Go back to Wipeout

Written by: Rik

Date posted: September 30, 2015

I used to be quite into dance music and electronica in the 90s. I could just let that statement hang there, with all its implied tales of underage drinking, drug-taking and illicit trips to nightclubs, but seeing as there’s a vast body of evidence on this very site that suggests I spent my teenage years engaged in significantly more nerdy endeavours, I’m not going to.

I just bought the music and listened to it. Much of the appeal was, of course, that it wasn’t chart music, or the kind of stuff your parents might listen to (at one point in the mid-late 90s my Mum and Dad were happy to listen to Radio 1 in the car, and they bought several Britpop albums: my father considered Guiding Star by Cast an all-time rock classic), and it represented a very minor sort of rebellion, in that it was the kind one engaged in while waiting for dinner, avoiding homework, or sitting in the back of a car on a family holiday.

At times, I did wonder whether I was properly into it or not. I was baffled by singles that were released on multiple CDs, some of which didn’t actually have the version of the track you wanted on them, and by having fellow enthusiasts recommend interminable 15-minute remixes which appeared to bear no relation to the source material whatsoever (I secretly preferred the radio edits of just about every track that was released as a single, considering even the album versions to be excessively padded).

Still, I did retain some fondness for it all, and revisiting Wipeout gave me an excuse to listen to some of it again. Here’s a rundown of some of the artists and tracks featured in the early Wipeout games, alongside some recommendations of my own:

The Chemical Brothers
Featured tracks: Chemical Beats (Wipeout); Loops of Fury, Leave Home (Wipeout 2097)

These are all really good. Loops of Fury was one of those annoying non-album releases that meant it was difficult to get hold of if you’d missed out on the single. I ended up buying some Brit Awards compilation just to get hold of it.

Rik recommends: In Dust We Trust, from Exit Planet Dust (1995)

Featured tracks: Firestarter (Wipeout 2097)

It’s the instrumental version on 2097, so you’re spared Keith Flint’s vocals. Prodigy were amazingly popular for a while – in 1997 almost everyone I knew bought The Fat of the Land, but then they sort of disappeared for a bit. I liked one of their songs from Need for Speed: Most Wanted, though, can’t remember what it was called. [Have you ever considered becoming a music journalist? – FFG reader]

Rik recommends: No Man Army, from the Spawn soundtrack (1997) and The Trick, the B-Side to the single release of Breathe (1996)

Featured tracks: P.E.T.R.O.L. (Wipeout)

Orbital’s album In Sides (on which this track later appeared) was one of those albums that everyone seemed to get excited about but which baffled me slightly when I bought it. To my eternal shame, I quite liked their version of the theme from The Saint that they did for the Val Kilmer movie. But my favourite is Satan (released as a single as Satan (Live) in 1996) : “If you see your mom this weekend, be sure and tell her SATAN SATAN SATAN…”

Rik recommends: Satan – get it on Orbital 20 (2009). There was also a version recorded for the Spawn soundtrack (again) with superfluous guitar by Metallica’s Kirk Hammett.

Featured tracks: Atom Bomb, V-Six (Wipeout 2097)

Fluke had two successful singles: Absurd and Atom Bomb, both from the album Risotto, which, like Wipeout, featured artwork by The Designers Republic. The growly macho-man vocals seemed quite cool at the time, but a bit silly these days. Atom Bomb’s references to “purple hair” prompted childish debate among my peer group as to whether he was actually singing “bumhole hair”. (Sigh).

Rik recommends: I’m not sure I recommend any Fluke, to be honest.

Future Sound of London
Featured tracks: Landmass, We Have Explosive (Wipeout 2097)

Actually, We Have Explosive was the only FSOL song I liked.

Rik recommends: We Have Explosive, from Dead Cities (1996)

Featured track: Afro-Ride (Wipeout)

Er, no, I didn’t like Leftfield.

Rik recommends: That you stop reading this feature and do something else.