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  #31  
Old May 18, 2012, 11:09 PM
Boco Boco is offline
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Nice! I'm more of a winter person myself. My hometown is perpetually summer and so I tend to long for rain, snow, clouds, ice, etc.

Manabu Namiki / Everything
Pretty safe to add Namiki to my list. He's got quite the discography and everything I've heard to date has been awesome. Espgaluda, Mushihimesama, Deathsmiles and so on. His infectious melodies get stuck in my head (in a good way) and he certainly knows how to rock. Namiki is one composer with whom I definitely need to spend some more time.
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  #32  
Old May 19, 2012, 03:30 AM
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Yes! I've always found snow/winter/ice/ music in video games to be beautiful as well.
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  #33  
Old May 19, 2012, 12:41 PM
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Naoshi Mizuta / Final Fantasy XI
Never a popular choice. XD This man nearly ruined Final Fantasy for me. I hated the FFXI soundtrack when I first got it. It was too different; it wasn't what I expected. I kept coming back to it though and slowly, very slowly, it began to grow on me. Then came the expansions and eventually I was playing the game online with friends. Now it's become one of my favorite soundtracks and Mizuta continues to catch me off guard with works like Blood of Bahamut, Hikari no 4 Senshi, and Final Fantasy XIII-2. Was it just repetition? Did Mizuta wear me down? Maybe. If so, then I'm glad that I gave him the chance.
Oh yes, good choice. I feel pretty similar about him too, didn't like him initially, but grew to REALLY like certain aspects of him. In fact, he made me realise the fun one could have listening to the more militaristic, march-ey themes of VGM. He can certainly weave beautiful melodies to rival that of Mitsuda's, too. He's not quite up there for me yet though, but that'll probably change if he maintains XIII-2 form.

Parasite Eve II was awful though, probably my least favourite VGM album.
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  #34  
Old May 21, 2012, 10:05 AM
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Since favorite doesn't always mean the absolute best, I'll name some of the people who really interest me.

Hitoshi Sakimoto - My singular favorite VGM artist if I had to pick only one. I know some people accuse him of repeating himself and sounding generic, but I think that's not quite fair, since he normally tries to throw in some twist if the game allows. See Soukyuugurentai, Vagrant Story, Legaia II: Duel Saga, Breath of Fire V, Gradius V, or Lord of Vermilion II for just a few. He is very diverse when he's allowed to be and I think he has untapped abilities still left.

Hayato Matsuo - My favorite orchestrator I've ever heard. Whenever this man gets an orchestra he crafts the kind of rich, thick, sophisticated sound I want to hear. See the Panzer Dragoon vocal pieces, his arrangement of "Radical Dreamers" for A Night in Fantasia 2009, or his own song, "Sonatina of the Breeze" for Magic Knight Rayearth, and his synth stuff still retains much of the depth. He also makes some pretty bizarre, crazy funk music, as Blitz Lunar mentioned with Syvalion. I am of the belief that he is such a pro he could do anything if asked.

Hajime Wakai - Sounds kind of similar to Matsuo, so it was as if they had asked me personally my wishes when Pikmin's "A Panoramic View" was arranged by him for Symphonic Legends (it turned out perfect). I really enjoy his Star Fox 64 and Pikmin sound. Haven't played Skyward Sword yet but I hope the music is as good as I want it to be.

Miyoko Kobayashi - We all know Terranigma is fantastic, and her Granstream Saga music retains the quality. She has a really special sound I wish could be heard more often.

Saori Kobayashi - Ditto for the other Kobayashi, but substitute Terranigma for Panzer Dragoon Saga and Orta. Also "If I Run With You I'll Cry" from Sakura Note makes me wish she'd arrange a whole Uematsu soundtrack, since I think she could bring something more distinctive and creative than his usual arrangers do.

Tsuyoshi Sekito - The Last Remnant and Gyromancer are good stuff. I think he and Yasuhiro Yamanaka would be a good choice for arranging an Uematsu soundtrack as well, seems they'd be a good fit.

