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THE 80’s CALLED, THEY WANT THEIR MUSIC BACK

This update will be pretty brief but I wanted to shout out a new colleague I’ve had the pleasure of working with – Sleepless Nights. His name is Jonny Adams and he’s a great guitarist, arranger and producer who’s also getting into video game scoring. Really nice guy as well! I heard his track, Fixation, in the music nerds group I mean Logic Pro Users group I’m a part of on Facebook. To say I loved it is an understatement! So I reached out to him to see if I could collaborate with him, just for fun! He checked out me and my work and agreed. So last Sunday, right before the storms hit Austin (and the rest of Texas) I recorded video and audio for him to use. The new updated version is here:

WHAT IS SYNTHWAVE?

For those that don’t known what Synthwave is, check out this Wikipedia entry: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synthwave

Synthwave (also called outrun, retrowave, or futuresynth[5]) is an electronic music microgenre that is based predominately on the music associated with action, science-fiction, and horror film soundtracks of the 1980s.[2] Other influences are drawn from that decade’s art and video games.[3] Synthwave musicians often espouse nostalgia for 1980s culture and attempt to capture the era’s atmosphere and celebrate it.[8]

The genre developed in the mid-to late 2000s through French house producers, as well as younger artists who were inspired by the 2002 video game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. Other reference points included composers John Carpenter, Jean-Michel Jarre, Vangelis (especially his score for the 1982 film Blade Runner), and Tangerine Dream. Synthwave reached wider popularity after being featured in the soundtracks of the 2011 film Drive (which included some of the genre’s best-known songs) and the 2010s Netflix series Stranger Things.

I really dig doing this kind of music and hope you enjoy it as well. The cool graphics are also from: https://www.instagram.com/visualdon/ so be sure to go give him some love as well. That’s about it. Told you this one would be pretty short! Life is getting back to normal mostly for us here in TX, thank goodness! While the snow was beautiful, it’s great to have power, warmer temps and hopefully we’ll have potable water soon!

WHO AM I?

Nate Madsen is a 15 year industry vet who’s work has been in games, films, taught college courses and has also performed and recorded in various settings on both piano and saxophone. He’s been with SciPlay for 4+ years and has been running Madsen Studios LLC since 2005. Some of his freelance projects include SkateBird as well as providing sound design, mixing and mastering audio FUNimation anime trailers. On the weekends he likes to be very still and watch the grass grow. He’s considering taking up the bagpipes and really enjoys craft beer. There’s also the chocolate addiction and the Dad jokes collection. He’s currently living in Austin, TX and his is favorite color is green. He’s also trying to increase the number of push ups he can do at one time. You can get in touch with him here: https://madsenstudios.com/contact/

WHAT A WEEK!

As many news reports have probably shared already, it was QUITE the week in Austin (and in Texas for that matter). Snow (that white, cold stuff that falls from the sky) rarely shows up this far South and if it does, it’s just a light dusting. It rarely lasts more than a day and then it melts off. We had some snow early this winter and it was way more than I was expecting for this area of the world. I’ve lived in Denver, Colorado and in Cedar Falls, Iowa so I KNOW snow. I thought, at best, we’d have some ice and that would be it. NOPE. We had a nice snowday and then it all basically melted away pretty fast. Not much else to report.

That was last time. This time was radically different.

Not only did we get a decent amount of snow for Austin, we got ice and then power went out. For days. Water is still not potable yet although it’s been flowing much better as of today. During the power outages the temp got down to 1 degree. That’s not windchill, that was the actual temp. Highly unusually for central Texas! My family and I are all safe, thankfully! And really, they were super stars. Rolled with the punches – we read books, played games, ran around the living room to stay warm. It got down to 50 degrees in the house so at night we’d all be in the master bedroom.

Here’s a vlog where you can see some of the pics and hear a bit more about it as well as how I broke one of my own rules… and what I did to fix it. And for the record, I still get excited about snow.

