We are happy to welcome Hunty aka Hunter Bridges to Ubiktune with his debut album Nexus Genesis!
Nevertheless, Hunter had written quite a lot of music for the project, and promised himself to some day give it a proper release. Nexus Genesis fulfills that promise, gluing together a world of musical themes with the authentic spirit of his favorite soundtrack of all time, Sonic the Hedgehog 3.
Nexus Genesis is a love letter to the composers of that timeless classic, and a toast to friends Christian and Brad.
Hunter Bridges grew up in Alabama, surrounded by music. His dad was playing in bands when he was growing up, and they often would practice at Bridges’ house.
Hunter would sneak in and experiment with all the gear while the band were on smoke breaks. He loved figuring out how things worked, and to a six-year-old boy, the drum set was the most mechanically captivating of all. His parents got him a “fun size” kit, and a year later Hunter started lessons.
Hunter also grew up around video games, specifically NES, Sega Genesis, and SNES during the formative years. Given his love of music, the soundtracks in games Super Mario Bros 3, Street Fighter II, Gauntlet IV, and Sonic the Hedgehog 3, all influenced him a great deal, and Hunter spent a lot of time listening to tunes in Sound Check menus.
In sixth grade he stumbled upon VGMusic.com, a community of amateur arrangers compiling an archive of MIDI transcriptions during the age of dial-up and started creating and submitting MIDIs to the website.
Starting in high school and through college, Hunter got into recording, digital production, music theory, and arrangement, focusing on studies and honing his skills.
Involvement with Sonic Nexus
Sonic Nexus was a game being created by Nexus Team, headed by Brad Flick aka Slingerland. The game began development in the summer of 2006 and had three demo releases. It was a critically acclaimed fangame, garnering enthusiastic comments from Sonic Amateur Games Expo visitors and various tech blogs.
We asked Hunter to tell us more about his involvement with Sonic Nexus.
In middle school, shortly after I started sending MIDI files to VGMusic… Probably 2002? I came across a website called Sonic Fan Games HQ. There was a website that compiled Sonic sprite rips and game development tutorials for amateur developers, and a community of some particularly bright and aspirational people.
I started jumping onto projects and writing MIDI tunes for them, which was still the status quo since most people were still on dial-up. I stuck around SFGHQ for a while, learned about game development, and generally just hanging out on a website that wasn’t blocked on my school’s computers.
In 2006, a user called Slingerland (Brad Flick) asked me to jump onto his project Sonic Nexus. He wanted full-resolution waveform audio, which was much more practical considering broadband had become more common.
I was using Fruity Loops 4 at the time, and quickly made the transition to Cubase. It was a new learning curve to climb, but luckily there was no deadline. I just kept writing tunes to spec, iterating and improving. Meanwhile, the community became very excited for Sonic Nexus.
During the same time Christian Whitehead aka The Taxman was working on a game called Retro Sonic during the. Its killer feature being a game engine he had created through reverse engineering the original Genesis games.
By 2008, Nexus was running into technical hurdles building on top of the Sonic Worlds engine in Multimedia Fusion, and sought to migrate Nexus to Christian’s Retro Engine. By 2010, the projects were chugging along slowly. In order to consolidate time and resources, Sonic Nexus, Retro Sonic and a third fan-game Sonic XG merged into a single project.
That same year, Christian re-created the Palmtree Panic level from Sonic CD in his Retro Engine. He then pitched a video to SEGA of Sonic CD running on iOS. As a result, SEGA hired Christian to develop and release the full game, as well as follow-on remakes of Sonic 1 and 2. Out of interest for protecting Christian’s business relationship with SEGA, we decided to stop working on Sonic Nexus, since SEGA is particularly protective of the Sonic IP.
This left Brad and I with a slew of unreleased graphics and music. I was fond of a lot of the themes I had written for the game, yet still felt like I had never achieved the level of authenticity to match the Retro Engine’s gameplay.
During my senior year of college I studied FM synthesis, but felt limited by trackers and other methods of creating music with the genuine SEGA Genesis sound. I sought a path that would let me finish the soundtrack in a way I was comfortable with, while still yielding the aesthetic results I desired.
I dug deep, and in 2013 I released the Sonic 3 & Knuckles FM8 Patch Collection. This year, 2015, 9 years after I started working on Sonic Nexus, I feel comfortable enough to realize the tunes the way they were intended. Nexus Genesis is the official soundtrack for the unofficial game-that-never-was, Sonic Nexus.
Nexus Genesis is available through all popular shops and streaming services, as well as YouTube version with the original Sonic Nexus level art in order to contextualize the music.
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