David Wise (composer)

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David Wise
Also known as Dave Wise
Born (1967-09-13) 13 September 1967 (age 49)
Origin Leicestershire, England
Genres Various
Occupation(s) Composer, musician
Instruments Synthesizer, saxophone
Years active 1985–present
Associated acts Robin Beanland
Eveline Fischer
Ben Cullum
Grant Kirkhope
Graeme Norgate
Steve Burke
Website davidwise.co.uk

David Wise is an English video game music composer and musician. He was a composer at Rare from 1985 to 2009, and was the company's sole musician up until 1994. He has gained a cult following for his work on various games, particularly Nintendo's Donkey Kong Country series. Wise is known for his atmospheric style of music, mixing natural environmental sounds with prominent melodic and percussive accompaniment.

Career and influences[edit]

Wise has said that he has had a wide range of musical influences, though the first instrument he learned to play was the piano, before later learning the trumpet, and then learning to play drums during adolescence. He played in a few bands during his youth, and was still active in a band as of 2004. His career at Rare began when he happened to meet its two founders, as he explained in response to a question posted on its company website: "I was working in a music shop demonstrating a Yamaha CX5 Music Computer to a couple of people, Tim & Chris Stamper. I'd written and programmed the music for the demonstration material. They offered me a job."[1]

While working at Rare, Wise soon gained wide attention and acclaim for his work on the Donkey Kong Country game series. In addition to the percussive and ambient 'jungle' influences that serve as a thematic undercurrent for much of the series, the games feature a wide variety of different musical styles that are reflective of the various areas and environments they appear in. In the January 1996 issue of Electronic Gaming Monthly, Wise stated that his travelling experiences largely shaped the sound and mood of each Donkey Kong soundtrack, further saying that the music for Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest was composed during what he called his "experimental Paris phase". He has also composed the soundtrack for the Game Boy Advance port of Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble!.

In late October 2009, it was announced by the OverClocked ReMix community that Wise was remixing a track for Serious Monkey Business, an unofficial Donkey Kong Country 2 remix album. Grant Kirkhope and Robin Beanland also collaborated on this track, playing guitar and trumpet respectively.[2][3] On 15 March 2010, Serious Monkey Business was released and Dave Wise's track, 'Re-Skewed', was featured as Track No. 33. Much like his contribution to Serious Monkey Business, Wise later remixed his own composition, the GBA version of "Jungle Jitter", for an unofficial Donkey Kong Country 3 remix album titled Double the Trouble!, which was released on 1 December 2012.[4] Wise also provided a saxophone solo for another remix, in addition to mixing and mastering the track.

On 30 October 2009, Wise announced his resignation from Rare and his intention to work as a freelance composer/sound designer.[5] In December 2010 Wise created a personal studio called the 'David Wise Sound Studio'.[6] In June 2013 it was announced that after eleven years without composing for a major console title, Wise would be returning to the series that made him famous with Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze.

For the game company Playtonic Games, Wise's name is listed under the staff members list as a "Music Man" and is composing for their future game, Yooka-Laylee.[7]


