Welcome to Morning Music, Kotaku’s daily hangout for folks who love video games and the cool sounds they make. Today, as we rapidly approach the launch of a new mainline PlayStation, let’s take a trip back in time and celebrate a game that anchored the launch of the last mainline PlayStation: Resogun, the ostensible alien shoot ‘em up that’s more or less a lights-and-music show.
Summer is usually the season of raves. You know: cramming into an incandescently lit space, surrounding yourself with people wearing glittery crop tops and sequined butterfly wings, and shedding your insecurities while listening to loud tunes pumped out of a MacBook Pro. It’s the best. Summer 2020, for reasons that needn’t be explained, was not the season of raves. To cope, I listened to electronic music more or less nonstop between the hours of “when I achieve cognisance” and “when I lose it.” I’ve carried this habit on.
This week, I discovered — or, rather, rediscovered — one of the more transcendent electronic video game soundtracks in recent history: Resogun (YouTube / longplay / VGMdb), the not-quite-side-scrolling shooter that launched alongside the PlayStation 4. Composed by Ari Pulkkinen, a Finnish composer with a devilishly handsome first name, Resogun’s soundtrack is just the sort of thing I’d want to hear on a Saturday night. Just take a listen to “Acis,” the song for the first level:
It starts out like any other trance or deep house track — that’s right, I just heroically conflated two subgenres that, face it, are indiscernible — with that trademark 138 bpm and onslaught of synths. Then, at 4:07 (well, in the video above), the melody kicks in. It sounds a whole lot like something you’d hear on, say, Above & Beyond’s “Group Therapy” or Armin van Buren’s “A State of Trance,” two popular weekly internet radio shows dedicated to trance music. Both shows have a sort of “song of the week” segment, in which the hosts play, in their minds, the best trance track released that week. If I heard “Acis” show up during one of those segments, I wouldn’t be surprised.
The same can be said for much of the rest of Resogun’s soundtrack. Songs like “Decima,” “Avernus,” and “Febris” are all rooted in breakneck BPMs and melodic compositions. You’ll hear these during Resogun’s main stages, and they pair fantastically with all the laser beams and hordes of exploding extraterrestrial vessels. But the boss fight tracks flip the script — to a degree. Here’s the song for the second boss, Stormruler, which shows up at the end of Ceres:
Like the rest of the boss-fight tracks, Stormruler’s music slides into downtempo, bass-heavy house overtones. (Hey, every good setlist needs a chill track or four.) You might hear these songs at a show as well, though they’d inspire less dancing than the level tunes. I, for one, would use the opportunity to temporarily step away from the shiny happy people, maybe head to the bar for a refill or hunt for the requisite plush sofa.
The way Resogun bounces between songs that make me want to move my feet and songs that make me want to give them a rest takes me back to brighter, louder days. It’s not the same as experiencing this stuff in person. It’s not even the next best thing. But it sure gives me something to look forward to next summer (if we’re being optimistic).
And that’s it for today’s Morning Music. What have you leaned on to fill the live music gap? If life resumed business as usual tonight, who would you want to see in concert? Let me know in the comments!