PrintE-mail Written by Nick Spacek

Since the Out Run soundtrack showed up last week, we’ve been getting so much more accomplished. The music, released to vinyl in celebration of the driving game’s 30th anniversary, is absolutely infectious and suitable for motivating you to get anything done -- be it driving, racing, cruising, or otherwise, this is vigorously energetic music. If you’re familiar with Out Run, you’ll know that it’s held up as the platonic ideal of driving games, and a large portion of the game’s success is the music by Hiroshi "Hiro" Kawaguchi, Masayoshi Ishi, Manabu Namiki, and Jane-Evelyn Nisperos.

Sourced directly from the 1986 arcade machine, the music on side A is heavy and robust. These are the three cuts which you were able to select yourself when playing in the arcade to come through on the car’s “radio”, as well as the Last Wave track, which would play as you entered your initials onto the scoreboard, were you good enough to rate the ranking. The mellower cuts are obviously quieter, but the way Magical Sound Shower and Splash Wave hit, they might as well be ‘80s club cuts, so heavy is that low end.

The music on side B is comprised of three “bonus” cuts, taken from later versions of the game. Step on Beat is from the Sony Mega Drive edition in 1991, and Cruising Line and Camino a Mu Amor come from the 2014 3DS version. Cruising Line comes closest to capturing the music of the original Kawaguchi game music, mixing as it does louche and relaxing tones with a metronomic pulse, but Step on Beat is pretty good, as well. Camino is a little too intense, and seems as if it’s part of another game until its closing minute or so, which incorporates a sort of digital marimba. Then, it rightly secures its place in the Out Run world.

The packaging on Out Run is absolutely sick. The jacket has a die-cut front, and inside there’s three different images which allow you to decide which driving stage you want your LP to portray: the beach, Death Valley, or Devil’s Canyon. The text is all in both English and Japanese, with an obi strip really complete the impression that this is a real-deal product. Data Discs have officially licensed this music from Sega, and the devotion the label has to making their product look like something which might’ve been imported directly from overseas is astonishing. There’s a lovely little essay from composer Kawaguchi, as well, expressing his delight that Out Run is once again available on vinyl.

We’re rather excited, as well. From music to production to packaging, this is the ultimate edition of Out Run music. Data Discs have once again shown themselves to be the preeminent purveyors of classic video game sounds, and it’s going to be hard for anyone - themselves included - to top this release.


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