Masashi Hamauzu - I was certainly not a fanboy as many people are; SaGa Frontier II is too long and repetitive without enough standout tracks, I do not understand what is supposed to be so special about his piano arrangements to make them better than anyone else with some skill, Dirge of Cerberus would be great if it actually had more than about six melodies over the course of 2 hours, etc. But Sigma Harmonics was a good sign and then Final Fantasy XIII did exactly what I wanted it to do. I do appreciate his distinctive kind of sound, especially when he applies it on tunes as good as FFXIII has and I look forward to new works from him.

Koji Kondo - Please write more music! We took you for granted when you were the composer at Nintendo because you could always be relied upon to write sheer greatness every time. You make it look effortless and once you hear other people doing Mario and Zelda music and it most of the time just isn't the same, we can see it's not so easy for most musicians.

I could go on but I should stop, I reckon.
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  #35  
Old May 23, 2012, 03:50 PM
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There's quite a few artists whose releases I always look forward to (or hold in high regard), but if there's ever an artist who I've created a cult of personality around it is definitely Shoji Meguro. I simply adore all of his work, be it the dark & edgy Shin Megami Tensei III, the jazzy Devil Summoner or the trippy electronica of Maken games, that guy has got all the bases covered. I've listened to basically all of his stuff by now and I love it all.

Other composers who come to my mind:

Hidenori Shoji - I'm only familiar with his Yakuza soundtracks, but if there is a composer I associate with the trademark series' sound, it is him, and it comes to no surprise that I favour the music of the earlier games (where his contribution is relatively greater than in the latest installments). That guy sure knows how to rock!

Kota Hoshino - While I don't feel I've listened to his music as much as Meguro's, he could probably be the second best composer next to Shoji Meguro if his recent contributions in the Armored Core series is of any indication (especially the majestic for answer). He has this unique style that oozes through the work...

There are probably many more, but I'm pretty certain these three belong to my TOP 3 composers.

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  #36  
Old May 24, 2012, 01:07 AM
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He also makes some pretty bizarre, crazy funk music, as Blitz Lunar mentioned with Syvalion
I love that stuff - I collected a whole bunch of it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wg5DXJqBcIo

Shame he doesn't write in this style anymore it's what got me into him.
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  #37  
Old May 24, 2012, 01:39 PM
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It's funny, hearing that stuff, you'd never guess he has such command over an orchestra. I will say I do prefer that side of him, or more broadly the more traditional side, to the funk insanity, but the funk does have its virtue. It normally takes me a few listens of his tracks in that style to be able to grasp it because there's so much coming at you. Or I'm just not a terribly funky person. Must have been quite tedious to program all that stuff too.
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  #38  
Old May 24, 2012, 03:01 PM
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What's also cool about Matsuo, is that he apparently were classmates with my favorite underrated composer, Motoaki Takenouchi. Both of them graduated the same year, 1991, and went to work to with Koichi Sugiyama. I should look more into Matsuo's work for this sole reason alone. I just might find more songs to love!
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  #39  
Old May 24, 2012, 06:42 PM
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I'm incredibly wishy-washy and forgetful, so my opinions change on an hourly basis, but my absolute favorites have remained fairly consistent.
  • Tim Follin SOUNDCHIP SHREDDIN' SUPERSTAR
  • Norio/Kazuo Hanzawa has this bizarre sense of musicality that has no equal in the entire world of music. To look into his mind is probably to know true madness.
  • Hiroshi Kawaguchi, through Outrun, After Burner, and Fantasy Zone, pretty much invented video game music for me.
  • Akihiko Mori is the guy on this list I've most considered downgrading. I really got into him at about the same time I learned he died, so I've kind of wondered if that affected my opinion. That said, I've never been able to do it, since I love Gokinjo Bouken Tai and Wonder Project J2 so much. His battle themes from GBT, Mystic Ark, etc. are several cuts above.
  • Motoaki Takenouchi wrote my favorite piece of music on the Genesis, "Mysterious Island" from Landstalker. He is also PROG AS FUCK. Probably the time sig wankiest of all VGM composers, which is nice because I am easily impressed by that sort of thing.
Right below those five is a huge class of incredibly talented guys and gals: Shinji Hosoe, Ayako Saso, Hisayoshi Ogura, Yasuhisa Watanabe, Kazuko Umino, Manabu Namiki, Soyo Oka, Kazumi Totaka, Ryoji Yoshitomi, Masaru Tajima, Hayato Matsuo, Kohta Takahashi, Jeremy Soule, Garry Schyman, Jake Kaufman, Jesper Kyd, Rob Hubbard, Matt Simmonds, Frederic Motte, Richard Jacques, Ryu Umemoto, Hyakutaro Tsukumo, Hiroyuki Iwatsuki, Yasuyuki Suzuki, Takushi Hiyamuta, Ken Kojima, Aki Hata, Hirofumi Taniguchi, Taro Kudo, Masanori Adachi, Katsuhiko Suzuki, etc. I could do this all day and I'm pretty sure most of you could too.


