Julie Dunn is a British composer. Born as David Dunn, she attended primary school in Brampton from 1953 to 1960, then Erith Grammar School in Kent and trained at the Royal College of Music under Alan Rowlands and Anthony Milner, sparking a love for imagery, impressionism and live performance. She then worked as a tutor at ILEA Centre for Young Musicians, an organist, a school choirmaster which performed on Capital Radio, and head of several music departments.
In 1982, when Dunn had already acquired a Commodore VIC-20 for unknown reasons, a salesman of a British retailer talked her into trading the VIC-20 for the then-new Commodore 64. Dunn then made her only proactive attempt to get into the video game industry by phoning Rabbit Software, but did not get an actual response.
Later, she went to a computer shop in Dartford, Kent to ask for something faster than BASIC. This was suddenly answered by another customer, who turned out to be the co-founder of Anirog Software, Anil Gupta. When Dunn mentioned writing music, Gupta eagerly asked her to write something in machine code. Dunn created a driver and a demo program playing three covers illustrated by slightly animated PETSCII art. Gupta liked it and asked her to present some proposals for an intro song for Anirog's latest development, Flight Path 737 (C64), at their place. The second proposal was very well received and made it into the game.
Dunn's best clients were Anirog, their successors Anco Software and Red-Arrow Software, Ocean Software, Personal Software Services, Mastertronic and Codemasters. She considers 1986 her decline, reasons including companies employing in-house musicians (specifically Ocean and Martin Galway), Compunet, increasing boredom with coding and the limitations of 3 voices.
After more years, Dunn changed her life and studied psychiatric nursing in London, worked at a forensics unit, led a psychiatric-admissions mother and baby unit, bought a retirement home, eventually went into retirement either, and at some point, changed gender. Her influences include Paul McCartney, Ray Davies, Burt Bacharach, Marvin Hamlisch, John Ireland, Richard Wagner and impressionist works. She dislikes repetitive jingle-jangle.
To arrange a track, she initially entered numbers that corresponded to pitches at 423.9 Hz, and commands for instrument changes. She also had separate drivers for 3-voice music and 2-voice music, the latter leaving other programmers 1 voice for sound effects. By 1986, she had started entering chromatic notes instead and arranging 3-voice sound effects herself. Most tracks are preceded by the byte DDhex, which was likely her signature, especially since it has no valid meaning to the driver.
Dunn is still praised for her use of SID's built-in filter. However, also by 1986, she must have noticed that the filter varies with every chip, as her driver had no filter functionality ever since (except for the delayed Escape from Paradise (C64)). In VICE 3.2, her audio sounds best with 6581 (ReSID) and a bias of -75, although how close it is to her setup(s) is unconfirmed.
Dunn said this in an interview with C64.COM regarding how she ported over Aidan Bell's title music:
- web.archive.org/web/20160313124027/http://www.puremelody.com - Official.
- mobygames.com/developer/sheet/view/developerId,51417/ - MobyGames.
- copainsdavant.linternaute.com/p/david-dunn-17745475 - Copains d'avant (a French Classmates.com).
- facebook.com/julie.dunn.1690 - Facebook.
- twitter.com/puremelody - Twitter.
- drive.google.com/open?id=0Byfhj-Alj58DRk4wMllyTEpsM1U - At Back in Time Brighton 2015, hosted by Ben Daglish.
- c64.com/?type=4&id=45 - Interview from February 11, 2016.