OutRun / Yu Suzuki Produce
Yu Suzuki Produce OutRun
November 19, 1997
Buy Used Copy
Yu-Suzuki Produces OutRun was a second in a line of commemorative albums dedicated to classic Sega titles. It combines the four original tracks from the Arcade driving game, a sound effects and voice collection, and exclusive synthetic arrangements. Although a nice package, there are a few errors on the album package, notably the track names “Passing Name” and “Splash Wave” (actually misspelt “Sprash Wave”) have been mixed up, so our album listings have restored them to what was intended. With that said, let’s look at what is on offer…
Starting with the original side, Hiroshi Kawaguchi’s compositions are impressive both for their infectious melodies and extensive development. The original “Magical Sound Shower” is a definitive classic. It blends samba beats, old-school melodies, and jazz improvisation into one six minute track. The result is memorable, rhythmically compelling, and suitable for driving to. Furthermore, the sound quality is very good for its time. It’s pretty much identical to the sound featured in the original version of OutRun – S.S.T. Band, although the remastered version on the OutRun 20th Anniversary Box is quite a bit better.
The other two driving themes haven’t quite attained classic status, but are still good. “Splash Wave” is quite a bit more rock-influenced and fast-paced than “Magical Sound Shower”, although at its core is one of Kawaguchi’s characteristically warm and naive melodies. It’ll be a fun listen for those who prefer to drive on the edge. “Passing Breeze”, on the other hand, is the most relaxing of the set with a light jazz feel and rather smooth soundscaping. While the melody isn’t particularly striking, the various improvisations based on it are very well done. The soundtrack ends with the only other theme in the four track OutRun score, the high score music “Last Wave”. It’s rather short and superfluous, but nevertheless charming with its music box focus. There is subsequently a bonus voice and sound effects collection.
Hiroshi Kawaguchi’s arranged versions on the second half of the disc are all very comprehensive. “Magical Sound Shower” recreates the atmosphere of the original with a piano interpretation of a catchy bass riff and a charismatic keyboard version of the main melody. However, definitely the best aspects of the remix are the new additions, such as the subtle yet pulsating electronic elements or the modern jazz and funk improvisations. It’s a very stylish piece and could be almost mistaken for more mainstream music. “Splash Wave” is a little more old-school in its arrangement and synthesis, but this makes it all the more nostalgic. That said, it is far from one-dimensional and undergoes various metamorphoses during its impressive seven minute playtime.
The penultimate arrangement on the disc, “Passing Breeze”, brings the most out of the smooth jazz influences of the original. This time a soprano saxophone takes the lead, beautifully presenting the melody against sassy accompaniment. Although this take could have been very cheesy, Kawaguchi is fortunately a mature enough composer to be more restrained in his approach. This remix clearly means a lot to him given he explored it for an entire eight minutes. Finally, “Last Wave” is extended into a full length track after being omitted from previous arranged versions. It is the most reflective arrangement on the disc, opening with new age piano work against wave sound effects, before building into a soft jazz ballad. The piano remains the focus throughout, but there are great Rhodes organ and soprano saxophone solos too.
This album is a fine commemoration of the OutRun scores. The original tracks are faithfully replicated and sound as good as ever. The real bonus, though, is the arranged version with its comprehensive and stylish interpretations. What the album lacks is anything particularly exclusive. The original tracks are already taken from OutRun – S.S.T. Band and appear in numerous other albums. The arranged tracks meanwhile have been replicated in OutRun 2 Soundtracks Side B and, thanks to a Saturn port, the OutRun 20th Anniversary Box. Both the original and arranged tracks are well worth checking out, but it’ll depend very much on the individual as to which albums are worth purchasing.
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Posted on August 1, 2012 by Chris Greening. Last modified on August 1, 2012.