SKATEBIRD NEWS

Also SkateBIRD was a part of Play What’s Next Festival at Steam. We launched a new trailer to show off the new, not previously seen Rooftop level and I’ve been busy releasing new tracks of music monthly on my Youtube Channel. Getting quite close to finishing up the OST for this game and let me tell you – I’ve loved every second of it! SkateBIRD has taught me many new approaches as an artist, producer and musician and have given me a new genre to play around in. Check out the trailer below:

OTHER HAPPENINGS

I’ve tried to become somewhat hip (if that’s even possible) and do more Instagram thingies. It’s still QUITE new to me but I’m starting to get the hang of it. There’s a really cool graphic artist show’s doing some really sweet, retro graphics which fit perfect with what I’m writing for SkateBIRD. So I put a video out on IGTV. Check it out here:

Also I’m still working at SciPlay and loving it. That huge side project that was under NDA is still under NDA for now. Hang tight though because I should have some news for that soon. That’s about all I can say about it, sadly. I am REALLY excited to finally get to share it all with you when I can! I’ve been doing some more work with Appy Therapy on their Handwriting Heroes app. This one is quite special to me because my own son is special needs and benefits from the exact curriculum this program teaches. It’s really unique to be able to use my audio to help build something that helps him and so many other kiddos like him.

I’ve also been giving several talks to colleges, high schools and middle schools about what I do. Getting a chance to talk with students about all of the incredible opportunities in audio production is something I’m super passionate about. Here’s a candid shot of the students of Mr. Kevin Pruiett’s band program at Paris High School in Paris, Illinois hearing my presentation. If you’re interested in having me talk with your students about game and multi-media audio – reach out! Especially during so much remote learning, it could be the perfect opportunity to enhance and change up what your students are doing in the classroom (virtual or not).

WHO AM I?

Nate Madsen is a 15 year industry vet who’s worked in games, films, taught college courses and has performed and recorded in various settings on both piano and saxophone. He’s been with SciPlay for 4+ years and has been running Madsen Studios LLC since 2005. Some of his freelance projects include SkateBird as well as providing sound design, mixing and mastering audio FUNimation anime trailers. On the weekends he likes to be very still and watch the grass grow. He’s considering taking up the bagpipes and really enjoys craft beer. There’s also the chocolate addiction and the Dad jokes collection. He’s currently living in Austin, TX and his is favorite color is green. He’s also trying to increase the number of push ups he can do at one time. You can get in touch with him here: https://madsenstudios.com/contact/

TWO NEW TRACKS RELEASED FOR SKATEBIRD!

It’s been a GOOD, long while since I’ve been able to release some of the new music I’ve been working on for SkateBIRD but that changed yesterday! Blue Streak and Pantone Tone were both released to my Youtube Channel and you can check them out below! SkateBIRD’s OST remains one of the most unique ventures I’ve taken on. It’s quirky, unique and a lot of fun. I’m enjoying taking so many sources of audio and sound, mashing and editing them all together while creating my own samples, recordings and melodies. I’ve also been able to hire several friends along the way to add in things like live trumpet or bass! To date, I’ve got ten songs done and am working on more. I’m so excited for the world to get to play around in the world of SkateBIRD. Enjoy these two tracks below!

Look for SkateBIRD to come out Q1 2021!

THE FROSTLANDS IS NOW RELEASED TOO!

As some of you are aware, I’m an active musician, arranger and producer on Materia Collective. It’s been a wonderful, fun journey over the past five years! Our most recent release is called FLAMESGRACE and it’s a tribute to Octopath Traveler. This is an outstanding game, which I first learned about while working on another cover from the game. Sean Schafianski is a friend and fellow saxophonist and he was kind enough to ask me to play the tenor sax melody and solo over his jazz arrangement of Therion the Thief. Check it out below:

This got me tuned in (pun intended) to the game’s music, which blew me away. What an amazing collection of songs with strong melodies, wonderful arrangements and sonic vistas. So when Materia Collective announced that their next album would be a tribute to Octopath Traveler, I KNEW I had to take part. I put together a proposal to do a big band setting of The Frostlands more in the vein of a pop ballad or Chicago because I didn’t want swing or jazz for this arrangement. I think it turned out great and hopefully you all do as well! Take a listen below!

