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Member Since 22 Feb 2006
Offline Last Active Nov 23 2014 10:18 PM

#5189919 More Music Mondays

Posted by nsmadsen on 29 October 2014 - 07:44 AM

Sure, the price for each musician ranged from $40 to $60 bucks an hour. Several of them had minimums, so even if I only used them for 2 hours, I had to pay for three hours of studio time. That's to make sure it's worth their while with travel and learning the music, etc. One musician had a clause where it was either $100 per tune to learn or $50 bucks per hour in the studio, whichever was greater. 

#5189756 More Music Mondays

Posted by nsmadsen on 28 October 2014 - 01:04 PM

Also my only critique is there is a sharp audible intake of breath at 13 seconds on the flute track in town theme.


Yeah, I'm aware of the breath. I guess it's a matter of opinion but in an environment where so much of the music we hear is over produced and super clean, I liked having that human element mixed in the song. It's also why I didn't go back and over produce everything else in the tracks. Of course there was some production :P but mainly we were trying to simply enhance the performances already captured.


Thanks everyone!



#5189540 More Music Mondays

Posted by nsmadsen on 27 October 2014 - 05:25 PM

I always did love alliteration.


First off, a new version of Lost Forest, which I shared here about two months ago. This new version has more percussion and was mixed by Mark Derryberry.



Second, Town Theme (I know, really original name):




Finally, Celtic Theme (another amazingly creative name):



For all three tunes, I hired live musicians to cover the violins, flute, guitars and percussion. Everything else was done by me as well as composing the music. This is mainly for my personal enjoyment and it proved to be a very useful and educational process. I'd highly recommend anyone hire live musicians and a studio at least one to learn what it's all about. Enjoy!





#5189118 Classic Video Games made with Classical Instruments

Posted by nsmadsen on 25 October 2014 - 03:25 PM

Quite harsh but thank you for it. I started little less than year ago my journey with music and every constructive critique is really important to me.


I didn't feel I was really that harsh. I was critical but any time I leave critical feedback my aim is to make it constructive. To give several points or goals you can work towards to improve the piece. And, like with any critique, it's one person's opinion so always take that with a grain of salt. You're most welcome - I think you're definitely on the right path.


I understand that checking other covers is important but I don't want them to influence my work too much (which is unavoidable I think especially since I'm new to music).


I can see what you mean. As I said before, look for ways you can put a cool twist on a song while retaining it's core essence. The biggest issue for me was the odd tempo/rhythmic changes during the turn around sections which I don't recall from the original or any cover I've heard of the piece. It felt out of place to me.


Keep it up!

#5188925 Classic Video Games made with Classical Instruments

Posted by nsmadsen on 24 October 2014 - 09:46 AM



I really like the approach you're taking - doing remixes are a great way to get your feet wet and learn how a solid song is constructed and produced. Of the three examples, I'd only played Castlevania 2 and was pretty excited to hear your take on Bloody Tears. Unfortunately, the slower tempo approach and instrumentation/production left me disppointed, frankly. I felt the core energy and almost angst of the original was completely removed in your remix. Also watch your string patch attack - it's often late compared to the piano and other instruments.


You also have some odd tempo fluctuations happening, when that turn around happens, like at around 1:10 or so. I get what you're going after - at least I think I do - but for me it just didn't work. What I'd recommend is looking over various covers of this very famous tune and see how you can change things while keeping the core of the song intact.


Thanks for sharing and keep it up.



#5188059 Martin Wilde's Audio Programming Book

Posted by nsmadsen on 19 October 2014 - 07:53 PM

You shoot - YOU SCORE!




I've got a copy of the book and the CD. I could get you a copy of the disc. PM me to work it out.





#5187198 Learning the details of a DAW rather than "preset surfing"

Posted by nsmadsen on 15 October 2014 - 11:17 AM

I've been working on this very thing myself and I'm using three approaches: 


1) Youtube. Folks like SFLogicNinja do some GREAT tutorials on how plugins work. Yes, most of them are from a Logic Pro stance but there's ton of carry over. Here's one such example: 



2) Reading this book: http://www.amazon.com/Audio-Effects-Workshop-Geoffrey-Francis/dp/1435456149


3) Take private lessons. I'm doing this right now with a great composer who's showing me new stuff and stretching my skills. 


Another suggestion is using sites like http://music.tutsplus.com/ which has plenty of free stuff and the premium stuff only costs like $180. Or Computer Music magazine which has tons of great tutorials with step by step which, at least for me, helps. 

