REVIEW: THE ULTIMATE MUZAK DEMO VOLUMES I, II, III BY PHF
in East Yorkshire, probably where it rains, there live a couple
of chaps who go through life using names such as Steely Dan, Grazey,
Johnny 99 and Cal. They are collectively known as The P.H.F.,
and they've been around on computer ever since 1983 -on the Commodore
64 at the time. They have in the mean time transformed into ST
beings (even though some of them do stuff on the Amoeba and PeeSee
and contemptibles) and learned to code a bit. Although their demo
coding efforts will probably not enter history as the world's
most shocking instances of this particular phenomenon, one thing
is certain: They must be the world's best music rippers!
of their music demos, illustriously called "Ultimate Muzak
Demo Volume I", saw the light of day in February 1992, now
well over a year ago. It was a fairly down-to-earth demo in the
vein of the ancient Lost Boys "Def Demo", with the exception
that they had concentrated rather more on the music side of things.Using
a two-dimensional cylinder scroller of sorts, they created a menu
from which over 450 different songs could be selected, varying
from the most bog-standard Hippel tuned to stuff you didn't even
remember existed! I don't recall ever having seen more music in
one demo - as a matter of fact, I believe the previous demo ever
to contain quite a lot of music was TEX' "BIG Demo"
that contained, so I recall, only about 140 pieces of music.
nothing much went on in this demo. There was a starfield, a scroller,
some part-digi music in the background, and even a reset screen.
All in all an average demo by all means if it hadn't been for
the enormous amount of music. Rob Hubbard, Martin Galway, Jochen
Hippel, Maniacs of Noise...they're all there. And quite some rather
less known characters as well.
later they did the second part of the demo. Well, it wasn't actually
a second part but more sortof a second volume. Hence its name:
"Ultimate Muzak Demo Volume II". If you thought they
must have run out of music after Volume I, you will turn out to
be gravely mistaken: Volume II offers almost 500 different songs,
therewith leisuredly breaking the record they set with their previous
the demo you enter a Commodore 64 bootscreen. Very convincing
- even the horrid blue colour is the same. Still, this yanked
me back in times long gone when all I used to do was swap games
and rip music (preferably Rob Hubbard stuff). What you got was
a C-64 emulator type of thing, including PRESS PLAY ON TAPE -
unless you press SPACE, of course (which I did after a while).
On the screen appears a C-64 picture ("Hunter's Moon",
converted from the good ol' 64) and loading commences.
the PHF guys have spent aeons doing a mega-demo- like playfield
where you have to cursor-move a "Turrican" character
around a seemingly limitless area. Lower border busted open, Megadeth
font (Tanis credited) scroll. The works. Fortunately, they
reckoned there would probably be people who hated that sort of
thing so you could alternatively press HELP which let you enter
a cursor-controlled text menu from which musical pieces could
you will find all the music you ever wanted. Even more sound programmers
could be heard, even a rather talented chap by the name of TAO
who seems to be a jolly lot better at doing ST versions of Commore
64 Rob Hubbard muzak than Mad Max a.k.a. Jochen Hippel. What a
shame he's member of the Alien Child Fornicators a.k.a. ACF. What
remains to be said. Demo-wise things are getting slightly better
but still it's not the graphics and hot demo tricks you would
want to get this demo for. The collection of music - artfully
ripped and neatly put together - is fantastic as usual. Very much
worth getting! Oh. I shouldn't say that yet't say that yet, for
I haven't yet reached the 'conclusion' bit. Sorry for that. Read
on for more.
at the end of 1992, PHF did Volume III of the trilogy. This time
they decided to use some digi-music that they still had lying
around. That's why "Ultimate Muzak Demo III", which
is personally my least favourite even though still pretty impressive,
contains 'only' 14 tunes in total, of which 8 are basically title
tunes and the other stuff of the 'game over' or 'game completed'
variety. From the capable hands of Maniacs of Noise (i.e. Jeroen
Tel + Charles Deenen), Chris Hulsbeck (who is good but not close
to the quality of "Shades" any more) and Jochen Hippel
we get "Great Giana Sisters", "Quick & Silva",
"Stormlord", "Turrican", "Turrican II",
"Warp", "Lethal XCess" (which is quality-wise
the best) and "Z-Out". All ripped by Grazey this time,
including the respective games' title logos. There's a rather
stoic main menu without a lot of bells of whistles. A small scroll
and that's it.
