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Yasuhiro Yamanaka

Yasuhiro Yamanaka Date of Birth: 1980s (Japan)
Education: University
Residence: Osaka
Instruments: Piano, Bass Guitar
Group Role: muZik (Synthesizers)
Game Works: Code Age Commanders, The Last Remnant

Employment History

Company Tenure Role
Square Enix 2004 - Synthesizer Operator


A relative newcomer at Square Enix, Yasuhiro Yamanaka has worked on a variety of projects in roles as a synthesizer operator, mastering engineer, and arranger. Yamanaka developed a passion for music during his youth, having learned how to compose and play the piano and bass guitar. In late 2004, he applied to join become a synthesizer operator at Square Enix, with some electronic demos in hand, after a vacancy opened. After being accepted, he initially implemented the music for Kumi Tanioka's score for Code Age Commanders. He depicted the otherworldly setting by emphasising a distinction between the score's cold electronic elements and warm orchestral passages. Yamanaka was personally responsible for the electronic additions of many of the score's compositions and was specifically credited for arranging the game's beat-heavy main theme. He also composed three light-hearted tracks to represent the Otero and offered two experimental remixes for the game's soundtrack release.  

Yamanaka's subsequent role on Hidenori Iwasaki's Front Mission 5: Scars of the War brought new challenges for the manipulator to overcome. He employed cutting-edge sample libraries throughout to achieve a more full and realistic sound than other Square Enix scores released by that point. He became known as an electronic whiz kid on the score given his ability to manipulate Virtual Studio Technology plug-ins. Given the compositions ranged from full-orchestral military anthems to intense electronic action themes, he nevertheless needed to be highly adaptive in his approach. In wider roles, he also added ominous electronic parts to several of the game's boss themes and created a fully-fledged electro-orchestral composition, "Breaking Limits". Yamanaka also made several contributions to the Square Enix Official Bootleg series later that year. He co-composed "Damage" and "Aquarius Option" with Tanioka in a similar style to Code Age Commanders, before going solo on the ethereal exploration "Eleven Motions".

During 2006, Yamanaka explored the capacity of a technologically limited console, the DS. On Final Fantasy III's remake, the composer implemented arranged versions of Final Fantasy classics on to the console. The music featured in the official soundtrack release for Final Fantasy III was mastered before the conversion process to the DS. With the exception of the opening theme, he was forced to downgrade the remaining scores to accommodate the 128 MB ROM capacity. As part of the internal unit muZik, he also offered a cutesy technopop arrangement of "Eternal Wind" for the game's album release. He was forced to make compromises on the score of the storybook title Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo Tales, comprised of further Final Fantasy arrangements. He nevertheless optimised the final sound to convey the melodies of Nobuo Uematsu's original compositions and the novelties of Joe Down Studio's arrangements.

Yamanaka encountered similar challenges on Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Ring of Fates alongside Kumi Tanioka. He once again worked closely alongside the composer, arranging the various rhythm parts of the compositions and programming the samples into the DS. He was required to substantially modify the orchestral compositions so that they could be accommodated on the restrictive console. He nevertheless persevered to preserve the personality of the score using appropriate sample choices and efficient arrangements. He also returned to work on Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Echoes of Time during its last stages of production. While he had no direct involvement as an arranger, he carefully manipulated the music for the console to yield a rich and worldly sound. For the first time, he also served as a mastering engineer for its soundtrack release.  In this role, he processed and recorded music from the title for playback on the album release.

In recent years, Yamanaka has worked closely with Tsuyoshi Sekito on diverse next-gen projects. They initially engaged in a fulfilling collaboration on the vast score for The Last Remnant. Yamanaka polished and implemented close to a hundred diverse compositions — spanning from orchestral cinematic cues to vast worldly setting themes to rocking action tracks — for playback on the Xbox 360. Also his largest musical role to date, he also composed 12 of game's tracks, most of them dark percussive fusions used during the game's dungeons. Furthermore, he prepared a special battle medley for the game's promotional album. In recent years, Yamanaka has worked with Sekito from the Osaka branch of Square Enix on several projects developed by external teams. He arranged and implement the equally diverse fusion scores for Gyromancer and MindJack. In other collaborations with Sekito, Yamanaka recently co-composed two rock-orchestral fusions, "Red Lights" and "Essential Singularity", on the original album Music for Art .

In addition to his collaborations alongside Sekito, Yamanaka has worked more extensively as a mastering engineer in recent years. He has carefully recorded the scores of Blood of Bahamut, Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light, Blood of Bahamut, and the Final Fantasy IV Complete Collection for their album releases. In each case, he used specialised equipment at the internal Q/11A E07 Studio. In other roles, he served as a mixing engineer for the contemporary score to Death by Cube and made a guest contribution for Sengoku IXA. He has also conveyed his cheeky personality with remixes for X'mas Collections, Chips SQ and Lord of Vermilion Re:2. While Yamanaka's latest collaboration with Sekito — Gun Loco — was cancelled, the artist previewed a score for an unknown iPhone project on a recent charity album by GE-ON-DAN. Described as a young and diligent perfectionist by his colleagues, he nevertheless promises to enhance numerous more scores and albums in coming years.


- Various Game & Album Credits
- Official Profile (Japanese)

© Biography by Chris Greening (September 2007). Last updated on December 11, 2011. Do not republish without formal permission.