Wednesday, March 16, 2016

More from My Personal Mixtape.

It may not be apparent, but just to clear the air, I have not contacted many of my all-time favorite musicians and negotiated licensing rights to associate their music with my book(s).  No band so far has any involvement whatsoever with my next book, besides the very important caveat of what I listen to while I write, to inspire me and get me in the head of a character.  So today I'd like to share three more bands/songs whose music I hear in this world.

Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross - Oraculum

This project calls for many high-energy moments.  Foot chases, narrow escapes from death, races against time and even traversing ropeways suspended 1,500 feet above the ground.  I combed through my collection and found plenty of great fast-paced music (eg Squarepusher, Slayer, Autechre, Aphex Twin etc) but nothing quite fit the bill until I found this eight-minute gem from Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross's score of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.  The percussion is so rapid it sounds like it's almost going to stumble over itself the entire time, and the other instruments add to the feel of precision, grandeur and suspense I feel pairs well with some of the scenes I have in mind.  Give it a listen, imagining two protagonists chasing a suspect through a beast-city at running speed, dodging people through the changing scenery of bazaars and bustling city life.

Sizzla - Heard of Dem (Ante Up Remix)

(Click URL for video)

Judas Priest didn't subliminally convince anyone to commit suicide, nor did Wu-Tang or N.W.A. initiate gang culture.  Even still, the news would have us believe otherwise, and the portrayal of musical sub-cultures like hip-hop and heavy metal makes people uncomfortable just at the mention of them.  While I listen to and love both, I think there's an element of unfamiliarity with them - doubly so when they come from other countries - coupled with the widespread rumors of their apparently mystical links to crime.  So I have a mini-mix of foreign hip-hop to accompany the greatest question mark in my book: the city on the colossus Sao.  Rumors fly that Sao is inhabited solely by criminals, cannibals, terrorists and the inbred.  It's unfamiliar, aggressive and alarming.  I can imagine no better song to play while I write Sao than this remix of Sizzla's "Heard of Dem."  Sizzla is a Jamaican talent and his delivery here is forceful, loud and full of slang. My motivation is also that I think hip-hop is largely misunderstood, and I think the residents of Sao would say the same of themselves...although I don't agree with the latter.

Peter Gabriel & Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan - Taboo

Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan was a Pakistani singer of Qawwali, a long-form Sufi devotional chant.  In the early 1990s he collaborated with Peter Gabriel on several tracks, the best known of which is "Taboo" for its inclusion in Oliver Stone's Natural Born Killers.  I first saw NBK when I was 11 and have always felt that freedom and nature were major backdrops of the film, and I feel this song just oozes both.  Ali Khan's soaring vocals seemed so liberated and natural to me, they inspired me developing the Psamanthe culture.  Psamanthe (pictured in a previous blog entry below) is a flying bird-like colossus, her residents disembarking her on skyscraper rooftops to camp for up to two weeks on end before strapping back onto her and flying above the deadly fog.  The majority of her population are Tlingit Indians, some of our only (real-life) remaining humans who worship a bird deity.  Their portable campgrounds and advanced symbiosis with their host provide them with a unique and unconstrained worldview compared to the melting pot democracy of Triton or the ominous unknown monarchy of Sao.

Each of the aforementioned components of the book have several more songs in their oeuvre, just like my previous entry about the music of the day-to-day life in the city has so many tracks, but these should help bring you into the world for now.  Thanks for tuning in; be sure to share this page with your friends and help me get #WanderingCityBlues trending on social media.  See you next week!

Word Count:  25,434 (with another 3,600 words of scenes and notes)

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