have reached the bit where, in general, conclusions are drawn,
i.e. the end. Or at least close to the end. So that's why I will
not disappoint anyone and draw them.
who likes music, even those who think ST sounds are slightly average
on account of the rather bad YM 2149 soundchip, should get these
demos. Preferably all of them, but at least Volume II. Anyone
can afford three disks, and I think anyone should. These demos
offer an unparalelled wealth of sounds, a most substantial part
of which is very nice to listen to.
the demo you can't help ruminating over times long gone, or smile
at the enormous amount of nice blip-blop sounds that pass you
demos, even though not stunning at all from a demo programmer's
point of view. I don't think you'll regret getting them.
claim in one of their scroll texts that they don't wantyou to
send IRCs when contacting them, I suggest you send them three
disks right away (without any IRCs if you don'f feel like adding
them). I am sure they'll send you the demos back.
they'll do "Ultimate Muzak Demo Volume IV" soon. I can't
Grazey, for sending me these demos. For the first time since the
release of the "BIG Demo" I really wish I had my ST
hooked to my stereo...
DEMO REVIEW: THE ULTIMATE MUZAK DEMO III PART 2 BY THE PHF
a dreary, wet Saturday morning - not at all like Summer, but hey,
that's English weather for you - when a rather wet postman, looking
like he'd rather be at home snuggled up in bed close to a loved
one, arrived at the door. Numerous soggy letters were pushed unceremoniously
through the letter box. Various bills and letters not addressed
to me were quickly discarded leaving an envelope containing a
couple of disks.
was my first reaction. I hadn't ordered anything and wasn't expecting
anyone to send me something. Which is why I was surprised to say
the least that the sender of this package was none other than
Grazey of the PHF and that this was he latest demo in the, dare
I say it, distinguished "Ultimate Muzak Demo"
series, of which I am quite a fan, which was released on September
1st 1994. Feeling suddenly warm inside I rushed upstairs, bowl
of cereal in one hand and disks in the other, turned on the ST
and inserted the demo into the disk drive expectantly.
the second digi-music demo by the PHF and can be considered a
stop-gap until volume V, hence the volume III part 2 title. It's
also the first "Ultimate Muzak Demo" to come on two
disks and to make use of the STE sound facilities! Upon loading
you are told to copy the disks 81 tracks, 10 sectors, 2 sides
before a PHF logo blasts onto the screen complete with explosive
sound effects and flashes, the same intro as in "UMD IV"
in fact, then a fake(?) system check and finally the main menu
screen is entered.
the title and some credits this screen can be roughly divided
into half. The left side is titled 'Dreams' and the right side
'Fantasies', disks A and B respectively. There are numerous headings
that when clicked on with the mouse pointer lead to various sub-menus
where the individual tunes and sound effects are selected. One
such heading leads to a greetings, other credits and address screen.
On all but three of the sub-menus there is a title picture in
the upper third of the screen, a music and FX selector in the
middle third, and four VU meters across the lower third - if you
have an STE that is!
tune or sound effect can be played by clicking on the + and -
buttons with the mouse pointer. This is where the demo lets itself
down a tad. Firstly, when a sub-menu is first entered the tune
number is incorrectly set to one when it is actually tune zero
playing. Secondly, selection is a little tricky because unless
you press the mouse button extremely quickly, by that I mean you
need lightning reflexes, you skip about four songs. It would've
been better if the mouse button was released before continuing
with the next selection. In total there are 11 sub-menus with
48 tunes and 237 sound effects. The sound quality depends largely
on what machine you own. If you use ST then the quality is pretty
good, however, if you use an STE then you are in for a treat.
Not only is the quality higher but you also get everything in
wondrous stereo, so extra bonus points awarded here! I'm so glad
I was able connect my STE to my stereo.
Out of all the Ultimate Muzak Demos I have to say I like this
one the least. Not that it's crap or anything, I just don't think
it's quite as good as the others, certainly not as good as volume
III part 1. Having said that, the use of the STE sound facilities
is a very welcome feature that I hope the PHF continue to use
in the future. If you liked or collected the other Ultimate Muzak
Demos then these two disks are well worth getting. Here's looking
forward to volume V....
