Soundtrack Central The best classic game music and more

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Galivan Mar 31, 2009 (edited Mar 31, 2009)

Hello, this is my first post! I found this forum yesterday and did a search for Masanori Adachi. I found a topic: "Favourite castlevania soundtracks" … hp?id=3085

and there a user called Daniel K writes

Daniel K wrote:

Masanori Adachi (R.I.P.)

Is he dead? Noo! He is the genius behind the Castlevania IV music. I worship that music. For many years I didn't know who were behind the music. Then I found two names, Souji Taro and Masanori Oodachi. The latter one is apparently Masanori Adachi, but the the spelling of names can vary.

There are fantastic video game soundtracks, but for me nothing beats Castlevania IV. When I hear it it's hard to understand how it's possible to come up with something like that. I always get baffled when listening to it.

Can Daniel K explain what you know about Adachi and why he isn't living?

By the way I recently I heard the music of Mouryou Senki Madara 2 in which Adachi was involved in the music along with Tappy Iwase and Miki Higashino. It was amazing to find a game music which had the same sounds as C IV,  I had thought they were unique to that game. There is also similarities in arrangement, instrumentation and occasionally in the harmonies. "In a sudden wind" from Madara 2 is similar to the password section in Castlevania IV in a way that suggests that Adachi solely is behind those tunes, since he was the only one that was involved in both these games (if not Higashino was involved in C IV too?? She has made some medieval stuff in Vandal Hearts (one of my absolute favourite vgm)). "The Hunter's Repose" is another strong track from Madara 2 in a bit of a medieval style mixed with traditional japanese style. The basslines in CIV is very fascinating. The bass of "Early birds" from madara 2 have a castlevania reminiscence, I come to think of "the submerged city" which is very original and has cool basslines. Early birds is simpler though, it's in 4/4 and the rhythm of the bass have some afro-cuban or maybe brazillian bossa nova feeling or some other style. Submerged city is in 6/8 and can't be described in terms of music style and that goes for most of the stuff in castlevania IV. Progressive is a good word. "Rambling Assassin - Kiss of the Spider Woman" from Madara 2 is maybe the song with the strongest resemblance to Castlevania IV, with flute melody and busy bass playing. "Homesick - Her Beloved Flowers" from the same game is very nice and I think in some places have a reminiscence to the Ending BGM of Castlevania IV (though I regard the latter one as a masterpiece and nothing can be compared to it)(except other songs from Castlevania IV : )).

Chris Mar 31, 2009

I noticed that post too and it seemed to have some pretty good evidence to back it up. However, Adachi seems to have been responsible for the sound of the recently released Freshly-Picked Tingle's Rosy Rupeeland and still appeared with the Thelonious Monkees on the recent Moon tribute albums. So I'm pretty sure he's still alive...

Galivan Mar 31, 2009

But I wonder were that information originates from. It was surprising to see it because there's no information on Adachi anywhere. No interviews, no pictures, no discussions about him. Then there's other guys like Tappy Iwase who has his own website and have released a bunch of albums with jazz music. Theres even some clips on youtube  were we can see him play drums with a jazz band.

I'm assuming that Adachi has been involved with more musical projects than just a few video games. He is a musical genius, that's why I'm so curious to know what he has done, what school he has attended, what influences he has and so on.

SonicPanda Mar 31, 2009

The best evidence that Adachi is gone is the RIP spirit message left on Sasaki's profile on the in-game computer in Snatcher for Sega CD (this is reviewable in the JORDAN text dump at GameFAQs). As for Adachi scoring Rupeeland, I dunno. Maybe it's just a common name?

Galivan Mar 31, 2009

I've heard of the game, it's supposed to be really good.

You mean to say that inside the game there's a message on a computer saying "Masanori Adachi R.I.P."?


Galivan Mar 31, 2009 (edited Mar 31, 2009) … 3492/20970

I.D. File
"Note that as an easter egg, the file contains info about several of
the game's designers. Their names have been bracketed."

[Masanori Adachi]
Birthday: 5/25/1959
Zodiac Sign: Gemini
Blood Type: ?
Personality: No comment
Nickname: Nothing
Favorite game: Nothing
Message: Welcome to Cyberspace.

[Moai Sasaki]
Birthday: 2/20/191
Zodiac Sign: Pisces
Blood Type: B
Personality: Normal on the outside, but a real mess on the inside.
Nickname: "Mr. Moai"
Favorite game: F1 Spirit
Message: Rest in peace, Mr. Adachi!
Videophone Number: 79-6641

So he was involved in the game design in some way. And the message by Moai Sasaki is the info that suggests that he is dead?

That's vague..but could be true. Thanks for the info, Sonicpanda.

Galivan Mar 31, 2009

i just found out that Moai Sasaki is also called Yoshinori Sasaki. All these aliases...

Datschge Mar 31, 2009 (edited Mar 31, 2009)

Chris wrote:

However, Adachi seems to have been responsible for the sound of the recently released Freshly-Picked Tingle's Rosy Rupeeland and still appeared with the Thelonious Monkees on the recent Moon tribute albums.

