Monday, August 13, 2012

DARK•HERITAGE Soundtrack

I've mentioned this before, but I like to revisit it again from time to time.  I like music.  Lots of different kinds of music, actually.  Because I play(ed) two different instruments (piano and trombone) I came to appreciate music as music, that is, I came to appreciate music that I otherwise might not of because it's doing things artistically and musically that I can understand and appreciate.  I like a lot of 80s music (because I was a kid and teenager during the 80s.  That's not surprising.)  I like a lot of electronic music, especially synthpop and futurepop.  Also, that reminds me of a lot of my favorite 80s music, and I like it no doubt for many of the same reasons.  I like some modern pop music.  I like some few "New Age" artists, although again--it was my appreciation for Enya and her heyday in the late 80s and early 90s with hits like "Orinoco Flow" or "Book of Days" for instance, which made me aware of the genre.

And I've always been a fan of classical music.  By classical, I really mean the "Romantic" era stuff--Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, Borodin, Wagner, Liszt, Dvorzak, later Beethoven, Mahler, etc.  That kind of stuff.  And, I've been a fan of good musical movie music scores.  Of course, given my age, I barely remember a time before John Williams and the Star Wars score, which really changed movie music forever.  In fact, I still consider the Star Wars music amongst my favorite music of all time.  I bought the two-disc (each) Special Edition soundtracks when they were released years ago.  Great investment.

In fact, I got a bit carried away picking up movie soundtracks a few years ago, and while I'm arguably still carried away, I don't buy as much as I used to.  Movie soundtracks are, I've also found, great to play in the background while gaming, or while working on gaming, or while writing, or while developing, or whatever.  Most movie soundtracks are scored specifically so that they can emulate a tone and theme.  Sure, moods may change within the course of a movie, but picking a movie that has the same kind of "feel" as you want your gaming to represent, and then playing the music for that movie in the background, is a great way to make sure that your game has the right feel too.

DARK•HERITAGE, being a setting that has pluralistic influences, naturally needs a pluralistic soundtrack, and no single movie or series of movies even, can hope to give me everything I want in terms of tone, feel and theme.  But I have taken several stabs at creating the "ideal" soundtrack for DARK•HERITAGE.  For various reasons, I've decided that I will only accept as much music as I can burn on a single CD-R (as mp3s), so depending on file size and quality, I can get between 7-12 or so soundtracks on it.  Ten is usually the target I'm aiming for, but if there's still room, I'll add some more.  CD-Rs are very convenient for me because they are easily portable, really cheap (so I can redo them if I feel like it later), I can play them in a variety of devices, and because of their constant size (700 Mbs) it keeps me from getting carried away and adding more than I need.  Plus, I can play it in my car, in my DVD player, in my stereo, and on my PC.  While I can mostly do that with my mp3 player too, it's not as convenient as just throwing a CD-R in.  It's the perfect solution for me.

Because I'm always picking up new soundtracks, I find from time to time that I need to adjust my DARK•HERITAGE soundtrack--or if I don't need to, I want to because some new soundtrack fits so perfectly with what I want my game to "feel" like.  So although I haven't yet burned a CD-R with this new listing, here's what I'm thinking of doing for the "new" DARK•HERITAGE soundtrack, when I make my new CD for it.  For now, it's eleven soundtracks long, but with some judicious editing of tracks, I can probably fit some more stuff in too. 
  1. Pirates of the Caribbean 3: At World's End
  2. Pirates of the Carribean 4: On Stranger Tides
  3. The Wolfman
  4. Sherlock Holmes
  5. Sherlock Holmes 2: Game of Shadows
  6. Red Dead Redemption
  7. The Mummy
  8. Prince of Persia
  9. Batman Begins
  10. The Dark Knight
  11. The Woman in Black
Stuff to add?  I also have some tracks from Pirates 2 that I'd like to fit in.  I have the new Dark Knight Rises soundtrack, but I don't know if well enough to know if I feel like I need to add any tracks from it, or if the earlier two already cover that territory.  Signs has some nice creepy songs that I'd like to add, as well as Bram Stoker's Dracula.  And there's a few tracks from Stargate, Cowboys & Aliens, and maybe Predators that I think would make a great addition.  A main track or two from The Godfather would be brilliant.  But any and all of those additions are subject to space limitations--like I said, I could get really carried away and easily double or even triple the amount of music that I accept, but if I do that, then I lose my focus and defeat the purpose of trying to limit it in the first place.  No, I want to make sure I can keep it to a single CD-R in length.

If you look at the list, you'll notice a few themes that are represented more than once.  Westerns, although darker revisionist Westerns, not heroic stuff (I could have added The Magnificent Seven, for example (great themesong, by the way) but deliberately did not), I've got pirate-sounding music, I've got a bit of Victorian Gothic type stuff, I've got "Arabian Nights" sounds, and there's a strong vibe of horror.  Frankly, the new Batman soundtracks sound like horror soundtracks rather than superhero soundtracks, which makes them perfect for my purposes too.  James Newton Howard is brilliant.

Now, any given game within DARK•HERITAGE might not hit on all of those themes.  It would probably be rare for a game to focus on both pirates and cowboys, at least at the same time, for instance.  But I don't want to get into themed variations, I want a "one size fits all" DARK•HERITAGE soundtrack that I can always use and which always works.  I think this soundtrack fits that bill nicely.

2 comments:

Joshua Dyal said...

Can't do it, not without re-ripping a bunch of music at a lower bit-rate. Maybe I'll cheat and have two CD-Rs worth of music on a zip drive or something after all...

Joshua Dyal said...

I loaded up my mp3 player with the "Complete" Dark•Heritage soundtrack. For the time being, until I tweak it anyway. 1.56 Gbs. It includes:
• Harry Potter 6
• Harry Potter 7
• Harry Potter 8
• Batman Begins
• The Dark Knight
• The Dark Knight Rises
• Sherlock Holmes
• Sherlock Holmes 2
• The Woman in Black
• Red Dead Redemption
• Cowboys & Aliens
• The Mummy
• Stargate
• The Mummy 3 (selected tracks)
• Pirates of the Caribbean 2
• Pirates of the Caribbean 3
• Pirates of the Caribbean 4\
• Bram Stoker's Dracula (selected tracks)
• Halloween (just the main themesong)
• Nightmare on Elm Street (just the main themesong)
• The Godfather (selected tracks)
• The Wolfman