Mr. Smith dies and goes to heaven. His friend, Mr. Jones, calls
heaven to ask if Smith has arrived already.
"The virgin Mary speaking."
"Yo. Jones here. Has Mr. Smith arrived already?"
"No, don't think so," the virgin Mary says.
Jones puts down the phone. Late at night he calls heaven again.
"Ah. I see Mr. Smith has arrived..."
DEMO REVIEW: THE ULTIMATE MUZAK DEMO VOLUMES I, II, III BY PHF
by Richard Karsmakers
Somewhere 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
The first 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
Demo-wise, 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.
Somewhat 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 effort.
When starting 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.
Unfortunately 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 be selected.
Again, 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 a waste.
Not much 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.
Just 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 Hülsbeck (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.
Yes, we 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.
Anyone 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.
When running 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 by.
Excellent demos, even though not stunning at all from a demo
programmer's point of view. I don't think you'll regret getting
As they claim in one of their scroll texts that they don't want
you 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.
The address to send the disks to is:
32 Dundee Street
East Yorkshire HU5 3TX
I hear they'll do "Ultimate Muzak Demo Volume IV" soon. I can't
Thanks, Phil, 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...
The text of the articles is identical to the originals like they appeared in old ST NEWS issues. Please take into consideration that the author(s) was (were) a lot younger and less responsible back then. So bad jokes, bad English, youthful arrogance, insults, bravura, over-crediting and tastelessness should be taken with at least a grain of salt. Any contact and/or payment information, as well as deadlines/release dates of any kind should be regarded as outdated. Due to the fact that these pages are not actually contained in an Atari executable here, references to scroll texts, featured demo screens and hidden articles may also be irrelevant.