Title Year System Notes
Slalom 1987 NES[8]
Wizards & Warriors 1987 NES
R.C. Pro-Am 1988 NES
Wheel of Fortune 1988 NES
Jeopardy! 1988 NES
Anticipation 1988 NES
Marble Madness 1989 NES
World Games 1989 NES
WWF WrestleMania 1989 NES
Sesame Street 123 1989 NES
John Elway's Quarterback 1989 NES
California Games 1989 NES
Taboo: The Sixth Sense 1989 NES
Sesame Street ABC 1989 NES
Hollywood Squares 1989 NES
Who Framed Roger Rabbit 1989 NES
Jordan vs. Bird: One on One 1989 NES
Cobra Triangle 1989 NES
Ironsword: Wizards & Warriors II 1989 NES
Wheel of Fortune Junior Edition 1989 NES
Jeopardy! Junior Edition 1989 NES
Silent Service 1989 NES
Double Dare 1990 NES
Wheel of Fortune Family Edition 1990 NES
Jeopardy! 25th Anniversary Edition 1990 NES
The Amazing Spider-Man 1990 Game Boy
Captain Skyhawk 1990 NES
Digger T. Rock 1990 NES
Pin*Bot 1990 NES
Snake Rattle 'n' Roll 1990 NES
Wizards & Warriors Chapter X: The Fortress of Fear 1990 Game Boy
A Nightmare on Elm Street 1990 NES
Super Glove Ball 1990 NES
Cabal 1990 NES
Time Lord 1990 NES
Arch Rivals 1990 NES
WWF WrestleMania Challenge 1990 NES
Solar Jetman: Hunt for the Golden Warpship 1990 NES
WWF Superstars 1991 Game Boy
Battletoads 1991 NES
Battletoads 1991 Game Boy
Beetlejuice 1991 NES
Super R.C. Pro-Am 1991 Game Boy
High Speed 1991 NES
Sneaky Snakes 1991 Game Boy
Sesame Street ABC & 123 1991 NES
Wizards & Warriors III 1992 NES
Beetlejuice 1992 Game Boy
Danny Sullivan's Indy Heat 1992 NES
R.C. Pro-Am II 1992 NES
Championship Pro-Am 1992 Sega Genesis
Battletoads 1993 Sega Genesis, Game Gear
Battletoads & Double Dragon 1993 NES, Sega Genesis, SNES, Game Boy
Battletoads in Battlemaniacs 1993 SNES
Battletoads in Ragnarok's World 1993 Game Boy
X The Ball 1993 Arcade
Snake Rattle 'n' Roll 1993 Sega Genesis
Monster Max 1994 Game Boy
Battletoads 1994 Arcade
Donkey Kong Country 1994 SNES with Robin Beanland and Eveline Fischer[9]
Donkey Kong Land 1995 Game Boy with Graeme Norgate
Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest 1995 SNES
Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble! 1996 SNES with Fischer[10]
Diddy Kong Racing 1997 N64
Donkey Kong Country 2000 GBC
Star Fox Adventures 2002 GCN
It's Mr. Pants 2004 GBA with Beanland and Fischer
Donkey Kong Country 3 2005 GBA New soundtrack made for port.
Diddy Kong Racing DS 2007 Nintendo DS
Viva Piñata: Pocket Paradise 2008 Nintendo DS
War World 2008 Xbox 360
Sorcery! 2013 iOS
Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze 2014 Wii U with various others
Tengami[11] 2014 iOS, Wii U, PC, Mac
Star Drift[12] 2015 iOS
Snake Pass[13] 2017 PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
Yooka-Laylee 2017 PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, OS X, Linux, Nintendo Switch with Grant Kirkhope and Steve Burke



  1. ^ Rare: The Tepid Seat – Rare Music Team (December 2004) Archived 6 December 2006 at the Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ OverClocked ReMix Presents 'Serious Monkey Business' (March 2010)
  3. ^ ReMix: Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest 'Re-Skewed' – OverClocked ReMix
  4. ^ Donkey Kong Country 3: Double the Trouble! | OC ReMix
  5. ^ MundoRare | David Wise, composer since 1985, leaves Rare (November 2009)
  6. ^ http://www.squareenixmusic.com/features/interviews/davidwise.shtml
  7. ^ The Team So Far...
  8. ^ Greening, Chris. "David Wise Interview: Revisiting Donkey Kong Country". Video Game Music Online. Retrieved 22 August 2015. 
  9. ^ Rare: Scribes (December 21, 2005) at Internet Archive "Robin did Funky's Fugue, Eveline did Simian Segue, Candy's Love Song, Voices of the Temple, Forest Frenzy, Tree Top Rock, Northern Hemispheres and Ice Cave Chant, and the rest was the doing of Mr. Wise."
  10. ^ Rare: Scribes (February 9, 2006) at Internet Archive "…everything is by Eveline except for Dixie Beat, Crazy Calypso, Wrinkly's Save Cave, Get Fit A-Go-Go, Wrinkly 64, Brothers Bear and Bonus Time (along with Bonus Win and Bonus Lose), which were by Dave."
  11. ^ "Tengami Soundtrack". nyamyam. Retrieved 9 May 2015. 
  12. ^ "Former Retro Studios Developer Opens Squarehead Studios". IGN. Retrieved 15 August 2015. 
  13. ^ Wise, David (16 February 2017). "Music of Snake Pass with David Wise". Twitch.tv. Retrieved 20 February 2017. 

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