Wipeout - The Music :: Review by Dave
Released in 1995, but set in 2052, Wipeout was a particularly futuristic zero-gravity racing game which featured amazing craft, deadly rivals, and also a unique electronic soundtrack. Wipeout - The Music isn't particularly representative of what can be heard in the game, since Tim Wright's (CoLD SToRAGE) in-game tracks are absent and only a quarter of the contributions to this soundtrack actually feature in the game. Though this is confusing and a little frustrating, the featured techno, acid house, and alternative rock tracks stay rather true to the game's futuristic and groundbreaking musical style.
The tracks featured on this album that are actually used int he game "Afro Ride," "Chemical Beats," and "Wipeout (P.E.T.R.O.L)." "Afro Ride" has an addictive beat and flavoursome backing motif. Although repetitive in places, it provides that futuristic and enduring sound perfect for the game. It was so fitting that it features in both Wipeout and the subsequent Wipeout 2097. The next contribution, "Chemical Beats", is one of The Chemical Brothers most renowned creations and epitomises the big beat sound which they pioneered. To further put across how successful this track was for them, they actually renamed themselves after it, having previously being called The Dust Brothers. The track is undoubtedly strong, making use of a combination of industrial sounds, breakbeat sequences, hip hop rhythms, and a crazy techno synthesised melody. Still, out of the three that feature in the game, "Wipeout (P.E.T.R.O.L)" is actually my favourite and deserves to bear the game's title. "Wipeout..." is a creation from brothers Phil and Paul Hartnoll (Orbital), and takes upon a unique ambient techno sound. This theme received enough praise for the duo to later return to the series.
Out of the rest of the tracks featured on the album, there are certainly a few notable ones. "Age of Love (Jam & Spoon Mix)," for example, is a rendition of Age of Love's self-titled track, widely seen as the earliest example of trance music. The track features a compelling vocal line over the creative backdrop of beats and synth sounds to create a fantastic ambient atmosphere. "One Love" by The Prodigy is another strong addition, and is distinctive from the others due to its inclusion of strings and high-pitched tribal chant. You may also enjoy the sounds of "Transamazonia (Deep Dish Rockit Express Dub Mix)," which features some innovative sequencing and an incomparable amount of bass development. It is "Captain Dread" from Dreadzone that I find to be the most enjoyable and original track though; making use of a simple fiddle motif and an upbeat techno rhythm, this fusion brings a more light-hearted feel to the album.
There are a couple of tracks which you may want to miss on this album though. "Circus Bells..." is the most annoying, droning, and repetitive track I've heard in a long time; any perceivable interesting qualities are lost with a snail-paced development over nine minutes. Furthermore, with The Manic Street Preacher's "La Tristesse Durera..," it's hard to pull away from the grating vocals provided from the lead singer, despite having a more enjoyable direction. "Blue Monday (Hardfloor Mix)," though, is by far the album's weakest track. A poor remix of the once highly successful dance track, it focuses on the original's weakest parts. This sadly further draws away from the addictive and distinctive sound produced by New Order's novel, throbbing, and inviting bass line.
The album features just three tracks from the game and the rest is made of other licensed music. As a result, Wipeout - The Music is certainly not wholly comparative of the original gaming experience. Agreed, the album features some particularly strong tracks and creates that futuristic vibe which Wipeout is renowned for. Between some clear 'misses', the album features some truly memorable tracks and features a number of well-known artists. Those looking out for a collection of accessible techno and trance will find this album worth hunting down. Those looking to experience the music which is actually in the game, though, should just put the PlayStation game disc in a CD player, since it conveniently acts as an audio CD too.
Overall Score: 7/10