The Sultans of SID: #9: Matt Gray

Our ninth SID sultan of our Advent Calendar

From yesterday, our little clue was:

When Blue Turns To Matt (misquoted from a Cliff Richard song).

The song by Sir Cliff is When Blue Turns to Grey. With grey spelt the American way (or as a surname), we get for our ninth fellow…

Matt Gray

If you had a Commodore 64 in the mid to late 1980s, you would have come across a lot of his works. As well his best known composition (the whole soundtrack to The Last Ninja 2 on the C64 no less), he also wrote SID tunes for Codemasters on their budget titles. Plus the music for Tusker, Dominator and Quedex.

Today, he has rereleased and remixed the original Last Ninja 2 soundtrack as part of the Reformation series. This compilation, the result of a successful Kickstarter scheme, includes remixes of his other C64 tunes. Before you buy his new album, here’s three tunes to refresh your memory.

Essential Tunes

i. Treasure Island Dizzy

Who didn’t have this game on the 8-bit micros? For a time, Treasure Island Dizzy was Codemasters’ biggest-selling game of all time – 500,000 copies sold by 1992. If you had the Commodore 64 version, Matt Gray’s tune was the icing on the cake. This clip above has all the music.

ii. The Last Ninja 2

The trance like hypnotic sound to System 3’s popular adventure sets the game off really well. For many C64 users, this is their all-time favourite one of The Last Ninja trilogy. This clip has the whole soundtrack in full.

iii. Driller

The freescape genre was a fairly short lived one. On the C64, this meant shaded polygon views running at the same speed of Manchester’s rush hour traffic. The one saving grace of Incentive’s pioneering game was Matt Gray’s composition. Punchy, yet spooky sounding at the same time.

Tomorrow’s Sultan of SID…

Once again we shan’t divulge who our next SID legend is, but we can give you a clue. The clue is as follows:

His works include the soundtrack to Codemasters’ last ever Dizzy title on the Commodore 64.

All will be revealed tomorrow.

S.V., 09 December 2016.

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