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Sonic CD - 20th Anniversary Edition Soundtrack Review

#31 User is offline Namo 

Posted 08 December 2011 - 06:37 AM

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I'd gladly throw down some money for a Sonic OVA soundtrack. I still have Foxeh's rip of it from years ago, but hearing those tracks in high quality would be excellent.

#32 User is offline Dissident93 

Posted 08 December 2011 - 06:53 AM

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It's possible, since "Look-a-like" has already been released on an official album (track 13) by Wave Master. Although highly unlikely.

#33 User is offline Skyler 

Posted 08 December 2011 - 10:46 AM

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So does anyone know why the Sonic CD soundtrack has disappeared from the iTunes Store?

#34 User is offline Meat Miracle 

Posted 08 December 2011 - 02:41 PM

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View PostLOst, on 01 December 2011 - 07:32 AM, said:

Is there something bad with the beginning of Metallic Madness Bad Future? I can hear a very short digital mess right at the start.

That's one of those short bugs I mentioned that the bin/cue of 712 has. The only audible one anyway.

Pachuka made a re-rip later on, but it just had more errors - so this is what we are stuck with, unless someone can track down whoever bought the discs (or if Stealth still has his copy).
This post has been edited by Meat Miracle: 08 December 2011 - 02:59 PM

#35 User is offline David The Lurker 

Posted 08 December 2011 - 03:44 PM

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View PostSkyler, on 08 December 2011 - 10:46 AM, said:

So does anyone know why the Sonic CD soundtrack has disappeared from the iTunes Store?


My guess? The vocal themes. Once again a sign of miscommunication between every part, whatever legal issues exist with those songs actually do extend to them being released in any form in the United States. That's why you get the regional issues popup. If they put it back up, do not be surprised if those two songs are missing.

#36 User is offline Chibisteven 

Posted 09 December 2011 - 01:10 AM

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View PostDavid The Lurker, on 08 December 2011 - 03:44 PM, said:

View PostSkyler, on 08 December 2011 - 10:46 AM, said:

So does anyone know why the Sonic CD soundtrack has disappeared from the iTunes Store?


My guess? The vocal themes. Once again a sign of miscommunication between every part, whatever legal issues exist with those songs actually do extend to them being released in any form in the United States. That's why you get the regional issues popup. If they put it back up, do not be surprised if those two songs are missing.


It might have been what happened in 1993, giving SEGA another excuse to use their new studio that they built. Don't these singers ever worry about backlash for these actions?

#37 User is offline Skyler 

Posted 09 December 2011 - 05:07 AM

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Well it's back up now, and all of the songs are intact. Wonder why it went down in the first place...

#38 User is offline WAC 

Posted 09 December 2011 - 10:58 AM

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So I listened to the newly remastered soundtrack and the original U.S. soundtrack. Holy shit, the U.S, soundtrack sucks compared to the Japanese one. It's been forever since I've played the game with the U.S. soundtrack and just wow... Only zone's music I prefer is Stardust Speedway, but the remix on the new remaster for Sonic CD's soundtrack and the Generations remix for Bad future was a massive improvement and are some of my favorite remixes in the series. Even then, I really like the Japanese version a lot as well. It makes me wonder if Spencer Nilsen is significantly better at coming up with compositions than he is at actually making music. Makes me wish all of the U.S. songs were remixed with the same treatment those two versions of Stardust Speedway got. >_> One of the biggest problems I had with both versions of the soundtracks is that some songs would have been a lot better without vocals, most specifically with MM for the Japanese soundtrack and a ton of songs on the U.S. soundtrack. <_< In regards to the newly remastered version, I thought the sound quality was pretty good and don't really have any problems with how it was handled other than that I wish it included at least one of the Stardust Speedway remixes from Generations. Never heard the extended mixes so I have no opinion on it.

#39 User is offline Vrantheo 

Posted 12 December 2011 - 10:26 AM

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Just a few quick words:

1. The loops are indeed handled quite poorly.
Failed attempt of re-envelopings:
TT (G, obvious fadeout was still there)
QQ (a sudden volume increase near the last 8/8)
WW (cross overlaid?)
SS (obvious fadeout)
MM (G, obvious fadeout)
MM (B, cross overlaid is a bit too short)
Boss (fadeout, again)

Outright abandoning the tails of original meterials:
CC (the densening drums are gone)
TT (the last 8/8 starting at 1:50, the additional instruments are gone)
SS (G, 1:13, oh the abruptness)
SS (B, the densening drums are gone again)

Decent ones:
PP (All, especially B, where a new wrap-up is applied)
CC (B and G, quite easy because the original already covered a full loop)
QQ (G, although the choice of 2nd loop start is arguable)
QQ (B, as well they could've omitted the beginnig 8/8 for the 2nd loop for a nicer transition)
WW (Pr and B)
MM (not so good choice of loop points again)
FF (but why bother for a loop at all anyway, can just let it fade out like that)

2. Quite unrealistic, but it should be much much better if they rework the whole thing from scratch. Same choice of instruments (or better, or they still remember what they used), same melody layouts (new twists are welcome though), only with modern and refined audio production technologies. Compilation albums with hardly anything new is becoming disturbing more or less.

#40 User is offline Ch1pper 

Posted 13 December 2011 - 02:04 AM

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So, basically, a remastering.

#41 User is offline GeneHF 

Posted 13 December 2011 - 02:15 AM

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If it's all that much of a problem, then just download the one I made years back. At least 99% of the tracks sound decent.

(I fully acknowledge that my PPZ GF is crap, but mostly because I hate that song.)

