Hypnospace Outlaw Original Soundtrack Volume 1 Review

Hypnospace Outlaw Original Soundtrack Volume 1 cover art

  • Reviewed by: Mark Goninon
  • Name: Hypnospace Outlaw Original Soundtrack Volume 1
  • Label: Jay Tholen
  • Composer(s): Jay Tholen
  • Number of Tracks: 15
You can read about the fantastic Hypnospace Outlaw and how I acquired the game by reading my review. As I backed the game at the "HYPNOSPACE GROOVEMASTER" tier this meant I was eligible to receive "the original soundtrack in MP3 or FLAC"; little did I realise that there's a lot of music in Hypnospace Outlaw which is probably why the soundtrack spans over five albums. The one I'm reviewing today is by Jay Tholen (who is also the game's designer) and is simply titled "Hypnospace Outlaw OST Vol. 1".

This album contains 15 tracks available in a whole bunch of formats off Bandcamp including MP3 V0, MP3 320kbps, FLAC, AAC, Ogg Vorbis, ALAC, WAV and AIFF. In the world of Hypnospace there is music that sounds similar to MIDI called Hypnospace Tune Sequencer files (or .hsm files) and Volume 2 of the Hypnospace Outlaw Original Soundtrack mostly contains this kind of music, while Volume 1 contains everything else that isn't: this album contains music that tends to play during the game's intro, cinematics, "soundscapes" (ambient background noise you can choose to listen to while surfing Hypnospace) as well as music from two made-up genres in the game called "Coolpunk" and "Fungus Scene".

Right off the bat I can tell you I didn't rate the "soundscapes" but anyone who has read my reviews before will know I'm generally not a big fan of ambient stuff anyway and the "soundscapes" are meant to be ambient background noises and music; it's what you're meant to be listening to while you're surfing Hypnospace (although I never ended up having them play in the background because any music embedded in the Hypnospace pages themselves would usually drown it out anyway). Everything else though, I like, even the short audio sample "Boot Sequence", which is a nostalgic trip down memory lane for your ears if you were brought up on computers in the 90s.

Recommended listening on this album include the catchy, Daft Punk-inspired (yet more commercialised), Coolpunk tracks by fictional celebrity Jan Wolf (aka Fre3zer): "Colder Than the Rest", "Chill It Right" and "Icy Girl", as well as the tracks by Fungus Scene artist Basidia: "Formations" and "Ghost of the Grotto" which sound like a weird, yet appealing mix of prog rock, New Wave, jazz-rock fusion and lounge music.

However, my favourite track on this album has to be "Millennium Anthem (2000 Years Eve)" along with the tracks that borrow leitmotifs from it: "Hypnospace 2.0" (which features a lounge version of "Millennium Anthem" after a very Windows 95-like intro) and "Eulogy" (a sombre and mournful take of the theme). It's basically the game's main theme and associated with the actual game "Hypnospace Outlaw" as well as its in-universe creator, Dylan Merchant.

What you might find interesting is that "Millennium Anthem" is actually a modified cover of a song by Half-handed Cloud called "Nativity Costume (2000 Year's Eve)". Here's what Jay Tholen had to say about it in a Tweet.

This is definitely one of my favourite tracks on this album and out of all the albums released as part of the game's soundtrack so far.

It's upbeat yet sinister at the same time. I think it's a skill to accomplish that when writing music.

Score – 8/10

The first volume of the Hypnospace Outlaw Original Soundtrack showcases two of the in-universe genres of Coolpunk and Fungus Style; the former a heavily commercialised version of electronic dance music with robotic, Daft Punk-style vocals, and the latter an eclectic mix of styles that actually works well together. The highlight of the album though has to be what I believe is the main theme for the game: "Millennium Anthem (2000 New Years Eve)". It's such a catchy earworm that it's unlikely to ever leave your head, especially thanks to other tracks such as "Hypnospace 2.0" and "Eulogy" re-using the same leitmotif.

If you're interested in purchasing the soundtrack, it's available off Bandcamp for $5.99 USD.