Inspiration Through Music: Daniel Licht

About two weeks ago, I found the best writing tool ever. I don’t know how I went without it for so long because it literally contains one of the most comprehensive libraries of music out there. That is Spotify, ladies and gentlemen. I can create playlists using dozens of tracks that I can listen to whenever I want for inspiration. Granted, there are a few soundtracks here and there that are missing (A Beautiful Mind!!) but the majority of music is there. There are even soundtracks on there that I wouldn’t have expected to see such as Limbo and Cry of Fear. However, the one that I re-discovered while listening to music on Spotify has been the spectacularly dark Blood Theme from the television show, Dexter, composed by Daniel Licht.

Daniel Licht is an American film composer, who is known for composing dark, thought-provoking pieces, commonly for horror-related television shows, movies, and video games. Dexter is probably one of his most well-known projects and is pretty amazing to listen to. There are a variety of soft sad pieces mixed in with more quirky fun ones, all strung together with the omnipresent dark atmosphere that lingers in the show. Today, I’ve selected 7 pieces of Licht’s to share with you (ranging from his work on Dexter to his work on the best-selling Silent Hill video game series) and what it is that I see when I listen to them.

Blood Theme from “Dexter”: Thunder rumbles high overhead as she sits in the dark library. Nearly everyone has gone home and with good reason. The lights flicker every time there is a crash of thunder. The power could go out any moment and yet she stays, delving deeper into the pile of books she has sitting at her side. The answer is somewhere within. All she needs is to find the one sentence, the one lonely word that will tell her what she needs to do. Then she can leave and won’t have to come back. But for now, she’s a prisoner of the moment, unable to look away for fear of losing precious time. Another low boom. The lights dim and for a moment, she waits, prays they will stay on. They regain their power. She sighs and looks back at the book. Then, in one short blip, all of the lights go out.

Help Me from “Dexter”: He stares at the photograph sitting on the mantle. It seems like an entirely different world than the one he finds himself in now. The past exists in a different space, in a place that is now oddly foreign. It no longer holds a familiar tinge of nostalgia. It’s just an awkward memory, the clothes he’s wearing in the picture, the paint on the walls and the happiness that seems so present. Where did that time go? He picks it up and stares deep into the child’s face there, his face as if it may hold the key. But instead, it just seems to bring the anger back to the forefront of his thoughts. He puts the photo back before he can get the urge to throw it and turns back to the house around him, now in shambles. He wanted to leave this place behind. Instead, he somehow wound up back inside it’s walls. There’s no other choice but to live with it.

House from “Dexter”: He doesn’t remember having put the keys back in that spot. Other things seem to be out of place, too. It’s as if he left the room for a minute, and each object hopped an inch to the left. The whole room had an off kilter feeling about it, something that seemed to tug at him, made him feel rather askew as well. He quickly corrects everything, because if he doesn’t, I’ll bug him later. Things have their places for a reason. But before he can even leave the room, he hears the rolling of a pen on the desk. Soon after, it clicks onto the hardwood floor. It keeps rolling, guided by some supernatural force that pulls it down along the tilting floor, all the way to his feet. He crouches down and picks it up. Strange. He’d put that on the desk vertically so that it wouldn’t do that. He looks at the desk and that’s when he sees it. A monster is sitting on his desk, a slow smile spreading over his face.

Nurse Dexter from “Dexter”: He nudges the door open a little and a crack of light slices into the darkened space. His daughter is fast asleep in her bed, her stuffed tiger toy pulled closely toward her and the blankets covering her up. A smile warms his face as he thinks about how fortunate he is to have her. With everything else that’s happened, he doesn’t know what he would have done if he’d lost custody. His ex-wife was unfit and she knew it, but it didn’t mean that she wouldn’t try to appeal the court’s ruling in time. He just had to be prepared for when that day came. For now, he could breathe easy. He closes the door and clomps down the stairs, ready to sit down with his work for a few minutes and eat some dinner. As he reaches the bottom step, he hears the front door creak. He draws closer and realizes that it’s been left open. Frowning, he shuts it, trying to remember if he had done it. The answer comes back to him almost immediately. He remembered shutting the door… and locking it. His eyes shift toward the house before him. Someone was inside.

Meet JP from “Silent Hill: Downpour”: The state park was beautiful as it was unsettling. She wasn’t much of a wilderness type. She preferred the city, the bustle, and the people. Out here, it was just so quiet and there was barely anything linking her to the world. One could get lost out here, could never know what was going on with society. Maybe, in that sense, it was also a blessing. After everything that had happened, the way society seemed to have collapsed in such a short time, this was the place to be. Air rushes through the limbs of the great fur trees and rustles the leaves in the birches and oaks. She pulls her car to a stop at the end of the long dirt road and stares at the cabins in front of her. None of the lights were on despite the cars left in the various parking spaces. Had what had happened in the city, happened out here, too? She climbs out of the car, gripping the flashlight in her shaking hand. She has to find out.

What’s on the Menu? from “Silent Hill: Book of Memories”: There was a loud crash. She remembered the road suddenly disappearing before her, remembered how the hill had suddenly dove up in front of her as the car careened down it toward the woods. She remembered bracing herself with her arms before her just as the car reached the tree. Then, blackness had engulfed her. Awake now, in a semi-darkness where she could just make-out the outline of the dashboard before her and her bloodied hands, she remembers something else. Just seconds before the crash, he had reached out and touched her. He had touched her. He wasn’t supposed to be able to touch. She wasn’t supposed to be able to feel him. And yet… she had. He was no where to be seen. She had to get out of the car and find him. ((This is taken from my apocalyptic novel that I’m working on.))

Photo Albums from “Dexter”: He falls to his knees in his own living room, a place that he hardly recognizes. It’s been years since he’s been in it. He feels that he knows it, he remembers little things like the photographs of he and his wife on the walls, he remembers the scratch on the wall where he accidentally caught it with a table edge, remembers the burned spot on the rug from when a hot ember leapt out of the fire on their first night there. But it all feels somehow foreign, too. He pulls himself up toward the couch and slumps onto it’s cushion. A memory comes back to him of laying on it, a blanket over him and a steaming cup of soup nearby. The phone rings and he answers it. He knows its not his wife on the phone but the feeling of relief that fills him tells him it was someone he cherished just as much. He doesn’t remember who. (( This is also taken from the apocalyptic novel that I’m working on.))

Next week on Inspiration Through Music, we’ll be taking a quick breather from the original score music to bounce over to Snow Patrol! Stay tuned!

~KSilva

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