#42 User is offline Banoon 

Posted 13 December 2011 - 03:46 AM

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Hey uh, I shitted out this review of the album for Rateyourmusic, and it wound up on the front page! I'm pretty proud of myself and W.A.C. told me to post it here, so here it is if anyone cares. I know it's not totally accurate at some points, but I wrote it in a hurry and it's written for people who haven't played the Sonic games as obsessively as we all have. So yeah.

Quote

Okay, so as a standalone album this is not that great. It's dated more in 20 years than many albums did in 40, being as intrinsically tied to the early '90s aesthetic of COOL as one can possibly be (often to an embarrassing, painful extent) But in the context of its originating game, it not only works as a perfect snapshot of the era (in silly dance music, kid culture and video games) but as an absolutely genius soundtrack to the game's events and areas. I feel a great deal of nostalgia for it myself, as I consider Sonic CD a wonderful, surreal masterpiece of video gaming, but this is honestly quite good stuff that at least beats out most of the game soundtracks of its day, if not many of today's ones as well. It fits the game beautifully. Even if you aren't a fan of the game or the style of music (I sure ain't), it'll function as some of the better cheesy shitty '90s dance crap you'll ever hear.

The biggest problem with it is the instrumentation. There are cheesy orchestra hits, annoying Eurodance cheese synths, all the hallmarks of '90s dance music. You know that pseudo-jazz minor-key piano sound? The one that early '90s dance loved using? Screamadelica used it a lot, and so did everyone else. This album uses the shit out of it. Though I like that piano sound a lot (it's a guilty pleasure of mine), it's quite jarring to hear it used together with the aforementioned cheese synths (best exemplified in “Quartz Quadrant”, a good tune tragically full of dumb orchestra hits). It puts a real damper on the quality of some of the core compositions and the creativity that went into some of them.

See, the songs here have some real moments of interest in them. Sonic Team's composers have always been masters of being able to convey a level's atmosphere absolutely perfectly, even when faced with a limited number of channels and instruments to work with. They would think about the level and make the music fit it in every aspect down to the core, including even stuff like time signature; in straightforward fast areas that require constant speedy motion, a pseudo-motorik beat would be employed that drives the level along, and in complex maze levels they would use a waltz rhythm creating an air of endless circular motion, or an odd, syncopated beat that makes the listener's brain hurt a bit. I've always admired and adored this composition style of knowing exactly what you want your song to sound like and working from there, and Sonic CD obviously uses it heavily. Every second of these songs seem basically tailor-made for the levels they are based on to an amazing extent while still being immensely catchy. Then the synths throw a nice retro feel onto the whole thing in hindsight.

But as I was trying to say before, what makes the whole album really cool I think is how the core composition (the “present” song) of each zone is remixed and twisted into each of the “time periods”. See, each zone of Sonic CD has four stages of time – past, present, good future and bad future, and this structure allows for some really cool moments of the composers tinkering with the structure and core of the songs to create new atmospheres. Using “Palmtree Panic” as an example; the core composition is one of the most frightfully catchy and fun songs ever placed in a video game, a synth/drums piece that builds up and explodes into a gleeful rainbow explosion of screaming children, jazz piano and the cheeriest rainfall you will ever hear. Its “good future” version ups the happy ante further, giving it a faster, dancier and even more cheerful and inviting vibe. The past version is considerably more lo-fi and sparse, sounding like a bedroom recording from the '80s with homely instrumentation and more primitive, rocky percussion. It's quite different from the present track in feel, but its composition is actually very similar (it shares chord progressions and basic melody), reflecting the differences between the present and the past of the levels in the game. The bad future is the best as the the whole track is suddenly subverted into a dark techno song. The children's cheering is heavily lowered in tone and becomes ominous, and the main hook is tinkered with and chaotically layered to become dissonant and claustrophobic. Every zone has its theme variated on like this, and it's really interesting to see the way they change arrangements slightly to convey varying emotions and atmospheres.

Yes, Sonic CD has a brilliant soundtrack. Very few soundtracks work this hard to elaborately yet subtly construct such a fitting atmosphere to their movie/game without losing its sense of catchy melody or resorting to forgettable orchestral music. Occasionally it accidentally dives into dumbness because of its instrumentation (the final boss theme should be sinister but really doesn't come across that way), and you have to have some tolerance for kitsch if you're going to listen to it singularly without the aid of the game. It also really only works if you've played the game or happen to be very interested in video game soundtracks or '90s video game culture, making it hard to recommend. Still, this is definitely one of the greatest video game soundtracks of all time, and it was nice of SEGA to finally release it on its own.

But whatever you do, skip “Metallic Madness”. It has a rap in the middle of it, and it's seriously embarrassing.

3.5 stars


#43 User is offline Ritz 

Posted 13 December 2011 - 04:05 AM

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I've never felt so ambivalent. Unbiased and well-written, but "one of the greatest video game soundtracks of all time" and it's only good for 3.5 stars? This isn't really your scene, is it?

#44 User is offline ICEknight 

Posted 13 December 2011 - 04:13 AM

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I don't think they'll ever release a physical copy of this soundtrack overseas, but if they ever do I hope they just include the original, non-looping tracks.

In my oppinion, the way they've altered them in here is almost embarrasing.

#45 User is offline Banoon 

Posted 13 December 2011 - 04:26 AM

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View PostRitz, on 13 December 2011 - 04:05 AM, said:

I've never felt so ambivalent. Unbiased and well-written, but "one of the greatest video game soundtracks of all time" and it's only good for 3.5 stars? This isn't really your scene, is it?

Oh, uh, my rating system is pretty arbitrary and unobjective. It's based mostly on how often I'm going to wind up listening to it as well as how much general pleasure I gain from it. Though I like the album, I think I respect it more than I actually enjoy it so I ended up giving it a 3.5 in spite of its achievements and quality in the video game world. But nah, it's not really my scene, haha.

I didn't even notice the looping problems until this thread brought it up...

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