The Sultans of SID: #22: Dave Lowe

Our twenty-second SID sultan of our Advent Calendar

From yesterday, our little clue was:

Did you catch my power drift? Or was it a case of hard driving?

The clue is a play on two racing games, leagues apart in their playability. The first one is the conversion of Power Drift, an object lesson on how to do fast 3D on the Commodore 64. The other is an object lesson on how not to do 3D on the C64. That of Hard Drivin’. If you thought the Commodore version of Chase HQ was bad, think again. Driller on an unexpanded bread bin (no CMD Ramlink module or a speeded up emulator) was faster.

The musician behind the two titles is…

Dave Lowe

Mr Lowe also goes by the name of Uncle Art. He has also written musical scores for ZX Spectrum and Amiga titles as well as the good ol’ Commie. He is still active today with Uncle Art Music ran by Dave and his daughter Holly. Besides computer games, he has also written music for film, television and commercials. A professional musician in his own right.

His daughter Holly has performed in front of the good and the great. A singer and pianist, she has performed in front of Queen Elizabeth the Second, Paul McCartney, Sir Elton John, and The Sultan of Oman. She is based in Mallorca.

Both their websites are well worthy of your attention. The arrangement of David’s SID tunes is timeless, with his professional background evident.

Essential Tunes

i. Power Drift

I have fond memories of playing Power Drift on my Commodore 64. Needless to say, this was one of my favourite – forget that – all-time favourite 3D racers on the C64. For me, it was the speedy 3D graphics and Dave Lowe’s in-game music really added to the scene. As for the roller coaster style jumps, wow…!

ii. Night Shift

Night Shift was a unique puzzle game on the 8-bit and 16-bit formats. Your role was to successfully operate a machine which turned out Star Wars figures (par for the course being a LucasArts release). Dave’s score reflected the industrious nature of its Heath Robinson-style machinery.

iii. P47 Thunderbolt

In this piece, you could hear bit of Glider Rider (from another Dave; this time, Whittaker), and Power Drift. This roaring piece of music goes well with the C64 conversion of the Jaleco arcade game.

Tomorrow’s Sultan of SID…

For our twenty-third SID legend, we can’t tell you, but as always we can give you a clue. The clue is as follows:

His nickname is the shared with either one of the Gremlins, one of Damon Grant’s mates in the early episodes of Brookside, and a guitar device created by Godley and Creme.

All will be revealed tomorrow.

S.V., 22 December 2016.

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