During the eighties, Martin made music for many of the popular Commodore 64 games, and became one of the most famous SID artists. Galway is best known for his soaring, anthemic compositions, for making heavy use of the SID chip’s ring modulation feature, and for compositions which made unconventional changes to SID register settings while notes were playing (producing his trademark echoey sound). Perhaps his most famous song is the title-piece for Comic Bakery, a sweeping 3-voice masterpiece. This piece has featured in a number of demos and music discs.
Martin also made music for one of Origin Systems’ first adventure/roleplaying games, Times of Lore, with several tunes that were intended to suit the medieval setting. As he was also a programmer, he wrote an algorithm that randomized the chords that the guitar voice plays, making for a very long and varying piece.
He was also the first musician to get published with sampled sounds on the Commodore, with the theme for the Arkanoid conversion. When asked about how he did it, he answered: “I figured out how samples were played by hacking into someone else’s code … OK, I admit it … It was a drum synthesizer package called Digidrums, actually, so you could still say I was the first to include samples in a piece of music. […] Never would I claim to have invented that technique, I just got it published first. In fact, I couldn’t really figure out where they got the sample data, just that they were wiggling the volume register, so I tried to make up my own drum sample sounds in realtime - which is the flatulence stuff that shipped in Arkanoid. […] After the project was in the shops I gained access to some real drum samples, and I slid those into my own custom version of the tune. The one that’s in the shops is kind of a collage of farts & burps, don’t you think? […] Later I was able to acquire some proper drum samples and by Game Over it got quite sophisticated.”
Martin has said that he will never remake his songs, as they were made for the SID chip and would sound wrong on real instruments. However, he says that he could possibly start making music for real instruments. His original SID music can be found from The High Voltage SID Collection.
Martin Galway is currently completing his 25th year in the games business, working as operations/production manager and audio director of Certain Affinity, an Austin, Texas based software company.
Edited by inphanta on 4 Mar 2008, 20:52
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