Ridge Racers 2 Direct Audio
Ridge Racers 2 Direct Audio
October 25, 2006
Buy at CDJapan
I do not get along well with compilation albums. I blame it on the Final Fantasy “Prelude” overdose I had several years ago; there was an ambulance involved, family members had to wait overnight at the hospital while I was in the ICU getting the harp arpeggios pumped out of my system, and I incurred some serious brain damage (which I have obviously not fully recovered from). It was a mess and now whenever I hear any version of the “Prelude” my right eye twitches. However, there is one compilation album that I can listen to without any side effects: Ridge Racers 2 Direct Audio. What is essentially a SamplingMasters remix EP sandwiched between tracks that were already released on other albums actually turns out to be a pretty good disc that’s worth the ride.
Hiroshi Okubo revisits the opening themes from the first Ridge Racers album with hardly any extra arrangement save for the vocals on “Scream”, giving the disc a hefty spin of deja vu right from the get-go. Thankfully, the next six tracks are varied and exciting remixes of old Ridge Racer tunes, ranging from the hard beats of Okubo’s “Rage Racer” to the dub reggae of Ayako Saso’s “Heart of Hearts” mix. The highlight of the arrangements is Shinji Hosoe’s “Rotten7”, complete with a throbbing old-school SamplingMasters beat and off-kilter vocal samples, providing even more evidence that Hosoe is supremely skilled with remixing (as if that was necessary). It’s clear that the middle portion of the disc received the most effort in production, and it shows.
Following the arrangements come a big chunk of tunes from the fantastic Ridge Racer Type 4 album, but instead of giving you the 411 on those tracks I’m going to encourage you to hunt down a copy of its soundtrack and enjoy it in its entirety instead: it’s a great soundtrack that doesn’t deserve to be chopped up or randomized on other discs. Kota Takahashi’s… uh, euphoric track “Euphoria” from Ridge Racer V is as enjoyable and simultaneously driving and etherial as it ever was and is a nice addition even though it’s unchanged from its original soundtrack version. Sanodg also remixes “Paris” from Ridge Racer V, and while it’s quite enjoyable it doesn’t offer much that the original or Ridge Racer V Official Bootleg arrangement do not.
The one proper new track on the album (joy!) comes from Junichi Nakatsuru, the man who has been delegated to crankin’ out smooth jazz tunes for all of the endings of the recent Ridge Racer games, in the form of “Mellow Curves”. Quite reminiscent of his preceding “Calm” from the first Ridge Racers Direct Audio and the proceeding “Layover” from Ridge Racer 6, Nakatsuru calmly hits the nail square on the head once again with his marriage of jazz fusion and light orchestral elements, providing a mellow end to a fairly energetic disc.
For an album that only has one real new theme on it, Ridge Racers 2 Direct Audio is still a surprisingly worthwhile listen. The SamplingMasters remixes give the disc solid ground to dance on and the bookends, while superfluous in the light of the rest of the Ridge Racer catalog, are still enjoyable on their own. If you’re a dedicated Ridge Racer fan be prepared for a heavy dose of familiarity. My advice? Enjoy the tunes, but keep a phone nearby while you’re listening, just in case you need to call yourself an ambulance.
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Posted on August 1, 2012 by Tommy Ciulla. Last modified on August 1, 2012.