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Game Music, Japanese

Game Music Laboratory Unplugged Concert Feat. Hiroki Kikuta and Kenji Ito

Game Music Laboratory Unplugged Concert Feat. Hiroki Kikuta and Kenji Ito

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With all that’s going on right now in Japan, it’s hard to think that I was there just a month ago. While I was there, I had the opportunity to attend a concert in Tokyo hosted by Eminence called Game Music Laboratory. This was an acoustic set concert following one of their heavier performances, and I wasn’t really sure what to expect. As it turned out, the evening was dedicated to the music of Hiroki Kikuta and Kenji Ito, and was a blast.

I figured we’d post the setlist, comment a bit on the performance, and give you a photo gallery to enjoy courtesy of Hiroaki Yura and Jillian Aversa. Hit the jump for more!

First, the setlist:

Hiroki Kikuta Set

01. Opening (Shining Hearts)
02. Ending (Shining Hearts)
03. Tenryo (original piece)
04. Never Ending Night (Touhou arrange)
05. Kind Memories (Seiken Densetsu 2)
06. Meridian Child (Seiken Densetsu 3)
07. Crisis (Seiken Densetsu 2)

Piano Set with Jem Harding

08. Tifa’s Theme (Final Fantasy VII)
09. Those Who Fight (Final Fantasy VII)
10. Aerith’s Theme (Final Fantasy VII)

Kenji Ito Set

11. Wizardry Renaissance ~Memento mori~ <piano solo>
12. Bodorui (Seiken Densetsu)
13. Mana Temple (Seiken Densetsu)
14. Rising Sun (Seiken Densetsu)
15. Treasure Chest of the Heart (Chocobo Racing)

Encore

16. Meridian Dance (Seiken Densetsu 2)

As you can see, it was a pretty packed evening. The event took place at Club Seatta, which was a bit hard to find, but was a neat little venue in the basement of an unassuming building. There was a bar with a nice little lounge area leading into the concert room which featured some furniture with a rather modern design, like something you’d find at Ikea. It was comfortable, although they unfortunately did not allow photos (again, thanks to Hiroaki Yura and Jillian Aversa for providing us with the photos you’ll see below).

I was able to sit back and enjoy. I was as surprised to see the curtain open with Jillian Aversa on stage, who you may know from her extensive work in the videogame remixing community as pixietricks. She performed wonderfully, even singing lyrics that she wrote and performed for Kikuta’s Tohou arrange project. We also got some Seiken Densetsu goodness with Hiroaki Yura himself taking to the stage to perform. I’d never seen him perform live before, so it was a rare treat to see him play. I can’t help but love Kikuta’s work on Seiken Densetsu given how important that game was to my childhood, so I was literally in heaven there in Club Seatta.

After lots of talking in Japanese on stage, we got a short set from pianist Jem Harding, who tackled some of the Piano Collections Final Fantasy VII arrangements on the digital piano on stage. “Those Who Fight” really got the crowd going.

Following this, Kenji Ito himself took to the stage with his fancy sunglasses and performed a series of pieces on the piano, all of which were beautiful. After some Seiken Densetsu tracks, Jillian Aversa came back on stage to sing “Treasure Chest of the Heart” from Chocobo Racing, completely in Japanese! It was impressive, and fans on the Internet apparently agreed as they provided her with tons of “88888888888″ on the Nico Nico Douga stream that was being broadcast on a screen above the stage.

The encore was “Meridian Dance” from Seiken Densetsu 2, which blew me away. Hiroaki Yura tore it up on the violin, playing the lightning-fast string sections while the band rocked out behind him. The bass was fantastic, and the audience was pumping their fists in the air. What I’d give to see this performed live again!

All in all, it was a pretty awesome performance. Hiroki Kikuta and Kenji Ito are two amazing composers, and some of my favorite music of theirs was performed by a group of talented performers. The Game Music Laboratory concerts are apparently a series, so if you happen to be in Tokyo in the future, watch for their return when things have normalized.

What do you think of what was performed? Let us know what you think, and check out the photo gallery below!

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