I’m often drawn to the understated elegant soundtracks. They don’t sound grandiose; they don’t sound imperial or adventurous or over-the-top. The smallest nuances in how the individual tracks are composed, the development in the pieces that grow along with the characters and plot… These are the soundtracks I hunger for.
Recently, I found myself checking out the nominees for best original soundtrack for the Golden Globes. Of course, “La La Land” was the winner of the award with its whimsical, jazzy soundtrack. It’s something fun and different and puts people in a good mood when they listen to it. It’s a phenomenal soundtrack and for cooking or hanging around the house, it’s a joy to listen to. But for writing…I look for the darker more serious soundtracks. This is why I was immediately enamored by Nicholas Britell’s score for the Golden Globe best drama motion picture winner, “Moonlight”.
And just like that it’s the end of 2016. I realize I wasn’t as active as I’d purported I’d be at the beginning of the year. I owe that to moving into a new house though. The transition has eaten up a lot of my valuable time. Not only that but I’ve spent much of my autumn beginning a new book and when I do that, I tend to dig in deep and not come up for air. That being said, I’d like to change the topic back to what this blog post is really all about: my top ten picks for video game soundtracks this year!
Several of you readers know I’m a sucker for video game soundtracks. I’ve always been a fan of film scores and in the past few years have developed a love for these equally arresting and inspiring albums. I didn’t want to break with tradition so here I am at midnight on the 30th/31st of December to share with you the soundtracks writers who love music should buy. But why you ask? Keep reading and you’ll see…
#10: Dead Secret Soundtrack by Ben Prunty
Why: The Dead Secret soundtrack begins with jazz-inspired flavors and some Asian influences to fit into the storyline. Because it’s a murder mystery, there’s an air of suspicion and curiosity in each piece, growing darker and darker as the game progresses. However, it’s the tracks that are most ambient that stood out most to me. In particular, WOODCUTTER (the theme of the antagonist) is one of the most bone-chilling on the soundtrack and inspires fear from its minimalist drumming. Another is “Permanently Altered” which I listened to several times while working on my latest novel. I recommend this to anyone working on crime or noir fiction, or perhaps something historical in the 1920-1950’s. Track picks: WOODCUTTER, Kwaidan, Permanently Altered, What were you up to?
(I wrote this back when the Oscars were happening… yeah.)
I have always, and will always be a fan of music composed by Thomas Newman. I own a number of his impressive film scores, several of them Oscar nominated or winning and all of them gorgeous in their own right. Little Women, Phenomenon, The Horse Whisperer, Meet Joe Black, American Beauty, The Green Mile, Finding Nemo, Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, The Help, Skyfall…(and let’s not forget TV show Six Feet Under and Miniseries Angels in America)! And now, the dramatic and emotional score for the Oscar nominated film, Bridge of Spies.
It’s been months since the last update. I was thinking (hoping) I’d be on a more regular schedule following my move but it’s been harder than ever to stick to one. I’ve barely had time to write (a sentence I hope I never have to utter again) during these last several weeks. The house has required a butt-load of attention. I’ve been doing lots of painting, yard work, and decorating to make it feel more homey. It’s coming along. It won’t be done this year. It probably won’t be done next year. But at this point, I have a few rooms completed or nearly completed.
It’s been months…MONTHS since I’ve had time to lose myself in the groove of making something intricate in the kitchen. Of course, I’ve cooked the occasional steak or chicken dish for dinner but never one I felt I could call truly creative. This is the first time in months I’ve had fun baking something.
As I’ve stated in nearly all my blogs this year, I’ve been going through some stressful changes. I’m a week away from closing on my first house and have been feverishly working on my novella, “The Collection” in order to have it ready to print in July. Today in particular, I was really feeling the pressure. I’ve been packing my apartment up bit by bit for over a week, my life slowly being boxed away and the place I’ve called home for the last five years is beginning to feel less and less so.