You can stream the full album as well as purchase it here: https://bandcamp.materiacollective.com/album/flamesgrace-a-tribute-to-octopath-traveler. The variety of high polish of music on this entire album is quite inspiring and I’m very humbled to get to take part in it!

OTHER HAPPENINGS…

I’m also very pleased to say that the audio for that huge side project (the one I can’t really mention by name or such due to NDA) is DONE! It was a massive project – original music, sound design production, editing dialog and implementation of it all into Unity. Whew! So now it’s the waiting game. And I SUCK at waiting. But hopefully soon I’ll have some more specific info to share with you all. In the mean time, I’m enjoying getting back into a better work/life balance, watching Star Trek Discovery with my wife and hoping that this COVID madness ends soon. I hope that all of you are healthy, happy and safe!

WHO AM I?

Nate Madsen is a 15 year industry vet who’s worked in games, films, taught college courses and has performed and recorded in various settings on both piano and saxophone. He’s been with SciPlay for 3+ years and has been running Madsen Studios LLC since 2005. Some of his freelance projects include SkateBird as well as providing sound design, mixing and mastering audio FUNimation anime trailers. On the weekends he likes to be very still and watch the grass grow. He’s considering taking up the bagpipes and really enjoys craft beer. There’s also the chocolate addiction and the Dad jokes collection. He’s currently living in Austin, TX and his is favorite color is green. He’s also trying to increase the number of push ups he can do at one time. You can get in touch with him here: https://madsenstudios.com/contact/

GYPSY FIDDLE

The great folks over at Red Room Audio were kind enough to invite me to test out their new sample library: Gypsy Fiddle. This library is FANTASTIC! I’ve been thankful to be able to play-test and write demos for several of their other products as well include Saga – Acoustic Trailer Percussion, their Celtic Fiddle and their flagship orchestral sample library called Palette. As a user of many sample libraries, it’s always a special treat to get to take an active part in the design and development of a virtual instrument. Without such great tools, like these, I simply couldn’t do my job. Capturing all of the nuances and emotion of gypsy styled violin is a HUGE challenge! Red Room Audio pulled it off flawlessly! Check out my demo below for their Traveler Series Gypsy Fiddle:

PLAYBOY MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM

On the SciPlay side of things, two slots are now live and out in the wild. The first is a Playboy themed slot that is set in a magical forest: Playboy Midsummer Night’s Dream. So often fantasy theme slots get paired with light, mysterious orchestral music and while that certainly works… I felt this theme could use more edge. So I opted to create something that fused elements of pop, gothic/Baroque styled harpsichord, a bit of EDM flavor along with pads, distorted guitars and driving drums. Playboy Midsummer Night’s Dream is the featured jackpot slot currently (at the time of writing) on Jackpot Party Casino! I’m very happy with the results and hope you like it as well!

MIXING MOJO

I’m a sucker for all things magical and fantasy. You could say I love a certain wizard with a peculiar scar on his forehead, so when I saw the artwork for Mixing Mojo I knew I was in for a treat! Here’s the bonus track I did for this slot theme. I wanted it to be something that had energy while combining hints of mystery and magic. You’ll find this slot in the Ancient Egypt (world 6) realm on the game. To play Monopoly Casino Slots, and I highly recommend you do, go check out this page: https://apps.facebook.com/monopoly-sl…

Monopoly Slots is just one of several in the line up at SciPlay and you can learn more about who we are and what we do here: https://www.sciplay.com/

SAX CAMP… VIRTUALLY

Like so many things impacted by Covid-19, the Inside:Outside Saxophone Retreat had to be cancelled this year. Lots of people were SUPER bummed and we missed the creativity, community and magical spark we get from being around and learning from each other. So the awesome leaders behind the camp threw together an amazing virtual hang out with some MAJOR players in the musical realm. The list included Chris Potter, Kirk Whalum, Joshua Redman, Victor Wooten, Bob Reynolds, Bob Franceschini, Bob Hemenger, Chris Cheek, Jeff Coffin and many more. Plus tons of students that hail from literally all over the world. What an event! Here are some pics from the event.

