The mid to late ’90s were a strange time for music, not just in the video games scene but generally. We’d mostly left the synth-pop of the ’80s behind and electronic dance music of various types was exploding in mainstream popularity. The Britpop of groups like Blur and Oasis was dominating certain territories (like, err, the U.K.) and struggling in others, while the grunge of the ’80s and early ’90s evolved into the post-grunge of groups like Bush. It was, if nothing else, a very diverse time for the music biz.
One of my favorite types of music in that period was acid jazz, a style that combined elements of jazz, funk and hiphop together to produce some highly memorable, extremely filthy-sounding tracks that probably wouldn’t have been out of place in a movie about some guy coming to “fix your fridge,” if you catch my drift.
Delightfully, a lot of video game composers at the time also seemed to develop a particular liking for it, meaning we got some fabulously funky soundtracks to games in the late ’90s — Namco’s Ridge Racer Type 4 and Anna Kournikova’s Smash Court Tennis being two particularly memorable examples in my mind, along with this wonderfully chilled-out track from Capcom’s Street Fighter EX.