And above everyone else mentioned in this post is the combined unit of Jun Ishikawa & Hirokazu Ando, who are less composers and more my religion of the past decade.
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  #40  
Old May 24, 2012, 08:05 PM
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What's also cool about Matsuo, is that he apparently were classmates with my favorite underrated composer, Motoaki Takenouchi. Both of them graduated the same year, 1991, and went to work to with Koichi Sugiyama. I should look more into Matsuo's work for this sole reason alone. I just might find more songs to love!
And they both went on to do crazier stuff than Koichi has ever done—Matsuo on the prog-funk and arrangement side, and Takenouchi in realms of prog-rock madness, with that classical twinge he must've inherited from his teacher. I call them Post-Sugiyama for short.

Great post, CHz. If I was willing to, I'd go into immense detail about the game musicians I love the most. I just never have the time, especially not here on VGMdb.
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  #41  
Old May 25, 2012, 04:02 AM
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What's also cool about Matsuo, is that he apparently were classmates with my favorite underrated composer, Motoaki Takenouchi. Both of them graduated the same year, 1991, and went to work to with Koichi Sugiyama. I should look more into Matsuo's work for this sole reason alone. I just might find more songs to love!
Yeah, I think that's so cool. I wish I could be a fly on the wall back in their uni days, listening to them discuss Yes, ELP, King Crimson and whatever other music inspired them... lol. But as great as they are at that they're also fabulous orchestrators.

And now Takenouchi has disappeared without a trace. I figure Matsuo would know something, but he doesn't exactly have a strong internet presence either. The only other people I can imagine would know anything are Noriyuki Iwadare and perhaps Shinji Hosoe.

CHz: yes you have the best taste, so many of my favourites in that list, but also some names I don't recognise at all (Hyakutaro Tsukumo, Taro Kudo, Hirofumi Taniguchi.) Recommendations?
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  #42  
Old May 25, 2012, 05:30 AM
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Blitz: I could ask Iwadare or Hosoe if they know anything. Hitoshi Sakimoto could be a third option as well. And Taro Kudo did the music to Axelay and some of Super Castlevania IV. He's the only one I recognize there.

CHz: Nice to see other people are actually aware of Landstalker's soundtrack! It's probably my favorite non-Sonic Genesis soundtrack. I soooo wish we had more of the original MIDI demos (Like the Premonition of Trouble one) of all the songs. Motoaki also wrote my absolute favorite piece from the Genesis, as well! I get chills at 1:36 every time.

And as I said before, I was looking for random songs by Matsuo that I might enjoy, and I already found one. : )
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  #43  
Old May 25, 2012, 05:41 AM
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And as I said before, I was looking for random songs by Matsuo that I might enjoy, and I already found one. : )
on my alternate youtube channel, no less ;J I'd like to upload more songs from that soundtrack, it's ace. or you could grab the USF set that's on hcs64, also tagged by me~~~
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  #44  
Old May 25, 2012, 01:19 PM
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Yeah, I think that's so cool. I wish I could be a fly on the wall back in their uni days, listening to them discuss Yes, ELP, King Crimson and whatever other music inspired them... lol. But as great as they are at that they're also fabulous orchestrators.

Absolutely. The two of them were pre-eminent in their time, I think, both because they inherited the best underlying principles that made Sugiyama's music work so well, and they developed their unique styles from there on.

And now Takenouchi has disappeared without a trace. I figure Matsuo would know something, but he doesn't exactly have a strong internet presence either. The only other people I can imagine would know anything are Noriyuki Iwadare and perhaps Shinji Hosoe.

Matsuo might know, too, unless there's evidence that he's forgotten about his old college mate.

