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Wipeout Redbook Audio :: Review by Dave

Wipeout Redbook Audio Album Title: Wipeout Redbook Audio
Record Label: Psygnosis
Catalog No.: SCES-01909
Release Date: September 29, 1995
Purchase: Buy at eBay


A groundbreaking and futuristic zero-gravity racing game released in the mid-'90s, Wipeout is one of the most notable games of the fifth generation of consoles. The game's album release Wipeout - The Music isn't especially representative of what can be heard in the game, with both the absence of Tim Wright's (CoLD SToRAGE) in-game tracks, and the reality that just a quarter of the contributions to the album feature in the game. Many fans of the game will find this frustrating, but there is a saviour however unbeknownst to many gamers. The game disc also acts as an audio CD on any CD player, with a blank first track. The Wipeout Redbook Audio, though not exactly an official release, therefore features the in-game music which was ignored on the game's official album. So, let us walk through some of CoLD SToRAGE's groundbreaking and series-defining compositions.


CoLD SToRAGE himself describes the soundtrack to Wipeout as a bit of a culture shock. With this being the first time a game has featured CD-quality electronica, there's no doubting that it left a lasting impression upon both game players and electronica fans. On learning that the tracks featured within the game were the result of CoLD SToRAGE's first attempts of writing in the trance/dance style, many may assume that they are just simple, maybe catchy, tracks with little substance. The truth is, they're much more than this. Take "Cairodrome," the first track on the disc as an example. With this theme, the track almost seems to direct itself in perfect audio bliss over the course of five minutes. With its simple bass rhythm, massive development, creative sampling, and vocal interjections, "Cairodrome" is a favourite amongst many (and it's easy to see why). Even the especially retro "Cardinal Dancer" is a stunning theme, and although written in much the same style, CoLD SToRAGE introduces a fantastic palette of synth sounds and otherworldly vibes. There's nothing weirder than the sounds used in "Transvaal" though, which comes towards the end of the tracklist. Take a listen to the rhythm and development from 2:36 and feel mesmerised by the simple overlying melody.

Despite their excellence, the previously named tracks aren't my favourites in the game though. Rther it is the likes of "Cold Comfort," "Doh T," and "Messij" which are the most compelling and gripping. "Cold Comfort" starts off with a distinctive bass synth riff, over which the rest of the track develops. I may be clutching at straws a little here, but the beginning to Lance Hayes' "Riding the Rail" from the Forza Motorsport 3 Original Soundtrack sounds extraordinarily similar to this. Maybe it's a technique that just works, or maybe it's a bit of an ode from Hayes to the likeableness of the bass in "Cold Comfort." Moving on from this bass though, it's actually what overlies this that defines the track, namely a funky piano motif which comes in at 1:22, delicious build-up segment between 2:38 and 3:03, and the ominous section which shortly follows the previous build-up. It's true to say that "Doh T" is just as good; starting off with some rampant beats and otherworldly vocals, the track develops fantastically to become a melodic gem from 1:58 onwards. It is "Messij" though which I find to be the most addictive and enjoyable track. The track's hard hitting beat, enjoyable vocals and fascinating melody come together to form the game's strongest track. You can also hear this track in arranged form on Cold Storage's debut two disc album Melt — just look for "Messij 2005 - New Science Mix."

There are a few tracks featured alongside Tim Wright's too, which also have the privilege of featuring on Wipeout - The Music. "Afro Ride" has an addictive beat and flavoursome backing motif, and although repetitive in places, provides that futuristic and enduring sound perfect for the game. The next contribution, "Chemical Beats" is one of The Chemical Brothers most renowned creations, with the track epitomising the big beat sound which they pioneered. 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, "Wipeout (P.E.T.R.O.L)" is actually my favourite, and I feel it deserves to bear the game's title. "Wipeout..." is the creation of brothers Phil and Paul Hartnoll (Orbital), and takes upon a unique ambient techno sound. With the duo contributing to Wipeout 2097 and Paul Hartnoll later contributing to Wipeout Pure's soundtrack too, it's clear that this theme received enough praise to see the return of the duo to the series.


CoLD SToRAGE's score to Wipeout is both distinctive and unmissable. His clear cut electronica additions are exactly what the game needed and, moreover, exactly what the game music industry needed too. The tracks featured on here are a real push in the right direction for the industry, especially with there not being a single poor addition. Personally, I believe that this music is much better than what can be heard on Wipeout - The Music, so dig out your PlayStation game collection and put this in your CD player. Just remember to skip past the first blank track!

Overall Score: 10/10