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Cuphead's composer needed to be talked into the project. Now he's up for a Juno for its big band music

Cuphead's composer needed to be talked into the project. Now he's up for a Juno for its big band music
From CBC - March 19, 2018

When orchestral percussionist Kristofer Maddigan began his years-long journey composing the soundtrack for a video game his friends were creating, he mostly kept the passion project to himself.

As a genre, video game music does not get a lot of respect.

"I work with a lot of people who are not gamers and I think if you are not in that world a lot of people think it's kind of a silly pastime," says the 38-year-old Regina musician, who is now based in Toronto as the principal percussionist with the National Ballet of Canada Orchestra.

"Not every game is a work of art, but especially now with the indie game revolution, there's a lot of really interesting games being made and a lot of really incredible music being made for those games.

"But I did not really talk about it a lot because there's a lot of people who maybe do not understand the world so much and think it's maybe kinda goofy."

But his work on the indie game Cuphead which was named one of the top titles of 2017 by the likes of Entertainment Weekly and game website Polygonwon over the Juno Award judging committee who chose the contenders for this year's best instrumental album prize.

Album accompanied game release

The game's backing music, which was also released as an almost three-hour-long album, features a mix of jazz, big band and ragtime tunes recorded by live musicians, including a 13-piece big band and a 10-piece ragtime ensemble.

While many video games use looping bits of music to play endlessly in the background, Maddigan and Cupheadcreators Chad and Jared Moldenhauer decided they wanted fully formed songs for the soundtrack that were true to the sound of the 1930s. The game's visual look is also inspired by cartoons and animation of that era.

'I recall saying, "Definitely not, this is way out of my comfort zone."' - Cuphead composerKristoferMaddigan

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