Gamasutra has a great interview up with Masafumi Takada, best known for his work on the Grasshopper Manufacture games killer7 and No More Heroes and contributor on projects ranging from Super Smash Bros. Brawl to Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles. The interview covers a ton of ground, from what it's like to work with Goichi Suda to Takada's work on Samurai Champloo to his theory on composing for games:
Music is really tied to your experiences and memories, similar to how your sense of smell is. If you hear music that you've heard before, it should bring memories from that previous time rushing back. So the game is of course a virtual world, where there are naturally things that don't have any relation to reality.
But perhaps these experiences could happen to you in the future. The music will be tied to these potential future experiences. So I want to create music that will tie you to, and remind you of, the virtual world, but also come back to you in the real world, and create future memories. The soundtrack should recall your old memories, but also help forge new ones.
After you've played the game, when you listen to just the music, I want players to be able to remember the feelings they had at that time, and their feelings of that era.
I, like most people, have an unholy mix of music on my 'favorites' list on my iPod; it's always nice to have some of my favorite gaming tracks sandwiched between diverse music and have those tracks stand out in a good way ('Really? That's from a video game?' is a reasonably common refrain from non-gamer passengers in my car). We do get so attached to music, and I'm so attached to music from some of my favorite games - to think of it as something that should be part of the memory process and not merely unobtrusive background is something that's not new, but important to remember. Somewhat lengthy interview that's certainly worth perusing.
Masafumi Takada: Grasshopper's Musical Craftsman [Gamasutra]