Hey guys, as some of you know I've spent the last couple of months working on a new soundscape for horror scenarios set in rural areas, especially the American South and Midwest. Now it's done and I'm really happy to present it to you. It is best suited for classic era games but could probably work for other eras as well.
Here it is. And it's free:
As with the previous Egypt-styled soundscape it is not supposed to be enjoyed as "music" though parts of it might work as such. But there are still long passages of ambiance with nothing more than the wind, the chirping of crickets and the occasional rattlesnake. Probably not something you want to put on at a party. There are also elements I would find too "over the top" or cheesy to use in a normal musical context but works well here because they will only barely be noticed during a game.
This time around I called in a couple of favors and got some of the members from the Danish folk rock act CODY to put down some licks for me. I also produced their first album, "Songs", check it out at http://codyfromdenmark.com
I have dealt with the mastering process differently than for the Egypt one so the overall volume is around the same level as "normal music". This is done if anyone should want to spice up the soundscape with commercial tracks or their own compositions. When I get around to it I'll make a remastered version of the Egypt soundscape.
The soundscape is divided into 12 parts of 30 minutes each. For a shorter scenario some parts can be left out, for a longer some can be copied and reused. Here's a short description so you know what to expect:
Part 1+2: The mood is pretty light here and these parts are made to play while the players have just arrived and the GM explains the setup. There are slide guitars, banjos, the howling prairie wind and crickets but the focus is on a crackling radio playing some tunes. Some of these "radio tunes" I wrote and recorded myself, some where done by others. The ones I didn't make are old enough to be under Public Domain* so no copyright laws were breached.
Part 3+4: Here it gets a bit darker but is still pretty light hearted. For most scenarios these two parts could probably be left out but I added them since my own group always take forever to get to the action.
Part 5+6: Same sort of vibe as 3+4 but something eerie is lurking in the corners.
Part 7+8: Now things are getting a bit scary. Drums and creeping beats are introduced, church bells occur, there's some out-of-tune violin and if you listen closely you'll notice a few spot effects like heavy breathing, someone crying etc.
Part 9+10: Same as 7+8 but more intense and more obviously building towards the climax, especially part 10. The musical elements are beginning to be more like little tracks here and there with drums, strings, bass etc. At this point there are fewer country western elements because... Well, because banjos aren't scary forever.
Part 11+12: The climax of the soundscape. These two parts took me a looong time to make as I tried to find the perfect balance between "scary" and "hero". I must admit that the country western elements are few and far between but still I'm very happy with the result. Part 11 has a few breaks of ambiance while part 12 is almost constant music. I tried a few times with the egypt-scape that a climatic situation in the scenario would come when there was nothing but ambiance and I wanted to avoid that this time around.
Finally the technical notes:
If you're using iTunes just make a playlist and drag the soundscape to it. Now you'll be able to arrange the soundscape like you want and on the fly.
In preferences you should turn "sound check" off as it squashes the dynamics and the soundscape is made to get more and more dynamic as it goes on. You should however turn crossfade on (just set it to max, 12 seconds) and the tracks will now play seamlessly. If possible you should use a good stereo and place the speakers on each side of the players though not too close. This way the sound will be coming from all around and not just from a ghetto-blaster in the corner.
* The sampled recordings are more than 70 years old and the composer(s) died at least 70 years ago. These recordings are of course not my intellectual property but the context (the soundscape) in which they appear is. So all rights still reserved and so on and so forth.
I hope you like it and that it will scare the living daylight out of you and your players.
T.H. Larsen / Gracehoper