TRACKS FROM THE DEEP WEB: Kawashima & Kenshiro, "Fuze"

“Fuze” by Yuzo Kenshiro & Motohiro Kawashima [Streets of Rage 3, 1994]

Look up a list of the best video game soundtracks of all time, and chances are Yuzo Kenshiro and Motohiro Kawashima’s music for the second Streets of Rage game will crack the top 10. Kenshiro brought Kawashima under his wing to channel his love of club rave, techno and jungle of the time for the Sega Genesis game. Twenty-five years later, a chiptune rave theme from the soundtrack like “Go Straight” fits right at home in a playlist of classic grime or mid-2000s dubstep cuts from Hyperdub.

For the third Streets of Rage game, where this track serves as an opening track, Kenshiro wanted to push his vision to the edge. The beats get far stranger and more demanding, the textures darker and more aggressive. His ambitions only follow the path led by dance music in that same year. By then, UK jungle has become much faster than the strains popular only few years prior. “Fuze” itself similarly takes cues from a more twisted fix of acid and a more mutant branch of techno from around that same time. While it may offer a harder point of entry than the soundtrack of Streets of Rage 2, the follow-up deserves just as much love.

RYO MIYAUCHI