What an amazing and giving community we have in the Inside:Outside Saxophone Retreat world. Click this link: Victor Wooten Center for Music and Nature to learn more about the various camps and programs happening year around! You better believe I have plans to attend more as time and money (and pandemics) allow!! Please check them out!

WHO AM I?

Nate Madsen is a 15 year industry vet who’s worked in games, films, taught college courses and has performed and recorded in various settings on both piano and saxophone. He’s been with SciPlay for 3+ years and has been running Madsen Studios LLC since 2005. Some of his freelance projects include SkateBird as well as providing sound design, mixing and mastering audio FUNimation anime trailers. On the weekends he likes to be very still and watch the grass grow. He’s considering taking up the bagpipes and really enjoys craft beer. There’s also the chocolate addiction and the Dad jokes collection. He’s currently living in Austin, TX and his is favorite color is green. He’s also trying to increase the number of push ups he can do at one time. You can get in touch with him here: https://madsenstudios.com/contact/

IT’S A TWO FOR ONE UPDATE!

This week’s update includes two new slot themes from Monopoly Slots and they couldn’t be more different from each other. One is for Monopoly Marvin Gardens, an upbeat, energetic, light and carefree tune. My favorite moment in this piece is the turnaround at 0:50. Writing music in this style is always tricky because it’s a delicate balance between “too cheesy” or “too silly” or “too cartoony” but you still want to capture that whimsical, carefree and light hearted vibe. The other is for Clue Orchid’s Mystery which is also upbeat but has a more sinister, mysterious vibe to it. I love the ascending arpeggio figure and how it changes with the harmony at 0:19 in. One of my favorite things about working at SciPlay is the fact that I get to represent major brands. Often times these are brands that I remember playing with or experiencing in my childhood, so to get to be able to take part in them now as an adult, is truly a neat experience! Another great perk to SciPlay is all of the free snacks… but I digress.

GO PLAY THESE GAMES FOR YOURSELF

Clue Orchid’s Mystery is currently up on Monopoly Slots via the Jackpots Just Visiting feature. Our slots rotate and change over time so it’s location may change in the future. Monopoly Marvin Gardens is located in the third world of Monopoly Slots. If you haven’t played Monopoly Slots, you’re missing out on a truly fun and hilarious adventure filled with side quests, quirky characters and some really great artwork! Go check it out.

Take a stroll in the lovely Marvin Gardens.
Can you solve the mystery?

WHO AM I?

Nate Madsen is a 14 year industry vet who’s worked in games, films, taught college courses and has performed and recorded in various settings on both piano and saxophone. He’s been with SciPlay for 3 years and has been running Madsen Studios LLC since 2005. On the weekends he likes to be very still and watch the grass grow. He’s considering taking up the bagpipes and really enjoys craft beer. He’s currently living in Austin, TX and his is favorite color is green. You can get in touch with him here: https://madsenstudios.com/contact/

I’m happy to share with you the main theme I composed and produced for Monopoly Go Scottie, developed and published by SciPlay. Writing music for light hearted projects is always a challenge for me. I want to support the casual, cute vibe without becoming too predictable or cheesy. I also don’t want the music to get in the way of the setting of the game – only to enhance it. I was particularly happy with how this theme and the arrangement turned out. I hope you like it as well!

If you haven’t played Monopoly Slots yet, you owe it to yourself to check it out. It’s WAY more than just a normal virtual casino game. Tons of quirky characters, hilarious dialog blended with fantastic artwork really help push this game to the next level. Add in all of the various side quests which you take to help make all of the various Monopoly properties evolve and grow and you have a winning formula! Monopoly Go Scottie is just one of the many slots you’ll discover as you dig deeper into the game. Go check out the game and please enjoy the music!

WHO AM I?

