Dave Heinemann

Laugh and Peace

I've always loved video game music.

When I was a kid, I had a copy of Vib-Ribbon for the Sony PlayStation.

Vib-Ribbon cover art
Vib-Ribbon cover art via MobyGames

Vib-Ribbon was a rhythm game characterised by its distinctive visuals, which look kind of like the white wireframe of a 2.5D platformer on a black background. You play as a rabbit-like creature that must navigate over various obstacles synchronised to the rhythm of J-Pop songs.

Vib-Ribbon screenshot
Vib-Ribbon screenshot via MobyGames

Vib-Ribbon's visuals were basic, and it lacked any kind of story compared to contemporaries like Um Jammer Lammy. However, it had a killer feature: playing with your own music. By swapping out the game disc for a music CD, you could play levels based on any song. This effectively gave players access to unlimited levels.

Vib-Ribbon gave me many hours of enjoyment playing with my own music CDs. However, its enduring appeal to me has been the official soundtrack, composed by J-Pop band Laugh and Peace. This was my first exposure to J-Pop, and although I couldn't make sense of the frantic lyrics, I quickly fell in love with the upbeat, chaotic sound. Vib-Ribbon was one of those PlayStation games where all the music was on a regular audio track1, making it trivial to rip to MP3. Thus, its soundtrack became part of my music collection. I've been regularly listening to it for 25 years, long after I stopped playing Vib-Ribbon.

I always wanted to find more of Laugh and Peace's music. I remember when I finally got the Internet at home circa 2004, I managed to find a short music video clip featuring the lead singer on the verandah of a Japanese apartment. However, that was all. I didn't know Japanese or the band members' names, and I had no luck finding out more about them or their music. Resources that we take for granted today like Wikipedia either didn't exist back then, or were still in their infancy. With no luck in my search, I concluded that Laugh and Peace might have been a one-off band created just to compose the Vib-Ribbon soundtrack.

That finally changed last week. The Vib-Ribbon soundtrack recently appeared on Spotify2, and renewed my curiosity about its elusive composers. I finally found a leadβ€”a Laugh and Peace EP on Spotify named まさひこくん ~けょっときいてγͺοΌ’ ("Masahiko-kun ~ Listen to me 2"). Using this, I was able to track down the names of a few other releases, including under previous band name Kyo-ki. It's hard to believe it's taken 25 years, but I finally have more Laugh and Peace to listen to!

I've included a list of Laugh and Peace's main releases below, in hopes it will be helpful to others. Where possible, YouTube and Spotify links are included.

Under the name Kyo-ki:

Under the name Laugh and Peace:

So far, my favourite song is In the Sky from the Casual Meetings compilation. It's soft, and relaxing.

I also finally identified the song from that music video all those years ago: けょっときいてγͺ, from the single of the same name (YouTube).

It seems like Laugh and Peace haven't released any new albums for well over a decade now, but who knows. Maybe we'll see more in the future!

Do you have any thoughts or feedback? Let me know via email!
  1. I've never known why some PlayStation games did this, but not others. It made perfect sense for Vib-Ribbon though, since it was designed to generate playable levels for any music CD. If the game disc is also a music CD, the official levels/songs can be played using the exact same mechanism.↩

  2. Well, most of it. The first track, Polaroid, is weirdly missing. The tutorial track is also absent, but it featured tutorial narration and doesn't make for good listening anyway. I suspect that it wasn't composed by Laugh and Peace, but couldn't say for sure.↩

#Music #Video Games