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About nsmadsen

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    Moderator - Music and Sound

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  1. nsmadsen

    FFX Rescore and Sin based CGI mash up

    I'm not saying you have to write in classical, traditional sonata form for the music to be good. I'm saying that your piece, as it is right now, is so chaotic and scattered all over the place that... to be completely blunt, most audio directors or clients wouldn't find it useful in their projects. But some might. I cannot (and don't) speak for everyone. Soundtracks can have frenzied, crazy sections but they often have more "straight forward" sections that help anchor the action and orient the listener/player/viewer. "Video Games require "modular" construction, as far as audio engineering goes." Yes they do and the real masters of VGM composition and implementation can make it sound like the music was written for each of the possible situations that arise in a game. Seamless, perfect transitions and changes to different cues. But we're getting off topic a bit here - because I'm not discussing your piece as it could possible be implemented with different tracks of music based on gameplay events. I'm just reviewing/analyzing this one piece. "Different events happen, people get happy or sad...To even reflect the nature of a story line is to reflect the details. That song was written for the moments it captured." Fair enough. It would certainly be chaotic when Sin attacked but, and this could be personal preference, but I didn't feel your piece reflected the visuals very well. And I think one of the main reasons is due to the writing and arrangement of your piece. It needs a decent amount of work, in my opinion. Just curious, have you gone and checked out what the original did then compared/contrasted that with your version? Again, I'm not trying to brow beat you. Just offering up some constructive criticism. I hope it helps.
  2. nsmadsen

    FFX Rescore and Sin based CGI mash up

    There's a lot happening here and I think one of the things that would really help your music improve is to have defined themes that are "humable." Likewise to have a set progression so your chord progressions and harmonies make more sense. There are times to have themes which are chaotic and all over the place and there are other times when having a approachable theme makes more sense. This theme can still be super intense and action oriented, it just has a more simplified message to it. This kind of ratio (between chaos and structure) is super important when creating music because if it's too chaotic, the human ear and brain quickly dismiss it. Players will quickly dismiss it as "noise" or "can't figure it out" and they'll move on to something they can figure out. It's super important to remember, as video game composers, that we're creating music to accompany a story. And if the music gets too much in the way of that game or the player's experience, then we've not done our job well. When I listen to your music it has a feeling of being very disjointed. Harmonies are often clashing with little to not resolution between progressions. I like your passion and enthusiasm but I really think spending some time studying song structure, arrangement and theory would take your work to the next level! Thanks for sharing! Nate
  3. I would recommend hiring a pro to give you lessons. I've been able to do this on several occasions and it's great because you get very direct, specific feedback and assistance on your pieces. And since it's a business agreement (i.e. you're paying for their services) they don't *usually* feel the need to hold back. They're going to help you the best way they can.
  4. This is great advice! Music production is a lot like cooking. You don't want to way overuse just one seasoning otherwise the recipe gets unbalanced. Likewise, you don't want to throw everything you have in the pot. That would be chaos. Same thing for music production. Strive for a balance. Lots of tiny movements can make a much bigger impact than a few huge movements.
  5. Hey, Welcome! Thanks for sharing your work! When I read your description, I had much different idea of what the piece would sound like than what I heard when I played it. You used words like "calming" and "soothing" but your music is pretty aggressive actually. From both a production stance as well as a harmonic and melodic sense. Because of this, I think folks may be thrown off by your music. Since you're using lower quality virtual instruments or samples, take some time to add reverb and really try and product these sounds to be as pleasing as possible. Overall, your drums are way too loud in the mix. Also take a look at the layers you have in your piece and see how you can make the arrangement have more progression and take the listen on a journey. As it is, the listener basically gets everything right way with little diversion from that texture/intensity from the duration of the piece. Also when I listen to your piece, I'm having a hard time really finding a melody or hook that the average listener/player would be able to hum and remember after hearing your piece. Sorry to provide critical feedback but I hope it helps you! Thanks again for sharing! Nate
  6. nsmadsen

    Spartan Fist OST is out!

    Thanks - definitely different direction from my usual stuff but it was fun.
  7. Spartan Fist is out. Moving to Austin, TX next week. And looking for more freelance projects on top of my SGI work. Hope you're all well!

  8. nsmadsen

    Looking for Feedback and Tips (oh big surprise)

