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Wipeout 2097 - The Soundtrack :: Review by Dave

Wipeout 2097 - The Soundtrack Album Title: Wipeout 2097 - The Soundtrack
Record Label: Virgin (UK); Toshiba EMI (JP)
Catalog No.: CDV-2815; VJCP-25274
Release Date: 1996; November 13, 1996
Purchase: Buy at eBay


Wipeout 2097 (or WipE'out" XL in the US) was the second addition to Sony Computer Entertainment's highly successful futuristic racing series. As with the previous album in the series (Wipeout - The Music), Wipeout 2097 - The Soundtrack features wholly licensed music. Although the tracks featured on the album do feature in the game, the albums fails to include Tim Wright's (CoLD SToRAGE) contributions to the game. With this in mind, the representativeness of Wipeout 2097 - The Soundtrack of the whole gaming experience is debatable. This, of course, doesn't affect its enjoyableness though. This particular album was released in the United Kingdom and Japan, whereas an identical album called Wipeout XL - The Soundtrack was released in the United States.


The album features a few artists who previously contributed to Wipeout - The Music and several tracks are also revisited. Wwe are once more presented with Leftfield's "Afro Ride" and "Wipeout (P.E.T.R.O.L)" (renamed as "Petrol") from Orbital. The inclusion of these tracks upon this album reflects upon their previous success, with each proving to be addictive and ambient additions. More notable, though, are the tracks provided from The Prodigy and The Chemical Brothers. The instrumental version of The Prodigy's "Firestarter" is amongst the soundtrack's most pulsating and heavy-hitting themes, and takes upon a different style to their "One Love" track on Wipeout - The Music. The vocal version of the track is much better, but with the national and international hit featuring controversial and violent punk vocals, it was probably a good choice to just include the instrumental version in this soundtrack. Also returnees, The Chemical Brothers offer two contributions "Loops of Fury" and "Leave Home." Each track is particularly typical of The Chemical Brother's early big beat style, each focusing around hard-hitting drums and unique synth sequences.

The rest of the contributions on the album don't stray too far away from the styles already exhibited. The Future Sound of London's "We Have Explosive" and "We Have Explosive (Herd Killing)" actually sticks to the big beat style already exemplified by The Chemical Brothers' contributions. To put a stamp on the version I prefer the best, it's the remix, if only for the weird effects between 2:50 and 3:00. Newcomers Fluke also contribute two tracks, filled with electronica and house goodness. One of these tracks, "V Six" begins with alarm noises and a scintillating fast-paced pumping beat, and after a long development it really starts to come alive at 3:27 with the overlay of a new synth line. The renowned "Atom Bomb" is the better of the two tracks though, with this one featuring a much stronger melody and gripping whispered vocals. The other musician with two featured tracks is Photek (Rupert Parkes), but sadly his tracks aren't really as innovative or inspired as the likes of Fluke or The Chemical Brothers' contributions. Despite the creative sequencing in "The Third Sequence" and "Titan," they seem particularly laboured and repetitive, with "Titan" only temporarily straying away towards the middle to explore some ambient and otherworldly textures.

The album's other contributors Underworld, Source Direct, and Daft Punk each place just one track under their names. Underworld's "Tin There" is a fantastic progressive trance track which makes use of a recycled bass rhythm and constant overlaying of synth sequences to create a hypnotic and hard-hitting atmosphere, not especially explored elsewhere on the album. Less of a success, Source Direct's drum and bass "2097" is the soundtrack's most disjointed piece, featuring one of the craziest drum beats and seemingly involuntary synth noise outburst. The soundscape created is certainly enjoyable, but perhaps a little too much with its ability to create a sudden bout of nausea within the game player. Daft Punk's "Musique" is a little less disorientating though, and rather than feeling as if you've been strapped to a merry-go-round for too long, it gently plays its melody in an enjoyable and listenable blend of beats, looped sounds and rhythmic shifts.


I have very little criticism of this album, other than that Tim Wright's contributions are nowhere to be seen. The tracks featured are mostly fantastic, and act as a great accompaniment to the game. Through creating a multitude of different and inviting sounds, be this a calm atmosphere, a heavy hitting musical assault, or melodic invasion, the additions to this album are great exhibitions of what can be achieved through electronica. Furthermore, this sort of futuristic sound is absolutely perfect for the game which itself is based far in the future. I truly enjoyed this soundtrack, and I daresay you will do too!

Overall Score: 9/10