My Vinyl Collection: Coloured and Picture Disc Part 3

A third look into the rainbow of vinyl

Hello and welcome to a look through some of the coloured and picture disc vinyl that has been added to the collection since October 2015. Half of these records are video game related but all are rather beautiful.

>>> Links to previous My Vinyl Collection posts are in the right side bar >>>

Cornelius - Fantasma

Fantasma was Cornelius' third album after leaving jangly j-pop group Flipper's Guitar in 1991. It followed two Japan only releases: 1994's The First Question Award which was in a similar vain to Flipper's Guitar and his much more ambitious 1995 release 69/96, which brought sampling into a unique concept pop album. Both 69/96 and Fantasma were highly influential to the Shibuya-kei scene and they are probably the most well known albums from this fairly short lived but distinctive scene.

Fantasma follows on from 69/96 in a very organic way; it improves on the foundations of the earlier album and delivers a tight set of songs that manage to sound different to one another yet somehow cohesive through the album's unusual production. This would be the last album Cornelius would make in the Shibuya-kei style before moving into a much cleaner electronic direction with 2001's Point. I much prefer his music post-Fantasma yet there is no denying that Fantasma is a great album and the best of his earlier output.

This particular version of the album was released in 2016 through Lefse Records and spreads the album across two bright transparent orange records. The album includes four extra tracks that make up the entirety of Side D, so they're easy to skip if you prefer. The four added tracks are great though and really fit with the rest of the album. This release comes off the back of a Japan only remaster CD boxset of Fantasma which was two CD's long and came with a DVD! The sound of the remaster is good, it's subtle and just makes the album feel a little fresher to the ears. A highly recommended release that looks and sounds great. (Here's hoping his next two albums get a similar treatment!)

This is one for the hardcore Devo fans only! Futurismo have done an incredible job bringing together the tracks from Devo's two limited EZ Listening Cassette releases and putting them on vinyl for the first time (officially anyway...). This release comprises of easy listening version of popular Devo tracks made by the band to be played before they came on stage. Due to demand and the fact that the tapes kept getting bootleg'd  the band officially released the cassettes in 1981 and 1984 in limited quantities.

Here, Futurismo brings together all the tracks from these cassette releases but places them in the same running order as the Rykodisc CD version from 1987. This seems to have rubbed some the wrong way but honestly it makes little difference to me personally. Exclusive to this release is a previously unreleased EZ version of 'Shout' and a newly recorded EZ version of 'Human Rocket' from Devo's 2010 album Something For Everybody.

This Futurismo version comes in an amazingly lavish box complete with newly designed and expanded artwork. It comes with a massive double sided poster (one side basically being liner notes), two hilarious inner sleeves, download code, a cocktail recipe and mixer and Booji Boy for president pin. There was even an extra limited edition that came with a silk dressing gown!!

You could get this double album in either 'Antique Walnut' or 'Lava Lamp' colour, I chose 'Antique Walnut' as I felt it was more in keeping with the overall design. Both versions are now completely sold out although they then put out a simplified gatefold version on black vinyl. Is the music worthy of such a luxurious release? I'm tempted to say no although it is welcome! If only Warner Bros would pay the main albums as much care and attention.

This was the second Futurismo release I had bought and I was worried about the pressing quality after the kind of noisy Miracle Witness Hour releases; thankfully everything here is perfect and in line with the impeccable design work... good job guys!

Raymond Scott - On the Swinging Side

Picked this up for a bargain £3! It's a rare bootleg from the 70's, it brings together some of Raymond's band music. I don't know much about this side of Raymond's career (I'm more into his electronic work) and the packaging and the internet don't yield much in the way of information... if you know more about this release let me know. It would appear that it contains many tracks that weren't released any other way but they don't seem to be of high interest to Raymond Scott fans.

The vinyl is of a very nice deep transparent red which I find myself getting lost in, it's so red! The outer sleeve of my copy features hand writing by the original owner detailing when, where and how much he spent to buy it! Usually I'd hate this defacing of a record but here I find it kind of fascinating.

Another release on Futurismo! And another rather lavish design job. This release too features a huge double sided poster and printed inner sleeve. The inner sleeve has rounded edges, something I've always loved. The main artwork is very faithful to the original 1980 release although it appears to have been slightly cleaned up which is welcome.

The music is a kind of DIY, lofi synth punk featuring very sharp and brittle production that makes the music feel incredibly urgent. It feels as though the music on this release was conceived in a vacuum in a short space of time which fills the music with energy. It's a music that has yet to be smoothed out and perfected which is interesting to listen to. They obviously had a particular style and workflow and you can really feel it in the songwriting and recording.

This was a present from my mother for my birthday (thanks Mam!!) and comes on what Futurismo call 'Modular Shock' vinyl, a marbled yellow vinyl with flecks of white and red. It looks and sounds really great. The release also comes with a download that features both the album as well as a bonus live set which was a nice surprise.

