Okay. It is my understanding that Nu Rave comprises traditionally rock/metal elements, such as guitars, bass and drums, with traditionally electronic elements, such as samplers, synths and DJ setups in a well produced contemporary manner.
But hang on – hasn’t this been done before?
I’m not talking about the 80s, when electronica comprised hexagonal electronic percussion and a soundbank not out of place on a childrens keyboard, I’m talking about high quality synth based Rock music.
Lets have a look at some examples.
These are all from games released on the Dreamcast onwards, as before then the quality of the music wasn’t as high as I’m referring to (Music was generally an afterthought in gaming back in the day and so never had enough space allocated for it on the cartridges/CDs to make it mp3 quality!)
First released in 2003, well before anyone coined the phrase “Nu Rave”, was throwing together futuristic dance synths with hard rock and metal guitarlines. Arguably, some of the tracks on here were written as early as 1990 and remixed for GX, so the roots for this style go back a lot further!
Example Track: “Fire Field”
Sonic Adventure 2.
The Sonic Series has always had awesome music, heightening the sense of speed the gameplay gives you and pumping you up ready for those OTT Boss fights. The first game of the series to use really high quality music was Sonic Adventure, with its rocky theme tunes (And an absolutely hilarious hip hop theme for knuckles), but SA2 (Published in 2001) really brought the techno/electronica elements in with the guitars with some of its fantastic in game music.
Example Track: “Radical Highway”
Dynasty Warriors 3
Think Pendulum are pioneering a genre? Think again! The Drum & Bass/Metal of the Dynasty warriors series has become one of its defining qualities, and with DW3 released in 2001, it pretty much created an OST’s worth of a genre that was almost non-existant in the mainstream music world.
Example Track: Lu Bu’s Theme
A wholly underrated game, The Bouncer was a Squaresoft (Before the merger with Enix) fighting game released in 2000 in a similar vein to the old school scrolling beat em ups, but with a plot and ridiculously good production values. The music was no exception, and this is just one of square’s forays into rock/electronica music (Check out the Advent Children OST for some amazing drum+bass/techno/metal!)
Example Track: Sion’s Theme
There are just 4 examples of well produced rock/electronica in Video Game Music, and only recently is the mainstream music scene catching on to what this genre has to offer.
Whenever people ask me where my musical influences are from, I point to games like these that were pushing the boundaries of music long before live bands decided to do so!