CHz: yes you have the best taste, so many of my favourites in that list, but also some names I don't recognise at all (Hyakutaro Tsukumo, Taro Kudo, Hirofumi Taniguchi.) Recommendations?
Tsukumo replaced Toshiharu Yamanishi as the main musician at Technosoft—from there, he became the longest-lasting, most-prolific composer and arranger at the soft-house, though I don't think he ever achieved what Toshiharu did with Elemental Master and Thunder Force IV alone.

Kudo was doing stuff like Super Castlevania IV at Konami, but he eventually joined up with Kenichi Nishi at Love-de-Lic to work on Moon RPG's soundtrack, alongside other Konami veterans like Hirofumi Taniguchi. He even got to direct his own game there, and now he's off doing whatever. Same goes for Taniguchi, who's been busy here and there. His best work was back in the LDL days, where he was the latter half of the Thelonious Monkees, doing crazy weird music for games like UFO (which is the most Frank Zappa-esque soundtrack I've heard in a game ever).
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  #45  
Old May 25, 2012, 04:13 PM
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on my alternate youtube channel, no less ;J I'd like to upload more songs from that soundtrack, it's ace. or you could grab the USF set that's on hcs64, also tagged by me~~~
Yep, I already DLed it. ; )
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  #46  
Old May 25, 2012, 05:31 PM
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some names I don't recognise at all (Hyakutaro Tsukumo, Taro Kudo, Hirofumi Taniguchi.) Recommendations?
dissident93 and DragoonEnRegalia covered all three already, but I'll go ahead anyway since I love talking about these guys. :3

Tsukumo does that video gamey synth rockin' thing; I personally like him more than Toshiharu Yamanishi, but Yamanishi is great too (I would've included him in the list if his name had come to mind when I was posting!). My favorites of his are Blast Wind and Thunder Force V. He's mostly done H-games since Technosoft and branched out his writing a bit, although he's done a lot of doujin arrangements and original pieces in a similar style to his older material.

You might not know Kudo's name, but I'm sure you're already familiar with his music, since you're big on some of those early Konami works. His only music works I'm aware of are most of Axelay, an unknown amount of Super Castlevania IV, and a couple of weird pieces for Moon (which everyone should listen to, since that album is an experience). Axelay and SCIV are some of my favorite soundtracks on any system, and I wish he'd do more music. He does game design and direction these days and is currently the representative director of Vanpool. I really wish he'd get back into composing, but whatever makes him happy!

Taniguchi worked on a few games for Konami: Contra Hard Corps, Madara 2 (recommended, although I suspect Tappy was the lead composer), and the original Suikoden. He really came into his own when he went to Love-de-Lic and later Skip; he has this quirky voice that kind of defies categorization and there isn't anyone who makes music quite like him. Post-Konami recommendations are Moon (especially BLUE and KERA-MA-GO), UFO: A Day in the Life (my favorite solo score), and the Giftpia title theme.

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Motoaki also wrote my absolute favorite piece from the Genesis, as well! I get chills at 1:36 every time.
My favorite from Jewel Master! I love that in your face chord at 0:20 where Takenouchi grabs you by the throat and reminds you how awesome he is.
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  #47  
Old May 25, 2012, 06:54 PM
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See: I just don't like Hyakutaro's style as much as Toshiharu's, and it often doesn't work as well for the games Technosoft was making as it would with Toshiharu at the helm. Elemental Master is Toshiharu's only solo work from Technosoft, but it perfectly encapsulates his stylistic tendencies and makes them work within a strict framework, track progression, and neo-baroque style that works for him and for the game itself. Thunder Force IV is simply one of the best game soundtracks ever produced—so fruitfully-realized in and out, with all of its experimental boss themes, contrasting usage of heavy metal tropes and distorted alien themes (mixed together in pieces like "Down Right Attack"), and some amazing melodic work too (if "Metal Squad" is any evidence here). I've written an extensive series of reviews going over Technosoft's CD library for SEMO—they haven't been published yet, but it took me a while, and a lot of thinking and trying to understand the underlying reasons for why I preferred Toshiharu over Hyakutaro instinctively. Personally: I think Hyakutaro over-arranges and muddies up his general sound with too many synth layers, while Toshiharu strikes a worthy balance in his arrangements. They're both competent and, at times, top of their class, but Toshiharu is definitely my favorite for a number of reasons. Toshiharu's done some great work outside of eroge games, solo albums, Technosoft, and his metal arranging for D.M.C.—I listened to the non-battle tracks from Gust's Falcata quite recently, and they were pretty good given the sample quality and how new he was to doing JRPG music. Hyakutaro, unlike Toshiharu, has always stuck to the majority of his personal stylistic preferences, whereas Toshiharu is usually a good deal better about adapting and trying out new things. Just wish he'd have more of a chance to experiment in the doujin scene today.

