Brave Wave expands its roster with Yoko Shimomura, Masashi Kageyama and other legendary video game composers

At Brave Wave, we’re always working towards our goal of connecting Japan’s most talented video game composers and their music with the rest of the world. We’ve had a great beginning of 2015 with the release of Retro-Active Pt. 1, the first-ever solo album by veteran composer Keiji Yamagishi (Ninja Gaiden), which was met with high praise from the press and from a large community of music fans. Now, we’re taking the next step into an exciting year by announcing a list of incredible musicians that have newly joined Brave Wave. We are so happy to have these talented new artists on board, and we’re very excited to share their music with our fans and clients alike!


Yoko Shimomura

 © OSAMU NAKAMURA

© OSAMU NAKAMURA

Shimomura’s name is one of the most recognized in video game history, and her compositions are some of the most beloved. Since graduating from Osaka College of Music in 1988 as a piano major, she has contributed her music to some of the most renowned video games, such as those within the Kingdom Hearts, Mario & Luigi, and Street Fighter II series. After working at Capcom and Square Enix for much of her career, she now continues to compose for games through freelance work, and is currently the lead composer on the upcoming Square Enix flagship titles Final Fantasy XV and Kingdom Hearts III. For Brave Wave, she’ll be contributing to the upcoming concept album Project Light, which is directed by Ippo Yamada (Mega Man series, Mighty No. 9) and Mohammed Taher, in addition to other unannounced albums.


Harumi Fujita

Fujita started her career at SNK in 1984 with Mad Crasher, but her following years at Capcom ended up defining her as a stellar composer. She was one of the few who worked on the NES, arcade, and the Game Boy simultaneously, contributing to games like Ghosts ‘n Goblins, Bionic Commando, Strider, 1943 Kai, Final Fight, and most famously Gargoyle’s Quest. She was part of Capcom’s in-house band Alph Lyla alongside Manami Matsumae (of Mega Man 1) and Yasuaki ‘Bun Bun’ Fujita (Mega Man 3) among others, and ended up composing ‘Needle Man’, ‘Gemini Man’ and ‘Staff Roll’ for Mega Man 3 before passing the rest of the composition on to Bun Bun. In the past few years she has composed and arranged music for various theatrical productions, and now Brave Wave welcomes her arrival to video games once again. Last year at BitSummit, Brave Wave took the stage to unveil that Fujita is part of Project Light.


Masashi Kageyama

After composing the cult-favorite Gimmick! for the NES, Kageyama slowly retreated from the limelight and decided to change gears from music to design. He built his new career over the years and not only went on to master photography and design, but also ended up becoming an in-house favorite at NARU, the oldest jazz house in Japan. As a jazz enthusiast himself, he started performing with his saxophone during the past two years, and today he's officially back as a gaming composer with Brave Wave. Kageyama is currently planning his first-ever solo album with Director Mohammed Taher (In Flux, Retro-Active Pt. 1) and looks forward to finally contributing his signature jazzy style to Western games. His photo exhibition of jazz players in Japan will take place in Tokyo, Ginza at "Gallery 84" from August 24th to September 5th, 2015.


Yuji Takenouchi

Better known as TECHNOuchi to his colleagues and fans, Takenouchi’s career is an expansive one that began way back with the MSX, where he composed for classics like Metal Gear 2 and SD Snatcher. In recent years, Takenouchi gained popularity and respect as the founder of the now-defunct music collective GE-ON-DAN (which featured a large group of Japanese video game musicians) and has served as the lead sound director on From Software’s critically acclaimed Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls games, as well Access Games’ D4. He wishes to connect with a global audience through Brave Wave, and is preparing an album of unreleased game music to be released for the first time ever.


Ryuichi Nitta

 
 Kajiya Music members: Keiji Yamagishi (Ninja Gaiden 1), Kaori Nakabai (Ninja Gaiden 3) and Ryuichi Nitta (Ninja Gaiden 1 & 2).

Kajiya Music members: Keiji Yamagishi (Ninja Gaiden 1), Kaori Nakabai (Ninja Gaiden 3) and Ryuichi Nitta (Ninja Gaiden 1 & 2).

 

Ryuichi Nitta started his gaming career at Tecmo, where he co-composed the original Ninja Gaiden alongside Keiji Yamagishi (using Yamagishi's sound driver), and then went on to compose the soundtracks to Ninja Gaiden 2 and Solomon's Key 2. After his time at Tecmo and Banpresto, Nitta became a freelancer and founded his own music company, Kajiya Music, with Keiji Yamagishi and Kaori Nakabai (of Ninja Gaiden 3). Now, fifteen years later, Brave Wave is proud to represent Ryuichi Nitta and Kajiya Music in conducting their business outside of Japan.


Kaori Nakabai

Following the works of Keiji Yamagishi and Ryuichi Nitta at Tecmo, Kaori Nakabai took over Ninja Gaiden 3 and was able to deliver the same quality of music that the series was well known for. Her gameography includes Tecmo's role-playing game Radia Senki (composed alongside Yamagishi) and the fan-favorite Captain Tsubasa 3 on the Super Famicom. She went to Koei and helped shape the soundtrack of Dynasty Warriors with Yamagishi, and then formed Kajiya Music alongside Yamagishi and Nitta. Today, Nakabai looks forward to working on Western games as well as contributing original tracks to Brave Wave's music catalogue.


George Art “Smoke Thief” Baker

 
 

Smoke Thief is the alias of George Art Baker, a British composer with a Master of Arts in Music Performance. Formerly a professional jazz bandleader and composer, he was drawn to create a style incorporating ambient, jazz, and hip-hop. Emerging from this jazz background with his own style, he set out to explore more minimalistic arrangements that focus on connecting listeners to his vast inner worlds, evident in his recent work for Relay FM's podcast Behind the App as well as his Bounty Hunter Remix on Keiji Yamagishi’s Retro-Active Pt. 1. Brave Wave is proudly presenting him as the label’s first original artist. His new album 'Heart Beat Circuit' is coming out soon, following Keiji Yamagishi's Retro-Active Pt. 1 REMIXED.


Alex Mauer & Steve Lakawicz

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Mauer is the co-founder of game company Imagos Softworks, home of the upcoming Starr Mazer videogame in which Mauer serves as its lead composer. His involvement in Starr Mazer finds him working with a multitude of musicians including Brave Wave’s Manami Matsumae (Mega Man) and Keiji Yamagishi (Ninja Gaiden). Mauer is perhaps best known for his 2007 album ‘Vegavox’, which was the first album to be released on handmade NES cartridges. Alongside him is chiptune tracker Steve ‘ap0c’ Lakawicz, a classically trained musician with a Master's degree in Music Performance, specializing in orchestral tuba. Lakawicz have toured with brass quintets and performed with the Curtis Symphony Orchestra, and lately have taken an interest into crafting and emulating authentic chiptunes. The duo's initial role at Brave Wave is to work closely with Director Mohammed Taher and Keiji Yamagishi on a special project involving authentic NES sounds (TBA), and Brave Wave is excited to add their exceptional talent at crafting authentic chip sounds to the team.