This week’s Tuesday Tunes will showcase the music of Hideki Naganuma, one of the funkiest composers working in video games today. The song above is from Ollie King, and as you can see, it’s as out there as anything else he’s done. If you really allow yourself to zone into it and appreciate all the craziness that goes on in a typical Naganuma track, you’ll see that there’s very little else like it. His work for the Jet Set Radio series remains some of the industry’s most iconic; his funky, up-beat, and totally unpredictable tracks really set the scene for these games and, arguably, played a major role in making them as great as they were.
Many people remember the song entitled “That’s Enough” (which you can hear after the break) in particular, mostly, I think, for its use of the rather memorable line, “the music just turns me on,” a sentiment that fits the Jet Set Radio games like a glove. Since then Naganuma’s created music for other SEGA games, including the first Sonic Rush game, a track or two from Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz, and much of the music for the cel shaded arcade skateboarding title Ollie King. In my opinion though Jet Set Radio and its sequel remain his crowning achievements, games that made brilliant use of a sound he pretty much defined.
And though his other work may not be quite as well known, his sense of style, his ability to surprise, and, of course, the breakneck speed at which his songs propel themselves forward, all are aspects that carry across his entire body of work, unquestionably demonstrating his style, talent, and invention. Keep reading to hear a very familiar track from, of course, Jet Set Radio.