Guest reviewer and Ex-TSS Staffer Blitzchris reviews this non-stop mix by Sonic Sound Director Tomoya Otani!
TSS Review: Sonic the Hedgehog DJ Style Party
Reviewed by Blitzchris
Anyone who has attempted to mix songs from the Sonic franchise will know, it’s not an easy task to do, let alone do well. Although there are almost 30 years of songs to choose from, the genres of music used in Sonic games vary greatly, from the smooth groove of early 2000’s hip hop beats featuring the fighting freak Knuckles, to looming orchestral pieces that support a disappointing ending to an otherwise amazing game. Yes, I’m looking at you, Time Eater from Sonic Generations. The various tempo’s and style’s make it difficult to move between tracks in a DJ mix without a noticeable or awkward transition.
Tomoya Ohtani has addressed these issues discreetly in his new mix titled “Sonic The Hedgehog DJ Style Party” through his excellent song choice and being deliberate about where each song fits within the mix. Keen audiophiles will notice the mix starts off with a much more casually paced track, “Going My Way” (Sonic Runners) with a tempo around 130 beats per minute (BPM). This ramps up slowly and fairly unnoticeably across the mix, reaching the 150 BPM mark for Sonic Generation’s Rooftop Run. Rooftop Run’s “Speed Shoes” theme, complete with in-game transition, then provides an excellent launching point for the mix to move into faster and more energetic songs typical of games such as Sonic Unleashed (“day” themes) and Team Sonic Racing.
Ohtani has done a stellar job of pulling together music from a wide variety of games and generations. Given the mix is being released publicly, there were likely limitations to what he could and couldn’t use and there is understandably a notable emission of remixes or tracks from Sonic’s first three major outings on the Sega MegaDrive/Genesis. Instead, three remixes from Sonic CD used in either Sonic Generations or Sonic Mania carry the representation from that particular era. Tracks from most major Sonic games feature, with surprise appearances from a few lesser remembered sonic games such as the aforementioned Sonic Runners, as well as Sonic Rush Adventure. As a result, those who have been playing Sonic games from 1998 to the present will likely enjoy the mix the most.
“DJ Style Party” contains no brand-new remixes which, from a Sonic remix obsessionist perspective, is a little disappointing. Ohtani does however, make clever use of lesser known remixes such as Jun Senoue’s Rock Mix of the Sonic Rush Adventure hit “Blizzard Peaks” found in Mario and Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games and the tracks “A New Venture (Surfin’ SRA Remix)” and “Dreams of an Absolution (Starry Night Remix) found on the 2008 compilation album’s “True Blue, The Best of Sonic the Hedgehog” Part 1 and 2 respectively. For Sonic fans who know and enjoy their Sonic music but don’t actively go seeking it outside of the games, you’re in for a treat.
A personal highlight for me was the mix from “Cool Edge”, the day theme used in the icy tundra of Holoska in 2008’s Sonic Unleashed, into its high energy remix “Ice Mountain” from 2019’s Team Sonic Racing. I had also forgotten about the Sonic Adventure 2 track Rhythm and Balance and it’s remix used in the DLC for Sonic Forces, so listening to that again put a big smile on my face.
Listening to the mix in it’s entirety, the transitions between songs are well done and rarely noticeable, the mark of a solid mix. Each of the 33 songs are presented for a short period of time; enough for each to be highlighted and enjoyed before moving on without outstaying their welcome.
In conclusion, ”DJ Style Party” is a great listen, and I would highly recommend it to any Sonic fan who enjoys their Sonic The Hedgehog music, or appreciates the fine art of mixing music tracks. Sonic The Hedgehog DJ Style “Party” is available right now to stream or download digitally through a wide variety of services, including Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, Youtube Music or Google Play. Physical copies of the album are also available in limited numbers through Amazon Japan and Play Asia.