Music to Write Novels By: Folklore

Folklore is, in my humble opinion, not that great a game. While it appears to be expansive on first inspection, the progression is actually very linear, and I found the combat elements grew samey very quickly–like MMO grinding without the leveling up. This review can explain it better than I can.

Even so, the game itself is stunningly beautiful, both visually and in terms of the music.

Here’s a playlist; I’ll break down my favourites below.

The Beginning of the Journey. The opening track to the album, and the track played on the opening screen of the game. A good one for getting a sense of wonder. It veers between quite sweet and innocent to something slightly more sinister and not-quite-right.

The Fairy Waltz. This is one of the first combat tracks in the game. Clearly inspired by carnival/circus music.

Visited Tragedy. The long, drawn-out notes on the violins really hit a mournful, and maybe slightly sour, note.

Land of the Gods. Another track that accompanies the combat in-game. A relatively fast-paced track, compared the majority of the soundtrack, and has a sort of tribal beat to it.

The End of the Memories. This one just feels dark. A mixture of the cellos and the higher draws on whatever the hell that other instrument is just gives off the kind of sensation that sends shivers.

Where the Soul Goes. The final track on the album, and the longest at almost nine minutes long. This one best encompasses the general feel of the entire album, since it varies from the relatively quiet beginning to going out with a bang. If you listen to no others on the soundtrack, you should listen to this one.

Music to Write Suspenseful Scenes By…

Most of the tracks have a dark, mournful undertone, making them a good companion to scenes of reflection or those following (or leading up to) some kind of tragedy.

On a more general view, if you’re writing any kind of classic fantasy, I think these tracks will suit your needs well. The slower ones sound like the kind of music you’d hear coming from a tavern in an impoverished little village.

Also, if you’re writing anything based around a carnival–as I will be in the future–this fits perfectly.

More Information / Further Reading

You can buy the soundtrack from CDJapan, but again, most if not all of the tracks are available on YouTube, so give it a listen before you make the decision whether to fork out the $34 they’re asking for. The CD is notoriously difficult to come by, though, so if you’re a collector of rare albums, this could be a nice addition.


Check out the full list of my ‘Music to Write Novels By’ series here, including a spiffy FAQ section, which will likely cover any questions you have.

Music To Write Novels By: Soul Reaver (Legacy of Kain) I & II

(Best thing about this post? You can download ALL this music LEGITIMATELY right here.)

My introduction to the Legacy of Kain series was with the PlayStation game, Soul Reaver. It was a dark, atmospheric third person adventure game, with the usual block-moving puzzles made most popular by Crystal “Tomb Raider” Dynamics. But by far the favourite part for me was the music. By the second game, I’d become so fond of the soundtrack, I used to leave the game running just to have the music playing (these were before the days of YouTube–I had to work to listen to my favourite tracks!). Continue reading Music To Write Novels By: Soul Reaver (Legacy of Kain) I & II

Music to Write Novels By: The Queen of the Damned Score & Soundtrack

With the mindset of “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything”, I’ll keep my opinions on the 2002 film brief.

Suffice to say, it was a film with flaws, poorly-adapted characters with little to no faithfulness to the books (books plural – Queen of the Damned was an amalgamation of Anne Rice’s book of the same name, and also “The Vampire Lestat”, her previous book) it was based on. Even judged on its own merits, it was still…well, it wasn’t great. Still better than Twilight, but…

Alright, now I’ve offended any fan of this film, let’s move onto the music, shall we?!

The score was a joint venture by composer Richard Gibbs and KoRn front-man Jonathan Davis.

At the time of the film’s release, I was a 100% Davis fan girl. I was obsessed with him. I had pictures all over my wall, and I had this picture frame on my window sill that had a cutout from a magazine picture of him in it, which you can see in this picture:

There he is, just off the to right. And all over the walls. I had a bit of a problem, I guess.

Oh, I would’ve done anything–and I do mean anything–to/with that man.

But I digress; what I’m trying to get across is the fact I had a bit of a “thing” for Jonathan Davis, and it was this “thing” that got me so interested in the Queen of the Damned movie, and that kept me interested when I should have left it well alone.


