Jump to content
Chad Out of Space

Mood Music for Game Sessions

Recommended Posts

Chad Out of Space

Please share your best scores, sound tracks, period recordings and creepy ambient tracks!

 

I like to use background music and sound to help set the mood of a scene, and I'd love to see good playlists from others who do the same. Such music is also great to have on hand for mood-setting while preparing or writing scenarios.

 

For 20s

 

Phonograph Jazz: King Oliver and His Orchestra (available free on Archive.org)

Phonograph Jazz: Lucille Hegamin (available free on Archive.org)

Haunting Portuguese folk music: Amalia Rodriguez (available free on Archive.org)

French Clubs: Edith Piaf (available free on Archive.org)

French Clubs: Josephine Baker (available free on Archive.org)

European Street Music: Astor Piazzolla

A bit off period, but I often use Bernard Hermann's scores from "The Twilight Zone" and "Vertigo".*

 

For 50s

 

Jazzy Beat Dives: Clark Terry

Tension Building: Bernard Hermann's score from The Day the Earth Stood Still -- and all things BH.

 

 

Any Era

 

Weird Ambient:

Tomandandy's score from "The Strangers"

John Murphy's score from "Sunshine"

Chad Fifer's HPPodcraft music, particularly tracks called Gateway, Chainsaw, The Missing City, Not Easy Beings Ib, Herbert West, Ululations, The Nameless City, Through the Mirror, Despite Himself, Descent, Polaris, Celephais, CDW, Despite Himself He Dreams

James Horner's score from "Aliens"

Wendy Carlos's score from "The Shining" -- Lontano is a particularly great ambi track, and Utrenja contains whispered chanting that is great for scenes involving cult rituals.

Malaya's track called The Cave

Krzysztof Penderecki's

 

Scene-Setting Sound Effects

Lots of good stuff on http://www.freesound.org/, from peepers to boat sounds and some fun sound experiments by other Lovecraft fans.

 

* A note about scores, it's best to remove title themes and other easily recognizable tracks from your playlist to avoid distraction.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Arlandis

Early Lustmord albums are great. Heresy & The Place Where The Black Stars Hang (No youtube sample :sad:) in particular. Dark ambient at its best. He also did a fantastic collaboration with Robert Rich called Stalker

 

Brian Eno's On Land is good too, as are some of

's dark ambient tracks.

 

Music specifically intended for occult rituals can also be great for setting a dark mood. I believe Ixaxaar (a Finnish publisher of occult literature) has some albums on their website.

 

An acoustic guitar / ambient artist by the name of A Bleeding Star has released a series of albums entitled Dark Offering [number] which I enjoy & recommend, but unfortunately (as far as I'm aware) they are only available on last.fm, so I had to use software to rip mp3s.

 

 

For any Egyptian / Middle Eastern themed adventures, Karl Sanders did a great couple of albums called

&

 

 

Depressive Black Metal / Funeral Doom Metal tries to create an atmosphere of horror/sadness/terror/depression etc etc, rather than music to headbang or mosh like an idiot to. The music often has much in common with Dark Ambient & Drone etc. One track I highly recommend is from Denmark's

 

An artist from Slovakia called Igric released a demo in 2007 called

A mixture of black metal (No vocals if youre worried about screams & shrieks), ambient, cosmic sounds, piano. Great stuff.

 

 

For pained cultist chanting, Moëvöt's Zurghtapre - Chant d'Eternité I can evoke a really creepy atmosphere. It is in French however, so probably not a good idea if any of the players can understand the language! Another from the same demo tape features higher-pitched vocals. Ehepr Abgzvoryaerv - Chant D'Éternité II

 

 

...and thats probably enough for now!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
WiseWolf

There is this thread. Plenty of good stuff.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Arlandis

Awesome, will have to look through & pillage it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mankcam

For 1920s swanky jazz, you certainly can't go past Jelly Roll Morton, and also the soundtrack for The Cotton Club motion picture. This music is especially good if if the investigators are visiting Harlem ala 1920s/1930s. I used it when running 'Dead Man Stomp' and the setting came across quite well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Chad Out of Space
There is this thread. Plenty of good stuff.

 

Fantastic, thanks! My Google-fu failed me when I looked for music threads on YSDC. I knew there must be one somewhere!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Chad Out of Space

Fantastic post, Arlandis. I'll be picking it over for new tracks all week.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Taavi

I'm currently running a Bookhounds pbp game on YSDC. YSDC has some capacity to embed music - basically, it has to be on Youtube or goear.com. So, anyone got suggestions for London '30s Cthulhoid mood music from either of those sources?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Chad Out of Space

Need players?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Taavi
Need players?

 

Only if they pledge in blood not to drop out without telling me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
MechSpike

I'm going to be that guy and dig up an old thread I made a while back that I feel got swept under the rug.

 

Building a Soundtrack for Call of Cthulhu

 

I go into detail on creating atmosphere through the use of music. It's pretty in depth, and isn't for the casual keeper, but hopefully there's something useful in there. I also link to a picture of my entire collection of songs I use in game, which you can find here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Chad Out of Space
I'm going to be that guy and dig up an old thread I made a while back that I feel got swept under the rug.

 

Building a Soundtrack for Call of Cthulhu

 

I go into detail on creating atmosphere through the use of music. It's pretty in depth, and isn't for the casual keeper, but hopefully there's something useful in there. I also link to a picture of my entire collection of songs I use in game, which you can find here.

 

Excellent stuff, MechSpike. I did originally search for posts with "music" in the text before I started this thread, but came up short. It appears I missed some good posts like yours in the past. I was thinking it would be nice to collect a list of such recommendations from the forum. I'm a big believer in the use of music to set the mood and pace. So it's great to see others who take it seriously. I wonder what the best format for an ongoing music recommendation list might be...a sticky? Something like an open Google Doc or some such would be nice.

