Sunday, July 21, 2019

Music as Inspiration

It has been a busy and chaotic month for me, but things are starting to quiet down. I am also beginning a new project that will find its way to the blog soon. All of that said, I have to say I really enjoy poking around the internet for inspirational art and music. I'm not sure what it is about the latter, but a good piece of music creates this mental image pregnant with ideas. I find writing easier, and everything just seems to flow.

Interestingly, I find that this is not genre-dependent, although I find certain types of music work better for certain fictional genres, and I tend to get more from classical music in general for any genre. Still, some prog rock (e.g., Bitches Crystal by ELP, Rainbow Demon by Uriah Heap), industrial, and some electronic music do wonders for science fiction for me, while other prog rock (e.g., South Side of the Sky by Yes, Jerusalem by ELP) and folk music works for fantasy. I also find Led Zeppelin good for science fiction, and I'm not sure if that's weird or not.

What music do you find inspiring and how? I'm always interested in expanding my listening!


  1. It's interesting that you use Uriah Heep for science fiction. I think of fantasy more with them, and for science fiction I listen to the likes of Hawkwind or Farflung. (for the former, quality may vary greatly even on the same album. For the latter, I'd suggest their riginal album, or anything from 2010 on.) I'll even throw some Blue Öyster Cult in the mix. (Particularly songs like "Monsters," "Heavy Metal: Black and Silver," "Sole Survivor," or "Flaming Telepaths.") Also Radar Men from the Moon (sometimes simple RMFTM) started out as a stoner/space rock band, but their style has drifted toward industrial of the last several albums.

    For fantasy, try Rainbow, or Dio-era Black Sabbath. There's also a bit of Hawkwind that works here, particularly their albums "Chronicles of the Black Sword," "Live Chronicles," and "Warrior on the Edge of Time."

    Horror tends to overlap other genres a bit, so I'll break it down into a few categories.

    Scifi/horror: industrial works for this.
    Modern setting: Industrial here as well, but I'll also throw in BÖC's album "Fire of Unknown Origin."
    Early 20th century: Jill Tracy's album "Diabolical Streak," and dark/doom/funeral jazz bands like Bohren und der Club of Gore, The Kilimajaro Darkjazz Ensemble, or the Dale Cooper Quartet.

    1. Yeah, I can't say why Uriah Heap hits the SciFi chord for me, but it does. ELP also does the job quite well, too, but that one is kind of on the nose. I hadn't thought of BOC, thought. that's a really good one. I'm checking out Hawkwind and Farflug now. Can't be without enough inspiration. Also, I find that some Tool albums are awesome for my flavor of both SciFi and fantasy. I'm specifically looking at Lateralus.

      As far as fantasy goes, I tend to shy away from anything powermetal-esque. It's not that I dislike the music so much as I find it a bit cheesy in the context of roleplaying. That's just my taste, though. I tend to gravitate toward folk music here. And I don't mean Simon and Garfunkel. I mean the folk music of the area that inspired the setting.

      Horror settings are a lot more touchy, since it is all about the ambiance. I think that's why I avoid songs with lyrics. I'll start listening to the lyrics and singing along and enjoying it instead of being uncomfortable. That discomfort helps me write creepy material and prep creepy games. Admittedly, I also get in the headspace by watching a bunch of my old J-horror DVDs, since they just don't pull any punches.

    2. I also forgot Opeth. I love Opeth and I find them great for dark stuff, regardless of genre.