Nothing like hearing unheard Hideki Naganuma. The wonders of the internet mean Mr. Naganuma himself is sharing some of the great tracks and OSTs he's done that didn't make it out of Japan. And here I thought he wasn't putting in that OST work.
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#1 TIE "Vela Nova" and "Wrapped in Black" from Sonic Rush
It should have been a tie between the entire Sonic Rush OST
It could have easily been a ten way tie for how much I love this soundtrack. I will refrain from such shenanigans though, and simply include the two tracks I think most exemplify Hideki Naganuma's Sonic Rush soundtrack
As if it were an answer to my prayers, after the beginning of my search for more Hideki Naganuma, the game Sonic Rush is released to the Nintendo DS in 2005. The soundtrack, is, of course, by Hideki Naganuma, and the beats he was pumping through my DS speakers left me in amazement. If it weren't for Meteos on the DS earlier that year, I would have had no idea that the DS was capable of such sounds.
Sonic Rush (the soundtrack and the game) were both phenomenal. Not only did Dimps nail my idea of what a Sonic game is all about (going fast), but the music by Hideki Naganuma was simultaneously a breath of fresh air for the series, and also very much in line with Sonic's colorful world.
This one starts off slow but builds into an upbeat dance mix perfectly fitting when speeding your way through endless loops, raills and corridors. Wait a minute, with the rail grinding, ability to do tricks, and epic Naganuma beats, is Sonic Rush actually a 2D Jet Set Radio!?
I'm a little shocked I didn't see all the similarities to Sonic Rush and Jet Set Radio before, but now it's too obvious to deny. That probably explains why i think Sonic Rush is the most definitive Sonic experience since Sonic The Hedgehog 2.
This closing track makes a strong testament to the greatness of any quality Sonic game though, the epic Supersonic ending. That intense final sequence in Sonic Rush is accompanied by the track "Wrapped in Black."
If hard pressed, I would choose Wrapped in Black as the go to track from the album, but a lot of what makes it great is the dark contrast of this music compared to the soulful and upbeat playfulness of the rest of the soundtrack.
If you missed it, check out the full countdown!
Do you enjoy these music countdowns and celebration weeks? tell us in the comments or @genoboost on Twitter.
#2 "Ebb & Flow [Remastered]" originally from JRA PAT
Looks like Naganuma's most chill track is Japan only
I only recently discovered this chill track from none other than Hideki Naganuma's own SoundCloud page earlier this year. After years of flailing helplessly in the hunt for rare Naganuma tracks, the man just up and posts them online himself. I couldn't be happier to live in this high tech age.
Much of that happiness is from this fantastic theme from an obscure Dreamcast title. As obscure as obscure gets, just placed right on my lap.
What do you think of composers like Naganuma uploading their music to SoundCloud, iTunes, and other online music sites?
Are you happy to be swimming in legally purchasable VGM, or do you long for the days of import CDs and shady forum posts?
#4 "Let it Go from Ollie King
A hip hop inspired, arcade only track.
As with most things I love, through sheer force of nerdery I end up falling in love with things that are just a tad too niche, even for retrogamers or VGM fans. Due to this, finding more of what i enjoy so much is a trying endeavor to say the least.
Such has been the story of my love and fascination with Hideki Naganuma. his music has been a huge influence for me in falling in love with sample heavy mixes and mashups. Naganuma's soundtracks have also had a clear influence on what I expect out of game soundtracks to this day.
If it was several years ago, this list would have been nothing but music from Ollie King and the JSR series, luckily the internet has seen fit to host so many more Naganuma songs to those of us seeking them out.
As for the track, "Let it Go" is more of that signature sample heavy, hip hop and DJ influenced style that made him number one in my heart. This song is a great place to start with when digging into Naganuma's music. This is definitely a banger and I am clearly partial to the heavy hip hop sampling in this track. Ah crap, I forgot to vote for any characters from JSR in the Smash Bros ballot...
#5 "VENDOR POP" by skankfunk from Yakuza 5
What's old is new, and what's monkey is gangster
I was shocked, yet not very surprised to learn that Naganuma has produced several VG tracks under a pseudonym. Luckily, the lid is off, at least for those paying attention. It would appear skankfunk just might be the eponymous Hideki Naganuma.
How an unused track in an early 3DS game rolled along like the titular Super Monkey Ball until finding itself lodged deep within the Japanese mafia simulator Yakuza 5 is completely beyond me. All I know, is that it works.
Now I must ask, what other game series do you wish Naganuma would take a stab at? Gears of War? Legend of Zelda? Let us know!
#6 "Oldies But Happies" from Jet Set Radio Future
Probably the most memorable track from JSR Future. I absolutely could not get this track out of my head as I grinded through area after area hunting down every last graffiti soul.
Come back tomorrow for the next track on the countdown!
Share your thoughts on this song and the JSRF soundtrack with us!
#7 "The Concept of Love [The Concept of Passion Mix]" from Ollie King
A Naganuma remix of a Naganuma classic
According to my sources (Wikipedia), it appears that today is Hideki Naganuma's birthday! Be sure to wish him a happy birthday on Twitter (although, considering the time difference, maybe his birthday was yesterday now?)!
To celebrate, I have decided to spend the next week counting down my favorite Hideki Naganuma tracks, one per day. Stick with me for the next week for some of the all time best Sega music ever produced!
About this track, I've never actually had the chance to play Ollie King, but discovered the music after hunting down any music of Hideki Naganuma's I could find after becoming infatuated with the Jet Set Radio series. This is my favorite rendition of the Jet Set Radio Future opening track Concept of Love.
Come back tomorrow to find out the next song on the countdown!
Also share some of your favorite Naganuma tracks and memories from Jet Set Radio and Ollie King in the comments!
Spring is almost in the air, people aren't snowed in anymore, I do believe it's time to get out of the houses, and into those clubs. Although since we are nerds, perhaps just sit inside some more and listen to some club music. To that effect I present a new EP by Jeff Ramos!
The album is available now for free download on the official release page for Hideki Naganuma Tribute.
Jeff Ramos has created a DJ Mix album paying tribute to the music of this enigmatic composer, and simple called it "Hideki Naganuma Tribute." The album is a half hours worth of club ready, dance making tunes brilliantly blended together for the maximum effect that Jeff Ramos believes Naganuma may have been aiming for.