Gavin Dunne (aka Miracle of Sound) put out an atmospheric instrumental album called Vistas recently & I’ve added to my current rotation of Writing Music. I’m sure many other writers have their own niche of Writing Music too. I mean, heck, NaNoWriMo even asks it as a profile question. So, as my return post (since I’ve been quiet for a while), I thought I’d list some of my favorite music to scribble to. I will say that all listed songs will be instrumental. I’m the kind of writer that will listen to lyrics over the sentences trying to form in my brain, so I try to avoid them.
- Music for 18 Musicians by Steve Reich: I was introduced to this piece of music by a professor who loved deconstructions of form in many genres. 18 Musicians isn’t just an interesting piece of classical music to me. Something about the playful, mutable composition makes me profoundly joyful. The deep cello line when it first pulses into the song causes me to think of a receding tide or wish for the taste of brine on my palate. If I’m feeling more traditional, I go with Debussy’s La Mer.
- Belladonna by Daniel Lanois: Lanois = love. I’ve blogged before about wanting to play Wrecking Ball at my funeral and his score to loudQuietloud compliments the introspection of the film. Belladonna is a delicate collection built around Lanois’s fascination with the pedal steel guitar. The songs can ramble a bit as he indulges himself, but a song like “Flametop Green” is like cool water on my temples. Another alternative would be Tim Reynolds’s Nomadic Wavelength that, thankfully, my friend Courtney introduced to me.
- Victoire by Victoire: I found this group by accident as I was browsing in Plan 9 in Richmond. “I’m Coming for My Things” started playing on the speakers & within a few seconds I knew I had to buy the CD or the song would haunt me forever. Listen to the mysterious, inviting “Cathedral City” and see if you can resist.
- Music from Twin Peaks by Angelo Badalamenti: The creepy, goofy, unsettling place we all know & love. Underpinning the town’s unique atmosphere is Badalamenti’s cool, sparse, hep score. Give the man some percussion, a horn & a keyboard & he’ll give you music that is just as sexy & haunting as any dame from a noir. I’ve also been trying out Ennio Morricone’s movie soundtracks as well.
- Finally, the last choice is a playlist I’ve made myself, combing Van Cliburn’s My Favorite Debussy and Trent Reznor’s Still. I created this list back when I had one of my first laptop’s & I’ve recreate the playlist on each new computer as well as for friends. I won’t tell you the track listing, since I keep it very close to my heart. But I will say that melding the two CDs gives a distinct aural impression of Debussy’s influence on Reznor & is a prototype for Ghosts I-IV, and Reznor’s soundtracks for Fincher’s latest two movies. Kind of cheating, since this isn’t really easily available, but it’s my core writing sound.