This is the latest Scott Walker release for 4AD, a soundtrack to Brady Corbet's debut film of the same name. I have yet to see the film but this soundtrack release has definitely whet my appetite. It's an incredibly intense and full soundtrack that brings to mind Mica Levi's amazing Under the Skin soundtrack mixed with Scott's Pola X soundtrack and And Who Shall Go To The Ball? piece which was conceived for a dance company. The soundtrack is full of strings but these are some of the most violent and unnerving strings I've ever heard. The recording and performance is phenomenal and I'm sure Scott was thrilled to be working with such a large orchestra.

Although most of the tracks are less than 2 minutes the tracklisting blends together really well to the point that it all feels like one long suite. It's only 30 minutes long but in that time so much is conveyed. A great soundtrack and easily one of the best releases of 2016.

The release comes on black vinyl or this clear vinyl (independent stores only apparently...), it features some great print work and overall design. The card is a nice matte but the front image is depressed into the card and is glossy. It really helps the image stand out. Comes with a download code.

Josh Gabriel / Ellen Meijers / Michael Bross -

A very nice record from the new kids on the block Black Screen Records. They have gone on to release soundtracks for Risk of Rain, Downwell, Dear Esther etc. They appear to be focusing on games that are Steam at the moment and indeed this record comes with a download code for Oddworld New n Tasty - a remake of the classic PS1/PC game from 1997. This really sweatens the deal and made this basically an instant buy for me.

The record is a mix of new tracks - made for the New n Tasty version - and subtly remixed original tracks from Abe's Oddysee. They blend together very well to the point that I can hardly tell them apart and it flows well. The whole record reminds me of the original PS1 game so that's good!

It's a mix of sci-fi soundscapes and atmospheric synthetic tracks. It has a very particular mood which is hard to put in words. The music doesn't stand apart from the game very well but this does bring back memories and is good if you are familiar with the series.

The release also comes with a large double sided poster that I am tempted to put up one day; although it is rather large and it seems so many releases these days come with nice prints so it's hard to pick between them all.

Vinyl itself sounds a little scratchy in places, not the most pure pressing I've ever heard but not terrible either. The extras - the game, poster and digital soundtrack - more than make up for less than perfect pressing and I'm sure they have learnt from their mistakes.

Ryuji Iuchi / Osamu Murata / Takenobu Mitsuyoshi / 
Yuzo Koshiro - Shenmue

Another record from the guys at Data Discs. This was one of two records that they launched the label with, the other being the soundtrack to the Mega Drive classic Streets of Rage.

Shenmue was a game I never played as it came out late in the Sega Dreamcast's lifespan and cost a small fortune even upon release. Hopefully one day we will get a downloadable HD remaster of the game and its sequel as I am sure there are many people just like me who missed out on this supposed masterpiece.

I picked up the Streets of Rage record day one but waited on this due to not having played the game. I then picked it up along with a preorder for the Outrun soundtrack (below!) and do not regret it in the slightest. The record sounds incredible and comes on this really deep blue transparent vinyl. The soundtrack itself is far from a 'complete' soundtrack but it works so well and makes me want to play the game even more, it's just so filmic and beautifully oriental (kind of crap to say perhaps but you know what I mean right?). It kind of reminds me of some Ryuichi Sakamoto's film scores including The Last Emperor and Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence, it's just so rich a sound and so transportive.

Beautiful packaging and print round out the package nicely - the print in particular is very nice.

Koichi Namiki, Katsuhiro Hayashi & Shigeru Ohwada -

Ah yes, this was a huge surprise when it was announced by Data Discs. Super Hang-On is a very unlikely release but one I welcome with open arms! Although the game was a fairly big deal upon release in arcades and was ported many times it is often forgotten about due to the technically more impressive sprite racers such as Outrun or Power Drift.

I first played Hang-On on the Mega Drive as a kid but have little memory of it; it obviously left very little impression on me with its terrible framerate. It wasn't until I downloaded the Sega 3D Classics version for the 3DS that I really connected with the game. M2 did such a phenominal job with almost all of these arcade and console ports and Super Hang-On is defintiely up there with the best of their output. The game is incredibly addictive, challenging and also rewarding featuring a unique boost mechanic that has to be used strategically in order to stay on the road and meet each check point.

At the start of the race you get to choose from 4 music tracks (all of which are obviously included here); the tracks are fairly long and evolve nicely. They perhaps aren't as soothing or complex as the tracks that were featured in Outrun but this paved the way. The tracks have a much more driving rock feel and are of a much higher tempo then Outrun's more jolly and laid back tracks.

