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mr_mitts

CoC Music?

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mr_mitts

I generally don't like playing music during my games, except for stings and atmospherics (e.g. a record player finishing a tune before degenerating into the rhythmic click-click-click of the needle). However, I know a lot of people use songs and music in their scenarios for a number of reasons.

 

What do people recommend, and how do they use them? I'd rather not end up playing the same old collection of baroque classical or dark ambient everyone expects, so recommendations are helpful.

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BradH

For 20s game I always play some gentle jazz (Louis Armstong/Ella Fitzgerald/Bessie Smith). It settles players into the era without being obtrusive, and acts as a "calm before the storm". I sometimes intersperse it with Metallica's "The Call of Ktulu".

 

I highly rate the OST for "The Devil's Rejects". The film was terrible but the score is great. Also check out a guy called "Lustmord" who creates dark soundscapes (http://www.myspace.com/lustmord).

 

Some of Opeth's acoustic stuff is excellent backing.

 

British Black Metal band Cradle of Filth have a track called "Mother Of Abominations" that, whilst for the most part an unmemorable metal track, opens up with an awesome "Ia Ia Cthulhu Fhtagn" chant that gradually builds into a frenzy before kicking in with the main song. I have used that on occasion as the build-up before a monster bursts in, and have it finally appear as the full band starts playing.

 

The best part, however, is the Pavlovian reaction of the players after you've been doing it for a while...

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Cousteau

I only play 20s, so that's probably where my tips are valid.

 

20s popular music shouldn't be too difficult to track down, and can really set the mood. I usually play it very low in the background during character-generation and during more mundane scenes of the game.

 

Classical music is of course great, as is evergreens (old ones) that a gay pianist plays during dinner at the mansion, or at a cafe. Perhaps the investigators are led to a home where a grammaphone-record of Beethoven is played, or perhaps their at a concert (play a part of a symphony).

 

As for the spooky scenes you could try Nox Arcana or other "spooky" bands, but I find most of them rather banal and or riddiculous.

 

One thing I -can- recommend whole-heartedly however is a cd with sound-effects (or, if you don't find it too obtrusive a laptop). A cd with nothing but rain and thunder, only interrupted by church-bells, leaves rustling, footsteps or grandfather clocks striking twelve can add quite a bit. Throw in -one- "monster" sound or other sharp sudden sound, and it can be quite effectful.

 

I've also found the sound of cats fighting / arguing to be amongst the spookiest **** ever.

 

[boring anecdote]

About ten years ago I rented a cellar apartment in a small norwegian coastal town. During the summer I slept with an open window, and one night I awoke to some insanely scary sounds, like children crying or a witch cackling or... I don't know, it was sounds from beyond this world! I'm not easily spooked, and I don't believe in the supernatural, but during those few seconds of half-awoke / half-asleep I really thought the Witch from the dreamhouse had entered my living room. I went into the living room, and sure enough; two cats measuring up towards eachother in the dark. Really scary!

[/boring anecdote]

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moonbeast

One thing I -can- recommend whole-heartedly however is a cd with sound-effects (or, if you don't find it too obtrusive a laptop). A cd with nothing but rain and thunder, only interrupted by church-bells, leaves rustling, footsteps or grandfather clocks striking twelve can add quite a bit. Throw in -one- "monster" sound or other sharp sudden sound, and it can be quite effectful.

 

I have a couple dozen Sound Effects that I purchased from iTunes Store. The nice thing is that I simply handpicked each track that I wanted, rather than being forced to purchase entire albums. The sounds are priceless, and include sounds such as... let me see what I have.... a small partial sample:

 

 

- Church Bell Strikes

- Lone Wolf Howling

- Steam Locomotive, Interior, Ambient

- Old Manual Typewriter / Medium Speed / Office Background

- Water Dripping from Sewer

- Weather / Medium Rain / Light Thunder

- Weather / Rolling Thunder

- Zombie / Group / Moaning

- Owl Hooting, Eerie

- Male Snoring

- Cable Car (Trolley) Pass By

- Crow Cawing

- Volcano / Thick Gurgling Lava Flow (could easily be used for Shoggoth)

- Lighthouse / Fog Horn

(how about CoC adventures in a New England lighthouse, anyone? Kingsport? Innsmouth? Gloucester? Boston Harbor? )

 

Again, I have at least 2 dozen. I wish I could afford 2 hundred. But for now, I am limited to choosing only the ones which I *think* I will actually find useful in near-future adventures.

