Oct 7, 2013

Music for Monday: Lost At Sea

May I apologize right off for not posting the other runners-up? Thank you. The critique part of my brain is all worn out. *wipes forehead*

Before I get to the music, let me also say that my Intelligence post has now been backlinked twice. o__O That is waaay more than I ever expected. Check it out today on Sarah Ellen's blog My Double Living!

Now, a few of you may know I have never seen the sea. The closest I've been to it is Lake Michigan. I vividly remember it, whether because of the sheer vastness of the water, the stretch of nothing but water that went on longer than my ten-year-old brain could imagine, or because of the half-ton of sand in my shorts. (Mom thought that because it was too cold to swim, we wouldn't get in the water. Silly mom.)

I've always been fascinated, not necessarily with the ocean, but with the draw of the ocean. Rereading The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater has brought it to the front of my mind once again. There's something about carnivorous water horses that does that to me. (I ought to review that when I'm done with it, because it's seriously one of my favorite books ever.)

And then yesterday, I was trying my hand at a fiddle trill in a Celtic song and I rediscovered this:

Now I'm bound for the heart of the ocean
I'm riding the sea in my soul
In the dark and the deep
She will rock me to sleep
Down below... where the black waters roll

When I heard this again, I realized I had unconsciously used it as a base for my elven lullabye. Not the words, but the chord changes and the longing tone. It almost made me wish I'd included the ocean in the lyrics.

The concept of the sea as a harsh mistress, as something alive and seductive, is enchanting to me. It's something I've teased around in my head, hoping to write about someday, but never really understood. There's also a wealth of theories and mythology to dig through for inspiration, anywhere from the more common mermaids and sea monsters to exotic selkies and sirens to barely-fictional worlds like Atlantis and Lemuria. Tolkien touched on it in his books, giving the elves a hunger for the sea that makes me ache to write something as good.

"The Sea! Alas! I have not yet beheld it. But deep in the hearts of all my kindred lies the sea-longing, which it is perilous to stir. Alas! for the gulls. No peace shall I have again under beech or under elm."

If I ever get brave enough to write about the ocean, this is the music I'll use.

Two Steps from Hell - Ocean
Bypassing TSFH's more popular Ocean Princess, I came upon this gem a few months ago and absolutely love it. The introductory water-like ripples of strings, the clear female vocal, and the build to the climax place you right in an otherworldly, underwater setting.

Gargantuan Music - Ocean Sky
The ambient beginning and ringing background noises in this new discovery morph into pounding drums and strings about halfway through, led by rhythmic, metallic chimes that invite thought of pirate treasure and rolling storm waves.

Hans Zimmer - Mermaids
I don't usually go in for the heavily trademark movie scores, because I have a hard time writing to them when the main character's theme or a variation thereof appears every ten seconds. This song, however, is an exception, and only reinforces my conviction that Hans Zimmer is a genius. I've used it writing multiple mysterious and/or magical scenes and it never gets old. The floating, mournful vocals have an amazing melody I can't help humming along to, and the chanting around 3:15 never fails to get my heart pounding. I rarely use the second half, as it's more action-oriented, but it's good for the occasional listen.

Thomas Bergersen - Aura
This is one song that always crops up when I've gone out beyond where I can touch when I'm swimming, especially in anything other than a swimming pool. I'm fine until I start imagining what might be under me. Can I just say I wished more epic songs had chimes in them?

Two Steps from Hell - Behold Atlantis
To deviate from my normal choices, this is more of a sound experiment than an actual song, reminding me of numerous wandering pieces by Moby (whose music I hear all the time, since dad is his biggest fan.) With the weird blubbing and popping noises and the rising and falling strings, it definitely sets an unusual scene.

James Newton Howard - Prologue
Lady in the Water is one of those films that stuck with me. It's so unusual with such ethereal music - it's a movie that really makes you think. James Newton Howard is incredible as usual. The piano-chimes duo is subtle, understated, but ever-present through the entire soundtrack.

Two Steps from Hell - Water Reflections
Just one more TSFH piece! This one is another new discovery and incorporates such unusual instruments and melodies that I had to share. Is that guitar or something electronic? And the choir! *sighs*

So that's my music load for the day. What about you? Have you written anything about the magic of the ocean? What songs would you recommend?