And considering those projects also have major involvement by Taro Kudo (aka Shoji Taro, who is not the same as Sotaro Tojima) I'm pretty sure it's the same person. Possibly the "R.I.P." message was included around when both left Konami, that could match up.

CHz Mar 31, 2009 (edited Mar 31, 2009)

The Sega CD version of Snatcher was released in 1994. Besides sound for the Tingle game, Adachi is confirmed to have written tracks for the Love-de-Lic RPG Moon, released in 1997, as well as a track for beatmania III, released in 2000, so I think it's very safe to say that the message in Snatcher did not actually mean he was dead.

Awesome to have a birthdate for him. =]

Smeg Mar 31, 2009

Clearly the explanation is that the man is undead. I understand that brains are a popular snack item amongst many in the ranks of game music composers.

Jodo Kast Apr 1, 2009

I do think it would be interesting to get better information about the Castlevania music composers. While it's not as popular as Final Fantasy, it is definitely on par or superior when it comes to the music. We know who composed each track in every Final Fantasy game, but we can not say the same for the Castlevania series (or at least I can't). I still can't say who composed Mad Forest, or Aquarius, for example. A similar problem exists in another series with great music - Ys.

Smeg Apr 1, 2009

Jodo Kast wrote:

I still can't say who composed Mad Forest, or Aquarius, for example.

Akumajo Densetsu lists "H Maezawa" in the credits, so I assumed he composed the music. This interview makes it out to sound like he was more concerned with programming and such though. While it was more common for most composers to do their own programming in that era, now I'm not so sure what his exact role was.

Galivan Apr 1, 2009

CHz wrote:

Adachi is confirmed to have written tracks for the Love-de-Lic RPG Moon, released in 1997, as well as a track for beatmania III, released in 2000

That's great! What a relief. I have seen him listed as a member of Thelonious Monkees (as "Masanoff Adachi"). Wonder what he is mainly working with. He isn't credited to much music. I hadn't heard about him being involved in Beatmania, that was very interesting to hear.

Datschge wrote:

And considering those projects also have major involvement by Taro Kudo (aka Shoji Taro, who is not the same as Sotaro Tojima) I'm pretty sure it's the same person.

You're the guy who has I recognize your name, I was once a part of your SNESamp group at yahoo smile
Taro Kudou is another elusive person. I guess it's not impossible that he and Adachi could be the same one. But why have two names at the same time.
In that case, Adachi alone made the music to Castlevania - and Axelay (credited as M.C. Ada). I don't know. In the ending credits to CIV it says Konami Kukeiha club made the music. Maybe it was a collaboration. Maybe it was divided into arranging, instrumentation, composing harmonies and melodies, and coming up with rythm grooves and basslines because it has diverse elements mixed together. But there's short tracks like "Map A" (16s) which I think only one person have made. That piece shows qualities in both harmony+melody and a sense of rhythm (though there's no bass or drums in it) I maybe it's not impossible that one mind alone could have come up with something as unique as the Castlevania IV music.

The thing that reminds me of Castlevania from Axelay is generally the basslines and some drumgrooves, particularly the snaredrum-fills. "Whats that" reminds me of Motoi Sakuraba by the way (sounds like Valkyrie Profile). Add to that the chorus of Colony.

Smeg Apr 1, 2009

Galivan wrote:

But why have two names at the same time?

Maybe to circumvent some sort of rule or company policy preventing any one person from taking too much work? I don't know that Konami or any other Japanese software company ever had such a policy in place, it just reminds me of how Konami invented "Ultra" in the US so they could release more games than Nintendo's restrictive policies allowed. Maybe if he divided his work among different aliases, his buddies in the industry wouldn't hate him as much for getting more work tongue

Datschge Apr 1, 2009

Eh, I didn't mean to imply that Taro Kudo and Masanori Adachi are the same person (I don't think they are), just the "old" and the "new" Adachi (since other people could have the same name, but with another known face in the team that would be much coincidence). Sorry for the confusion.

Galivan Apr 1, 2009

Okay. I really thought you meant that the two were the same person. Anything is possible, it seems. Assuming that these two made the music, I'm curious how they worked. There's a lot of attention to detail in every respect and obviously a huge amount of ambition behind it. That's why I think it's strange that they are not more prolific in the area of music and the names Adachi and Kudou are very elusive and unknown. The idea that Masanori Adachi is dead would have made sense, but apparently he is still alive.

Chris Apr 1, 2009 (edited Apr 1, 2009)

Plus Adachi and Kudo have a mixture of unique and joint compositional credits on the Moon album so can't be the same person.