The record is fairly short as their isn't a ton of music in the game but it is cut at 45rpm so it fills the 12" nicely. I feel it might have been slightly more suited to a collection release - like a collection of 10" or 7" records in a box set (along with soundtracks for After Burner for example). The record itself comes in a thick printed card inner sleeve which can be seen through the record's die-cut cover depicted the arcades classic typeface. Personally I prefer poly-lined sleeves (the rest of the Data Discs releases come with these thankfully) so I don't actually house the record in the card sleeve but it is a nice design choice. The record itself is rather stunning and it's good to see this game get a good amount of attention.

I believe this release had a smaller print run than any other release by Data Discs and it doesn't appear that there will be a re-press so I wouldn't be surprised if this goes on to become incredibly valuable as time goes by... and I personally value it very highly! A great soundtrack expertly put together for an underrated game.

Yuzo Koshiro ‎– Streets Of Rage 2

Ah yes, another classic Data Discs release! Streets of Rage 2 is a phenominal game with an equelly phenominal soundtrack. Personally I find it incredibly hard to figure out which game and soundtrack I prefer. I love the more direct and streamlined soundtrack of the original game and it features some of the most classic videogame tracks of all time. The first game also is more straightforward in terms of gameplay and features a much quicker feel. Streets of Rage 2 boasts much larger sprites and stages that scroll in multiple directions which makes it feel distinct. It is everything you could want in a sequel; it expands and innovates without losing the essence of the original... and yet part of me still prefers the first game's breakneck pace and soundtrack. The music here, like with the original, is a mix of electronic genres of the early 90's, with a super bass heavy and driving unique sound. Worth noting also that this soundtrack comes with unique alternative mixes, demos and unused tracks which are interesting to discover.

This is the first Data Discs release to be presented in a gatefold. A lot of the initial copies feature seam splits from the records and sadly mine is no different. I see they were replacing these at one point but I wonder whether that boat has now sailed.

I'm personally not a fan of the image on the front but it's not the worst thing in the world. The records come with two very nicely printed inserts and the typical OBI strip and poly-lined inner sleeves. The records are nice but they don't exactly scream at you like the Super Hang-On release above.

Hiroshi Kawaguchi / Jane-Evelyn Nisperos / Manabu Namiki / Masayoshi Ishi - OutRun

I first encountered OutRun via the Sega Ages collection on the Sega Saturn (which also features Space Harrier and After Burner), it immediately grabbed me with its beautiful vivid artwork and astonishing soundtrack. I have since played the game a heap on the 3DS but my heart will always be with that more pure Sega Saturn experience.

This release features a large die cut window so that you can change the scene to decipt different landscapes from the game. The only problem with this is all of the landscapes kind of look barren and also have a distracting blurry look to them. I really like the green, white and pink look of the release but I am less than happy with the overall image quality. A huge shame seeing as this is undeniably one of the most essential Sega soundtracks out there; super long and ever evolving tracks mirror the games unique branching path structure and the composition is just so sunny and joyous.

I missed out on the limited edition version of this release which featured the three colours stacked atop one another but this solid green is very lovely either way!

The release features the original incredible tracks as well as one that was composed for the Mega Drive release and two that were made in the old arcade style for the Nintendo 3DS release. These additional tracks although a shade below the original compositions fit nicely in this release and capture the games environments and gameplay nicely. The 3DS tracks in particular blend in surprisingly well.

 Nankyoku, Decky & Imocky / Naofumi Hataya  -

Golden Axe... many a day of my childhood was spent with this game. I loved the weird music and the overall feel of this game. It just felt very odd and as a young kid I couldn't exactly understand what was happening but had a fun time either way! Jumping on the top of beasts and kicking little thieving imps will always be engrained in my mind! (also the screen filling special attacks!) It kind of reminded me of Altered Beast but less scary and more complex.

I never played the game's sequel so it's nice to hear some tracks from its soundtrack here. The release feels a little different to the other Data Discs releases as it is technically two separate soundtracks brought together. Not 100% sure how I feel about this approach to be honest. The tracks here end up all feeling fairly short in order to fit on to one side of vinyl and I'm sure they've had to skip a bunch of tracks. As for the music, it is much more stripped back and primitive sounding than other soundtracks such as Streets of Rage or Gunstar Heroes but it harkens back to the very early days of the Mega Drive so that makes sense and it still has a unique rustic charm.

One thing is for certain, the packaging is something else!! The Conan inspired artwork makes me very nostalgic even if it is more than a little embarrassing to look at. The front image in particular (which was used for Japanese carts) is the stand out, it's just so epic! The package also comes with two great inserts depicting the box art for the western releases. I like the added touch of colouring the inner of the sleeve gold.

This comes on a very nice golden orange translucent vinyl; there was also a limited edition version that featured 4 blobs of purple but honestly I'm not super attached to this soundtrack so I was happy enough to get this less limited version.

Posted: 21st March 2017

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