Jochen was born in Kirchheimbolanden, Germany in 1971. During the late 80s to the late 90s, he was active in the demo scene, mostly on the 16-bit Atari ST computer, with the demo group TEX. He was mainly the music composer for the group. He took on the handle "Mad Max" when doing demo scene related stuff. TEX was one of the first demo groups on the Atari ST, and Jochen was one of the first demo group musicians on the ST.
Game music on the Atari ST was at the time not very advanced and sounded pretty horrible compared to even the C64, which is a computer from the 8-bit generation. This was because the sound chip used in the ST, the YM2149F, was a low budget audio chip at the time of release. The ST was supposed to be a cheap computer compared to its competitors, so the audio and graphical department suffered as a result.
But TEX pushed the hardware to new heights, and Jochen created new algorithms for sound reproduction, producing sound that was unheard of on the ST at the time, a lot better than most commercial games even. Eventually, TEX released a music demo called "The BIG Demo" containing tons of converted C64 music Jochen had made with the new algorithm. The demo was a huge success and is now considered a classic piece of software for the computer.
Jochen continued to refine his algorithm and his tracker software and made tons of classic chip music
for the computer. His music became so popular that it basically became the default music in many demos from all groups when they didn't have time or the knowledge to make their own. In most of those cases, the groups paid him respect by crediting him in their demo as Mad Max.
Jochen would later go on to work for the game developer Thalion Software
with his friends from TEX and other groups. There he composed the music for games such as Wings of Death
, its sequel Lethal Xcess
and The Seven Gates of Jambala
. He also converted many of Chris Hülsbeck
soundtracks to the Atari ST. For example, Turrican
and Turrican II
, as well as The Last Ninja
His other job at Thalion was to help port their Atari ST games to the Amiga, since he was a skilled coder as well.
Today he is retired from the demo scene and the games industry, working in logistics instead. He has not dropped the ST for good though. In 2006, he created the intro song for the chip music album "Warptyme" by YM-Rockerz
. Comparing that intro song, and other YM-Rockerz tunes, to early Atari ST game music is like night and day. All thanks to Jochen Hippel who helped set the standard for music on the shitty YM2149 sound chip, and created an interest among other musicians to improve that standard more and more over the years.