Need For Speed IV -High Stakes- The Album
Need For Speed IV -High Stakes- The Album
April 12, 1999
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The fourth addition to the Need for Speed series, Need for Speed: High Stakes (known as Need for Speed: Road ChallengeNeed for Speed: Hot Pursuit) which featured an electronic and rock score, the game features a wholly electronic soundtrack. Featuring the rather familiar Saki Kaskas and Rom Di Prisco (who composed for the two prior instalments to the series) and Junkie XL (who composed the score for Need for Speed: ProStreet), the Need for Speed IV – High Stakes album is great to listen to, even when separated from the game.
Out of all the composers on the album, Rom Di Prisco has certainly contributed the most themes. Though his opening track “NFS High Stakes Intro” is dull, don’t let this fool you into thinking that the composer doesn’t amaze on the album. With the likes of the fantastic “Quantum Singularity,” “Paradigm Shifter,” and ambient “Cygnus Rift,” Rom Di Prisco lives up to his full potential, beating his contributions featured in Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit.
What can be further noted is how each of his tracks has its own special quality. “Quantum Singularity,” for instance, succeeds through its collection of bizarre synth sounds, strong drum line, and the very careful direction which the development takes. “Cygnus Rift,” too, has a pretty linear development, and although it is just short of six minutes, and only really consists of a few notes here and there, it never gets boring, and hence excels with its longevity. On the other hand, “Paradigm Shifter” stands out with its hard-hitting approach and dominance of brash synth noises, whilst also maintaining a sturdy ambient backdrop. His contributions are certainly a respectable addition to the game’s score.
Need for Speed: ProStreet‘s Junkie XL has a couple of worthy additions to this score too. “Def Beat,” “Fight,” and “War” all seem like pretty uninspired titles, but really these act as masks for some of the album’s three strongest themes. What really makes Junkie XL stand out on the album is how much concentration he puts into the bass development of the track before moving onto the main melody. “Fight” is a good example of this, with up to 1:50 being wholly bass development, before we first get to hear the melody. Even more impressive is how Junkie XL then goes on to integrate this line perfectly with the bass backdrop, whilst constantly bringing in new sound effects. “War” is my favourite of the composer’s contributions, with it using a distinctive drum and bass style and clever manipulation of synth sounds.
The likes of Saki Kaskas, Dylam Rhymes, DJ Icey and Lunatic Calm don’t contribute especially much to the soundtrack, but have some fairly impressive tracks nonetheless. Saki Kaskas’ “Bulbuous Swirl” is just as heavy and well-developed as Di Prisco’s “Paradigm Shifter,” whereas “Amorphous Being” seems to investigate its own unique drum and bass and trance fused direction. Lunatic Calm’s “Roll the Dice” has the benefit of featuring some vocals over the top of its well-structured bass beats. The best part of the track comes in at 1:33 with an eerie effect placed on top of the vocals with the accompaniment repeating an ascending four note sequence. Even Dylan Rhymes’ “Naked and Ashamed” is particularly inviting with its electro hip-hop approach. DJ Icey’s “Clutch” is the weakest contribution though, with its lack of creative development and boring beat.
Despite fans possibly expecting the score to feature both rock and electronic music like its predecessor, the pulsating trance music included here is by no means a disappointment. Of course, these aren’t the best electronic tracks in the world, and sometimes they do lack the flavourful development which these composers are especially renowned for, but really, the soundscape provided is just what is needed for the game. Rom Di Prisco’s ambience, Junkie Xl’s bass development, and Saki Kaskas’ heavy hitting themes all come together to create a unique, worthwhile experience. If you see this album around, then it’s one to grab!
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Posted on August 1, 2012 by Dave Valentine. Last modified on January 19, 2016.