Writing to Music: New Recommendations

I write to music.

When I’m working on a particular project, I create playlists which are thematically appropriate to the project in question, and those are my accompaniment as I write. For example, my Far West writing playlist currently features nearly 800 tracks — enough to play for a day and a half without repeats.

Perhaps that’s a bit excessive. But it’s how I work.

I know of a number of other writers who work to music as well, and so I figured that I’d occasionally blog about recent acquisitions suitable for this task, that I’d like to recommend.

First up, I was pleased as hell to see that they’ve finally decided to release a soundtrack album for the cancelled AMC television series Rubicon. The show started strongly — a perfect tonal flashback to the paranoid conspiracy-espionage tales of the 1970s, but the wheels completely came off the tracks. I’ve never seen a show experience such a complete case of dramatic collapse, and it was a real shame, since the start was so promising. One of the best things about the show was the score, by Peter Nashel.

Here’s the original title sequence (unfortunately, embed-disabled, so click here).

Another AMC series has provided a soundtrack that has been added to my Far West playlist — the score to Hell on Wheels by Kevin Kiner and Gustavo Santaolalla. The show is no Deadwood, but it’s a solid western, and has improved over its second season. The music is always a high point — I’m also hoping that they choose to release a soundtrack featuring the non-score music used in the show, which is often excellent (my Far West playlist has a few tracks which I tracked down based entirely on my introduction to them through the show).
Here’s an extended cut of the main theme:


Another entry for the Far West playlist is the score for a much-awaited kung-fu fantasy being directed by RZA (Wu-Tang Clan member, crafter of soundtracks for Ghost Dog and Afro Samurai, and fellow asian-film afficianado). The Man With the Iron Fists will also have a hip-hop-heavy soundtrack (of the “music from and inspired by” variety), but they’ve just released the actual film score, composed by RZA and Howard Drossin, featuring traditional instrumentation, occasionally mixed with sampling of everything from kung fu movie music to classic Wu-Tang tracks. A sampler of the entire score can be heard here:

So what about you? What do you listen to as you write? Post your recommendations below.

3 Replies to “Writing to Music: New Recommendations”

  1. Inception is quite good. Which Holmes soundtracks are you referring to? The Downey films, or the BBC Sherlock series? (All feature great music.)

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