Back in the plastic instrument glory days of music gaming, DJ Hero was a boldly weird experiment that focused on multi-song mashups and scratching routines. The first game, with a mix that does the latter, gave rise to one of its genre’s best boss battles.
“Groundhog (Beat Juggle)”
Noisia remixed by Scratch Perverts
I am an utter novice when it comes to turntablism, but hopefully I can provide at least a bit of important context. Beat juggling is a DJ-ing term that most often refers to taking multiple copies (usually two, a la the common setup of two turntables) of a single record, then playing and mixing them side-by-side in ways that essentially forms an on-the-fly remix.
Thus, this cut from DJ Hero is meant to simulate performing a batshit insane routine with two copies of techno cut “Groundhog” from Noisia. It is also the capstone of said game. The toughest song. The test of all your scratching and mixing skills against the most daunting of adversaries. The final boss, if you will.
There is something special about this one that elevates it a step beyond the usual challenge song suspects like “Through The Fire And Flames”, however. DJ Hero’s mixes were all specifically arranged for the game—mostly by Freestyle Games’ in-house team, but sometimes by outside performers like the Scratch Perverts—and they decided to take the freedom that afforded and be exceptionally literal with the “final boss” motif. The multi-stage final boss, even.
It’s all there! Each song section is like a stage of the boss, and the stages get progressively harder the farther in you are. There are intermissions between the stages where the music lets up a little bit, and they practically act like action-dividing cutscenes, complete with an antagonist that challenges and taunts your every move.
This all forges total unity between the boss fight and its soundtrack; the harder the routine gets, the more frantic the song becomes. And the song itself is badass, too. Thanks to the multi-stage boss structure, “Groundhog (Beat Juggle)” stays varied throughout its runtime, and the escalation of difficulty lends itself to a good ramp-up of musical insanity. A fitting climax to a fun yet woefully underexposed game.
RedStripe Loved Trax—originally from days of Tumblr past—is a series about the music Justin adores, with special emphasis on songs from (or introduced by) video games and anime.