To Dream of Love: More Music of Rez

Much has been said about Rez here at the ‘Yard. Some don’t rate the game that highly, thinking it is either boring, or too simple. To me, that simply means that you do not “get” it. When you get it, Rez is like nothing else I have ever played. Well, perhaps WipEout is about as close as it has gotten for me. The reason I say this is the fusion between the “race” or challenge, the gameplay inputs, the visuals, and the music. To play Rez properly is to wear some bloody good headphones, and dedicate yourself to its gameplay. You can’t appreciate Rez if you have the sound low, off, or simply have a “5 minute bash”. Rez is more of an experience.

Rez went through a lot of changes in development (see video below), but the leaked beta is extremely close to the final game (though it's got a higher difficulty level).

I’ve yet to play Rez Infinite on PSVR, but one is on its way to me as I write. However, I do have the game on Xbox 360 and enjoyed playing through and completing it multiple times. I consider myself nowhere near an expert at the game, but definitely feel I am very well connected with it. When I see people write “it’s boring” or “it’s overrated” then to me, they simply don’t get it. It’s gone over their head. That’s fine. Though putting such things to the page makes me sound like an elitist prick (the data is still coming in on that), to say that I am more invested in Rez than the average gamer would be a fair comment. Most of my posts for the ‘Yard have been on the subject of the game; I have a copy of “Vibes”, the prototype beta of Rez:
So, why am I, once again, writing about this legendary game? It’s because yesterday I put on an album I haven’t listened to in ages; Second Toughest In The Infants, by Underworld. I was taken back into the game. 

Of course, the music of Rez is arguably well documented throughout the internet, with its own Wikipedia section, and numerous articles and discussions on K-Project “Vibes”, the aforementioned Rez beta. Many electronic music acts were contacted during the development of Rez, with an Underworld track used as the placeholder for Stage 1 (Rez/Cowgirl):

Also check out the boss fight ;)

The game is obviously influenced by this (banging) track, as the game is called Rez, and it’s used in the Stage 1 of the beta. Of course, “Rez” is also a term used in Tron, but I digress. Underworld didn’t want to be involved in the game as it involves shooting, which I understand, but feel that the “shooting” in Rez isn’t really shooting, and this could have been communicated better. I’d have loved to have been there during the meeting and try to smooth things over, such that the track could be used in its entirety. I bet they weren't even shown a demo of the game.
Now, the game sound data does indeed include samples from Underworld songs. I’ve no hard data on this, but electronic music often contains numerous samples (just look at the fabulous Mind Killer by Adam Freeland used for Stage 5).
So, there’s a reason I was taken back into the game. It’s not just grasping at straws. Listening to the absolutely amazing 16 minute-long opening track Juanita:Kiteless:To Dream Of Love (what a bloody name!), I was drawn in by the lyrics…
That summers fever coming.
Cats are gathering outside your window.
Homeless trees.
Bootleg babies calling to you.
Lie among.
Lie among the mosquitoes.
Your rails.
Youre thin.
Your thin paper wings.
Get up in your sun.
Fly high.
Your window shattered in the wind.
The sun on your coca cola sign.
Your rails.
Your thin paper wings.
Paper wings.

Ooooh… he said “your rails” for the rail shooter! He said “Res”! Then, listening further, I was performing an Area 4 boss battle. If you listen to the song at some time after around 8:40 and again 11:10, I defy you to not imagine the aforementioned boss battle.

Then again, further down the album, the track “Banstyle” had me again at 13:30: 

Again in "Air Towel" at around 1:57:

Give the album a listen, if this is your kind of music. Even if it isn’t and you like Rez, give it a listen and see if I am just crazy.

Build 899 of Vibes/K-Project has this rather ill-fitting but definitely of-its-time track in Stage 2:

Rumour has it that there are builds containing Aphex Twin’s Come to Daddy and The Chemical Brothers’ Music Response, but I've not been able to find those builds to test. 

Adam Freeland's fabulous Mind Killer used in Area 5 is present throughout almost all the builds, so Mizuguchi-san clearly had a vision, and Area 5 is always where I want to be when I am playing the game. It's the final and purest form of Rez that i have experienced.
You can download K-Project yourself and play it on your Dreamcast (Build 836; Build 899)

So what do you think? Are there any other segments of tracks by Underworld, or anyone else for that matter, that you think are sampled in Rez or at least "inspired" the game?


Dieubussy said...

Excellent write-up Martin, I so appreciate your taking the time to publish this.
A recent discovery - for me at least - was when I stumbled upon the source for the sample utilised in the "Fear" remix featured in Area 5, which is an altogether different version of the original tune in Freeland's album "Now and Them". As it happens, this sample defines the highlight of the game's remix and it happens to come from the string opening of a theme named "California Soul" by Marlena Shaw. I'm sure this was known about, but for me it was something of a "Eureka" moment while randomly listening to a soul music playlist.

Unknown said...

Rez is an incredible piece of work. Great article!