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Fortune Telling and Battleships

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/

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Lots O Updates

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/

nathan-madsen-composer-sound-designer-austin-texas-skatebird

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.