The Score

The score itself is fairly short (10 tracks), and highlights for me include:

This is the musical accompaniment to the opening titles, where we see Akasha (played by the late Aaliyah) in an enigmatic series of shots. It’s a nice build-up track, lots of suspense.

The music video above only has half the track, which is a shame, because the second half has a quiet, eerie quality to it, that dips and sways into a sharp finish. It’s the only one I could find on YouTube.

One of the characters in the film, Jesse, is an orphan who has dreams of a forgotten childhood, wherein she had a family that cast her out.

The music has a very bi-polar quality to it. In the beginning, it is dark and with plenty of long, drawn-out what I think are cello notes, possibly double-bass, which is replaced by soft, tinkering bells, giving it a very child-like quality, but also quite detached and sombre.

On the beach is a scene where Lestat and Marius (played by Vincent Perez and by far one of the film’s few saving graces) are discussing the importance of concealing themselves from mortals. Lestat, having none of this, joins a gypsy girl in a violin “music-off”. Lestat’s playing becomes more frantic and eventually the gypsies become afraid and try to flee, at which point he and Marius kill them.

This is my favourite track on the score, not least because I can hear Davis’ voice in the beginning, but the violin track is wonderful: long, drawn-out and haunting notes that really grip at you.

You can see the scene itself here.

The Soundtrack

The soundtrack is a mixture of original tracks designed to be Lestat’s songs in the film, and the usual “inspired by” fare.

Mostly hard rock and metal of the late 90’s/early2000’s, featuring most of the big rollers of the time (Marilyn Manson, Disturbed, and Static X to name but a few).


Just as a bit of a side note, “Down With the Sickness” is easily one of my favourite songs of all time; I have written countless scenes to it, and I hope to continue doing so.

All the songs on the soundtrack are great, and it’s going to make for a long post if I list them all, so instead I’ll just put this playlist link in here, and you can enjoy them all.

For what I assume were legal/contractual reasons to KoRn, Davis’ vocals on the songs written specifically for the film couldn’t be included on the official soundtrack release. Instead, the album had various other artists, including Chester Bennington and Marilyn Manson, to fill-in as Lestat’s voice.

For example, here is the movie version of Forsaken, complete with a full music video, including Davis’ vocals:

And here is the soundtrack release, with Disturbed’s David Draiman providing vocals instead:

Personally, I prefer Draiman’s version, but only because that is the one I had on the soundtrack CD, so that’s the one burned into my brain. Plus, Draiman has a somewhat more powerful voice.

Music to Write All Sorts of Scenes To

If we’re talking about the score, it generally goes well with writing tense scenes, with many of the tracks steadily building in intensity and leaving you feeling uncomfortable or unprepared for what’s coming.

On the other hand, the soundtrack serves better for action and fight scenes, as hard rock should.


You can download the MP3 albums on Amazon.com, with the score here and the soundtrack here.

Music to Write Novels By: Final Fantasy VII & Related Soundtracks

OK, just to forewarn you, this is going to be a big one (that’s what she said, hur hur), because I’ve been waiting a long time to get the opportunity to talk about Final Fantasy VII, and – on the off-chance that you have never played Final Fantasy VII – be aware that story spoilers are more than likely. If you want to skip the story and move straight to the tunes: I don’t care about your life story, woman, just tell me about the music…

Continue reading Music to Write Novels By: Final Fantasy VII & Related Soundtracks

Music to Write Novels By: Shadow of the Colossus Soundtrack

Shadow of the Colossus is a PlayStation 2 game released in 2005 (and re-released in HD for the PS3 in 2011). It tells the story of a young man who ventures into a forbidden land in the hope of reviving his dead girlfriend, and who is instructed by forces unknown to kill the creatures (the colossi) that inhabit this vast landscape in order to restore life to his beloved.

Kill all 16 of these majestic, building-sized beasts,
and you might get what you want…but at a price!
(Watch a video of this particular fight here

Continue reading Music to Write Novels By: Shadow of the Colossus Soundtrack

Music to Write Novels By: American McGee’s Alice & Alice: Madness Returns

Image Sauce

It’s safe to assume that you have at least heard of Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, whether through the book itself, the Disney classic based on it, the Tim Burton “re-imagining”, any of the lesser known TV movies based on it, or even the porno (yes, there’s a porno – click for a review, which is NSFW, for obvious reasons). But in October 2000, a PC game that explored a darker Wonderland was released for the PC.