DEMO REVIEW: ULTIMATE MUZAK DEMO IV BY PHF
by Richard Karsmakers
The PHF wrote history three times
already. When it comes to sound on the ST, they practically invented
its history, or at least the archiving thereof. Their three previous
"Ultimate Muzak Demos" already featured just about every
single piece of music ever programmed on the ST, both in demos
and in games. I guess they must have a pretty good system of ripping
music, for it seems they can literally rip anything.
Take "Ultimate Muzak IV",
for example. Among the 348 selectable tunes you will also find
all tunes present in the ancient and still playworthy game "Bubble
Bobble", for example. Apart from these odd balls out you
get a large collection of tunes by Rob Hubbard, Ben Dalglish,
Big Alec, Mad Max, Driscoll, Jess (!right on!) and about two dozen
more sound programmers.
But let's start at the beginning.
After booting you get a "PHF"
logo shot onto the screen, followed by sortof a flash that appears
around it, not unlike those intros to the old FTL games only somehow
better and more impressive. Next you encounter some presentation
screens, where the individual characters are put on the screen
in various creative ways that really slow down reading speed rather
too much at times. Anyway, these screens inform you of who did
what, where the music came from, how you have to copy the demo,
where PHF may be contacted and the fact that there's 3.3 Mb of
music in this demo. It's a perpetual cycle out of which you can
escape to the actual demo menu by pressing space or something.
The main menu is the standard
megademo stuff - a "Turrican" clone platform menu where
you move a character around the screen with the joystick and make
him enter the various clusters of sound that are contained within
the demo. There's also an alternative, much easier and mouse-driven
menu, accessible by means of the [HELP] key. I am really thankful
they include that kind of thing too, as they did in their earlier
demo. Once the clusters are entered you get a kind of CD player
setup with forewind, rewind, exit and play buttons, and a VU display
of course. The tune played at the moment is identified by name,
and a number after it indicates the possibility of multiple tunes
hidden behind one name, accessible by pressing the "play"
How about the actual music? Most
of it is pretty good, most notably the many clusters devoted to
Jess of the Overlanders and then of course there's some stuff
by Mad Max and Big Alec that's much worth while. Plenty of music
- as I said there are 348 in all - and some of it pretty darn
brilliant. I am glad that people like PHF put together all this
music for music lovers like myself to enjoy.
Concluding, there isn't much to
say. Technically it's adequate but not of the kind of class that
would make Union members go drool. The music is competently ripped
and clearly displayed, which is basically what you want and expect
with this kind of demo. I think people should not be without this
impressive series of music demos.
Well, it doesn't work on the Falcon,
of course, but who had expected that? Too bad, really, but I hadn't
even hoped it would. I hope these guys will soon get a Falcon
so that they can do a megademo on High Density disk with all
the tunes ever done in their previous work, adapted to work
on the Falcon and all. Well, a man can dream can't he?
ULTIMATE MUSIC COLLECTOR by the PHF
English, they claim to be active on C64, Amiga and ST. Thanks
to arrow keys we are allowed to select among 200 chip musics in
a roller. That's not an original idea, the GFX and the code are
not brilliant. What I can say about it ? That's not the best demo
of that sort, but they say sequels will be released regularly
with new musics. So I just recommend this demo to people who likes
collecting sound chip musics.
I am not
one of those people...
VOLUME II' By the PHF by SPY 3 / M.V.
Here's the second volume of the
UMD series, by PHF. This one is good, and U haven't only Mad Max
and Dave Whittaker tunes ! The main menu is made with Gfx from
the game TURRICAN. You control the guy, and you can select different
parts. Each part is in fact, from a different composer.By example
it's possible to choose to listen all R.HUBBARD tunes converted
to ST by different guys, like Mad Max or Tao. It's a good idea
! Most of the musics are new,and they have never been included
in a musicdisk before. Here, we can select by example, musics
from UTOPIA or LOTUS. Another good thing is that, you can ask
them to send you, a music from this demo they'll answer you for
sure. There's only one problem: Some zaks from Beast'n'Frazer
from The Syndicate, have been included in this demo and the problem
is that it should not have been released ! That's really strange
! Read Frazer's article for more infos about it.
[ CODE : 85% Good replayers. ]
[ GFX : 25% No original work.
[ MUSIC : 95% That's a musicdisk
[ IDEA : 88% Cool classification.
[ IMPRES : 88% Good. ]
[ OVERALL: 82% You must have it