Nate Madsen is a 14 year industry vet who’s worked in games, films, taught college courses and has performed and recorded in various settings on both piano and saxophone. He’s been with SciPlay for 3 years and has been running Madsen Studios LLC since 2005. On the weekends he likes to be very still and watch the grass grow. He’s considering taking up the bagpipes and really enjoys craft beer. He’s currently living in Austin, TX and his is favorite color is green. You can get in touch with him here: https://madsenstudios.com/contact/

In this update I’m going to showcase two different projects I did for SciPlay. The first is some creepy, orchestral hybrid music for a slot called Ouija 2: Board of Fortune. And the second is a promo video for another slot I did called Battleship Floating Fortress. Now you see why I named this update “Fortune Telling and Battleships.” 😛

Ouija 2: Board of Fortune

The artwork and vibe of this slot is one of my favorites. My good friend and co-worker Logynn B Hailey did all of the artwork and I always love it when we get to collaborate on things. You can see a lot of her artwork on her Behance page: https://www.behance.net/logynn-b-hailley.

Totally dig the art style!! Love writing creepy music!

This is the extended version, which allows the main theme to loop for a bit. I hope you enjoy it! If you wanna play the game or see more of what SciPlay is putting out, go here: https://www.facebook.com/GoldFishCasinoSlots/

Battleship Floating Fortress

The second thing I wanted to showcase is a bit unique. It’s a promo video for Battleship Floating Fortress and it was made by one of our in-house video editors that took a bunch of the music tracks and sound effects I’d created for the slot. So while I didn’t have anything to do with the actual audio edit of the promo, it’s using all of my work. I think our video editor did a fantastic job!

This was one of the most complex slots I’d worked on to date!

We even used one of our mathematicians, who served in the Navy, for the voice overs! If you’d like to check out this slot and the other cool slots happening inside Monopoly Slots, then go here: https://apps.facebook.com/monopoly-slots/. I’ll be posting the full, main theme soon.

That’s about it for now. Hope you’re all doing great.

WHO AM I?

Nate Madsen is a 14 year industry vet who’s worked in games, films, taught college courses and has performed and recorded in various settings on both piano and saxophone. He’s been with SciPlay for nearly 3 years and has been running Madsen Studios LLC since 2005. On the weekends he likes to be very still and watch the grass grow. He’s considering taking up the bagpipes and really enjoys craft beer. He’s currently living in Austin, TX and his is favorite color is green. You can get in touch with him here: https://madsenstudios.com/contact/

How’s that for a title? 🙂 But this update is HUGE. Saxophones… skateboarding birds, fighting quadrupeds, E3 devolving, Careless Whispers… lots to discuss. Let’s dig in!

Devolver E3 Conference

So life has been crazy but very good lately and I’ve got several things to update you all on. First off, I was lucky enough to provide some saxophone recordings to John Robert Matz’s score for this year’s Devolver E3 conference. If you haven’t seen it yet, you can stream the entire video here:

John Robert Matz is an amazing composer and musician that I’ve been friends with since 2015-ish when we first jammed in a hotel conference room at GDC. And then got politely kicked out because it was after hours! 😛 John was kind enough to ask me to record some alto saxophone parts and I had a blast being a part of it! You can hear one of the cues here: https://johnrobertmatz.bandcamp.com/track/linda

SkateBIRD

SkateBird, developed by Glass Bottom Games with music by Nathan Madsen.
This bird’s gotta smooth ride.

It’s also been a while since I’ve done an update on SkateBIRD! There’s plenty I’m not allowed to discuss yet but what I can share with you is that we funded our Kickstarter and then some! Our initial goal was $20k, which would be enough to allow us to make the base game but thanks to an amazing community and tons of really positive press, we reached $67,200!! This allows for several cool stretch goals to be added to the game including:

Breadslices of Life – unlock side stories exploring the rise of birb skating
Skate Heaven – bonus level
Super Create-A-Birb – deeper level of customizing your birb
Pet-A-Birb – you can now pet your birb in-game
Outdoor Skate Park – another bonus level… that’s OUTSIDE!
Birb in Many Shapes – allows for more unique shapes of birb models which increase the amount of birb species we can have in-game
Photo Mode – makes the in-game screen shot mode much more in-depth

You can hear some of the OST I’m working on here:

The Heron eats many fish.

