I’m a sucker for string instruments. I even tried to learn the violin, yet, sadly, that crashed and burned. I still love listening to it though, in classical as well as contemporary music. One of my utmost favorite bands has been Bond, an Australian/British string quartet who tend to mix classical compositions with a bit of pop music. Some of these songs are very high energy so they work well for action scenes while others are moody and sensual to slow down the pace and heat things up in another way.
I discovered them in high school and listened to their “Remixed” album while working on a project that was meant to be a prologue to my Prohibition-Era mystery novel (one that has unfortunately hasn’t seen the light of day in years.) Even though the time period was off, the music inspired my writing so well that I could literally see everything happening when I closed my eyes. When I’m propelled so easily by a musical artist like that, I am overjoyed. Bond has four full length albums out as well as several other compilations and singles. Today, I’ll be sharing 7 of my favorites with you and what they inspire me to write about.
Libertango: A dark backstreet at midnight in Paris. There is one club still open, it’s lights warm and inviting against the rain outside. A seductive beat plays as two figures twirl on the dance floor. She is a young woman who has run away from home to investigate the world and do what she wants against the will of her family. He is a drifter who has never stayed in one place too long for fear of who might find him. Together on the dance floor, it is as if they belong with one another. Their movements mirror one another in perfect symmetry. They hold and touch one another without any worry of going too far. They are both lost in the beat of the music as if it has infected them both. The few people in the club are mesmerized by this display and watch without a care in the world, wondering when the spell will be broken.
Fuego (Caliente Mix): A yellow sports car races through the confusing backstreets of the city. The rain is hard and pummels the streets, leaving inches of standing water all about. A chorus of sirens echo off the buildings as the police cars appear, their lights flashing. They close in on the sports car as it takes off through the alleys and backstreets, turning here and there. The car comes to a dead end and the cop cars squeal to a stop in the alley way behind it. Leaping out of their cars, their guns are drawn as they slowly approach. But when they’re close enough they discover there’s no one inside. Suddenly, a red car on the street behind them starts up, it’s lights turn on and it rockets away. They scramble to get back to their cars but know they’ve already lost their target.
Kashmir: Deep in the desert, a bazaar is bustling with activity on an early morning. Into the market walks a mysterious lady dressed up in the finest fabrics of red and gold and toting a sword at her side. No one knows her or has seen her before. She doesn’t appear interested in any of the booths, just in getting from one side of the square to the other. A few men decide that she’s worth the trouble to talk to and crowd around her, asking for her name and if she will join them. When she doesn’t respond, they try to take her by force. Her sword comes out of the sheath like silver lightning and she fights them off with a speed unlike anything they’ve ever seen. When she’s finally bested them all and left them moaning in pain along the ground, she sheaths the sword and continues on her way, a smile on her face.
Duel (Hectic Mix): This song has always been a sword fight song for me. I listened to this while working on my prequel novel “Lockwood” set in the Russian Civil War before the events of my Prohibition-Era mystery. The book’s protagonist was an assassin named Lockwood who with her partner are contracted to find and kill a man in Russia as a favor to their boss after they screwed up on a previous hit. The story was very complicated and involved a number of different characters who made appearances in the first book. I had the entire plot planned out but didn’t finish writing the story. This song was the inspiration for the climax scene which features four characters locked in sword/gun fights for their survival. This is one of the few songs I can close my eyes and see everything happening to each tune and beat. There’s a desperation in the high notes of the violin that I cling to while there’s also a wickedness to the lower notes being played. I’d love to finish this story some day… but it may be a long while before I do.
Big Love Adagio: This tune has a hypnotic lullaby like tune at the start that is meant to ease and relax before the beats and violins kick it up a bit. I can’t help but see a night tryst with two characters meeting at a small apartment above a cafe and spending the night together. The man comes from a life where he’s a respected businessman who has carried on a long affair with his boss’s wife but is not happy about it. The woman is a dress shop clerk who is to be married in less than a week but is afraid of the commitment. Both met just the day before and yet, they are pulled together by some kind of supernatural force that refuses to let them ignore one another. No matter where they go, they always see one another in everyone’s face. This is their first indulgence with one another, the first look into what they could be missing if they continue on the path’s their lives have taken.
Jai Ho: This is one character who has found himself out numbered in a public place and must escape. He pushes through crowds of people as they chase after him, ducks into shops, up over counters and leaps out through windows. He must employ every tactic he can in order to lose them. He can’t afford to get caught now, not when so much is at stake. I can’t help but picture Torrent, one of my main characters from The Monstrum Chronicles, in this scene. Torrent isn’t one to give up so easily and always seems to have a trick up his sleeve to get out of every situation. I picture this scene working better in a South Eastern Asian country than anywhere else. Who knows? Perhaps in one of the later books, the characters will go there…
Apasionada: This is a flirt-with-danger, pretty, sensuous song that goes well for a character (preferably female) who skirts the boundaries of right and wrong with ease. She’s been doing it her whole life and hasn’t had anyone there to tell her not to. She prefers to be in charge of her own life and doesn’t take orders well. She knows she is powerful, is very confident in her abilities, and is comfortable with how things are in her life. She isn’t ready for the big shock she’s about to receive when her biggest secret is discovered…
I had a very difficult time choosing which songs to do for this blog post. Bond does so many wonderful songs. I recommend listening to more of them. I’ve seen inspiration in almost every single one. These ladies are talented musicians and know how to evoke mood and bring a story to life with their music.
Next time on Inspiration Through Music, I finally get to cover the work of someone I’ve been waiting to do all year! Maynard James Keenan is next week. Stay tuned!