I really want to write more about Takenouchi, Matsuo, and Sugiyama—hell, I find their triangular relationship interesting in its own special way. Three of the best JRPG musicians I know of, and they're connected by interesting musical ties. I'm currently writing a feature on the musical evolution of the Animal Crossing series of games, and I really just want as much time and discussion as possible to compare different viewpoints and get my work done quicker.

That's another reason why I'd like to have specific threads with which to chat about different game musicians: it makes things easier for writers like me who have to squeeze the most possible insight out of an individual and the individual's back catalog. Music is the simplest and purest of all artforms, so it gives me an opportunity both to definitively explain my POV, and a sort-of quagmire in which I'm trying to make articles meaty enough and well-written, to the point that it's all worth it in the end. Writing about game music at a high level gets frustrating at times.

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  #48  
Old May 25, 2012, 10:29 PM
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I'd definitely agree that Yamanishi is more versatile/adaptable than Tsukumo, and I'd take Yamanishi's absolute best (Thunder Force IV) over Tsukumo's (not sure what I feel that is, but none of it is quite that good), but there's something about Tsukumo's slightly cheesy style of cramming together synths with chugging guitars that I just find innately approachable. A bit one-note, sure, but I can consistently get pumped up by pretty much anything from his catalog.

Thumbs up for Yamanishi's Falcata score (both the sequenced and streamed tunes), one of the most unknown gems out there. I vastly prefer the earlier Gust music by Yamanishi and Miyoko Kobayashi (another composer I forgot!) over that by Achiwa/Tsuchiya/Nakagawa.
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  #49  
Old May 25, 2012, 11:21 PM
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Really? That's strange: most game music fans I know usually pass over the early Gust stuff, even though it ranges from decent to great overall. Part of the problem, I think, is that the one major album release featuring Yamanishi from that period—Atelier Marie—showcases his weakest work of the time. Falcata is simply great all-over: amazing battle themes, great contextual themes, some wonderful melodies and ideas through and through. I still need to listen to Story of King Ares, though I'm not yet able to hook up a HOOT set-up to get working on that.

I agree on the Tsukumo bit there. He's got the cheesy, most over-the-top style out of all the ex-Technosoft musicians, and I appreciate his exquisite harmonies. That said, Yamanishi can be just as cheesy if not cheesier (Atelier Marie!), and Thunder Force IV rips the beating heart of Thunder Force V for the most part.

What interests me the most is how you knew about Falcata and other obscure stuff—I don't think I've ever met another person who's been familiar with it, suffice to say. What do you think of the main Artdink musicians, on an unrelated note (Daisuke Nakakaze, Koji Yamada, Koshiro Nishida, Yasuyuki Suzuki, Tatsuhiko Asano (mainly an Iida collaborator), Osamu Yoshida)?
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  #50  
Old May 25, 2012, 11:54 PM
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I'm only really familiar with TFIV for Yamanishi and I do love it to bits. Somewhat disappointing to learn it's his best stuff though, I was hoping there'd be some more badass stuff like that on another soundtrack.

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Now there's a series of games with good music. Been listening to these a lot lately.
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  #51  
Old May 26, 2012, 01:03 AM
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What interests me the most is how you knew about Falcata and other obscure stuff—I don't think I've ever met another person who's been familiar with it, suffice to say.
I was, believe it or not, familiar with Falcata and Meru Purana before any of the Atelier games. I can't remember the circumstances any more, but I was introduced to the CD audio from those games a hecka long time ago, so those and his Genesis stuff are what initially got me into Yamanishi. I didn't even know they were Gust games until years later. I've definitely had a pretty bizarre experience.

I still haven't heard Welcome House or Karyuujou, though, although I just noticed now that there's a PSF set for Karyuujou (apparently this was collaborative?).

