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Street Fighter EX2 Arrange Album :: Review by Chris

Street Fighter EX2 Arrange Album Album Title: Street Fighter EX2 Arrange Album
Record Label: Suleputer
Catalog No.: CPCA-1023
Release Date: March 20, 1999
Purchase: Buy at Game Music Online


The Arika Sound Team kept pushing the boundaries of the Street Fighter EX series with each instalment, making the very most of the hardware available to them to incorporate bold and experimental electronic compositions. However, easily their most experimental production of the series was the Street Fighter EX2 Arrange Album. The original Street Fighter EX Arrange Album mainly emphasised the nature of the originals with expansive, yet accessible, arrangements. The sequel album, on the other hand, largely transforms the original music into underground electronic remixes. Gone are the poppy melodies of the originals in favour of layers of penetrating beats, heavy distortion, and industrial noise. Could this album possibly appeal to consumers out there?


Right from the opener, Shinji Hosoe's "Pearl in the Sky", it's clear that this album has plenty of charisma. While not as original as some of the subsequent entries, it serves as an appetiser for what's to come with its tight bass riffs and refreshing electronic beats. In typical Hosoe style, it grows all the more experimental during its development, with plenty of noise, breaks, and decorations, ensuring that the initial idea doesn't come too laboured. Ayako Saso's "White Field" is not too different with its focus on rhythmically compelling rhythms, but has a more gritty feel, mixing industrial, funk, and hardcore elements to increasingly crazy effect. It sounds more like something one would expect from a Sampling Masters album, not a hyper-melodic score such as Street Fighter EX2. Even Takayuki Aihara's once anthemic rock piece "The Infinite Earth" is transformed almost beyond recognition into a reggaeton improvisation.

These transformations are representative of the approach for most of the pieces on the album. Essentially everything is given a harder, edgier, and crazier twist, though that doesn't mean they're homogenous. One of the most spectacular examples of off-the-wall creativity is "Crash Power Plant", which takes the industrial focus of the album to the next level with all its machine noises and rhythmical irregularities; in this case, it completely fits the nature of the original stage too. "Mahatma Temple" meanwhile sounds even more gothic than before with its pipe organ leads, yet is peppered with orchestral discords and pulsating beats to intentionally horrifying effects. "Fake World" meanwhile takes a more surreal approach, blending airy synth pads in the treble with dynamic electronic bass lines, ensuring listeners are taken on quite a peculiar journey. It's not as outwardly bizarre as some of the other entries, yet has a subtly mesmerising effect nonetheless.

There are two guest contributors on the album too. Visual novel composer Toshimichi Isoe deviates from his normal style to offer an extended drum 'n bass mix of "Flash Train" and a highly distorted interpretation of "More Stronger". These complement the Arika Sound Team's contributions well, though aren't among the finest contributions to the album. Yasunori Mitsuda's interpretation of "Crowded Town" struggles to unite the pentatonic violin melodies of the original with the introduced hardcore electronic beats, resulting in a somehow incohesive and messy sound. Thankfully, his closer "Passage of Lotus" initially stays true to his strength of producing sentimental and nostalgic piano pieces. Its eventual evolution into a climactic electro-orchestral final battle theme is just as memorable as his contributions to Chrono Trigger's final battle suite.


This is an album of unrestricted experimentation, not a conventional arranged album. While the arrangements still reference their source material, often the poppy melodies are buried within endless beats and the adopted style is completely different. This is certainly not a bad thing for those looking for something more 'out there', more comparable to the Sampling Masters albums. It's a very well-produced album with plenty of highlights and novelties, though its target audience is certainly the most hardy of electronica fans. This is hardcore stuff and there is pretty much no relent during the hour playtime.

Overall Score: 8/10