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Skatebird

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/

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Madsen’s Musings Episode 3: Having a System

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.

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Spartan Fist is OUT!

What is Spartan Fist?

As the game’s page says: “Fight your way to fame, fortune and glory in this first-person puncher as you work to retrieve the fabled Spartan Fist. Playing as Emma Jones, a down-and-out detective working to earn her keep, you’ll tap your inner badass as you punch dudes so hard they explode. Navigate through an arena that’s different each time you play and delve into a whimsically gritty and colorfully punk pixilated world while fighting your way to the top.”

Steam link: https://store.steampowered.com/app/632170/Spartan_Fist/

You can stream and purchase the soundtrack here:

Spartan Fist is probably one of the most aggressive games I’ve ever scored! It’s a first person puncher for crying out loud! 😛 When Megan Fox, the owner and creative force behind Glass Bottom Games, approached me about Emma Jones and her next adventure, I was definitely intrigued. Like with Hot Tin Roof, where we fused chiptune and noir style jazz together, we knew that we wanted to fuse chiptune music with something. But what? What style would best fit the gritty world of punching dudes so hard they explode?!

The answer, of course, was punk.

Admittedly, punk music wasn’t a style I was super versed in. I’d heard of the Sex Pistols and the Ramones. I’d played Rockband during college. I’d even heard some more modern punk-ish style bands but punk music wasn’t easily in my wheel house. Enter an old friend of mine, Ben Cockerham! Besides being one of NYC’s most dapper dressers and a great guitarist well versed in funk, jazz and many other styles – Ben knew how to make punk sounds. This album wouldn’t have been possible without his help! Thank you Ben! Check out some of his great work here: http://bencockerham.com/music/

The voice of Emma Jones this time is played by Fryda Wolff. She’s been in a lot of cool things that you’ve probably heard of – Trolls The Beat Goes On, Mass Effect: Andromeda and Guardians of the Galaxy: The Tall Tales Series to name just a few. Go check out all of her work here: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm1488849/

Finally Megan Fox has been a pure JOY to work with. It’s rare to find a client that will push you into areas you don’t initially feel comfortable. Or ready for. But she’s just that type of client. The way we work together is pure collaboration and it’s a ton of fun! Check out the game and more of Megan’s work here: http://spartanfist.com/

A quick note about this soundtrack

In the song listing you’ll see “No melody” versions along side “Arena versions” and “Boss fight” versions of songs. Most people know what Boss fight means but “No melody” and “Arena” are a bit more vague. The “No melody” versions appear in the game when you’re going in between arenas. So much of the soundtrack is completely in your face, front and center that we wanted to give the player a little bit of a reprieve (but not too much!) before they re-enter the fray. The “Arena versions” of the tracks are what you’d hear while fighting in the… well… arena. Simple right? For the “Boss fights” we wanted to increase the already high energy to a new level because you’re fighting a boss. This is a big deal. Those bosses are pretty tough… and big.

This soundtrack is completely different from almost anything else I’ve ever done. And I think it fits the world of Spartan Fist very well. I hope you enjoy it. And watch out for the left hook. It can sneak up on ya.

Want to work with me on a project? Reach out! I’d love to partner up with you!

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.

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The View Upon the Horizon

The View Upon the Horizon is a piece that I wrote just for fun! I was playing around with some chord progressions last Sunday and then stumbled upon this melody. The entire piece was written in about 45 minutes and then I hired a great cellist (https://www.fiverr.com/caroteruel) to record the part for me. She nailed it! This is actually an alternate version where the piano part is also a bit more simplified than the first arrangement; which I feel helps the melody breathe a bit more. The piece reminds me of someone looking over a land that they’re about to leave. The future is somewhat uncertain but their honor and duty propels them forward on their quest.

I hope you enjoy it! And, as always, please get in touch with me should you need custom audio for your next project! I always love working with folks!

You can hear the original version here: https://youtu.be/tdcNMfXIvAA

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Savage Planet

I was very pleased to help out with a new Kickstarter for a new boardgame called Savage Planet: Fate of Fantos. This is my second time to work with Imp House Games. The first time was helping out with the music, sound design and mix for their other Kickstarter for Chaos of Cthulhu. This team has consistently impressed me with their creative and fun boardgames!