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What do you think of the main Artdink musicians, on an unrelated note (Daisuke Nakakaze, Koji Yamada, Koshiro Nishida, Yasuyuki Suzuki, Tatsuhiko Asano (mainly an Iida collaborator), Osamu Yoshida)?
I am very unfamiliar with Artdink soundtracks, unfortunately. I seem to remember Ryuji Nishida's contributions to Carnage Heart Portable being enjoyable, but I haven't listened to that in ages. Tatsuhiko Asano's Doshin score is really fantastic; love those steel guitar psychedelic jams.

Yasuyuki Suzuki I used to kind of dislike, along with the rest of Jaleco's sound guys, until about a year or two ago when I was introduced to Kingyo Chuuihou for the SNES by Lunar. That was awesome, and when I found out later it was by Suzuki, I relistened to his other Jaleco material and loved all that too. He's seriously great, and I can't figure out what it was I hated about his music. I have yet to check out any of his Artdink works from my new perspective; I heard Tail of the Sun a long time ago and didn't like it that much, but I haven't revisited it.
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  #52  
Old May 30, 2012, 03:04 PM
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Oh yeah, and in addition to the ones I mentioned before, there's also kt2. I am actually surprised that I forgot to include him in the last post since he's hands down almost on the same pedestal as Meguro for me. I'm not always a huge fan of the style he employs (trip hop with touch of ambient?), but kt2 is just in a league of its own, and I think in terms of consistency, he is my top composer (all of his releases are pure gold).
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  #53  
Old May 30, 2012, 06:34 PM
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One sound team that has a lot of great game musicians I dearly-love is the Game Freak sound team. Seeing as they're about to release yet another great album this July, I figured it'd be a great time to talk about Go Ichinose, Masuda, and the rest in the album thread itself! http://vgmdb.net/forums/showpost.php...48&postcount=5
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  #54  
Old May 31, 2012, 12:37 AM
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I am a fan of Ichinose. His songs always stick out to me in all the Pokémon games.
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  #55  
Old May 31, 2012, 03:36 AM
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He's always the one Game Freak musician everyone looks over. A lot of his best stuff was pushing the GBA's sound capabilities to their limits back in the GBA days, working on games like Ruby/Sapphire, Emerald, FireRed/LeafGreen, and his only solo score, Drill Dozer. Now-a-days, though, he's been doing less, working as a supervisor and mentor to the other sound team members. A shame, really, because he's by far the most creative, versatile, and experienced musician still actively-participating (at this point, simply because Masuda's handed off the battle music mostly to Ichinose and others).
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  #56  
Old May 31, 2012, 03:59 AM
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Originally Posted by DragoonEnRegalia View Post
his only solo score, Drill Dozer
Do you have confirmation from him or someone else at Game Freak that Drill Dozer was all Ichinose? Reason being the game credits both him and Satoshi Nohara under a group header for music and sound effects.

I mean, I'm fairly certain that he wrote the vast majority of the (great) soundtrack, if not the whole thing. Just wondering if you had any official word.
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  #57  
Old May 31, 2012, 09:37 AM
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No confirmation of any kind, no. Nohara hasn't done much for the Pokemon series other than a couple of jingles, though, and most of the tracks fit into the majority of the stylistic boxes Ichinose usually ticks. And Nohara usually does the sound effects, writing, and programming for a lot of Pokemon games, at least he has so far. Masuda needs to be contacted so we can find out!
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Old May 31, 2012, 10:26 PM
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As I'm more into Arrangements, I usually look for performers rather than composers. But there are a few outstanding soundtracks, that make me forget listening to actual original game music. I'm sure there are more out there, but for now I'd like to credit

Tatsuya Uemura - Toaplan
Hiroshi Kawaguchi - SEGA
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Old Jun 1, 2012, 12:21 PM
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I'm listening to Norio Hanzawa's album-exclusive bonus track from the Alien Soldier album right now. Been on a Hanzawa binge recently, and I've discovered that Gunstar Heroes and Alien Soldier both have some of the most amazing FM-synth programming and post-modern techno-prog ever composed and arranged. Already loved Norio for his superlative work on Alien Soldier, but Gunstar Heroes is real-good too.
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Old Jun 1, 2012, 08:48 PM
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I still think his real name is Kazuo. =P
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