Discography of the Streets of Rage series
The Streets of Rage series of beat 'em up action video games, released by Sega from 1991 to 1994, are known for their memorable in-game chiptune music, produced by noted video game music composer Yuzo Koshiro. The series has inspired three soundtracks featuring music from the games.
The soundtracks mainly consist of, often experimental, chiptune-based electronic dance music, encompassing electronic genres such as electro, house, techno, hardcore, jungle, ambient, breakbeat, gabber, noise, and trance. The music was produced using the Yamaha FM-synth sound chips of the Sega Mega Drive / Genesis video game console (YM2612) and NEC PC-88 computer (YM2608), along with Koshiro's own audio programming language "Music Love," a modified version of the PC-88's Music Macro Language (MML).
The soundtracks have been critically acclaimed. They are considered ahead of their time, and as some of the best video game music of all time. The soundtracks have influenced a range of chiptune, electronica, grime and dubstep musicians through to the present day, including artists such as Ikonika, BT, Labrinth, Martyn, Joker, Darkstar, Childish Gambino, and Danger.
Streets of Rage soundtrack
|Soundtrack album by Yuzo Koshiro|
|Released||September 21, 1991|
|Genre||Breakbeat, Chiptune, D&B, Electro, Electronic, Funk, Game, Hip-hop, House, Industrial, Jazz, R&B, Techno, Urban|
|Label||GMO Records / Alfa Records |
(all tracks by Yuzo Koshiro; produced by Koshiro and Kyoji Kato)
When the first game's development began in 1990, Koshiro was influenced by electronic dance music, or club music, specifically techno and house music, and wanted to be the first to introduce those sounds to chiptune and video game music. Many tracks also have a warm, Caribbean quality, and the soundtrack shows the influence of contemporary R&B and hip hop music; Yuzo Koshiro said that he was influenced by black music, which was growing together with house and techno, so he "naturally began to think about taking them all in." He was particularly influenced by "the swinging rhythms that characterized breakbeats," especially the "ground beat" (used in Soul II Soul's "Keep On Movin'" in 1988 and Enigma's "Sadeness (Part I)" in 1989) which inspired the "The Street of Rage" title track. Other artists who influenced him include Black Box, Maxi Priest and Caron Wheeler around the time of composing.
The soundtracks for the Streets of Rage series were composed using then outdated PC-88 hardware alongside Koshiro's own original audio programming language. According to Koshiro: "For Bare Knuckle I used the PC88 and an original programming language I developed myself. The original was called MML, Music Macro Language. It's based on NEC's BASIC program, but I modified it heavily. It was more a BASIC-style language at first, but I modified it to be something more like Assembly. I called it ‘Music Love'. I used it for all the Bare Knuckle Games." The soundtrack versions of the tracks use the NEC PC-88's Sound Board II (Yamaha YM2608) sound chip rather than the Sega Mega Drive's Yamaha YM2612 chip.
He said the most important element in recreating club music sounds for the games was to emulate the timbre and percussion sounds of Roland's rhythm machines (the most famous models being the TR-606, TR-707, TR-808, and TR-909), stating that "it wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that that sound defined the genre." In order to achieve this, he used the YM2612 sound chip's 8-bit PCM channel in conjunction with the other FM synthesis channels, with the Roland TR-909's kick and snare sounds sampled by the PCM, while the FM synth replicated the metallic sounds, hi-hat, and cymbal. He also replicated other percussion sounds such as the conga using detailed FM synth and MML programming. Beyond percussion, he also simulated the "unique, piercing" sounds of the Roland TB-303, an analog synthesizer that remains the most widely used bass synthesizer in club music (particularly acid and psychedelic music). He stated that it took "a good deal of painstaking work to recreate the sound of analog synths on FM synth, which lacks filter circuits, but I accomplished it using the same programming techniques as with the rhythm section."
- The Street of Rage
- Player Select
- Fighting in the Street
- Attack of the Barbarian
- Round Clear
- Dilapidated Town
- Moon Beach
- Keep the Groovin'
- Beatnik on the Ship
- Stealthy Steps
- Violent Breathing
- The Last Soul
- Big Boss
- My Little Baby (Good Ending)
- You Became the Bad Guy!
- Up & Up
- The Super Three
- Name Entry
- Game Over
- The Street of Rage (Arrange version)
- Fighting in the Street (Arrange version)
- The Last Soul (Arrange version)
- Keep the Groovin' (Arrange version)
- You Became the Bad Guy! (Arrange version)
Streets of Rage 2 soundtrack
|Bare Knuckle II /
Streets of Rage 2
|Soundtrack album by Yuzo Koshiro|
|Released||January 21, 1993
|Genre||Ambient, Breakbeat, Chiptune, Dance, D&B, Electro, Electronica, Game, Hardcore, House, Jazz, Progressive, Techno, Trance, Trip-hop|
|Label||GMO Records / Alfa Records  (Japan)
Mars Colony Music (US)
|Publisher:||Alfa Records||Mars Colony Music|
The soundtrack for 1992 video game Streets of Rage 2 is the least difficult Streets of Rage soundtrack to find, having been released in the United States. The tracks on this soundtrack are identical to the Japanese CD soundtrack known as Bare Knuckle II. It was mostly composed and played by Yuzo Koshiro, with a few tracks also composed by Motohiro Kawashima. The soundtrack is said to be one of Koshiro's greatest and it shows the power of the 16-bit Mega Drive/Genesis's YM2612 sound chip. The music was described by Koshiro as "hard-core techno." The game has also been noted as one of the first video games where the composer's name, Yuzo Koshiro, appears on the title screen.
