Friday, 7 January 2011

MUSE FRIENDLY MUSIC

Hi everyone! First of all I need to welcome a new member of my family, Kiki the Coffee machine.

Regular blog readers have glimpsed the horror that is me without coffee; to say that it is vital to me would be something of an understatement. However, up until this point I'd been drinking mostly instant with a scattering of Starbucks, and feeling strong pangs of envy whenever I saw vlogs of other authors and their coffee makers.

After a year of procrastinating over buying a filter coffee machine, I finally gave in and bought Kiki just ahead of the tax hike. Here she is, installed in my kitchen in all her cherry red glory. I've not quite dared try to operate her yet. She's just so *shiny*. I'm hoping that she'll help keep me productive in the coming year.


On Wednesday the subject of music came up in the comment thread, and I decided that I'd do a little round-up of music that I've found useful for stimulating the writing part of my brain. I ought to make it clear that this isn't necessarily my favourite music, or even the music that I listen to the most just for fun (though some of it is!). It's music that gets me into the right mood to write, or helps me to write a specific kind of scene, and often I'm not even sure why that is.

One of this year's greatest discoveries for me was Two Steps from Hell and their album 'Legend'. The following track is one of my favourites. I can't really imagine sitting on the bus listening to it, but when I'm feeling flat and tired and not in a creative mood, this song grabs hold of my creative muscle and gives it a good hard smacking. I've been listening to it constantly while writing FF.



Next, the wonderful Florence and the Machine. Yes, I know everyone loves Flo - and I certainly DO listen to her music on the bus, and sing along! - but this track does something special for me and has managed to find its way onto every playlist on my iPod. I often play this while writing fast, chasing scenes.

Moving onto one of my all-time favourite artists Imogen Heap. Some of her stuff I love and adore and other bits I have to be in the right mood to appreciate - but when something works for me it WORKS, and once again this track is brilliant for getting me into a mood of emotional tension so that I can unleash angst and suffering on the page.

Now for something a little more manly - the song Alibi, from 30 Seconds to Mars album War. I love the slow build-up of this piece, it's really sneaky because it slides you into drama without you realising it. It's great for writing scenes which start off quietly but gradually become darker.

Onto a tune which is a little more classical. Many people have asked me what the music was for the Shadows on the Moon trailer, and the answer is a sample from this track, Ending Title, from the soundtrack of the film 'Curse of the Golden Flower'. I love it, and I defy anyone to hear the rising beat of the drums tangle with the rich timbre of the shinobue flute and NOT feel their heart skip a beat.

Next is probably my favourite song ever, from one of my favourite bands. If you have heard the Leona Lewis travesty which was a cover of this song, please try to erase it from your mind. Argh. THIS is the real thing.

This next song comes from another favourite band of mine, Paramore. I loved them waaaay before they got famous for being on the Twilight soundtrack, and this song is brilliant for writing kissing scenes. There, I said it! KISSING!

This song was recommended on Maggie Stiefvater's blog many long moons ago, and I'm really grateful, because it's great for writing anger - when your character is mad as hell and isn't going to take it anymore. The steadily rising percussion is irresistible.

Okay, this post is getting horribly long, so I end with a song called Sacrifice from the amazing Lisa Gerrard. This lady was responsible for the soundtracks of such films as Gladiator and Whale Rider, and her music is stunning (she used to be in a band called Dead Can Dance and they were also frighteningly awesome). I used this track a lot when writing Shadows on the Moon, and again for FF.

Music is an incredibly individual thing, but hopefully someone will discover a new favourite here, in which case all the messing about embedding these videos will have been worth it!

33 comments:

Megha said...

I am a HUGE fan of Paramore, and I knew them before Twilight too.

I love Run.

Zoë Marriott said...

I knew you were a girl of excellent taste!

Nattasha said...

I love Paramore, Florence and the Machine and 30 Seconds to Mars too. I like run although every time I hear it it makes me sad because of a scene in Grey's Anatomy lol.

Thank you for introducing me too that first one Legend I think it was and Closing in they are very good.

I think you might like this song. It has to be one of my favourites
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XbBiu1QUPNE&feature=related

Isabel said...

