Ah, finally, a thread for me to spam T-Square classics. Let’s start with the obvious pick: Guile’s Theme.
If I had to sum up T-Square, I’d call them the jazziest, most flamboyant Showa J-pop band without the vocal track that should be there. Their excellent melodies, instrumental panache, and dense arrangements sans vocals made them top material for musicians like Shimomura, Hiro Kawaguchi, and others to draw from. And, of course, one of the co-founders, Masahiro Ando, himself did some game music.
Compare these two tracks, for instance:
Did I mention that, for all their jazz fusion excellence, they did great pop-rock as well? Ando literally just cloned one of his later compositions, Knight’s Song, and made it Moon Over the Castle for Gran Turismo. That’s some way to spend less time than planned on your contract gig.
I’m more partial to works from their early-to-mid-1980s era.
T-Square also largely popularized the Lyricon (and its successor, Akai’s EWI wind synthesizer) in Japan and the world over, alongside the Rippingtons and other smooth jazz/fusion groups. Lyricon/EWI melodies are very distinctive in this genre, and very likely a big influence on Japanese game musicians seeking to recreate these pleasant sounds. (Let’s not forget the funky slap-bass!)
Mmm, just so good. Many call this style corny or buttrock, but I beg to differ.
Granted, a lot of people now like this stuff because of how much it adopts from city pop/Showa kayokyoku music, notably the lavish instrumentation and saccharine qualities which avoid J-pop/idol pop stereotypes.