Virtual clubbing, you say? It’s tough to top Psygnosis’ Wipeout series and its legacy, starting with composer Tim Wright aka CoLD SToRAGE. So let’s queue up a mix.
Just how well does the Wipeout PlayStation game franchise hold up in 2021? Well, it passes as an on-trend NTS DJ, anyway – the “Otaku” series on NTS Radio has a mix with nothing but Wipeout music. (The “Otaku” moniker is a little off, actually – the game was published in Japan by SoftBank and came out for Japan-made consoles, but Pygnosis and Wright were based in … Liverpool, and Wright himself was Welsh. Then again, the UK is just not the right setting for futuristic anti-gravity racers, and it is the name of the show, so let’s picture Japan.)
The original 1995 cover art will make you jealous of your next album cover, too:
Just wait until your label’s designer gets this as the brief for the next LP.
NTS’ mix oozes cool, so let’s not stop there – there’s more.
The 1995 release alone had tracks from Leftfield, The Chemical Brothers, and Orbital, and The Prodigy, with the franchise keeping that dedication to artists. But the real standout is the legendary Wright himself – the composer behind Shadow of the Beast II, Amiga and Atari classics, Lemmings, Colony Wars, and even the designer of the ground-breaking Music series with MTV (aka Music Generator), which turned your game console into a very capable music production tool. Oh, and he worked on eJay. And Gravity Crash. And more Wipeout games.
The lasting impact of Wipeout was really dual-sided – it wasn’t just that it helped bolster the reputation of music for video games, but that the imaginative high-speed futuristic racing helped provide a visual accompaniment to dance music. And with modern dance music sometimes uncertain of which way to go other than draw on 90s (or 80s) sources, maybe that futurism is welcome now.
CoLD SToRAGE’s original stuff holds up, too – not just as 90s kitsch, either, but as some productions that you could drop on a dancefloor now.
So let’s listen:
dedeco did a great DJ set with the tracks live and does an interview with CoLD SToRAGE. Actually, do click through to the YouTube description; there are detailed links to history and more, individual tracks, and other fascinating notes.
CoLD STorAGE is now in Switzerland, and has a huge, huge site:
Plus you can follow them on Bandcamp.
There’s even a new release for the game Pacer out earlier this summer:
And yeah, you can buy up all the music from the game:
There’s even a full-length documentary on Wipeout’s history:
Rob Lord & Mark Bandola (“PC MUSIC”) did a bang-up job on the N64 game, too, even if that tends to get less attention:
Yeah, NTS, under an hour? Here’s a 3.5-hour megamix:
Ah, Chemical Brothers go nicely with the original soundtrack, too:
Sasha’s track somehow fits now better than when it came out:
Future Sound of London get in on the action, too:
And it still inspires production, like this gorgeous creation from the end of last year:
ANTI-GRAVITY is an energetic electronic 6-track EP fully inspired by the WipEout racing game series. I created this project mostly as Video Game Music composition practise while also still paying tribute to the game series, as it was one of the first few games that got me deeply into electronic music. With ANTI-GRAVITY, I practise video game music structuring as well as composition & sound design. I really enjoyed making this project, it felt more personal to me (like my NIGHTINGALE EP) – it’s heavily based on my university dissertation under the name ‘Project: WipEout’ which focused on the study & academic point of view of video game music composition/sound design, in which I was awarded a First Class for. I structured all songs so that they loop (as they would if they were in video games) twice. This project does take a lot of inspiration from a number of different artists such as Bonobo, Tycho, Commix, Goldie, Tuff Jam, Todd Edwards, Klaus Veen, way too many to name. You should definitely play WipEout if you ever get the chance, it’s really cool.
ANTI-GRAVITY is available on all streaming platforms: https://ffm.to/antigravityash