Thanks so much for the post, Zoë! It was so interesting to see what kind of music *you* enjoy, especially the ones you find helpful for writing. I'll definitely try out some of these songs when I write a scene that you think is helpful to write with a certain song on. I'll tell you how it goes. :) It's obvious that we have distinctly different taste (I've never even *heard* of any of these musicians/songs!) but that's just what makes it all the more interesting! I think I'll suggest some music of my own. I LOVE Lady Gaga, and I want you to listen to some of her stuff, if you haven't already. Some of the really well known ones that i enjoy consist of Poker Face, Just Dance, Starstruck, Alejandro, Telephone, Bad Romance, and Paparazzi. One of my favorites by her is Brown Eyes, (it's about time we brown eyed folks got a song!) which sounds like John Lennon. Another is Speechless, which is also more of a slow song that isn't much like what she normally does (Alejandro, Paparazzi, etc.) It's not well known at all, but it's fantastic, and I think you might like it.Another is Speechless, which is also more of a slow song that isn't much like what she normally does (Alejandro, Paparazzi, etc.) You may like that one too. Other less known songs that I adore are Dance in the Dark, Fashion, Summerboy, and Nothing on but the Radio (unreleased!!). Also, Beautiful, Dirty Rich (real instruments!) Money Honey, and Paper Gangsta. WHEW! Sorry. I've gotten carried away. Anyway, check her out on youtube! (Beware of some of her videos!! Oh, well. Don't say I didn't warn you when you're through with your day's trauma!) I hope you like at least *some* of her music. (Of course, you only have to listen to one or two.) Tell me what you think! Your *honest* opinion.

Last thing: Finished REBEL ANGELS yesterday! Amazing, shocking (so surprising!!!!) ending. It was beautiful. Loved it. Now I'm starting THE SWEET, FAR THING, which is supposed to be the best EEP! It's gonna be epic. It's really long: 819 pages! You don't know what you're missing!

Isabel said...

Gaah! Sorry for the Speechless/Brown Eyes typo. I hope you get what I meant. Bleh.

Isabel said...

And Beautiful, Dirty Rich is one song.
Sorry.

Isabel said...

OMG!!!!! Sorry, I know Paramore/that song. It's really good. :)

Isabel said...

Do you know the song she did with B.o.B.? Airplanes. Love that song. (I love B.o.B. too!) Well, maybe our taste isn't as different as I thought! :) Sorry for all the confusing comments!! I need to calm down.

meghaz said...

Yes, yes you do. Haha, Isabel, you talk more than me (no offence)!

Zoë Marriott said...

Thanks for the recommendation, Nattasha - I'll look it up.

Isabel: deep, slow breaths. Okay, I do like Lady Gaga (although not quite as much as you) but I don't find her work particularly inspiring when it comes to writing. Not sure why. Like I said, it's a mystery.

Nattasha said...

Isabel this is so strange I've just started A Great and Terrible Beauty, at the start of the book just, Gemma has only arrived in England. I know what you mean about the length, that series will take me ages to read. Mainly because I'll have to read Macbeth for English soon.

Isabel said...

No, no, not for *writing*! Just in your free time. I can't imagine writing with Lady Gaga on; I'd get absolutely NOTHING done!

Megha: Haha! No offense taken. You're completely right, of course. Consider yourself lucky you don't have to deal with me in person!

Isabel said...

YAY!!! Awesome, Nattasha! You're gonna love it, believe me. Keep me updated on what you think! REBEL ANGELS is even better, and THE SWEET FAR THING is supposed to be even better!! (Holy crap!) I'm only on page 92, but already I know this book is gonna be *amazing*. I'm so happy you're reading it, Nattasha! Yee!

Isabel said...

Nattasha: I'm listening to that song right now!

Zoe: Have you still not heard from Alessandra@Out of the Blue? I mean, I know it's cruel of me to want another name picked out of the hat, but...

Megha said...

Isabel: I, too, want another name to be picked out, although I feel guilty and mean... Sorry, Zoe. It's just that we really want Shadows and I personally can't believe she hasn't replied because I would soooo not miss out on the chance.

Zoë Marriott said...