 

I tend to organize my playlists into "acts", so I can adjust the tempo and flavor of various encounters. I also made up playlists for specific locations for a campaign in Kingsport. The players had settled on a few "regular" meeting places, and it was fun to see them argue about which place was quiet enough for planning, or which place had pleasant seagull and ocean sounds to calm the frayed nerves.

 

Your advice on organization is excellent. And I'll be looking through your specific recommendations. I've already gotten some great material from other posts.

 

Thanks very much for drawing us back to your thread!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
MechSpike

Oh, you're quite welcome! I'm glad you enjoyed it. I wish it would get linked to more when people bring up music since I did such an extensive write up about it, but I'm afraid most keepers don't take music that seriously. Most of the time I feel it's a "choose a creepy song and go" mentality. And obviously there's no "right" way of running a CoC game, but I am a firm believer in the *experience* of the game, and how music plays an enormous role in that experience. You also bring up something I never thought of. You searched "music" when looking for threads like that, which makes sense. Perhaps I could tweak the name to catch more visitors when searching for that term, since most people probably wouldn't think to search for "Soundtrack".

 

In addition, I really dig that "playlist for certain locations" idea. I do have a few tracks that come up regularly in certain areas, but never thought to pick certain ones out. That can really help to create very specific imagery in the player's minds.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Chad Out of Space
Oh, you're quite welcome! I'm glad you enjoyed it. I wish it would get linked to more when people bring up music since I did such an extensive write up about it, but I'm afraid most keepers don't take music that seriously. Most of the time I feel it's a "choose a creepy song and go" mentality. And obviously there's no "right" way of running a CoC game, but I am a firm believer in the *experience* of the game, and how music plays an enormous role in that experience. You also bring up something I never thought of. You searched "music" when looking for threads like that, which makes sense. Perhaps I could tweak the name to catch more visitors when searching for that term, since most people probably wouldn't think to search for "Soundtrack".

 

In addition, I really dig that "playlist for certain locations" idea. I do have a few tracks that come up regularly in certain areas, but never thought to pick certain ones out. That can really help to create very specific imagery in the player's minds.

 

Thanks for the props. Yeah, I very much recommend using the dedicated playlists for particular scenes. It takes some practice to work the iPod or sound system without being distracting, but as you know the payoff for good background sound can be soooo worth it.

 

I have increased my CoC music collection tenfold thanks to your hard work and recommendations other people made on your thread. Kudos to you and to YSDC for giving us a forum to swap things like this. Your advice on how to use music is really invaluable.

 

As a Keeper, I am always searching for ways to make the mood a little darker. Given all the distractions we compete with, it can be a real challenge to maintain a dark mood. I think sound is one of those magic tricks we can use to focus the attention and creativity of players. Changing the music or background track can help to control the mood or subtly remind players to focus on the narrative.

 

I'll look for a way to consolidate music and background tracks mentioned across different threads.

 

FYI, someone just started a thread about using ambient sounds for background and scene-setting, and people have already shared some good resources.

 

A side note...how did you publish your playlists into a document? I can't seem to find a way to do that on my iTunes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Laraqua

I think I'll know what I'll be doing this weekend. Listening to all of your awesome suggestions.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Naked Samurai

For modern - and more explicitly 'theme' music than 'ambient' ---

 

I was in a Slender Man CoC game where I recommended Aphex Twin's "Come to Daddy" (

). Pretty jacked up. And the Little Lord Fauntleroy Remix (
) which is pretty damn twisted.

 

I plan to run "This Fire Shall Kill" at some point. MC 900 Ft. Jesus's "The City Sleeps" was practically written for it (

).

 

(Wrongly posted in the Ambient Sounds thread at first.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Chad Out of Space
For modern - and more explicitly 'theme' music than 'ambient' ---

 

I was in a Slender Man CoC game where I recommended Aphex Twin's "Come to Daddy" (

). Pretty jacked up. And the Little Lord Fauntleroy Remix (
) which is pretty damn twisted.

 

I plan to run "This Fire Shall Kill" at some point. MC 900 Ft. Jesus's "The City Sleeps" was practically written for it (

).

 

(Wrongly posted in the Ambient Sounds thread at first.)

 

Oh wow, those tracks are unreal. Great for Delta Green kinda vibe.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
MechSpike
A side note...how did you publish your playlists into a document? I can't seem to find a way to do that on my iTunes.

 

I actually just took a screen shot of my iTunes playlists, then used Photoshop to paste them on top of each other. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Chad Out of Space
I actually just took a screen shot of my iTunes playlists, then used Photoshop to paste them on top of each other. :)

 

Right. You used *magic*. "Your technology scares and frightens me" -- Caveman Lawyer

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Miihkali

I've found Apocalypse Now soundtrack a good one. It fits for a growing, bizarre tension.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Demoriel

I always felt this classical piece by Olivier Messiaen, was very good for anyone sending investigators to Innsmouth. Listen to the entire piece, it starts out kinda light and busy, then gets strange/creepy. the piece was composed while he was a prisoner in a German POW camp in WW2.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Laraqua

Ooh, I like that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Pymander

I Recently stumbled upon a really terrific piece of classic-era-appropriate jazz on Youtube. It's an instrumental tune called "Kismet" and was recorded in 1919 by George Green's Novelty Orchestra. It is unusual in that it has a distinctly spooky vibe to it; not so much that you would want to deploy it for the moment a shoggoth comes hurtling out an inky tunnel, but just about perfect for setting the mood at the beginning of a game.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sign in to comment.

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×