Them’s Fighting Herds

Cue the insanity…

Back in 2016 I started working with an indie developer, Mane6, on a neat fighting game called Them’s Fighting Herds. I was in charge of doing the sound design for all of the creatures, special abilities and spells. It was a really fun project. Fast forward to SkateBIRD (mentioned above) and I discovered that Glass Bottom Games and Mane6 have partnered up! Mane6 is creating artwork from the characters in Them’s Fighting Herd for use on in-game skateboards. What a crazy twist and talk about a small world! Here’s one of them that I absolutely LOVE:

If I could skateboard in real life, I’d TOTALLY have one of these…

You can see and hear some of Them’s Fighting Herds and my sound design here:

Inside:Outside Saxophone Retreat

Plenty of late nights running jazz standards, improvising or working on technique. And Careless Whispers…

This is how my studio looks most days and nights. Outside of game audio, I’m still woodshedding my saxophone quite a bit in prep of this year’s Inside:Outside Retreat. This year’s feature guest lecturer is Jeff Coffin, who’s played with Dave Matthews Band, Bela Fleck and the Flecktones and many others. And Bob freakin’ Reynolds will be there too (guy’s a KILLER player) among several other amazing musicians. I’m both super excited and terrified. Should be a great week of learning and growing! And yes… I use my piano as a desk/work bench. DON’T JUDGE ME!

That’s about it (for now)…

That’s about it for this update. There are a few other things I’m taking part in that I cannot talk too much about right now. I’m working on some sound design for a VST. Still working at SciPlay and loving it. As more things get made public, I’ll be sure to update y’all. On the personal side, we’ve got some family vacation planned soon (cannot wait) and I’m trying to get back into the routine of working out and eating better. (Curse you chocolate!)

WHO AM I?

Nate Madsen is a 14 year industry vet who’s worked in games, films, taught college courses and has performed and recorded in various settings on both piano and saxophone. He’s been with SciPlay for nearly 3 years and has been running Madsen Studios LLC since 2005. On the weekends he likes to be very still and watch the grass grow. He’s considering taking up the bagpipes and really enjoys craft beer. He’s currently living in Austin, TX and his is favorite color is green. You can get in touch with him here: https://madsenstudios.com/contact/

A bird… riding a skate board?

When Megan Fox of Glass Bottom Games approached me with her next game idea of a bird riding a skateboard, I was more than intrigued. It’s called Skatebird. Once I saw some of the gameplay and how cute the bird was skating around, doing grinds, a frontside or an ollie I knew this was something special. This is also the first time that Megan and I have stepped away from the chiptune fusion idea and, instead, are focused on low-fi hiphop meets jazz meets birdcalls. This was Megan’s idea and I think it’s brilliant! Combine voice over samples that give facts about birds mixed in with some bird calls on top of the music.

While still early in the process, this soundtrack is proving to be one of the most unique ventures I’ve taken so far in my career. Skatebird feels funny, cute, quirky and very interesting as well! The response so far has been very positive and I’m really excited to see how Skatebird turn out! So check out the full version of the track used in the teaser trailer – I hope you enjoy it!

WHO AM I?

Nate Madsen is a 13 year industry vet who’s worked in games, films, taught college courses and has performed and recorded in various settings on both piano and saxophone. He’s been with SGI for over two years and has been running Madsen Studios LLC since 2005. On the weekends he likes to be very still and watch the grass grow. And he’s considering taking up the bagpipes and really enjoys craft beer. He’s currently living in Austin, TX and his is favorite color is green. You can get in touch with me here: https://madsenstudios.com/contact/

The third episode of Madsen’s Musing vlog is now out!

Watch it here!

This episode discusses the importance of having a system to help you have the best odds when freelancing, networking and practicing. Madsen’s Musings is a new vlog series that I’m putting out on a (hopefully) weekly basis. This series will cover various topics including how to break into the industry, working with clients and how to balance work/life balance among many other subjects.

If you like what I’m doing with this vlog, please consider subscribing! If you have questions or topics you want me to cover – shoot me a message! I’d love to help out. And if you want to learn more about me and my work – just reach out!

Thanks!

Bio:
Nate is an established composer/sound designer, based in Austin, TX. Aside from making various kinds of noises and music, he also teaches private lessons (saxophone and piano) and performs with live bands. On the weekends he likes to sit and watch the grass grow. He’s also quite fond of fancy beers.