Matthias Steinwachs

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Matthias Steinwachs
Matthias Steinwachs - 15.jpg
Born 1960-08-19
Birth Place Höxter, North Rhine-Westphalia, West Germany
Nationality German   Germany.svg
Aliases M. Steinwachs

Matthias Steinwachs is a German composer, sound designer and lecturer.

Steinwachs moved to Düsseldorf early. At age 5, his parents put him down for recorder lessons which ended when his teacher died ("no, it was not me"). At 7, he had piano lessons. At 15, he founded his first band, a bebop trio with trumpet, piano and bass. He has played synthesizer, Rhodes piano and backing vocals in fusion, pop, new wave, heavy metal, punk, funk and rock live bands. In 1984, his band Koe ranked second in a statewide rock contest and, for weeks, first in an "obscure" statewide chart show. In the end though, he had enough of "sensitive drummers and egocentric bassists" and, to a medium extent, rehearsal rooms.

He studied in Duisburg to become a music and sport teacher, but did not graduate. For some years, he half-heartedly thought about going to opera and took classical singing lessons. Between 1984 and 1986, he moved to Berlin. In 1987, he worked at a radio station for the first time. From circa 1989 to circa 1992, he was studying musicology, journalism and Italian. In 1989, he was making a living from giving piano lessons. In the 1980s, he read Happy-Computer magazine, spent whole nights playing Rally Speedway (C64), and made a little bit of music on the Amiga just for fun.

On March 8, 1989, a friend attended the annual CeBIT expo in Hanover, Lower Saxony and talked to Holger Gehrmann of reLINE Software, who told him they were searching for a musician for their Amiga game. The friend said he knew someone, and upon his suggestion, Steinwachs phoned them. The game was Window Wizard (AMI), and while today he is ashamed of both the game and his own music, he found the 1500 DM lucrative. So he applied as a freelancer at Kingsoft and Thalion, who took him to Ikarion, Psygnosis, Blue Byte and Studio 2. Steinwachs was also contacted by Lankhor.

Between September 1993 and March 1995, Steinwachs moved back to Düsseldorf. In 2002, composing became a hobby. He works for radio stations, reviews games and music equipment, makes press statements, and lectures on sound design. As of 2009, he has all his old hardware (his Amiga disks even work), collects old consoles and games, and still plays Rally Speedway (C64) and LucasArts adventures in emulators on Xbox and Wii, in MAME on the PC, and on Sega (especially Dreamcast and Saturn).

Depending on his mood, Steinwachs likes Clawfinger, Birth Control, Steve Reich, Philip Glass, Foo Fighters, Beastie Boys, Nickelback, Jimi Hendrix, Carl Orff, Richard Wagner, Edvard Grieg, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Earth Nation, Blackeyed Blonde, H-Blockx, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Porcupine Tree, Element of Crime, Whale, Plastic Voice, Tom Waits and Robert Schumann. He is kind of proud of never having owned one record of Pink Floyd. His favorite instrument is the church organ.

Music Development

For every game, Steinwachs is given a brief description, images, the client's favorite songs, or a finished game. If a specific style is needed, Steinwachs browses through records at home, local radio stations, video stores, cable TV, and plays them for one or two weeks until he feels that style. He also jams on the piano until he hears something he likes, or remembers hearing a sound and composes an entire song out of that. He first sketches melodies using MIDI, like on a Roland CM-500 in 1995. Twice, Ikarion also talked him into singing.


Steinwachs' music is in the MOD, MED and OKT formats. He also used Sonic Arranger.

Atari ST

Steinwachs has not entered any ST games into his MobyGames biography, but Gunnar Gaubatz stated in an interview that Steinwachs contacted him directly for conversions.


Steinwachs' music is in the ROL, BNK, MDI (all by Ad Lib Inc.) and CMF formats. He also used Loudness and sent his files to Andras Molnar, who made them usable for game developers for a fee.

Mega Drive

Steinwachs found the Mega Drive rather tedious.


Released Title Sample Notes
1990-0?-?? Turn It (DOS)
1990-0?-?? Window Wizard (AMI) Music Compilation By Matthias Moehrstedt.
1990-0?-?? Window Wizard (AST) Music Compilation By Karsten Obarski.
1991-0?-?? Fate - Gates of Dawn (AMI) With Karsten Obarski.
1991-??-?? A320 Airbus (AMI)
1992-0?-?? Locomotion: Kingsoft (AMI)
1992-0?-?? Locomotion: Kingsoft (C64)
Arranged by Zsolt Szabó.
1992-0?-?? Neuronics (AMI)
1992-1?-?? Amberstar (DOS)
Composed by Jochen Hippel.
1992-1?-?? Balance (DOS) With Thomas Kahabka.
1992-??-?? BugBomber (DOS)
Composed by Chris Hülsbeck.
1992-??-?? Locomotion: Kingsoft (AST)
Arranged by Gunnar Gaubatz.
1992-??-?? Locomotion (DOS)
1992-??-?? No Second Prize (AMI)
1993-0?-?? Lionheart (AMI)
1993-1?-?? Der Schatz im Silbersee (DOS)
1993-??-?? Ambermoon (AMI)
1994-??-?? Flink (CD32)
1994-??-?? Zeppelin: Giants of the Sky (DOS)
Arranged by Unknown
2004-02-27 Sacred (W32) Additional sound effects
2005-03-24 Sacred Underworld (W32)
With Dag Winderlich
2008-11-11 Sacred 2: Fallen Angel (W32) Unreleased music, revealed in SoundCloud.
Unreleased Armalion: Realms of Arcania (W32)
Some track ideas were reused in Sacred Underworld (W32)
Unreleased Unbended (W64)
It's unknown if the game has ever surpassed the stage of the concept.

Picture Gallery