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jammer

This is the stuff I'd recommend based on what I use for my games:

 

General:

 

Peter Gabriel's Passion (particularly good for middle eastern scenarios) & Long Walk Home (used for Australian chapter of Masks)

Brian Eno's On Land

Tombraider 1 & 2 (the games) soundtrack

 

Modern & Delta Green:

 

Aphex Twin - Selected Ambient Works (futuristic and creepy)

Nine Inch Nails - Ghosts I-IV

 

When I really want to freak the players:

 

Ennio Morricone - The Thing

 

These are my stalwarts - I would appreciate any further suggestions along these lines.

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Henrik

Could it be possible to put some sound effects and mood music here on the site perhaps? I for one would be interested in downloading mood music. The sound of a thunderstorm, great idea!

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Nightbrother

I'd like to go with Jammer, regarding Brian Eno's 'On Land'. What a wonderfully creepy and subtle piece of atmosphere. Definitely recommendable.

 

I had loads of old music I had gathered from old CD's, then tossed the CD's, only to have my computer die on me last year. I'll never be backup-less again following that experience. :)

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Neurook

I use a lot of Lustmord as well during my games.

Robert Rich does some pretty good stuff as well.

 

For Modern/Delta Green the albums Consumed and Closer by Plastikman are really great.

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New-Cthulhu

for few things in my game I use music made by nox arcana. due to they sometimes makes some real creepy music. and also that they sometiems makes things that could be chanting.

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moonbeast
I'd like to go with Jammer, regarding Brian Eno's 'On Land'. What a wonderfully creepy and subtle piece of atmosphere. Definitely recommendable.

 

I will third the recommendation on Brian Eno's 'On Land'. In fact, I purchased that album last year.... exactly from a recommendation on YSDC. What a great purchase. It is perfectly spooky ambient music. Very appropriate background ambience for spooky less frequented places. Perfect ambience for an abandoned lighthouse. Or in the ghostly haunted moors of Scotland. Or the marshes surrounding Innsmouth.

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tlynch999

Sigh...I was going to mention the soundtrack for The Thing, but Jammer beat me to it.

 

In addition to that, though, I'd like to add the soundtrack for Alien. There's one track in particular that is very quiet with trickling, tinkling sounds played very low, followed by a SUDDEN BURST OF SOUND. I've used that track several times, and it worked very well on one friend back in college (those were the DAYS), nearly knocking him out of his chair.

 

I recommend soundtracks, especially for horror movies...

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Cousteau

There was a site linked to from here that contained loads of soundeffects.. Just sign up and you're good to go. Hmm...

 

Never saved a bookmark. It's got to be around here somewhere though. It was totally free, and had a huge number of soundeffects.

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Diva

I have recently fallen in love with the Battlestar Galactic sound tracks - miniseries and seasons 1 - 3. There is a lot of ambient music with various effects going on. I especially like some of the tracks with a lot of drum beats as I think they would work well to build tension

 

and possibly the Passacaglia from season one playing gently in the background as you do a montage scene where the world ends or something - it is that kind of music

 

I am intending to use a lot of this when I start my campaign (soon precious, very soon)

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Neurook

I don't know how these things work in America or other countries, but I went to the music section of the city library yesterday and had them help me out with finding some music suitable for Masks.

 

They were very helpful and I went home with some bigband jazz out of Harlem (from the 20-30's), some chanting and stuff from Tibet, and folkmusic from Kenya.

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Rev_Danno

I currently am using the following soundtracks:

The Virgin Suicides

La Planete Sauvage

Zombi

Silent Hill(video game) 1,2,&4

Along with some darker Pink Floyd, and some darker Gorillaz

 

In the past I've use Tom Waits, Twin Peaks soundtrack, Lard, Misfits, Nick Cave, and some other stuff.

