Can you believe it’s been over 20 years since Ridge Racer 4 was released? The soundtrack holds up remarkably well, combining sleek electronic, funk, and RNB sounds, which is why it’s wonderful to have a fully remastered version released by SuperSweep Records to celebrate this momentous occasion. The highlight of the R4 -THE 20TH ANNIV. SOUNDS- album, however, is the first disc, which features 16 brand new remixes. An all-star cast tackle the arrangements, including Ridge Racer alums Hiroshi Okubo, Shinji Hosoe, Ayako Saso, Kohta Takahashi, Ryo Watanabe, Nobuyoshi Sano, Tetsukazu Nakanishi, Takayuki Aihara, Jinbae “ESTi” Park, and many more, making for a wonderful reunion of sorts. The remixes are quite remarkable, fleshing out the original songs with additional instrumentation and upgraded production, liberated in a way without having to worry about infringing on the in-game action. Those who purchases this album on the SuperSweep store will also earn a special disc of extended-play mixes crafted by Okubo and Hosoe. The set comes with a cardboard slipcase and is adorned with the lovely yellow stylings and aesthetic of the original, including commentary (in Japanese) by some of the sound team and a sticker sheet. This is a collection any Ridge Racer fan will want to get their hands on. It’s available to import via CD Japan.
More Tekken! SuperSweep is at it again, with both Tekken 7 and Tekken Revolution having recently been released. Expect more dubstep and electronic action from the Bandai Namco team and friends, including tracks from SuperSweep’s own Shinji Hosoe and Ayako Saso in addition to Yuu Miyake, Nobuyoshi Sano, and the rest of the gang. Taku Inoue handles the bulk of the music this time around, and as such, there’s a little pop mixed in with this dubstep.
He opens with the grungy rock/electronic “New World Order” with anthemic male vocals, and moves into industrial with “Blood, Sweat, and Fists.” There are laser-like synths in “Everlasting Heaven” and a distorted and searing soundscape present in “Self Destruct.” Yuu Miyake delivers “El Condor,” a trippy electronic track with an ethereal atmosphere and lots of reverb. There’s the dancey “Lunar fringe theory,” the pumping “Chopper” with its crazy slap bass, and even some flamenco flavor in “Bassamenco” and “Françoise’s Bassline.” Vocoder vocals are found in “Brasil evolution,” clean acoustic guitar in “lost in a station,” and Inoue’s uplifting rock in “Night rises” and “Kodama Starship,” the latter of which almost sounds like something out of Katamari Damacy with its vocal work.
Tekken Revolution is published by SuperSweep Records and is available for import from CD Japan if you’re interested.
While Druaga Online -The Story of Aon- was never released outside of Japan, I think a lot of RPG fans can get behind an arcade-based RPG with online four player co-op. What drew my attention to the soundtrack was the eclectic combination of composers, which includes SuperSweep’s Ayako Sasao, StudioMINSTREL’s Hiroto Saito, and Bandai Namco composers Junko Ozawa and Hiroyuki Kawada. True to the eclectic nature of the team, the soundtrack offers upbeat orchestral, electronic, and rock in adventurous fantasy fashion.
Listeners will enjoy the infectious synth pop castle theme as well as the main character themes, which include playfully epic rock (“Gilgamesh”), bubbly electonics (“Ki”), and even industrial (“Xeovalga”). The map themes will also stand out with the exotic woodwinds of “Windy Prairie,” the grand orchestral stylings of “Hanging Gardens,” and the funky Castlevania-esque “Floating Island,” which even sports bagpipes at one point. Rounding out the two-disc collection are the gloriously defaint “Heavenly Palace,” the explosive final battle theme, and the triumphant and rustic ending theme complete with harpsichord.
Ridge Racer fans should take note of a recent release from SuperSweep celebrating 20 years of the series. Ridge Racer 20th Anniversary Remix is a two-disc collection featuring arrangements from across the franchise by several Bandai Namco sound team composers, both past and present. The second disc is dedicated to lengthy club mixes, and those who purchase the album on SuperSweep’s online store will also get a bonus disc with an hour-long club mix.
Electronic music fans will be right at home among the dance, house, and dubstep offerings. The hard-hitting “Disco Ball” from the original Ridge Racer, the epic choir in “Grip” from Ridge Racer 2, the jazzy “Quiet Curves” from Ridge Racer 4, the deep house experience “Sliding Beat” from Ridge Racer (VITA), and the vocal stylings of Takenobu Mitsuyoshi on “Ridge Racer” from Ridge Racer USA provide just a few of the memorable moments on this album.