Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Music as Atmosphere & Inspiration

Music can be a great source of inspiration.  Setting the mood, certain turns of music, verses from a song or even a music video can sometimes launch a story or help a writer overcome a block.  I’ve already spoken to the types and forms of music and how they drive my writing.  Personally, any time I find myself stuck or looking for an idea, music is often at the forefront of solutions.  A few cases in point:
(Song) Chasing the Dragon by Epica:  This beauty runs for over 8 minutes in length and was instrumental in assisting me launch through about 8 or 9 whole chapters in a couple of weeks.  The beginning half is a mellow guitar and female vocal mix, which has an airy and epic feel to it; great for sweeping scenes and determining mood.  It quickly rumbles into a heavier, thrash-metal section that I always enjoyed hitting when writing battle scenes or conflict.  As far as lyrical content, the song itself is very far removed from fantasy.  It’s hard to reconcile a song about drug usage and dependency to fantasy.  All I can say is the ‘feel’ of the song is poignant and sweeping, which is the mood I was looking for the Ochra series.
(Music Videos) Quiet Love by Hoorah for Earth:  I found this video on a gaming website.  Someone else linked to it and I was instantly amazed at with story-telling.  The song itself (and the group’s style) is a bit of a throw-back to the heavily synthesized and drum-reliant music from the 80’s; I loved the 80’s music scene.  The mood generated by the song and the video are exceptionally well intertwined.  Subtle elements provide the details required to understand what they wished to communicate, all the while maintaining a great science-fiction quality to the video.  It’s a really well-made 4 minute sci-fi short; so well done that my four-year old daughter constantly asked to see the ‘woman chasing after the man’ video that I finally bought the CD.

(Music Video) Breathe of Life by Florence + the Machine:  The song plays during the credits sequence for Snow White and the Huntsman, which is how I learned about Florence + the Machine.  Absolutely stunning vocals backed by some epic orchestral accompaniment.  Throw this track on repeat and just imagine a sweeping battle scene a-la Lord of the Rings or some massive melee.  Go on, I dare you not to imagine yourself as your character fighting his way through some horde of gobos, orks or other meanies.

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