Official announcement concerning Manami Matsumae’s U.S. appearance cancellations

Dearest fans and friends,

We at Brave Wave deeply regret to inform you that we have been forced to cancel Manami Matsumae’s upcoming performances at PAX Prime in Seattle, Washington and Re:Play in Houston, Texas. 

This is due to an unforeseeable issue concerning Mrs. Matsumae’s U.S. visa in which she was barred entry into the United States. We stress that this is strictly a visa processing issue and has nothing do with Mrs. Matsumae herself or her actions.

We realize that many people are disappointed by this news, and for this we extend our sincerest apologies. Our team believed everything to be in order concerning Mrs. Matsumae’s entry into the country, as she has indeed performed in the United States in the past without incident.

While this is unexpected for us, unfortunately cancellations of performances due to visa issues are a common occurrence. Many foreign artists across all disciplines struggle to receive visas that allow them to participate in events and performances in the United States. If you’d like to read more about this phenomenon, we recommend this excellent article by Larry Rohter for the New York Times: “U.S. Visa Rules Deprive Stages of Performers”.

We thank you for your understanding and sincerely hope that Mrs. Matsumae will have the opportunity to participate in U.S. events again in the near future!

Brave Wave donates 100% of its month-long sales to Layan GCC, aiding Syrian refugees in the month of Ramadan

 

Today marks the beginning of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. Muslims around the world believe this to be the holiest month, as it’s the month in which the Quran was first revealed. During Ramadan, Muslims spend the daylight hours in a complete fast, abstaining from food, drink, and other physical needs. Regretfully, the ongoing Syrian civil war has torn the country apart, and it is estimated that over 10 million Syrians have been displaced. Syrian refugees go through an immeasurable amount of hardship, and Ramadan becomes a stressful month as millions of families struggle to find food and healthcare.

Kuwait-based non-profit organization Layan GCC has been aiding Syrian refugees in their time of need, and for $99 they’re able to feed a family of six for the entire duration of Ramadan. Brave Wave is donating an advance payment of $1,000 to Layan GCC today, and is committed to donating 100% of its digital sales to the nonprofit for the remainder of the month. We encourage our fans to consider donating to the cause through Layan’s website, or instead to purchase any album through Brave Wave’s store. Brave Wave is a multi-national music label that includes people from many races, religions, and positions in society, and we hope to inspire compassionate people to make a positive change in the lives of many.

As a way to encourage people to donate, we have marked our best-selling albums World 1-2 and In Flux as pay-what-you-want. Any amount you enter will be donated in full to aid the Syrian refugees during the month of Ramadan.

Read about Layan GCC on The UN Refugee Agency website. Sadly, Layan's website has no English support, which is why we'll act as a liaison and donate on your behalf.

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.

Announcing: The Retro-Active Experience

After two years of work, musician Keiji Yamagishi and director Mohammed Taher are ready to unveil their year-long project titled THE RETRO-ACTIVE EXPERIENCE under the Brave Wave® label. Keiji Yamagishi is a Famicom-era pioneer and has composed music for some of the most beloved gaming franchises, notably Ninja Gaiden, Tecmo Bowl, Captain Tsubasa and Gitaroo Man. Twenty-five years later and surer of his place in life, Keiji Yamagishi is stepping into the limelight once more to present his first-ever solo project, split into three parts to be released throughout 2015, beginning with Retro-Active Pt. 1 in February. Inspired by his Famicom days and fueled with more passion and focus than ever, Keiji Yamagishi sends us all into a "futuristic and emotional chiptunes world", as he himself has described it.



“I've made many songs and sound effects for Famicom games in the late 80’s and I love Famicom sounds,” Yamagishi says enthusiastically. “With Retro-Active, I created an album with sounds that are inspired from various old soundchips. I feel that my music is different from contemporary pop or game music. There might be some people who are unfamiliar with my songs, and I would be glad to invite them and let them hear for themselves the attraction of modern Famicom-inspired sounds from a Famicom composer.”

