On Writing to Soundtracks

To an outside observer, my last.fm profile has gone wonky this week. I’m in soundtrack mode. Specifically, Lord of the Rings soundtrack mode.

I discovered a few days ago that the soundtrack to The Hunt for Gollum, a fanfilm that dramatizes Aragorn’s search for Gollum during the early part of The Fellowship of the Ring, was online and free to download. The score for the fanfilm — by Chris Bouchard, Adam Langston, and Andrew Skrabutenas — is reminiscent of Howard Shore’s scores for Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy. Even the music from the trailer is reminiscent of the orchestration of “Lux Aeterna” used in The Two Towers trailer. Getting the music right is serious attention to detail.

I’ve watched The Hunt for Gollum online and I enjoyed it greatly. It’s in line with Jackson’s films rather than J.R.R. Tolkien’s books. The filmmaking, done on a shoestring budget, displays a great deal of inventiveness, and the performances are solid. If it were possible to have The Hunt for Gollum as a DVD, I would gladly have it in my collection.

Back to soundtracks.

Sometimes, when I have to write a lot of words — which is what I’ve had to do this week — I find that the best way to do so is to listen to orchestral soundtracks. I normally listen to rock music at the office; that’s what headphones are for. But when I need something that’s more like sonic wallpaper, that won’t get in the way of the words, scores are the way to go.

Yesterday I listened to Geoff Zanelli’s score for Outlander, the kick-ass Vikings vs. aliens movie that went pretty much straight-to-DVD, in spite of the presence of John Hurt, Ron Perlman, and Sophia Myles. Today, in addition to another couple of listens to The Hunt for Gollum‘s score (it’s only half an hour of music), I tried to listen to Shore’s scores to The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers, except I kept getting interrupted, so I’d have to go back and relisten to tracks.

I’ve not watched The Lord of the Rings films in a few months, maybe close to a year, and I’ve not listened to the scores, except maybe for The Return of the King, recently. Thus, “Samwise the Brave,” which comes near the end of The Two Towers, packed a great wallopping emotional punch, as it does in the film. I could visualize the charge of the Rohirrim into the Orc army besieging Helm’s Deep. I could picture the flooding of Isengard. I could even hear Sam’s stirring speech about hope in the ruins of Osgiliath.

Tomorrow? Tomorrow’s a half day at the office. I may listen to jazz. Streaming audio online. WSHA, Shaw University’s jazz station in Raleigh, should fit the bill. 😀

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