Masahiro Andoh Profile
|Also Known As:
安藤 正容 (あんどうまさひろ) / 安藤まさひろ / Masahiro Ando
|Date of Birth:
September 16, 1954 (Aichi)
Gran Turismo, Arc the Lad
|T-Square (formerly The Square)||Music Group||1976 –||Co-Founder, Composer, Guitars|
|Sony Music Japan||Record Label||1976 –||Artist|
|Ottottrio||Music Group||1988, 1998||Co-Founder, Composer, Guitars|
Masahiro Andoh has dedicated his career to leading the popular instrumental jazz fusion band T-Square. However, he has also served as a major composer for the Gran Turismo and Arc the Lad video game franchises. Born on September 16, 1954 in Nagoya, Andoh started hislifelong pursuit of music while learning classical guitar in elementary school. He developed a passion for jazz music during his adolescence while listening to Miles Davis and started taking jazz guitar lessons under Masayuki Takayanagi thereafter. The artist further pursued such studie at Meiji University and started a band with several fellow students in 1976. Two years later, the band evolved into The Square. They were signed by Sony&39;s record label and released their first album, Lucky Summer Lady, in a mainstream disco style. The band underwent multiple changes of name, line-up, and style in the subsequent three decades, though Andoh has remained its lead composer and guitarist throughout.
From 1987 onwards, Andoh masterminded the band during its most stable and successful period. Renaming themselves T-Square, the band finalised a legendary line-up of Andoh on guitars, Mitsuru Suto on bass, Takeshi Ito on saxophone, Hirotaka Izumi on keyboards, and Hiroyuki Noritaka on drums. They subsequently gained great exposure throughout Japan with a string of hits that reflected their atmospheric jazz fusion style. One such track, “Truth”, was used as the theme for Japan’s Formula One racing events until 2000 and several remixes of the track have been created since. They also made an impact in the West in 1987 with a well-received performance at the Roxy in Los Angeles and released a live album dedicated to the appearance. Following such successes, Andoh composed numerous other albums for the band, including Wave, Natural, and New-S, all of which enjoyed commercial success.
In 1995, Andoh made his video game debut on the PlayStation’s Arc the Lad. Aware of how popular his albums were for Sony Records, executives at Sony Computer Entertainment scouted the artist to one of their key initial releases for the PlayStation. He composed the soundtrack in the spirit of classic RPG music, placing a strong emphasis on catchy melodies and synth soundscaping. Between the various semi-orchestrated tracks, Andoh was nevertheless able to incorporate rock and jazz stylings reminiscent of his T-Square works into the various battle themes. Andoh elaborated on this approach on the two direct sequels, offering a mixture of new compositions and arrangements, including some fully orchestrated tracks and vocal themes. The main theme for the series — a motivating march to representing youthful main character Arc – also gained considerably popularity. It was rearranged for each of the subsequent instalments of the franchise, including the series’ PlayStation 2 titles and anime adaptations, for which he had no direct role.
In 1997, Andoh came to worldwide attention when he led the score for Gran Turismo. He captured the speed and euphoria of racing with twelve full-length jazz fusion and hard rock tracks inspired by his T-Square work. The main theme for the title, “Moon Over the Castle”, was especially celebrated for its catchy melodies, resolute progressions, and atmospheric soundscapes; it has since become a staple of the series and has even made its way into T-Square’s own discography. At popular request, Andoh also returned to Gran Turismo 2, offering a mixture of main theme arrangements, instrumental stage themes, and even a soppy vocal track. His roles in most subsequent titles have mostly been small, dedicated to new or derivative arrangements of the series’ main theme. He nevertheless delighted fans in 2004 by taking the leading role on Gran Turismo 4, using fully-fledged band performances and surround sound systems to enhance his music.
Beyond his work on T-Square, Andoh has worked on a range of other album projects. He has released three solo albums to date, Melody Book, Melody-Go-Round, Andy’s, and Winter Songs, each featuring elaborate electric guitar work and contemporary jazz stylings. He also formed a guitar duo with long-term friend Yuji Mikuriya, known as anmi2; the pair have made numerous live appearances and released three albums together. Testifying his legendary status in the industry, he is also one third of the superband Ottottrio, also featuring Korenos’ Hirokuni Korekata and Casiopea’s Issei Noro. He nevertheless continues to focus his work on T-Square, having celebrated their 30th anniversary with a series of concerts and compilations, while simultaneously producing remixes of “Moon Over the Castle” for the latest versions of Gran Turismo on PSP and PlayStation 3. Andoh continues to release albums with T-Square on an annual basis, most recently Wings, and has recently completed a concert tour revisiting his earlier releases.
© Biography by Chris Greening (September 2010). Last updated on January 27, 2013. Do not republish without formal permission.
Posted on January 27, 2013 by Chris Greening. Last modified on March 21, 2014.