Thursday, August 15, 2013

Music For and Inspired By...; Or, The Role of the Campaign Mix



Jack's Tales of the Grotesque and Dungeonesque blog has turned me on to a cool site called 8track.com, a streaming playlist service. (One minor quibble is that track sequencing gets shuffled after the first couple playthroughs, but beggars can't be choosers, I suppose, and I understand the legalities of the policy.) I'm a big fan of gaming soundtracks, and will be using 8track for the foreseeable future should I feel motivated to share more of my mixes.

Jack's soundtrack posts have already inspired me to put together a playlist based on his Planet Motherfucker setting, but the comments to his latest soundtrack post brought up the more general issue of how one uses "gaming soundtracks." The example I'm sharing today is from my ongoing Deadlands: Reloaded campaign. I put it together before the campaign got started or characters were generated, which is in keeping with my usual M.O. Sometimes I make a soundtrack for a campaign I don't even have immediate plans for running (such as New Wave Requiem or Cthulhu Berlin). Usually the soundtracks are just for me - I listen to them in between sessions, or while engaged in campaign planning. In the case of the Deadlands mix, I also wanted to share it with my group prior to character creation, as none of them had more than passing familiarity with the setting.

I only recently started using music during actual sessions again, and those "soundtracks" are decidedly different - ideally, I want about 4 hours of instrumental music that can play inconspicuously in the background. So, with Deadlands for example, I've got the mix posted above (my "Music For and Inspired By" soundtrack) and the "OST" mix of instrumental and incidental music (mostly movie and videogame soundtrack music ranging from Neil Young's score for Dead Man to the Red Dead Redemption soundtracks).

I know most gamers, when they think of "campaign soundtracks," think of the OST-style mixes to use during play, but I'm curious how many folks besides Jack and myself also make inspirational soundtracks to be used outside of a game session proper?

(Incidentally, when I tagged my soundtrack as "weird west" on 8tracks, I noticed there was one other mix with the same tag. Clicking through, I saw that Jack has beaten me to the punch with a mix of his own! One day I'll get the scoop on that guy...)

Deadlands Tracklist, for the curious: 

Muse, "Knights of Cydonia"; Johnny Cash, "When the Man Comes Around"; Man or Astroman?, "Cattle Drive"; Ghoultown, "Drink with the Living Dead"; Trashmen, "Ghost Riders in the Sky"; Bobby Bare, Jr., "Demon Valley"; The Legendary Shack Shakers, "Fistwhistle Boogie"; Calexico, "Minas De Cobre (for better metal)"; Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, "Death Is Not the End"; Titus Andronicus, "Four Score and Seven"; Pedrito Diablo & Los Cadaveras, "El Hoyo"; The White Stripes, "Little Ghost"; The Reverend Horton Heat, "Big Sky"; 16 Horsepower, "Black Soul Choir"; Black Joe Lewis & The Honeydrippers, "Cousin Randy"; The Legendary Shack Shakers, "Misery Train".
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