Clever Music

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Clever Music
Clever Music.jpg
Born
Birth Place
Nationality British   UK.svg
Aliases Alphingwood, Alphinwood

Clever Music was a British music company wrongly known as Mike Alsop and Mark Alphingwood. Despite their oft-ripped and -remixed theme songs for the Commodore 64 games Wizardry, Gyroscope, Fairlight and Space Doubt, they have a confusing history which only since 2017-05-14 has been getting cleared up.

The company consisted of Robert Hartshorne and Graham Jarvis and mainly produced radio and TV advertisement jingles, targeting small-to-midsize and tendentially regional companies, but briefly also video game soundtracks for CRL Group, The Edge, Electric Dreams, Melbourne House and Tynesoft.

Hartshorne publicly represented the company and called Jarvis "the electronics whizz". Former CRL staff have referred to Clever Music as either Clever Music, Rob Hartshorne or (sometimes by Jay Derrett) Bob Hartshorne, but not to Jarvis.

Unfortunately, Hartshorne and Jarvis frequently suffered payment uncertainty. After a particularly bad incident with K-Tel, they crossed video games off their services, and in the 1990s, went separate ways altogether. In 2017, Jarvis was cited as keeping very good records including the old player code, notes, other material, being open to interviews, and being surprised at today's C64 music scene.

Music Development

Amstrad CPC

Clever Music is not known to have worked for the CPC directly, but the music data of CRL Group's The Rocky Horror Show (CPC) matches Clever Music's C64 music data (apart from a bum note and a delayed note-off). CRL may have transferred the data and converted the driver themselves.

Commodore 64

ZX Spectrum

Clever Music is not known to have worked for the Spectrum directly, but Jeff Lee, the programmer of CRL Group's The Rocky Horror Show (ZXS), confirmed that the Spectrum 128 game uses Rob Hartshorne's C64 music, and the data indeed matches (apart from 3 bum notes). CRL may have transferred the data and converted the driver themselves.

Gameography

Due to a quirk during foundation, the accountant chose Clever Music's original name, Alphingwood, known through Gyroscope (C64)'s title screen. However, since 1998, sites have been crediting it to Mark Alphingwood; it is unknown where "Mark" came from. Less known but no less confusingly, two contradicting manuals exist: Melbourne House's original crediting programming to Mark Prosser, producing to David Wainwright, music to Gloryflow Ltd, and Erbe Software's Spanish one crediting only programming to David Wainwright.

According to its manual, Wizardry (C64) "was written during 8 months of 1985 by Steven Chapman", and its music "was composed by Alphinwood [sic] and rights to use the sound track were arranged via Rocksoft." However, in the actual game, the text "WRITTEN ONE DAY IN 1983 BY MIKE ALSOP!" is hidden at the memory location $CE20, so close to the music data that it got credited to that name by 1994 (as got Fairlight (C64), likely due to the similar style and instruments). Graham Jarvis cannot find that name in his old letters and invoices. Then again, and probably generally unnoticed, an unused routine at $CE50 displays that text on the screen and jumps to two memory locations which only crash. This could mean (though unconfirmed!) that Mike Alsop really only wrote some program which Chapman or Jarvis used and remains of which got shipped with the game (a common accident for many 1980s programmers and parts of their own source code).

In 2001, Ian Botham's Test Match (C64) got blindly credited to the game programmer John McPhee (a common tendency upon lack of explicit audio credits).

Released Title Sample Notes
1985-09-?? Wizardry (C64)
1985-0?-?? Ian Botham's Test Match (C64)
1985-0?-?? The Rocky Horror Show (C64)
1985-11-?? Gyroscope (C64)
1985-12-?? Blade Runner (C64)
1985-??-?? The Rocky Horror Show (CPC)
1986-0?-?? Back to the Future (C64)
1986-0?-?? Fairlight (C64)
1986-0?-?? The Rocky Horror Show (ZXS)
128 Version Only.
1986-0?-?? Space Doubt (C64)
1987-02-?? Shao-Lin's Road (C64)
1987-09-?? Plasmatron (C64)
19??-??-?? Spindizzy (C64) US Version Only.

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