Silent Hill composer Akira Yamaoka is in the process of compiling an album of top video game musicians and composers. [surl=http://playforjapan.org/album]Play for Japan: The Album[/surl] is designed to raise money for survivors of the recent Japanese earthquakes and tsunami – and it looks like it’s shaping up to be something completely fabulous.
The project kicked off with an open letter from the composer:
The challenge facing Japan is unprecedented and immeasurable. People around the world have already reached out, working together to help Japan rise up and rebuild.
As citizens of the same planet, we share and take strength from this bond.
In the videogame industry, composers like myself are responsible for engaging the player through music. Music, too, creates bonds, inspiring listeners to share their passion with others. In this spirit, many gifted composers, musicians and artists — from East and West — have come together to record a benefit album. For creators whose role is to inspire, it’s only fitting we come together, across borderlines, for those in need.
It’s our desire you’ll hear our hope for a brighter future, and the prayers heard from around the world given voice.
We are all united by one common bond.
You are not alone.
The album featured a spectacular lineup even in the early days, with musicians such as Akira Yamaoka (Shadows of the Damned, Silent Hill series), Woody Jackson (Red Dead Redemption), Bear McCreary (Battlestar Galactica, SOCOM 4), Yasunori Mitsuda (Chrono Trigger) and Nobuo Uematsu (Final Fantasy series) on board.
As days have progressed, more and more gamer-musicians have been invited to the project, including Inon Zur (Crysis, Dragon Age) and the always-wonderful Laura Shigihara from PopCap Games (and others), who ran her own fundraiser music sale last month.
Here she is, performing a piano improvisation on the themes of To Far Away Times from Chrono Trigger, to give you an idea of what might be in store.
In typical Laura fashion:
I can’t tell you how honored I am to be able to help in this way; my favorite game composers, whom I have looked up to since I was a child will also be participating (Yasunori Mitsuda, Nobuo Uematsu, Akira Yamaoka, etc.). I will try my hardest to compose something beautiful for this album, I hope that I can do a good job!
The [surl=http://playforjapan.org/]Play For Japan[/surl] project is bigger than merely one album (even when that album is this cool). It’s also hosting games-related auctions, which – at time of writing – have raised more than $100,000 in funds for earthquake/tsunami relief. That’s no small effort – and I imagine once Play For Japan: The Album is launched on iTunes in May, the number will climb even further.