#5186748 State of the industry

Posted by nsmadsen on 13 October 2014 - 01:42 PM

I don't use loops because choosing the notes is part of what I consider the compositional process--if someone else is choosing the notes, I feel like I'm giving up part of the compositional responsibility to someone else.


Amen! I hate feeling constrained by someone else's decisions about the harmonies or melodies. So if I do use loops, which is rare, it's almost always percussive in nature. Even then I try to change it up quite a bit to make it fit how I (or my client!) want the music to go. 

#5186178 State of the industry

Posted by nsmadsen on 10 October 2014 - 08:45 AM

One other point - it's really unrealistic to think most projects, especially the level of projects found commonly on sites like GD.net, can even afford to pay what it costs to record an orchestra. I'm just about finished with my own personal project (three pieces) where I recorded four musicians (one at a time) in a studio with an engineer. When it's all said and done, this is gonna cost me about $1,000. So for an indie studio, the most cost effective way for most is to hire a composer who's really good at MIDI/VST mock ups. Then perhaps layer in a few live tracks here and there.

#5186177 State of the industry

Posted by nsmadsen on 10 October 2014 - 08:32 AM

Well I wasn't trying to imply that using loops is 100% bad- there's nothing wrong with using loops and samples creatively, but the sad fact is that very few developers are now willing to pay for an orchestral recording session, when they can get the 'same' results from someone with a copy of cubase and a cinematic loops pack.  Convincing developers/producers that it's worth paying for real musicians is becoming harder and harder.


I think you're mixing two different discussions or topics here, honestly. There's:


- producing pieces using solely loops


- composing pieces using virtual instruments


- composing then recording a live orchestra


Each of these things are very different and serve different purposes. Not every project needs a full orchestra recording. And sometimes just recording one or two live instruments on a well produced bed of virtual instruments can create great results. Some games do better with remixes - think of SSX Tricky. That game (and the music) worked VERY well and it was mostly DJ/remixed stuff that was implemented really well (like having the drums drop out when you were getting massive air then kick back in when you landed). Having a live orchestra for that game, no matter how great the recording was, would be strange and less effective.

#5186016 Need some feedback on game music portfolio

Posted by nsmadsen on 09 October 2014 - 10:17 AM





Very nice sound!

Overall, well produced and well written.

You do a great job at creating a mood and drawing the listener in. 


Areas to improve: 


Some of your lower drum impacts and brass sounds could have more impact. It's a bit thin sounding.

Your demo reel is too long. Most audio directors spend 5-10 seconds on a piece then move on. So create a highlight or sizzle reel that shows as much variety as you as a composer can provide. 

While it's great music, it's hard for me to see how good of a composer you'd be for interactive situations. 


Thanks for sharing - I enjoyed it. Making Contact, in my opinion, is the best of the six tracks you shared. 

#5186012 State of the industry

Posted by nsmadsen on 09 October 2014 - 10:01 AM

And there's THIS that pretty much sums up my view on this completely: 




Hahaha! But seriously, if someone only takes loops and produced them then they're more a DJ or producer than a composer. If someone takes loops to fill in some spots and does so in a cool and effective way, I have no problem with that. And the reality is we need BOTH DJ/producers and composers in game audio. Both have their merits. I'd probably suck at remixing a Bjork song but can write certain styles of music really well. 

#5186010 State of the industry

Posted by nsmadsen on 09 October 2014 - 09:56 AM

If he hears one sample, he immediately rejects the piece because the sounds are so overused in production music.


That sounds a bit drastic to me, honestly. I mean, sure, I've recognized loops or patches in many production pieces but that doesn't mean it was poor or sloppy work. Take, for example, some of the music from Bastion where composer Darren Korb used some Apple loops but then intentionally made some of them looping point lopsided. On other tracks he created original material around those loops. Here's one such example: 



It created a completely new and cool feel! Loops by themselves are not bad - it's how you use them. 

#5184685 What do you guys think would work better in a VG Reel?

Posted by nsmadsen on 02 October 2014 - 07:55 PM

Always happy to help!

#5184635 What do you guys think would work better in a VG Reel?

Posted by nsmadsen on 02 October 2014 - 02:30 PM

It depends on how you set things up, really. I could see it working either way. 


The thing you want to avoid, in my opinion, is making it too cluttered or cumbersome to potential clients to find the type of stuff they're after. For me, I don't have a specific video versus game reel. Instead I've split it up by moods/genres because (again, this is just my opinion) clients are after an emotion. A mood. If you can capture that, then it doesn't really matter if the material was for game or film or even stage. All that matters is that you were on the same page with the client's needs. At least enough so to warrant an email/chat/call to talk more about it later!