Matthew Kane's music for Zak McKracken

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"Zak McKracken also featured the most extensive music and audio library of any product of its time, largely because one of the game's co-designers [Mathew Kane] was a musician." - LucasArts History

Matthew Kane was responsible for all of the music in Zak McKracken, including composing it and coding it for the C64. He was also a co-designer on the game and did part of the SCUMM scripting. To get the full impact of the music, you really have to play the opening sequence on the Commodore 64 where the music and animation work together to set the mood.  However, the Amiga and FM Towns versions of the music are probably the closest to the original that Matthew created. (Note: emulators often use the sound card instead of the original built-in speakers, so it isn't quite the same. The ScummVM emulator has an option for using the PC speakers, but I haven't been able to get it to work on XP.) Speaking of the original, here it is, on Matthew Kane's Web site: http://www.lamaweb.com/zak/

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About Matthew Kane

Matthew Kane was at Lucasfilm Games for maybe 3-4 years, including his time at Lucasfilm Learning. He then left the games market for a long while.  Colleagues remember him as a "great guy." This is Mr Kane back when he was working on Zak (he's the guy on the left)

Zak McKracken, Zak McCracken, image

M.K. is alive and well and living on the East Coast with his wife and (apparently very cute) daughter. He currently works as a programmer, but still pulls out the old piano when the mood takes him. And he's "very fun to be around." Matt's web site is on lamaweb.com, with the first ever score for Zak McKracken. This is Mr Kane in 2007, not looking a day older than he did in 1987. Once again, he is on the left (in the whiter shirt).

This pic is kindly provided by the guy on the right, "Marvel" of Zak2 fame. In January 2007 Marvel went on a pilgrimage to California to meet Matt, David, and the gang, for their unofficial blessing on "Zak McKracken 2@ Between Time and Space"

The original music to Zak McKracken

"I remember the night when Matt came in, all excited, and popped this tape into the stereo at Skywalker Ranch. We had a hard time coming up with a theme because I didn't know what I wanted or how to communicate it. Somehow, Matt listened to my gibberish, and came back with this tape. I really liked it the first time he played it. Then I fell in love with it.

"This MP3 file - http://www.lamaweb.com/zak/ - is taken directly from this original tape, before Matthew coded it into the C64. This has never before been heard, so most of the fan mixes are based on either the second generation compromise implementation on the C64 (no way could anyone, not even Matt, make the C64 sound as good as this original), or the compromise of a compromise for the version used in the PC speaker version. I suppose those who used the Amiga or FM Towns versions as inspiration didn't have to use their imagination as much. But even these did not go back to this original recording." - David Fox

Zak McKracken, Zak McCracken, image
Skywalker Ranch, where it all happened

CD-quality sound

ScummVM uses WAV sounds to emulate the PC speaker for the 16 color version of Zak. Many people (well, me and at least one other person) think that the original PC speaker sounded better. The emulation is O.K., but remember that the sound was designed for the PC speaker.

If you want the best quality sound, click here to download a 74 MB zip file of the OGG files. Just unzip them and put them in the same folder as your FMTowns game files, and run the game as usual through ScummVM. Result: the best quality Zak with the best quality sound! Enjoy!

Those files used to be hosted at MixnMojo, but recently disappeared. The whole point of the Zak McKracken Archive, as the name suggests, is to archive Zak goodies that might otherwise be lost. So when a visitor mentioned that the OGG files had disappeared I took the excuse to mirror them here.

For more high quality Zak music, visit Abandonia.com!

 

Music rips, MIDI versions, etc.

Various C64 remixes - lots of fun! - the mother lode of Commodore 64 remixes!

Daniel Strandberg (aka. Wolk)'s remix of the Zak-tune - as used by BTAS (as far as I know!)