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Poet

When I'm writing out adventures, I tend to listen to music, however when playing, it's AKLO or silence.

 

When writing adventures, I'll listen to a wide variety, depending on the mood I plan to set.

Common playlist bands are:

Portishead

Claire Voyant

Switchblade Symphony

Nine Inch Nails (Ghosts I-IV pretty much rock for writing any CoC material)

The Tea Party

Cinephile

Poe

Darling Violetta

Deadboy and the Elephantmen

Lacuna Coil

Marilyn Manson (Mostly for modern adventures)

Morcheeba

The Smashing Pumpkins

Semisonic

Tonic

Voltaire

Xandria

 

You know, it seems like less in Winamp.

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SquibblyDibbly

When I really want to freak the players:

 

Ennio Morricone - The Thing

 

How weird, I always assumed John Carpenter produced the music to The Thing as he did with most of his other films. Anyone playing Beyond The Mountains of Madness would have to have this in their collection !

 

I highly reccomend any John Carpenter soundtrack. I managed to find the soundtrack to The Fog on I-Tunes which is ideal for Cthulhu ! Its extremely creepy to listen to and builds up the suspense nicely.

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shaggy

I just had a quick look around on Amazon for Ennio Morricone The Thing soundtrack and they said £60 - I think my players will have to make do with something else, its a pity because I remember hearing it somewhere before and it was great.

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Cousteau

I haven't actually tested this, but I'm almost certain it would work perfectly:

 

Hindustani music. Classical hindi. There is a "radio channel" somewhere that let's you select the hour of day and they will play an apropriate Malkaun or other raga.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malkaush

 

http://www.kksongs.org/ragamala <- Free ragas-clips. :)

 

It's very unobtrusive. It's usually a long droning sound and a mantra repeated with variations. It's not really scary, although it can be a tad creepy in the long run. I never could decide if I simply find it beautiful, soothing or terrifying. Well worth checking some of it out.

 

I'm sure other "indigenous" music could work equally well when dealing with "primitive" cults in the swamps of Louisianna etc. I'm sorry if this sounds racist, that is not my intention at all.

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Cuchulain

Thomas Newman's soundtrack to "Road to Perdition" is excellent - quite eery, tense, with some '20's jazz thrown in for good measure. Very good for background music, as it was created to be a backdrop to a film.

 

Thomas Newman is a genius.

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jammer

Road to Perdition sounds like a good shout. I bought the Miller's Crossing soundtrack for the same reasons, but it doesn't quite work.

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bluejay

As a general observation, one thing that songs (especially very modern ones) have over classical is that they are usually mixed and mastered at a consistent level...

 

Classical music often has a staggering dynamic range which is wonderful for listening to and annoying when being used as background music where it drifts from silence to overwhelming far too frequently.

 

Film scores are often slightly better for this but it still can be a problem.

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FNH

Following up Cousteau's post I went searching and found this Raga track, it's a free and legal MP3 download.

 

Having listened to it, I'd have to say it's a really moody piece and the odd sound effects that get thrown in, really adds to the mood!

 

Try it.

 

http://www.archive.org/details/raga_jalfrezi

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FNH

Additional free music by the author of the free piece linked to above. I just listened to a random smattering and its all pretty moody stuff. Once again, all free and legal downloads.

 

Zali Krishna

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thingmaker

The trick to using film scores... and it is a bit of work... is to categorize cues.

If you take a fovorite composer of mine, Bernard Herrmann, you will find that a score like "Psycho" is extremely useful, but you don't want the shower murder cue to pop out at the wrong moment. Actually, I wouldn't use the Shower Murder music at all, nor the Prelude and related cues... Too recognizable. That leaves almost half an hour of quietly (disquietingly) menacing music + another nine minutes of cues which are similar but with a tempo which suggests greater tension.

The real trick is to find cues from other scores by the same composer to intersperse. In the case of the "Psycho" cues, I expanded the first category (Quietly Menacing) to almost an hour and the second category to over thirty-five minutes with cues from "Vertigo", "North By Northwest" and several other scores.

You have to be a bit obsessive to put together a really broad collection of cues in the many categories that may be useful in play.

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