Currently enjoying the “Wipeout 2097″ soundtrack

Wipeout 2097 was a racing game released in 1996 for the original PlayStation and other platforms. The game got some decent reviews, and it’s considered by some to be the best racing game available for the system at the time. The soundtrack, however, is even more representative of its time – and in spite of that, it’s all the more enduring.

The game was one of the first to feature music by the big electronic artists of the day. If you’re like me, you’ve probably got a few red book CDs in your collection. They’re the ones that start with a track full of interactive data, which you’d read with a computer or game console and skip on a CD player. Wipeout 2097 used the same technology; the game data was encoded on the first track, and the soundtrack was written across all the others.

A separate soundtrack CD, which included a different series of tracks by a broader range of artists, was released on the same day as the game. Featuring extensive liner notes and artwork by the Designers Republic, the soundtrack functions as a sort of time capsule full of the best of what music critics used to call “electronica.”

To put it in context, the album includes a track by Daft Punk, who were months away from releasing Homework. It features a track and a remix by Underworld, who were still riding high on the release of the soundtrack to Trainspotting just weeks before. There’s an instrumental version of “Firestarter,” the track that had introduced the Prodigy to American listeners earlier that year. There’s a track by Orbital, who were still a year away from releasing the biggest singles of their career. Oh, and there are two cuts by the Chemical Brothers, whose first number one single was released on the very same day as the Wipeout 2097 soundtrack.

Tracks by Leftfield, the Future Sound of London, Fluke, Photek and Source Direct round out one of the most impressive electronic music collaborations of its time. Get your hands on a copy.



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