*** January 30th, 2011 update ***
TALCO TALQUEZ kindly provided these great links:


c64 intro - note the hat!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l06hs6E9kIs&feature=related 

amiga intro
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YkOL1GUF83U

drum
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F2NsFT7I6W8

electric guitar
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l06hs6E9kIs&feature=related

!plasm remix (80s electropop "Alphaville-style")
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZRHhGaQVS1k&feature=related

the dead guys remix (hip hop / rap)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SNKknDtbhgA&feature=related

-8bitten (tehcno)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aLcfIvlwG5E&feature=related

+razor and the scumettes (heavy metal)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cbUWSxfYrg0

release party in Koln (german)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u7Tasfap7YM

miscellanea
http://stationinthemetro.com/blog/2009/6/2/zak-mckracken-theme.html
http://remix.kwed.org/index.php?search=zak+mckracken



AUDIO TRACKS

Click here for the mother lode of Zak music!
As far as I can tell all this music is fine to download for non-profit use.
If you made any of this and you want me to remove it, please let me know.
For convenience it's in a several large zip files.

Including...
Matthew Kane - Zak mc Kracken original recording (1987).MP3
DjLizard - Zak McKracken (IK (mix^2)) [intro spettacolare].mp3
Puffy64 - Zak MCommando Kracken (2001) [variazione].mp3
Rhys H - Zak M Theme.mp3
Iron - Zak McKracken (SushiMix) (2007).mp3
2more - Zak McKracken 8bitten (2007).mp3
BuXY - Zak remix (2002).mp3
Dalezy - Zak mcKracken (2008).mp3
Daniel Strandberg - Zak mcKracken's opening theme (1998).mp3
EmptyMy - Zak McKracken (Martian Invasion Remix).mp3
Ic3m4n - Zak McKracken (Reggaeton) (2008).mp3
Kane & Gregg - ZakmcKrackenSID (2003).mp3
lopho - Zak McKracken (2009).mp3
Mark Boszko - 01 BeatZak (2008-).mp3
Mark Darin - Zak in the House (2008-).m4a
Mark Darin - Zak McKracken Theme (basic remix) (2008-).m4a
Meltdown - Zak McKracken (2002).mp3
NoiZe - Zak McKracken (SeeYa Mix) (2006).mp3
nOOgz - nOOgz McKracken (z2) (2003).mp3
plasm - Zak McKracken (55-cycle) (2002).mp3
plasm303 - zak mckracken (by Razor and the Scumettes) (2003).mp3
Roland Koch - Zaktheme (2006) [cacofonia orchestrale].mp3
The Dead Guys - Zak McKracken (mindbend this).mp3
The Dead Guys - Zak McKracken (tDG RMx).mp3


Old links I haven't checked recently:

http://www.alchemystudio.it/mp3/ZakmcKrackenSID.mp3 - a new version of the classic title track, made using original C64 technology

http://www.mirsoft.info/gmb/music_info.php?id_ele=MTEyOTM=&PHPSESSID=f9480d746cbac6ebf1094473985b1d54 - music ripped from the game (you need to register at the site, and may need to click a couple more times than you expect.)

http://www.northcastle.co.uk/botu/midis2.html - a midi version, with comments (scroll down the page to Zak)

Roland Koch's great new Zak remix - see the link on his blog at http://www.hawkei.de/blog/

http://mysite.verizon.net/vze1t0eu/music.html - A remake: "Zak McCracken Theme" by Mark Darin, "A rock remake from a classic video game." This is basically an instrumental version. It doesn't do anything for me, but "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" as they say.

http://remix.kwed.org/index.php?search=plasm303 - two remixes inspired by the C64 main theme, by Razor and the Scummettes (recognise the name?). I like these better.

http://imuse.mixnmojo.com/media/fan/zak_remix.mp3 - a good remix, with a strong core melody.

http://remix.kwed.org/download.php/631/Puffy64%20-%20Zak%20MCommando%20Kracken.mp3 - the best version IMO. Definitely the most impressive of the remakes. The original melody is only recognizable in parts, but the distinctive beat is there, and it has the most important features that the others lack - the feeling of depth. I love it!

 

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