City Harvest Church had a taste of Japanese superstardom during the Saturday church service on 27 June at Singapore Expo Hall 8, as award-winning game music composer, producer and saxophonist Norihiko Hibino delivered a remixed composition of ‘Elevate’ on the saxophone.The Tokyo-born Hibino, whose video game music scores are critically acclaimed for complex arrangements that fuse classical, jazz, rock and electronica, was in town as one of the star performers at the Video Game Live. His career portfolio includes the Metal Gear Solid game franchise as well as titles in the Yu-Gi-Oh, Boktai, Ninja Blade and Zone of the Enders series. Hibino was also awarded a GANG (Gaming Audio Network Guild) award in 2004 for his work on the MGS 3 single ‘Snake Eater’.
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With a degree in human science from Osaka University as well as a degree in jazz composition from the prestigious Berklee College of Music, the affable and polite Hibino says he never thought that game music composing was what he would do as a career. In fact, fan boys might even be dismayed to discover that Hibino is not much of a gamer. His favourite? An old Sega game that uses music and dancing to help the player complete missions.
Hibino first landed a job at a video game company in 1999 through his programming and composing skills. “Video game companies were the only ones who could afford the expensive sound production equipment back then, so that was the only choice for me to start my career.”
Hibino also runs his own audio, animation and film production studio, GEM Impact. And he is the Program Director of an engineering sound production course for Life College in Japan.
Fans of Hibino are privy to his softer side with his latest album Gentle Love, in which the saxophonist covers popular hits like ‘龙的传人‘ to Wang Lee Hom’s ‘Forever Love’.
As the interview concludes, Hibino has one last request.
“I had a lot of fun with ‘Elevate’. I would like to come back to CHC to play again, and maybe compose an original remix of one of the church song. What would the church like to hear?” he asks sincerely.
You can send him your requests via www.norihikohibino.com.