    Welcome! Nice to have you here and thanks for sharing your tracks. Character Theme / Location Theme for a possible love interest of the protagonist: Some nice ideas and development here. I like how the keys/synths will double the horn line. And then how it carried that line while the tenor sax held out long tones. This works well for a loop! At about 2 minutes in, I was hoping for more of a change to help reduce the repetition of the loop. I think you have a great A section to your piece but you need a contrasting B section. Take your harmonic and melodic ideas and expand on them so once the loop does return to the A section, it is more satisfying. Also at 1:18 and 3:14 there's a note in the keys/synths that is clashing. If it's intended and on purpose, then I'd look for better ways to approach that note so that dissonance doesn't pop out as much. Right now it sounds like a mistake. The only other bit of critique I'd offer is that your overall song volume is pretty stagnant. I'm not hearing a lot of dynamic changes or even textural changes. This can be okay in certain circumstances. Like a really short character creation screen. Something where the player will only spend a brief bit of time before the game really begins. I'd encourage you to look for ways to have your arrangement evolve more. Take out elements or layers, bring new ones in. Change the drum pattern. Have the bass change intensity and pattern. Change the octave placement of the strings. Give each part a bit more life. Examination Climax / Boss-ish Theme: The mix feels a bit muddy on this track to my ears. There's a lack of punch and impact from the bass, which is pretty soft overall and the the mix feels top heavy with the higher strings and solo sax being much more in front than the other layers. I loved the interacting bits and writing however! Some great progressions. I think this track could be great with a bit more production and balancing. Also the ending is cut off and feels way too abrupt. Desert Level Theme: The opening 40 seconds or so don't really do much to help pull me in as a listener. This could be very effective for in-game music (don't really know without playing the game) but for a demo reel, I'd trim this out to be much shorter. Your hand drum ostinato is pretty loud compared to the overall mix. I'd bring that down. I'd also look at doing some side-chain compression and bussing your percussion and all of the non-percussion elements in a way that you can get much larger drum impacts than what you're currently getting. The vox pad is always changing to the same voicing starting at around 0:49 seconds. Why not add inversions of these two chords to help further build the tension and give a bit more life to those background harmonies? Some interesting harmonic choices too - I'm not sure all of them work like you intend. Going back to the ambient drone at 2:03 doesn't really help the structure and flow of the song in my opinion. Feels more like an interruption and less like a "drop" than then builds way up into a new dramatic section. I think part of this is the key centers of each of these sections don't really relate very well. And like the previous track, the ending is cut off. As it is, on your Soundcloud, it wouldn't loop very well. Overall, nice stuff though!
  9. nsmadsen

    Spartan Fist OST is out!

    Sorry for my late reply - we're in the middle of a cross-country move right now. Thanks for the kind words! Only the guitars were recorded live, everything else is virtual. It was a very interesting and different soundtrack to attempt but I had a blast doing it!
  10. nsmadsen

    phantaminum's tunes (new track every Friday!)

    The Abandoned - for an ambient track that sets a tone, this works pretty well. It's more of an under current and less of a straight up horror cue. Sort of like when there's a spooky setting but nothing super bad has happened yet. It would be cool to hear the loop evolve a bit more over time. Right now, once you've heard 1-2 cycles, you've pretty much heard it all. Of course, this feedback is on the cue itself and without any context to an actual game so that could definitely factor. Also the mix itself is a bit soft and lacking low-end warmth. But maybe that's the needed texture. Ethereal - this is a better, more full mix. Some of the melodic choices are really interesting and I liked this track quite a bit. The only thing I could feel that would take this track to the next level is a contrary motion in your harmonic elements. Right now the melody and the harmonies all swell (partly due to the envelope) at the same time. Great stuff overall! Thanks!
  11. nsmadsen

    phantaminum's tunes (new track every Friday!)

    I think this is a fun idea! Thanks for sharing your tracks weekly! Others, please feel free to do so as well and give feedback and critiques.
  12. nsmadsen

    Spartan Fist OST is out!

    Spartan Fist, a first person brawler I've been working on for a while, came out today! So I wanted to share the soundtrack with you all. https://madsenstudios.bandcamp.com/album/spartan-fist-ost-2 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. Chiptune punk. Not sure if that genre existed before hand but it does now. This soundtrack was definitely a stretch for me and it put me into some new territory but overall, I had a blast. And I hope you guys enjoy the OST and the game too!
  13. nsmadsen

    How Do I run garageband on Windows 10 ?

    "Nothing is better than garageband." Um, lots of DAWs are. And Logic Pro is very closely related now to GarageBand so you could just go that route if you're willing to work on Mac... or create a Hackintosh. But other than that... you're gonna have to go with another DAW and there are SO many great options out there.
  14. nsmadsen

    Is there still a place in gamedev for composer like me ?

    First off, your music sounds great! You've clearly got talent and know what you're doing! Secondly, game music is quite different from linear music due to the interactive aspects of gaming. Study up on middleware and how game engines work. Thirdly, you mention looking for a "huge" freelance job. But without previous game credits, it's going to be harder to land a huge game job out of the gate. Not impossible, just harder. Perhaps you need to adjust your scope. Finally, consider the type of music you're offering to game clients. Sometimes folks may not want the style of music you're offering. Much of your stuff sounds great for trailers and TV spots but is it good for an in-game experience? You may need to re-evaluate what you're offering and what most game clients seem to want. (With the caveat that game projects and needs can vary greatly.) Listening to the three tracks you've posted - they all sound great. But they're all the same basic genre, intensity and vibe. Some clients may want to see how versatile you can be in your writing. Can you create light-hearted, whimsical tracks? Can you create simple, ambient tracks? You can obviously create huge, epic, sweeping tracks. Can you write in ethnic styles? Can you interweave core themes across a whole soundtrack and have it be cohesive? I'm not trying to talk down to you - hopefully it doesn't come off that way. You're clearly very talented and do great work. But when changing markets you always need to consider the new needs, trends and tech limitations of that new market. I hope that helps! Nate
  15. nsmadsen

    Some great Youtube channels

    Here's another great channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXCXxhRVYvBOX45_gxr0iHA Christian Henson is one of the founders of Spitfire Audio and his videos are both hugely educational and entertaining. He focuses on the music business side of things. Check it out!
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