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Ken-Ichiro Isoda – Where ambience meets the ocean

In this post I want to bring your attention to Ken-Ichiro Isoda. Japanese musical Swiss tool. A person that left his mark on early 90’s Japanese healing ambient, as well as contributed by making music to various movies and even games. This time split will be slightly different. Focusing each chapter to one field of his work


Let’s start nice and easy. With his music.

Ken-Ichiro Isoda started to release his albums in 1990. With first release being “Meditation of Clammbon”. A calming album, focused as name suggests around meditation. With really flowing and calm sound that surely will fit various recreational or meditational purposes.

His another albums offer more of the soothing sounds. With his “Natural Trip・ Majel's Star” and his “Pliocene beach”. Where his music slows down even further and leaves us with sounds of the guitar, flute and depending on the album either rain or the sound of the crashing waves.

His albums follow the ocean and sounds of crashing waves until 1993. When he starts to create compilations of music aimed at stress relief and relaxation. His 8 compilations of his earlier albums released in between 1993 – 2001 aim at bringing peace to a human mind. With Japan being this hyper efficient and productive country. It’s no surprise that there’s a need for this sort of music. Couple of albums that try to bring peace to busy minds and worried individuals.
Example: Ken-Ichiro Isoda - Frustration Elimination

His music didn’t stop in 2003 thought. In 2000 he formed the band “the toy box” with which he released 3 albums. Since he’s working in group, it’s not so calm anymore. For sure not so organized as every member of the group is bringing something to the table. Just have a listen to their 2 nd album, “Acoustic YMO”. Their first album has a rather generic name “In those days” which makes it really difficult to find it online. Album “Garbage collection” appears to be their last album. Hitting in that Pop / country vibe with full blown Japanese vocals. Status of archiving this album is mixed. There are some songs available on youtube. But I was unable to find a source that had whole album.

Movies / Video games

Now this one is a pickle. As information about his contributions as a composer for movies / video games is rather scarce. But let’s start from his work in the sphere of video games.

Everything starts in 1988 when he starts to work on music in games with his brother – Shigeharu Isoda. They work together from 1988 to 1992 on soundtracks for 11 games. Quite few of them released on PC Engine (or called TurboGrafx-16) game console and PC X6800 made by Sharp. Those titles are mostly ports of shoot’em up games from arcade machines to home systems. There’s surprisingly much information available about those games. With each having its own wiki on the internet and couple of good quality recordings floating around the web. Here’s a list of titles on which brothers Isoda worked. At the end of his adventure with game dev. He worked as a sound advisor for game Astro boy released on PS2.

Now to his contributions in the field of movies. His work seems to match with the time when he slowed down with creating his ambient music. After release of his Relaxation album compilation in 1995 his next work is a music composition and cast in the movie Nabbie’s Love. Next years bring another releases. 4 more in total, this time solely focused on creating music for movies.

ngl I’m gonna stop here. There’s just little info about this guy… and I don’t want to pat out the article with writing about his role in every little project that he took part in. For anyone that wants to deepen the research, especially of the earlier days and more obscure works, he gave an intervew for fond/sound website. I hope you found this interesting.

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