The Kickstarter is doing very well – already up to over $8K on the second day! Well to their goal of $12,500!

For this video, I produced the music, sound design and mixed in the narration up to the 1:28 mark. Go check out Savage Planet: The Fate of Fantos and please consider backing this awesome board game!

If you’d like to learn more about me and my services, why not reach out?

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Spartan Fist

Megan and the crew over at Glassbottom Games have been busy making Spartan Fist, a first person brawler that is super fun! You punch dudes so hard, their heads explode. All in super cute pixel art style! For more info on the game, go check out http://spartanfist.com/.

Time to get punchin'

Here’s the awesome trailer with music by yours truly:

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Using Tempo for Added Realism

Using Tempo to Add More Realism

One of the best ways composers can add more realism to their pieces is with tempo changes. This is especially true when writing for orchestra, big band, jazz combos and even certain rock songs. In this video tutorial I discuss how and why I use tempo changes to help make a piece feel more organic. I also detail how tempo changes may differ from a solo performance versus a large ensemble. The example piece featured in this video is War Upon The Sea which you can hear in it’s entirety here: https://youtu.be/BGMoxGkBHYU.

Of course this approach won’t apply to every style of music or every song. Experiment and see how these kinds of edits can help strengthen your song. Go make your tracks more organic and leave more space for your listener’s emotions! Put in some tempo changes where they make musical sense. It can make such a difference – even small changes! I hope that you find the quick tutorial helpful and please feel free to leave comments and feedback. I enjoy reading them!

Should you need custom audio for your next project, let’s chat!

Thanks!

Bio:
Nate is an established composer/sound designer, based in Cedar Falls, IA. 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.

nathan-madsen-composer-sound-designer-Cedar-Falls-IA

The Big Move to Cedar Falls, IA!

Back in Sept of this year, my family and I moved from Austin, TX up to Cedar Falls, IA so I could begin working for Scientific Games Interactive. For those not in the know, SGI (https://www.sginteractive.com/) is one of the largest and most successful virtual casino gaming companies in the world! Currently over 9,000 employees! I was honored to accept the position of Senior Composer/Sound Designer at this prestigious company. Making a big move across the country is always interesting and while we certainly miss our friends and family in Texas (as well as all of the BBQ and Tex-Mex) we’re loving life here in Cedar Falls! Nothing I’ve worked on has been released publicly yet but I’m eager to share some of the work I’ve been doing with SGI once it’s made live!

BTW, I’m still freelancing, so hit me up if you have a project that needs audio. Also stay tuned for some announcements of some of the side projects I’ve been working on lately! Happy holidays and Merry Christmas.

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A Tense Moment – 48 hour film project

48 hours to make a film?!

During the summer, I took part in the 48 Hour Film Project, hosted in Austin, TX. It was a blast! For those not familiar with the festival/contest, teams are given 48 hours to create, write, film, edit and produce a short film in 48 hours. To keep things interesting, all submissions had to work in:

– a character’s name
– a prop
– a certain line of dialog

Teams also had to genres randomly assigned to them and could pick which one they wanted to use. It’s a very fun, challenging and fast pace contest! Our film, Until Death Do Us Part, was nominated for eight awards and won four of them! Here’s my favorite music cue from this project:

The whole film should be released to the public soon. Stay tuned! And if you haven’t taken part in a 48 hour film project yet, do it! It’s so much fun.

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Of Love and Sorrow – Main Theme

Here’s the main theme to Of Love and Sorrow, a new game being developed and published by Niels Bauer Games. Madsen Studios LLC – an Austin, TX based audio company, was hired to compose the music for the trailer and the game itself. It was really fun to write the music for a civil war, text game. For this theme I wanted to capture the grand, epic conflict while also showing some of the more tender moments of the game. In a way, this piece harkens back to Civil War epic soap operas that I saw on TV as a child in the 80’s. Check out the music and the game, once it’s made live!

Please reach out if you need original music or sound design for your next project. I’d love to help out!