Pop Culture Pick: Sonic the Hedgehog

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London based, Scotland raised TryTry is a self-professed house party DJ, championing the idea that anything goes in a set, as long as it makes people move. He traversed a maximalist wave through the burgeoning Scottish grime scene, taking a detour into 90s happy hardcore throwbacks, before finally arriving at his own brand of melting-pot, four-to-the-floor nonsense.

A co-founder of the SLG Int. artist collective, as well as South London’s Pickled club-night series, TryTry puts promoting emerging talent and throwing affordable parties above all else.

A lover of video games, he has dug deep into his collection and pulled out a classic for his tune selections on Pop Culture Pick. Here are 5 tunes from everyone’s favorite blue hedgehog – Sonic!

I’ve chosen the original three Sonic games here as they were some of the first games I ever played back before I could even walk properly, and the music has stuck with me for 25 years. The composition combined with the limitations of the Mega Drive’s audio chip resulted in some of the most era defining and globally recognized BGM tunes of all time. These games owe so much of their generational success to the audio of Masato Nakamura and his collaborators (even the all-but-confirmed rumoured contributions from Michael Jackson). So without me continuing to gush further, here’s five of my favourite tunes from the original three Sonic games. Gotta go fast!

Spring Yard Zone (Sonic 1)

Sonic 1 is a weird one compared to the other two games in the trilogy. The gameplay is a little slower and more treacherous, and the city-pop influence in the soundscapes hits strong. Spring Yard Zone is a perfect example of this, with an outrageously funky synth line in the a-part, and a b-part which has some gorgeous chord stabs taking centre stage. It even has a synth lead that sounds a lot like the ring pickup SFX pitched down!

Casino Night Zone (Sonic 2)

This fucking song man, let me tell you a story. Up until COVID hit, I’d been working at a nightclub in Peckham. For a maybe two or three month period, when it came to usher the techno casualties out the building and begin cleaning and locking everything up, I was humming this one tune over and over again, to the point of severe irritation (both due to its repetitiveness and my inability to remember the source). Searched through all of my music collection for hours one day before realising I’d had Sonic 2’s fourth level music stuck in my head the whole time. Still slaps though.

Lava Reef Zone – Act 2 (Sonic 3 & Knuckles)

Towards the second half of this game, when you finish the first part of Lava Reef, the lava begins to crystalise and turns a cold blue hue, and the original act’s music morphs into this endlessly cool remix of itself. Arps galore and a funky bassline to boot, everything you want in a chip composition.

Green Hill Zone (Sonic 1)

I couldn’t begin to fathom not including the GOAT video game melody in this list. Decades of countless remixes, some amazing (S3RL’s 180bpm thizz banger) and some not so amazing (a certain remix that appears top of the search on YouTube that sounds like stock music from a parkour video) but they all have the original to thank. Never gets old.

Aquatic Ruin Zone (Sonic 2)

This is a criminally under-rated classic, often overlooked for almost any other track from the series. It fits the mysterious vibe of the level perfectly, and the b-part melody is such an obnoxious earworm it’s impossible to not love. It’s definitely always my favourite even if I can’t quite put my finger on why. I guess you’ll have to play the game for yourself to see what I mean.

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