The soundtrack was influenced by electronic dance music, specifically house, techno, hardcore techno, progressive techno, breakbeat, The soundtrack for Streets of Rage 2 (1992) is considered "revolutionary" and ahead of its time, for its "blend of swaggering house synths," "dirty" electro-funk and "trancey electronic textures that would feel as comfortable in a nightclub as a video game."
Square Enix Music Online praised the soundtrack for having "some of the baddest beats ever to grace a video game soundtrack" and its creative use of the Mega Drive/Genesis's limited sound chip, such as "panning in the left and right speakers" to keep "the melodic material briskly moving forward" in the first stage "Go Straight" track. "In the Bar" has been described as "dreamy" blues-influenced piece with "a briskly walking bassline" and "a semi-improvisational feel that adds a jazz mystique." The boss theme "Never Return Alive" is described as an "insane piece" where the "saw wave drills into your mind and serves as a nice synopative measure to keep the edgy nature of the musical material intact throughout the piece's duration." The second stage "Spin on the Bridge" track, described as "hip hop on crack," has been praised for its "absolutely wicked breakbeats!" "Dreamer" has been described as a "dream-like" track with electronica arpeggiations, ethereal tones, and trance elements. "Alien Power" has been described as trip hop with "a bit of ethnic drum percussion," giving it a "strange and a bit creepy" feel. "Slow Moon" has been praised for its funk and call-and-response elements. "Jungle Base" has been described as a hard-hitting dance song. Another stand-out track is the seventh stage "Expander" theme, which was largely composed by Motohiro Kawashima and has been praised as a hard-hitting track with "raunchy synth bass, panning synths," and fast tempo. "Too Deep" has been described as an ambient track, though with sound effects that "sound like a ringing phone."
The CD contains 20 tracks and was produced by Yuzo Koshiro and Kyoji Kato. The track lists are as follows:
- Go Straight
- In The Bar
- Never Return Alive
- Spin on the Bridge
- Ready Funk
- Alien Power
- Under Logic
- Too Deep
- Slow Moon
- Wave 131
- Jungle Base (M.K.) & (Y.K.)
- Back to the Industry
- Expander (M.K.)
- S.O.R. Super Mix
- Max Man (M.K.)
- Revenge of Mr. X
- Good End
- Walking Bottom
- Little Money Avenue (M.K.)
Some fans have noticed that the song "Go Straight" sounds like Inner City's Good Life, "Under Logic" sounds like The Shamen's mid-90s hit "Move Any Mountain" and The S.O.R Super Mix is similar to Enigma's "Sadeness". "S.O.R. Super Mix" is composed from parts of previous Streets of Rage songs: "The Street of Rage," "You Became The Bad Guy" (being the core of the song), and "The Last Soul." The arranged version of "You Became The Bad Guy" also has parts of choir similar to "Sadeness." "Too Deep" sounds like Public Enemy's "Rebel Without a Pause." and Go Straight sounds similar to Bass Value's "Do You Want to Party"
Streets of Rage 3 soundtrack
|Bare Knuckle III|
|Soundtrack album by Yuzo Koshiro and Motohiro Kawashima|
|Released||August 24, 1994|
|Genre||Breakbeat, Chiptune, Dance, D&B, Electro, Electronic, Experimental, Gabber, Game, Hardcore, Hardtechno, House, Industrial, Jungle, Noise, Rave, Techno, Trance|
|Label||GMO Records / Alfa Records |
The music style of Streets of Rage 3 has a different feel to that of the first two games. Described by Yuzo Koshiro as "fast-beat techno like jungle," it was composed using his own "Automated Composing System," used to produce heavily randomized sequences. The soundtrack also had elements of abstract, experimental, gabber, and trance music. As with Streets of Rage 2, the soundtrack features tracks composed by both Koshiro and Motohiro Kawashima.
Unlike the first two soundtracks, the tracks are not in the order that they appear in-game. The full title of this CD is Bare Knuckle 3: Iron Fist Scriptures. The disc itself is difficult to find today.
- Fuze (M.K.)
- Spinning Machine (Y.K.)
- Boss (M.K.)
- Beat Ambiance (Y.K.)
- Cycle II (M.K.)
- KAMADECOCO (Y.K.)
- The Poets I (M.K.)
- Shinobi Reverse (Y.K.)
- Percussion (M.K.)
- Moon (M.K.)
- Happy Paradise (Y.K.)
- The Poets II (M.K.)
- Random Cross (Y.K.)
- Dub Slash (M.K.)
- Inga Rasen (Y.K.)
- Bulldozer (M.K.)
- Crazy Train (Y.K.)
- Cycle I (M.K.)
Not on the CD, but in the game (However included on Disc 3 of Yuzo Koshiro BEST Collection vol.2):
- Disco (Y.K.)
- ROBO X (Y.K)
- Round Clear (Y.K.)
- BGM I (M.K.)
- BGM II (Y.K.)
- BGM III (Y.K.)
- BGM IV (Y.K.)
- Ending (Y.K.)
- Game Over (Y.K.)
For the soundtrack to Streets of Rage 3, Koshiro created a new composition method called the "Automated Composing System" to produce "fast-beat techno like jungle." It was the most advanced techno technique of the time, incorporating heavily randomized sequences. This resulted in innovative and experimental sounds generated automatically that, according to Koshiro, "you ordinarily never could imagine on your own." This method was very rare at the time, but has since become popular among techno and trance producers to get "unexpected and odd sounds."
The game's experimental, abrasive noise-based, electronic music received a mixed reception upon release, but has since been considered to be ahead of its time. According to Mean Machines, the "music takes some getting used to - ironically it pre-dated the 'trance' era that came a short while after release." The experimental sounds and use of heavily randomized sequences are also considered ahead of its time.
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