EVERYONE: it's looking like I'll be picking a new name out of the hat on Monday. I don't want to do it either, but my hands are tied if there's no response - and it's not fair to everyone else if only two copies get given away.

Nattasha said...

Isabel: Yeah I will what did you think of the song?

Zoe: Maybe something has happened to her internet or something else has happened and she hasn't been able to find out.

Isabel said...

Nattasha: It was pretty good! Thanks for the recommendation.

Zoe: I do feel bad for Alessandra, really. I'm not a horrible person. But I can't help getting excited at the prospect that I still might win. Well, I know I won't, but at least I can hope that somebody who really deserves it and that would enjoy it almost (all right, all right, *just*) as much as I would (like Nattasha, Megha, and all the other regular visitors and commenters of this blog; you rock!) will win. Good luck, everyone!

Nara said...

Wow! I loved the music - especially the first one, oh and I loved the one that was on Maggie Stiefvater's blog (I've been following her too!) I haven't heard of half these artists (I'm more of a classical person) but I loved all of these. Thanks for putting them up!

Naraxxx

P.S Have you emailed Alessandra? I hope she hears soon. I mean of course I'd love another chance to win, but it would be horrible to go on someday and find that you nearly won, but didn't go on in time. Ahh, but it's fair if you do do another draw, because, well... there are still loads of other people who want to read Shadows.

Isabel said...

Nara: Read the comments, my dear. They explain. A new winner is being picked tomorrow.

Megha: I think I'll start following your blogs. Well, I think I'll stick to one, anyway. (LOL!) They look interesting. :)
And if I find inspiration, I might comment sometimes! (I think I'm someone anyone would want following their blog. Hence the capacity to comment obsessively on every single teeny weeny post.)

Isabel said...

Okay, well, I already commented. (Ena Oneiro.) I really can never stop talking. It's not difficult for me to find inspiration.

Isabel said...

Well, since one's just a blog and the other is for book reviews, I'll stick to the both of them.

Megha said...

YAY! Seriously, no one reads my blog. I love you, Isabel!!!

Isabel said...

Yes, Sadie, my friend, who is also a follower of this blog, says she'll become a follower of your blog/s! If I decide to get a Google account, I'll become a follower of all the blogs I follow. (In total, three. (Zoe's and your's.) I have yet to find more cool blogs. I love your blog; it's really sophisticated and hilarious for an eleven-year-old's.

Isabel said...

Will you comment back to me on the blog (Ena Oneiro)? I mean, from now on. I'm probably going to be commenting on, like, basically every post (on Ena Oneiro) from now on, so you'll be feeling pretty popular soon enough. On here i lie, reading, I might suggest a few books for you to read and review. That would be awesome! I'll comment on that blog, too

Isabel said...

Zoe: You may find that Speechless and maybe Brown Eyes are inspiring for writing. I know Speechless is for me.

Zoë Marriott said...

It would depend on what I was writing, Isabel! Probably any music can be inspiring for the right scene.

Nattasha said...

I agree with that Zoe

Isabel: I just finished Rebel Angels last night. It was very good. I was shocked to find out that Miss Moore was really Cirece and that Pippa didn't cross over.

Isabel said...

NATTASHA!!!!! DON'T GIVE IT AWAY!!!!! Zoe, don't read that! Ugh, I hope she hasn't already. Anyway, I'm glad you enjoyed it, Nattasha. I'm still slowly plowing through THE SWEET FAR THING, which is very good. I'm on page three hundred and some'in.

Zoe: I think for more melancholy scenes both of these songs. If you listen to them, you might be able to figure it out for yourself.

Nattasha said...

Oops sorry I hadn't realised Zoe hasn't read it. Don't read that comment Zoe. Thanks Isabel, i'm only on page 19 at the minute. I'm having trouble holding the book, I need an x-ray on my hand tomorrow, they think I've chipped the bone on my palm under my middle finger, which is disastrous for my reading lol.

Isabel said...

Aww, you poor thing! I'm sorry. I hope it heals soon!

Nattasha said...

Thanks I won't find out results for another 3 weeks eep!!

Isabel said...

That stinks. And it must not help that the book is ginormous, either. (819 pages! Wow.) Makes it doubly hard to hold.

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