound card--this was pre-General MIDI, and most games had just used the internal FM sound card--which was considered high-quality at the time! In addition, Chris Roberts insisted on making the soundtrack interactive. There have been other soundtracks before and since, but this one stood out. Wing Commander was the hit of the CES show that year. These days, game soundtracks that attempt to imitate John Williams are commonplace. I don't like to do it anymore. But to my knowledge, this is the first one, and compositionally remains one of the better ones. I believe that for several years after this, game composers were still not asked to imitate John Williams. They were asked to imitate David Govett and Wing Commander.

You will hear the authentic, original MIDI files, playing back on a Roland MT-32 sound module, as you would have heard if you were playing a Brand New Wing Commander game on The Best Game Sound-Equipped Computer Available At The Time. A touch of Roland Sound Canvass (in MT-32 emulation mode) was added just because it was easy to do and made the tones just a tad-bit richer. Other than that...Welcome To The State of the Art in PC Audio, circa 1990!!!!


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