It's certainly extremely common for there to be hardly anything to be known about very significant game composers, particular those from early sound teams. There's a tonne of uncharacterised composers from Konami (Kazuhiko Uehara, Masahiro Ikariko, Seiichi Fukami, Kenichi Matsubara spring to mind but there are many more that I can't recall) and what about Falcom... I've never seen a single interview from Mieko Ishikawa, Atsushi Shirakawa, Hideya Nagata, and Hayato Sonoda even though these are all in the industry. Then there's maybe five to ten others that I have no idea what happened to them after they left Falcom.

There are plenty of reason why little information is available about these composers. A major one is that Falcom, Konami, Capcom, or whoever has never released any info on them aside the occasional mention in game credits. No individual composer credits, liner notes, concert appearances, official website profiles, etc. Music composers often seem to go under aliases the most, possibly to stop them being headhunted by other companies. Maybe an even bigger reason is that no fan has ever took the opportunity to interview them. Usually either because they don't know who they are, cannot contact them or get interviews confirmed with them, or, like me, find it very difficult to get interviews translated.

As for why Adachi doesn't have more credits to his name, it's probably more of an issue of us not being aware of his works than him not being busy. Game credits for a lot of obscure games aren't known. Konami, for instance, has made maybe 50 Yu-Gi-Oh games in recent time but I can only find credits for ten of them (not that he likely worked on these). Composers have also been involved with some titles that had no game credits at all, such as Higashino (and probably Adachi too) with Konami's Picmo Learning System. A lot of games for the small companies like Vanpool also have long development times and some are probably cancelled. Then there's the translation issue where more is known in Japan than overseas (although composer info on Japanese sites is surprisingly scarce).

Based on his credits, I'd guess Adachi joined Konami around 1987. He gradually worked his way up through obscure / uncredited titles (or even game hardware development) to work on big projects like Castlevania IV, Contra III, Madara 2, Rocket Knight Adventures, and Snatcher. Along the way, he met fellow composers Taro Kudo, Hirofumi Tanaguchi, and Miki Higashino leading to him forming the Thelonious Monkees and working on the sound for some of Lovedelic's games. After Lovedelic's demise, he continued to work on games under its small spinoff company Vanpool alongside director Taro Kudo and composer Hirofumi Tanaguchi. Given his expertise on sound programming, it's also likely he has had a hands-on role on the music software they have  developed hence the long time between some of his projects. For reference, here is a list of projects that I know Adachi worked on:

At Konami
Green Beret (Famicom Disk System) - 1987
Aliens (Arcade) - 1990
Super Castlevania IV - 1991
Axelay (SNES) - 1992 (Remix)
Contra III (SNES) - 1992
Madara 2 (SNES) - 1993
Rocket Knight Adventures (Mega Drive) - 1993
Suikoden (PSX) - 1995 (Performance)
Snatcher (Sega CD) - 1996
Hyper Athlete (Arcade) - 1996

At Lovedelic
Moon (PlayStation) - 1997 (w/ Thelonious Monkees)
Ten Plants - 1998 (w/ Thelonious Monkees)
UFO: A Day in the Life (PlayStation) - 1999
beatmania III - 2000 (w/ Thelonious Monkees)
Melody Of Legend ~ Chapter of Love - 2001 (w/ Thelonious Monkees)
Melody Of Legend ~ Chapter of Dream - 2001 (w/ Thelonious Monkees)

At Vanpool
Coloball 2002 (PlayStation 2) - 2002
Freshly-Picked Tingle's Rosy Rupeeland (2007)

A final thing: Wikipedia is really untrustworthy, even about major composers. Most of their VGM composer profiles are, at best, incomplete and, more often than not, woefully inaccurate. Hope this helps.

Galivan Apr 1, 2009

Thanks Chris, great info!

Speaking of interviews, I really liked the site which is no longer updated and a lot of content seem to be missing, but hey have lots of interviews with composers. The composers name their favourite movie, favourite food, drink, music and they are asked great questions like "why do you make music", "what inspires you" and such. I liked reading interviews for Hiroki Kikuta , Masanori Hikichi among others. Too bad it isn't updated anymore.

What I'd like to know about Adachi is if he has made any non-VGM music. If I had his email adress I could ask him that, and also questions about how he and Kudou made the Castlevania music.

Datschge Apr 1, 2009

From what I gathered Konami's Kazuhiko Uehara was the sound director on most games he is credited in until mid 1990's (possibly also/still head of the sound staff at Konami). I'm personally not even sure if he ever composed himself since once credits are more detailed he usually did sound production, sound direction or sound effects.

Chris Apr 1, 2009

Yeah, Rocketbaby was a great site and a fantastic source of primary composer information. I really liked how they combined interviews with familiar and obscure composers while maintaining a good balance of discussions on both their current and past works.

That's very interesting about Uehara. I guess it's easy to assume that all those people credited under sound on Konami games are composers, but it seems that's often not the case. If I remember right, four people were credited for the original Contra, but only one (Hidenori Maezawa) was a composer!

Daniel K Apr 4, 2009

Very nice to hear Adachi is still around and that the rumours regarding his death were exaggerated. smile Oh, and just let me add yet another shout-out to Castlevania 4's music, its incredible.

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