F/A -Shinji Hosoe Works Vol. 4-
F/A -Shinji Hosoe Works Vol. 4-
October 31, 2014
Buy at CD Japan
Shinji Hosoe Works Vol. 4 -F/A- is a re-release under Supersweep of the soundtrack for the 1992 vertical shooter, Fighter and Attacker. Featuring electronic music that was popular at the time, Shinji Hosoe and Takayuki Aihara provide a rave oriented soundtrack. It is reminiscent of Manabu Namiki’s Zed Blade soundtrack or their own Ridge Racer, although this did precede that body of work. In fact, this was one of the first hardcore electronic game soundtracks ever created and hence was highly influential at its time. How does the soundtrack hold up these days?
The majority of the soundtrack is composed by Shinji Hosoe and offers some energetic dance tunes with lots of punch. Tunes like “Desert Storm” have a lot of intricate beats and accompaniment. As these are classic rave style tunes, there isn’t much focus on melody, but the ever changing composition in the melody line helps keep things fresh. The implementation is impressive for the time, giving an authentic rave style despite the limitations of Namco’s early sound boards.
One of my favorite tunes, “Rave War,” offers a really intense soundscape mixed with some nice vocal sample manipulation and some electric guitar sampling from time to time. Another fantastic tune is “Beat Resistance,” with its really sinister approach thanks to its darker synths, slower tempo at times, and sharp synth hits. “ø1991” also incorporates some nice jazz piano chords into the mix to help give it bit a lightness. While the other tunes are also quite enjoyable, they don’t really stand out much on their own.
Takayuki Aihara’s two stage themes, “War Art” and “Hellharmony” are some of the highlights on the album. Both have a darker tone to them with “War Art’s” droning accompaniment and sharp synth and “Hellharmony’s” chaotic and aggressive introduction thanks to its sharp synth hits. However, with the former, there are some lighter sections that focus on heavy beats and bright synth samples. The latter, on the other hand, continues with the cacophony by constantly introducing the opening phrases in the middle of other phrases. It’s really creative, in my opinion, and makes the track stand out. Again, the implementation is top-notch for its time and such tracks still sound pretty good today.
Also included is “Time Looper,” an unused piece composed by Shinji Hosoe that definitely has a Streets of Rage flavor to it. It’s bright, but also keeps the dance vibe of the soundtrack, but a bit more finesse. It’s a great bonus track. Aihara also offers an unused track, “Don’t Touch U.” It is also lighter in nature, like “Time Looper,” and it makes me think of Streets of Rage. I’d wager a guess that both of these unused tunes were the original direction of the music before moving into the more rave style soundtrack that the final product ended up as.
Shinji Hosoe Works Vol. 4 -F/A- is a great soundtrack for fans of the classic rave style. While some of the tunes lack individuality, on the whole, it serves as a suitable, pioneering soundtrack for an arcade classic. Aihara, despite not being the focus of the album, provides some of the best tunes and the two substantial bonus tunes are also quite great. For those who order from Supersweep, there is also a bonus disc that comes with it that features a nonstop mix of the original soundtrack but also includes the sound effects and some select rhythm tracks, for those who might be willing to try their hand at a classic rave piece. It’s not Shinji Hosoe’s best work, but for its time, it was quite something.
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Posted on December 12, 2014 by Don Kotowski. Last modified on January 19, 2016.