Music Review: OutRun soundtrack comes to vinyl

Date: 
Sat, 2016/11/05

Let me begin with a brief recounting. On Saturday, November 5, after a doorbell ring and a trip to the front door, I found myself in possession of an order I’d made: a vinyl pressing of the original soundtrack of "OutRun." With that in mind, here’s my review of "OutRun" on vinyl, produced by Data Discs, a small, recently founded company located in the U.K. specializing in being “purveyors of quality game soundtracks on glorious vinyl.”

I’ll start with the visual, because Data Discs has a wonderful presentation alongside all (currently) seven of their soundtrack pressings. The record jacket itself has a “window” in the center, looking similar to one of those 3D pop-up books, which allows for the record owner to customize the look. There are two two-sided inserts that come with the record, each featuring a scenic view from the game, along with a note from the original composer of "OutRun"’s soundtrack, Hiroshi “Hiro” Kawaguchi, noting his excitement to see this vinyl pressing happen in 2015. Depending on when you placed an order for this vinyl release, you had a limited opportunity to receive the version pictured in this article. Sadly, I was unaware of Data Discs before I knew of the option. That said, I ended up purchasing the mint green edition, which mostly sufficed, still looking quite nice with the purple and white record label in the center.

So how’s it sound?

The first thing I noticed was what we’ve come to expect of vinyl: every sound was so defined and on point, creating an amazing experience. Music from the Genesis era was itself analog, being played through a 16-bit MIDI, so soundtracks from the era had a very exact sound to begin with. Combine that with the analog sound of vinyl, and you’ve got yourself in for a treat. Video game fan or not, this particular experience in itself can be appreciated by anyone. As far as the track list goes, it’s short but sweet, each track being five to six minutes long:

Side A

Magical Sound Shower

Passing Breeze

Splash Wave

Last Wave

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Side B

Step on Beat

Cruising Line

Camino a Mi Amor

Anyone who had the chance to read my previous article, a retro review of the "OutRun" game, will be at least somewhat familiar with the songs on side A, along with "Step on Beat" on side B. The last two songs of side B, featured in the 3DS rerelease of "OutRun", I had not previously heard before, and the new experience was very welcome. They both sound like tracks that could have been in the original release, although "Camino a Mi Amor" sounds a lot more original in my opinion. If you’re interested in hearing these tracks before or just without ordering the album, you can easily look them up on YouTube.

DATA006: "OutRun" comes out swinging before you even drop the needle, providing an amazing visual accompaniment to an equally amazing vinyl pressing quality. I’m no record reviewer, but taking these two factors into account, I have no qualms with issuing a solid 9/10 to the overall presentation of this album. However, I have to rate the cost at about 6/10, because £30 (British pounds) converts to approximately $40, which made my wallet cry just a little bit.

If you’re interested in investing in a video game soundtrack on vinyl like this one, take a look at data-discs.com, which currently provides seven soundtracks, with an eighth and ninth release coming soon.