Manami Matsumae, in collaboration with Tokyo-based music label Brave Wave Productions, unveils her first-ever original solo album THREE MOVEMENTS, which celebrates her thirty years of working as a composer in the video game industry. Matsumae’s career began in 1987 when she graduated from the Osaka University of Arts and joined Capcom’s Sound Production Department that same year. The solo album features Matsumae’s signature catchy and memorable tunes, while showcasing a new side of her that fans rarely get to see. She ventures into chiptunes, trance, orchestral, and ambient soundscapes – woven into a classical narrative that splits this blend of genres into three distinct parts. “By this point, I've created music for a number of video games,” says Matsumae about the album’s diverse lineup of tracks. “These songs come in a variety of genres, and I want everyone to listen to the different styles I've experienced throughout the years, which is why I ended up creating my album in this fashion.”
The solo album will be released on December 17th 2017, thirty years after the release of the original Mega Man. The album is available to pre-order on Bandcamp right now, with four tracks available to stream: the Mega Man-inspired ‘Fight For Peace’, the action packed ‘Aerial Clash’, the gloomy ‘Lost Artifact’, and the melodramatic ‘Elegy’. Matsumae deviates from her signature style at times, opting for unclear melodies and structures like in ‘Lost Artifact’. “This track is indeed different from the melodic songs I'm known for,” explains Matsumae. “I composed the song by relying on changing chords. I previously created the ambient version of the Mighty No. 9 Main Theme using this method. For me, these types of songs aren't at all difficult to create and is actually my favorite compositional method.”
For the album’s visual theme, Manami worked with label director Mohammed Taher and New York-based photographer Bao Ngo to capture the full breadth of her music. “Unlike the typical solo album, this isn’t a genre album,” explains director Taher. “Manami crosses chiptunes with everything from classical piano and SNES-inspired beats to melodically vague soundscapes and orchestral numbers. The music influenced our photography, and we toured around the Swiss Alps looking for the perfect shots.” The front cover was shot by photographer Bao Ngo with a long lens and symbolizes the album’s distinct genre-sweeping style, with the CD and vinyl booklets featuring full-page spreads of Ngo and Taher’s photographic escapade.
Matsumae’s music has touched the hearts of gamers since December 1987, when CAPCOM released the original Mega Man for the Nintendo Entertainment System, ushering in one of that company’s longstanding and most recognizable gaming icons. Since then, Matsumae has worked on dozens of game soundtracks, such as standouts Mega Man 10, Shovel Knight, and Mighty No. 9. She has most recently worked with Brave Wave on original songs and collaborative albums, notably collaborating with Evanescence’s bassist Tim McCord and contemporary chiptune extraordinaire Chipzel, thereby penetrating the borders of her home country of Japan to reach new audiences all around the world. She continues to be an integral part of Brave Wave, and is currently working with label director Taher on the upcoming mega-collaboration album World 1-3 slated for release in 2019, following the #1 album World 1-2, as well as contributing to the ZX Spectrum album Magenta by C-jeff which is planned for January 2018.