If you're reading this thread, there's a fair chance the Sonic Adventure games provided the background music of your childhood. Even to this day, these soundtracks remain highly regarded - with a strong identity to boot. In fact, both soundtracks even saw a vinyl release in 2018.
With all of this in mind, I decided to take a closer look. Which musicians were behind these games, how did they contribute, and what came of the whole ordeal?
Sonic Adventure (1998)
This was arguably the most musically diverse game in the series. Likewise, there's plenty to explore.
You can thank the following for composition and arrangement: Jun Senoue, Kenichi Tokoi, Masaru Setsumaru, and Fumie Kumatani.
The most familiar name is likely Jun Senoue, famous for his position as Crush 40 guitarist. Out of the four, he holds the biggest history with Sega (some of his work for Sonic 3D: Flickies' Island
was remixed here after all). Responsible for that distinctive Sonic guitar sound, virtually any track in-game featuring said instrument will credit him. As an interesting side note, he plays the organ in a select few tracks (e.g: Skydeck A Go! Go!
and Dilapidated Way
). You can also thank him for composing the vocal themes for Sonic
, and Big
; as well as the main theme, Open Your Heart
. Well... not entirely.
That's where Kenichi Tokoi comes in, the co-composer of Open Your Heart. His first time working with Jun can be traced back to Daytona USA: Championship Circuit Edition
, where Kenichi worked as a composer and pianist. You won't see his name appear in Sonic Adventure quite as often as Jun, but his contributions were significant in scope. He was particularly prolific as a collaborator: with Jun in Be Cool, Be Wild and Be Groovy
; with Masaru in Militant Missionary
; with Fumie in Egg Carrier - A Song That Keeps Us on the Move
. His solo work was also rather impressive, including the music and arrangement of Knuckles'
theme. I'm sure he's happy Sand Hill is getting remixed too - for that was also his work.
Masaru Setsumaru first worked with Jun Senoue as early as 1992 in, a Mega CD RPG with an orchestral soundtrack, Dark Wizard. He never composed for a Sonic game before or after Sonic Adventure, making Masaru a bit of a wildcard here. His most significant solo contribution is probably Eggman's
instrumental theme, while a key collaboration would be Welcome to Station Square
Finally, this leads us to Fumie Kumatani. Her range of work is incredible. Most of the more electronic themes were from her, such as Theme of "E-102γ"
and Crazy Robo
, yet she also composed Amy's
theme of all others! And how's this for a tonal contrast - she worked on the music for Chao
gardens, and at the same time, she also came out with Fakery Way
. Much of the lyrics for the vocal tracks were also attributed to her, although Takahiro Fukada was responsible for all lyric translations (including the infamous Sphinx shaving). Fumie Kumatani would remain with the Sonic series for a while longer, with an especially special output in Sonic Adventure 2. But we'll get to that soon enough.
Some words on the performers. Most tracks do not credit live instruments other than Jun's guitars, though naturally, there are exceptions. Windy and Ripply
and Tricky Maze
contain electric pianist, Yutaka Minobe, who is never seen in the Sonic franchise again. There's also the occasions where Kenichi performed guitar instead of Jun (and... Fish Hits!
, The Dreamy Stage
, and Egg Carrier - A Song That Keeps Us on the Move). Open Your Heart, along with Sonic and Tails' themes, also feature Naoto Shibata and Hiro Homma on bass and drums respectively. Neither are ever seen again in the series, though regardless, it shows the sound team tried to inject more colour into the vocal themes. Additionally, Knuckles' and Amy's themes contain shared performers - they also have a live horn section, which is the coolest thing ever™. Last but certainly not least is Takeshi Taneda. When an in-game track has a funky bassline, it has Takeshi Taneda
. As you'll see next time, he earns the spotlight in Adventure 2.
Alright, that's most of the information I can find concerning the musicians in Sonic Adventure.
Actually no, I just remembered Jun Senoue plays electric sitar in Azure Blue World
and The Air.
Alright, that's all of the information I can find concerning the musicians in Sonic Adventure.
My primary citations are the liner notes of Songs With Attitude and Digi-LOG Conversation (SA1 soundtrack albums). I know, those are awesome album names. I don't think it's possible to come up with titles that bodacious after Dec 31st 1999.
You can expect to see a follow-up post regarding Adventure 2. Since much of personnel are related, I'll devote some of it to investigating who has stuck around in future Sonic games.
In the meantime: tell me what your favourite tracks from Sonic Adventure are in the comments.
Yep, this is... happening!
It’s ongoing and you may be a part of it.