Similarly at my job, one of my wonderful co-workers is moving on to bigger and brighter things with a new job. I decided very last minute that I’d make him something as a going away gift. I’d seen a recipe for some Mocha Crinkle Cookies on Pinterest yesterday and decided that those would be the perfect thing to try. They are an uncomplicated cookie, one that doesn’t take too long to make and that I don’t have to stress about as far as clean up is concerned.
Who here is afraid of haunted houses? They are a quintessential sub-genre of horror, one that never gets old, never gets tired, and can always be improved upon. Over the last year or two, I’ve dabbled in the haunted house genre with pieces from my last book, Memento Mori, my current WIP “The Collection”, and my upcoming untitled sequel series. I’ve always been drawn to the idea of inanimate objects possessing human qualities. It makes them incredibly frightening, and the same applies toward locations, particularly places of residence. I have a fabulous book written by Allison Lurie called “The Language of Houses” which has some amazing insights on writing about architecture and locations, really fleshing them out and making them just as much a character as your protagonist.
I digress. The point of all of this is to bring into focus this wondrous indie game called “Anatomy” created by Kitty Horrorshow. In the game, you play as an unnamed protagonist who finds a tape player and cassette in a mysterious dark house. As you explore and listen to the entries left on the tapes, you are slowly drawn into a frightening psychological mind game. You begin to fear what’s around every corner, what’s hiding in the shadows, and what horrible insights you might hear on the next cassette.
I know. You don’t have to tell me. I’m a horrible person.
I said (a while ago) that I’d have this cooking adventure up for all of you to enjoy and…well…it’s taken this long.
Earlier in February, I decided I was going to embark on a hobby of candy-making. I didn’t have just any candy in mind, though. I wanted to create a somewhat healthier (if that’s even possible) replica of the beloved Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. And I succeeded. Ish. I made some lovely almond butter cups which were pretty popular with my coworkers, and some white chocolate almond butter cups which my family adored.
Eventually, I grew bored with the almond butter (I still have LOADS of it left) and decided to try a different filling. I happened to have a lovely bag of shredded coconut just waiting to be used. Combining it with some sweetened condensed milk created a nice textured filling for these sweet treats. They taste pretty similar to the Mounds candy, the one that I didn’t appreciate until I was much older. Believe me, once you try these decadent bites of coconut heaven, you’ll be howling for some of your own.
So it’s Monday. And I didn’t post a Cooking Adventure. And yes, it’s looking like I have an excuse every day for why I don’t post one. This time, it’s a three-day headache. I tried to get rid of it today but just couldn’t.
I’ve filmed a little bit of the Cooking Adventure and hope to finish it in the next few days. At the latest, it should be up for the weekend.
Again, my apologies.
Apologies for the tardiness of this Cooking Adventure. I made chocolate coconut candies on Thursday. Unfortunately, they didn’t live up to expectations. In fact, they were pretty bland. This was due to the fact that I hadn’t gotten my lovely paycheck yet and therefore couldn’t shop for all the ingredients. I feel as though I really need to make them again (properly this time) and provide video commentary for the process. Therefore, you’ll be granted a video Cooking Adventure of the process tomorrow night.
This week, I’ve fallen in love with a new and beautiful game called Unravel by Electronic Arts. In it, you play as a little anthropomorphic yarn boy named Yarny, who traverses a picturesque world of fond memories. There are lots of violent video games on the market right now, so it always makes me feel warm and tingly inside when I’m introduced to something that is based around a unique and more wonderful idea. The idea in Unravel? To reconnect, whether it be with the past, or with people you’ve lost touch with or with places you’ve begun to forget about. It’s a magical and refreshing experience, one that I haven’t felt since I first played Journey.
Unravel’s soundtrack is a collaboration by two Swedish musicians, Henrik Oja and Frida Johansson. The nostalgia present in each track, blended with the stunning visuals of the game makes one feel as though they are really running along the seaside, exploring mountains, and sailing through the treetops. Not only is it immersive, it also easily makes you feel lost inside each narrative that Yarny traverses. Today I’ll be sharing four songs from the unofficial Unravel soundtrack and writing what I see when I listen to them.