Alice and the Cheshire Cat as they’re depicted in the game.

Continue reading Music to Write Novels By: American McGee’s Alice & Alice: Madness Returns

Music to Write Novels By: Koudelka

Koudelka was released in 2000, and is a Horror/RPG, one of the first of its kind to blend both classic ‘fantasy’ elements of an RPG with certain ‘horror’ elements akin to the likes of, say, Parasite Eve […].

In a nutshell, it’s a story about three individuals who for one reason (such as Koudelka, a psychic gypsy with magical powers) or another (like James, whose only known endeavour is that of a… professional adventurer: apparently, that’s a career path in this world) end up in a mysterious monastery in Wales, determined to uncover the secrets of the spirits and reanimated corpses wandering all over the place.

As a game, if I’m honest, I didn’t think Koudelka was all that and a bag of crisps. The storyline was engaging (if not just a little bit farfetched), and the design was beautiful, but I was severely let down by the combat system, since you spent a good portion of your combat time just moving to your enemies. And if you’re not wooed by the combat system, you’re going to have an issue playing that particular RPG.

The music, on the other hand, is wonderful and haunting.  From the very first cut scene, you get a real feeling of isolation and despair:

The rest of the soundtrack varies from choral melodies, acoustic guitars, and rhythmic drum / panpipe combinations for the fights and boss battles.

Included on the soundtrack itself are studio-recorded versions of the battle songs, which – to be fair – are kind of hit-and-miss for me, but this one in particular is pretty neat:

Music to Write Death Scenes By…

The Koudelka soundtrack is ideal for writing scenes in which you are trying to convey desolation, sadness…maybe a death or two.

More Information / Further Reading

Although rare, you can (currently) get a copy of the soundtrack from Amazon.com

You can find the majority of the music tracks on YouTube. More information on the soundtrack is available here.


Check out the full list of my ‘Music to Write Novels By’ series here, including a spiffy FAQ section, which will likely cover any questions you have.

Music to Write Novels By: Intro & Index

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I like music. That’s OK, though, because other people also like music, too. There are people who don’t like music, and they should be rounded up like cattle and beaten to death with pool cues. I mean, really, who doesn’t like music? Soulless cretins, that’s who.

What was I saying?

Right. Yes. I like music, and I also write books (or, rather, I try to), and I like to listen to music while I write the aforementioned books. I find the right track can focus my mind on the task at hand: my fight scenes work to Pendulum, my death scenes (hypothetical death scenes, that is, since nobody dies…that would be spoilers!) are supported by Ludovico Einaudi, and so on.

So I’m going to try something new: every Sunday, I will share some of my music tastes with you (plus, in most cases, the stories behind how I came to listen to them).  Won’t that be exciting! Yes, it will.

Shut up.

The Music

These won’t be released in this order; it’s more a case of ‘when I get around to it’.

 


FAQ

Q // Can you tell me where I can download [name of music here]?

Nope, sorry.  While I can’t stop you stealing music off the Internet, I’m not about to support it by providing links. I will always look out for and provide links to any music that can be purchased (either through services such as iTunes or the good old-fashioned CD).

Q // Can you e-mail me a particular track/album?

Sorry, no. Again, I’ll provide purchase links, or you can look for the music yourself.

Q // Why haven’t you looked at [name of music here]?

The music I look it comes purely from my own experiences and discoveries. If I haven’t looked at something that seems blatantly obvious, chances are it’s just because I haven’t come across it.

Q // Will you look at [name of music here]?

If you have a suggestion, I’d be happy to hear it. Contact me and I might check it out.  Just bear in mind that music – like everything – is a matter of personal taste, and I will not talk about music that I don’t personally enjoy, as I wouldn’t be unable to do it justice.

Q // So does this mean you’re not actually writing at the minute?

I am doing both. Now leave me alone.