In Retro-Active Pt. 1, Keiji Yamagishi infuses his early Famicom roots with modern sounds and production in collaboration with notable audio and visual artists, including Marco Guardia (of Flutlicht, DJ Tatana, Monomirror) as mixing engineer. The mini-album sees Yamagishi dabble in melodic and guitar-driven compositions, including collaborations with Mega Man’s legendary composer Manami Matsumae and eclectic guitarist Stemage (of Metroid Metal). With art by David Hellman (of Braid; Second Quest) and Cory Schmitz (of SoundShapes; Below), director Mohammed Taher works to combine audio and visual into an explosive and exciting comeback.

Retro-Active Pt. 1 is available to pre-order now, following a Polygon.com feature about Yamagishi and his Famicom work. The album contains 9 tracks and will release on February 5th, 2015 with remixes by Brave Wave’s Takahiro Izutani (of Metal Gear Solid 4, Bayonetta) and newcomer Smoke Thief, as well as Riki Arai, Yamagishi’s longtime friend from their Famicom days.

Track list:

  1. First Contact

  2. Bounty Hunter

  3. Starfish Cluster

  4. Memories of T (feat. Stemage)

  5. Kaleidoscope (feat. Manami Matsumae)

  6. Drifting Love

  7. First Contact (Takahiro Izutani Remix)

  8. First Contact (Riki Arai Remix)

  9. Bounty Hunter (Smoke Thief Remix)

Yamagishi is currently working on composing the second part of the Retro-Active project  as well as designing the 2-disc physical release (details TBA) with director Taher and designers Hellman and Schmitz to be released later this year. Simultaneously he is composing music for video game Exile's End by Marvelous.

“My music is not only based on nostalgia,” Yamagishi emphasizes. “With Retro-Active Pt. 1, we employed heavy guitars, dance beats, Vocaloid, and other modern techniques. My aim was to create a futuristic and emotional chiptunes world. Welcome to my world!”

Manami Matsumae joins the Starr Mazer team!

Starr Mazer is an upcoming game by Imagos Softworks for the PC, Mac and Linux. It's a modernized fusion of 2 classic genres: The point-and-click (PNC) adventure and horizontal scrolling shoot 'em up (SHMUP), featuring dynamic story module system for massive replayability, a deep voice-acted story, and beautiful pixel art. Brave Wave is pleased to announce that our own Manami Matsumae is joining the stunning music team led by Alex Mauer and featuring many guest artists, including Danimal Cannon (Wave Wave), Ryan Ike (Gunpoint), A_Rival (Street Fighter x Mega Man) and others!

Manami Matsumae is famously known as the composer and sound designer of the original Mega Man, making both the addictive music and the memorable sound effects back then. As a veteran composer from the NES-era, Matsumae still pushes through to make compelling music even after more than 25 years of work. “Brave Wave’s Keiji Yamagishi has mentioned this before, but recently, Japan’s game industry has demanded composers who are able to write orchestrated music,” says Matsumae. “Those who cannot do that have a hard time finding projects. Other games are established series whose composers carry over to the next projects as well. So, getting those projects turns out to be such a competitive task among composers.” Matsumae found a more responsive audience in the West, and with Brave Wave’s help, she’s breaking into new territories with exciting projects. “I feel that all Japanese composers should look to markets outside of Japan, where there are plenty of opportunities to be had.”

Welcome our new Community Manager, Lauren Lucas

This year has been tremendously good for us here at Brave Wave: We won our first music award; we released our most ambitious compilation album IN FLUX featuring talents such as Tim McCord (of Grammy-winners Evanescence); we released our first solo record by the Panzer Dragoon & Suikoden ladies; Shovel Knight was released to critical acclaim and plenty of awards, and more. We're doubling down on our efforts, and I'm pleased to announce a new addition to our family: Lauren Lucas, our dedicated Community Manager and in-house Media Relations.

Lauren has been working with me since before our debut album World 1-2, refining all our writing and press material, and helping to shape the tone of our communication. After attending EGX in London earlier in September, we realized that such a job is essential to our process. Lauren is a natural for it, so we shook hands!

In addition to taking charge of Brave Wave's ever-growing community, Lauren will act as our in-house Media Relations and serving as the bridge between our productions and the media. We hope you'll be able to see the fruit of our labor with the upcoming release of Keiji Yamagishi's solo album (more details next month).

Come and welcome Lauren with us on Twitter (she's @cloudwalking), and enjoy your holidays with your loved ones!