Welcome!

Jake Kaufman is a composer and sound designer in Los Angeles, with a truly heartfelt connection to game music. His versatility, charismatic style, and devoted following make him an essential part of any development team — large or small, epic or fluffy — who want to stand out from the crowd.

Click the navigation dots below for a quick overview, or feel free to explore.

Experience

As a freelancer and an in-house studio employee, Jake has held positions ranging from sound designer to audio director, and worked on over 50 games in his 10 year career. All this before age 30!

Meet Jake

Dynamic Music

Jake’s overall sound is generally “big”, with many layers of intricate harmonies. Continuing the traditions of his own favorite composers, even his underscore is filled with detail. For Red Faction Guerrilla (pictured), he joined forces with a team of composers to write 3 hours of huge and contrasting music, which changes in intensity as the player explores the barren landscape and gets into trouble.

The Composer with a Thousand Voices

Big band, Gypsy Jazz, Surf Rock, 50s Sci-fi, Disco, Bhangra, Mambo, Zydeco, Southern Hip Hop – Jake is able to take the integral harmonies and rhythms of a particular style of music and write strictly within them, or even combine them (often in hilarious or mind-bending ways!)

Sound Reasoning

Jake loves creating sound effects, designing atmospheric audio, and field recording new sounds, from footsteps to airplanes. Jake has created thousands of sound effects over the years, from alien blasters to cat warriors, from scripted noises on a Game Boy to cinematic foley for AAA titles.

Not just a rock star

Jake is himself a hobbyist game programmer, 3D animator, level designer, and visual effects enthusiast. This gives him the unusual ability to communicate with programmers and artists as easily as with other audio people.

For example, click the image to see a video he created to promote his recent soundtrack to IGN’s DS
Game of the Year, Shantae: Risky’s Revenge.

All true warriors

Anyone in the game industry knows that the best-planned project is still a minefield of stress. Jake’s professionalism is tempered by humor, a deep respect for Murphy’s Law, and above all, empathy for fellow developers.

When inspiration strikes and time allows, Jake will stay up way past his bedtime, making great stuff for your dev team to enjoy. Click the image to see an example.

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Latest news

Press Start 2 is out!

Excellent news: Press Start 2 has been released!

The sequel to Dark Maze Studios’ much-loved, totally awesome video game-themed adventure comedy, Press Start, is NOW SHIPPING! Reflecting several years of indie filmmaking practice, it’s amazingly well-crafted. The writing is sharper, the editing is better, the graphics are tightened, and it continues the original film’s story in a hugely satisfying way!

Once again, I handled the musical score, and it’s a lot more 80s / 90s synthy this time around — there are parts where I am practically quoting Uncle Vince, and New Jack Swing is present within the first 10 minutes of the film. I’ll try to get a soundtrack album together before too long, as well.

New design!

It figures, 5 AM on the day I have to leave for GDC is when I finish up the new design. I haven’t even started packing my clothes yet! Please let me know, loyal Badmen Militia, whether you notice any broken links, browser inconsistencies, geometry clipping, jaundice, or other nefarious goings-on. I will be away all week, which — I know from experience — is the perfect time to unveil a brand new, untested site. But I hope you enjoy it, anyway. This should eliminate the need to have separate business and personal sites. A few things are missing, such as my FM articles section, but I’m going to add them back and expand them in the future.

d:\virt\work\cave

Hello, friends!
Three.. no, wait, four items of interest:

1) Late last year, at the suggestion of my friend Ryu Umemoto (who is himself a highly talented game composer and chiptune artist) CAVE hired me to arrange the entire soundtrack of their previous game, “Ketsui”, to be used in the alternative “Arrange Mode” of their Xbox 360 port of Dodonpachi Daifukkatsu Black Label. Ketsui’s original score was written by one of my biggest heroes, Manabu Namiki, and has been arranged on several occasions by many of my other heroes, including Hitoshi Sakimoto and Michiko Naruke. So I had some pretty huge shoes to fill, and the seriousness of the task wasn’t lost on me. Naturally, due to a perfect storm of scheduling excitement, I ended up with two weeks to do the entire thing, so I did not sleep — and may actually be dead (if this is the afterlife, that’d explain a lot). The game has been released in Japan, along with a soundtrack album! Shoot-em-ups for life!

2) I’ve joined the roster at the Max Steiner Agency, and am now with the same group that represents Norihiko Hibino (Metal Gear Solid 2+3+4, Bayonetta), Jeremy Soule (Morrowind, Oblivion), Kevin Riepl (Gears of War, Unreal Tournament 3), and Sam Hulick (Mass Effect 1+2). I am still in shock — this is essentially a “force multiplier” for the hard work I already do on my own, and I’ll be equipped to bid on the most huge, badass projects. I can’t wait to announce what’s already coming up. I’ll have a new portfolio website finished next week (to replace the old jake.vgmix.com), and I’ll be at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, meeting new friends and Crashing the IGF awards.

3) If you haven’t heard ‘em yet, I urge you to go check out Up and Soundshock: FM FUNK MADDNESS!! over at Ubiktune. I’m on both of them, but everyone else’s tracks are completely astonishing, they’re two of the best chiptune releases in a long time.

4) We’re releasing WayForward’s Mighty Milky Way soundtrack as soon as the game comes out, under the same “pay-if-you-want” deal as Shantae: Risky’s Revenge. It will be bundled with a brand new recording of the Mighty Flip Champs OST, in case you were on the fence. Any day now…

Radio Show, this Friday!

Hi!
Friday, December 10, at 6:00 PM PST, I’m going to be hanging out with DJ sysop, the awesome host of the Video Game Music Show, on KSPC 88.7 FM in the Los Angeles area. We’ll be promoting the Game Music 4 All Christmas Concert, at which sysop and I will rock out alongside chiptune giants A_Rival, Wizwars and Evilwezil. I’ll be playing a live set which will include some previously unreleased music, so you may or may not want to miss this!

If you don’t have a radio or aren’t within range of the station, you can stream the show live from anywhere in the world. Just visit KSPC’s website and look for the “Listen Live!” section on the right.

GOLFSAUCE

I wrote this after my dog, Nugget, recovered from being terribly sick. Let’s just say he ate a scrap of fabric and it …didn’t come out. After a couple of days he was in bad shape, dehydrated and in constant pain. Without emergency surgery, things didn’t look good.

Well, as luck would have it, on the very morning that we were due to discuss said surgery, the problem resolved itself.
On his walk, in front of a bunch of little kids. “Oh look a puppy, he is cute, what’s his EWWWWWWWWWWW.”

This is the music that was playing in my head as we joyfully skipped the whole way home. I transcribed it out of my head, for you to hear. It may or may not be the best music ever written to celebrate a dog crapping.

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