I love music, and I don’t mean in a casual “Haay beetch, dat new Lady Gaga/Michael Jackson/Britney Spears song is really off da hook, huuuuh?!” sort of way either. I mean, I really love music. Period. I love classic rock, 80s pop, trance, 40s jazz, new age jazz, spaced-out ambient, and the like. It’s just easier to list what I don’t like!*
It’s to the point where I know the difference between Dutch Trance and Swedish Techno (the former is more melodic, and the later is stereotypical techno), the difference between Bon Scott and Marc Storace (A.K.A., “I can’t Believe It’s Not Bon Scott”), my Sansa e260 has 1,600 songs on it, and I know who Starship Amazing, Butterfly Tea, and Denny Schneidemesser are. Beat that Paw Dugan! (I’m sure that he can quite easily)
Anyway, I came up with this topic while writing my previous topic about my video game collection disguised as regretting my time playing them in excess. A good half of all the games that I kept was majorly for the soundtracks. I discovered the phenomenal Deepsky through SSX 3, gained respect for Stewart Copeland for his work in Spyro the Dragon (but not The Police), and gushed over the myriad of composers that brought the music of Sonic the Hedgehog 1, 2, 3, 3.5 and 4 to video games.
Unfortunately, (record needle scratch) I cannot play any instruments, nor do I have a desire to. On my Dads side of the family, a good most of them are musicians, although some, not all, mind, aren’t that bright. On my Moms side, there are a few here and there, but they are all laser honed to being teachers and intellectuals. How I got in this jam of not having a high school diploma at 23 when I’m willing to do what is asked of me by nature, I don’t know. This odd duo of having composer and academic qualities intertwines my tastes in music into a bowel of mixed peanut butter and chocolate that represents its sweetness. This leads to the theme of this topic: My favorite kind of music, and how I use select tracks to get into the mood for writing my scenes.
Now a word, since music is a sensual experience and mear words cannot express how wonderful you think a song is without sounding like you wrote Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight, I will provide links to the songs, but since I plan to bring up backlogs when I need a week or so (What’s a rerun?), I’m going to find the most permanent example that I can find. I detest with a passion how music-featuring blogs will show off a song only to end in torment. If you click the link, it leads to a pink banner that says that BMG or Warner Bros got pissy and removed the video/song from YouTube. I hate that, but it doesn’t mean that I won’t use the video site if needed.
Now, how has music as a whole helped me see scenes in my stories?
My mental process suggests that I’ve seen too many movies, despite the contrary (I have yet to see Animal House, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, The Dark Knight((!!))). Aside of how the mind works, i.e. snippets of random things here and there with repetition abound (it would drive a telepath crazy), I see my stories like scenes like a movie, camera angles, sound effects and soundtrack all meshed. It gets my heart racing, it makes me want to transcribe the event quickly, and it enhances the experience for me and the potential reader.
· For chaotic, nutty action scenes, I use almost anything by Concord Dawn, specifically The Sun, Morning Light, Cloud City and Broken Eyes. The reason being is that the fast beats, and hard synthesizers provide an adequate experience that complements the action.
· For awe and outer space, I use Matti Laamanen – Flakes, Airbase – Tangerine, and Liam Westbrooke – The Rush I love those three songs, and they make me think of Hubble pictures, and a futuristic city of crystal spires.
· For a different sort of awe, I look to Hydroid. Eternal (Activa Remix), The Eternal, Sonate (CHOOOON!!), and Incurved (also CHOOON!!) Hydroid the artist makes music that reminds me of St. Frances Folly, which ties back to video games, but hey, it’s nostalgic.
· For madness (different from the above), I use a remix of Set The Controls For The Heart of the Sun by Nemesis. Guess why. (Unfortunately, I could not find a link to this version, but any remix or even the original Pink Floyd version works just fine. The Nemesis version sounds just like the original, but sung and played by interstellar bees. It works pretty well though) Mistral by GTR works too. Equivalents, I would say, are Nerve Centre, Light and Shadow, and Procession by Vangelis. All songs under this bullet terrify me for good reason, and I can transcribe the madness felt into my own characters.
· For lighthearted jaunts, I use a variety of things, depending on the mood. Joe Satriani – Summer Song and/or Motorcycle Driver, Moby – Spirit, and almost anything on the Windham Hill label works too. I enjoy nearly everything off of the album Sign Language by Montreux; Circular Birds, To Be, and Grant Wood.
· Relaxing scenes are for Télépopmusik – Breathe, nearly ANYTHING by Joe Boyd Vigel, Bubble Shuffle and Seaspace by Larry Carlton, and Lanz and Speer—Behind the Waterfall
· Of course, there’s also stuff that bloody distracts me when writing, but it stimulates my mind to try and match the mood the artists expressed to use in my stories: Sugar Ray – Every Morning, Andrew W.K. – She Is Beautiful, Airbase – Spin, Electrasy - Cosmic Castaway, Keiji Matsumoto -- Never Let Me Down, Joey Diggs - Coca Cola (yes, really!), and, of course, to prove how much of a geek I am, Still Alive by Jonathan Coulton.
I’m not really a fan of classical music aside from film scores (I cry at Test Drive by John Powell every time I hear it). I think that a good most of non-film score classical music is way too pretentious. There are exceptions though, Symphony No. 6 in F major (Op. 68) - 3rd movement, by Beethoven, The Firebird Suite by Igor Stravinsky, Fantasia, I know! Otherwise, I would go withpicking music from Medal of Honor by Michael Giacchino, Super Mario Galaxy by Kōji Kondō, The Rocketer by James Horner, and the score for Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow by Edward Shearmur is really good.John Williams, James Horner and Jerry Goldsmith are gods though! Of course, who can forget the Haunting Torgo Theme by… whoever.
Here’s the bottom line, music helps me visualize my stories. With my rapidly developing skills as a writer, the rewards for being under the influence of my favorite music that fits the mood might, nay, will bring vast rewards worthy of the same majesties that that music expresses.
I hope that you looked at the links and got a taste of what I like to listen to, and how I write my stories. I can only hope that one has a deeper insight into how I work, and that my methods can work for you as well.
See you when I post my Pink Lemon progress on Wednesday, and please pray to the internet gods (Domo? Ben Huh? Evo Terra?) that the music links I chose that are on Youtube stay up.
Random links on the subject:
*I don’t like country music of any kind; gospel; pretentious classical; stupid, stupid friggon gabber; jazz that sounds like a cat is having convulsions on a piano; “booty bass” (crunk, gangsta, etc.); Japanese pop music; and overall, RANDOM INCOHERENT NOISE PASSED OFF AS MUSIC!! (Or, stuff that is stupid, not musique concrete, artonal work from the 50s, noise, not the soundtrack to Forbidden Planet)