Music of the Week #4

Tracks: “Prologue & Birth” and “Eternal Flame”

Album: Epica

Artist: Audiomachine

So, today I’m BREAKING THE RULES by posting two tracks!

Okay, so there are no rules to break, really.  I just felt like being a little dramatic.  Anyway, I couldn’t decide between these two tracks, since they are both great and have a somewhat similar feel.  So I just figured I’d post em both.  There’s not really any reason why “music of the week” has to specifically be just one piece of music, after all.

“Trailer music”, as a genre, has gained some popularity over the years since the year 2000.  A lot of it can sound kind of generic or same-y, but some stand out, and these two are among them.  Audiomachine is one of the better artists in the genre.  “Prologue & Birth” is a more slow-paced, almost contemplative piece.  It still has parts that begin to feel uplifting and epic (in the middle and end of the track when the music rises and gets louder), but it never just goes full-on with that feeling, retaining a quietness that makes me think of something less adventurous or grand and more personal, with a distinctly enigmatic or mysterious flavor as well.  And that “shimmer” sound that can be heard a few times at the very beginning, and once more at the very end, really adds an air of magic to the whole thing.

Like “Prologue & Birth”, “Eternal Flame” has a similar feel of being uplifting, and seems appropriate for something with more of an almost fairy-tale-esque feel, rather than “epic conflict” stories (i.e. as trailer music, it’d work better with a preview for something like a Hayao Miyazaki film than for something like Lord of the Rings).  However, it does still have epic as an important aspect of the piece, much more so than “Prologue…” does.  The sequence from 2:30 to 3:15 is absolutely amazing, and makes me think of dragons and pegasi soaring through the air as feats of incredible magic change the face of the world around them.  And I really like how it has that huge, epic section, but then it still ends as it begins: with that quiet, serene piano.

I have a bit more to say about these than usual, because both of these tracks actually have a special connection to story ideas of mine. One thing I like to do, a lot, is listen to a piece of music and imagine how it might be used in a story of mine if that story were a movie or TV show or game.  It’s an indulgence, of course; while I do hope to publish something one of these days, actually getting something produced in an audiovisual medium is FAR less likely than getting a book out, for a number of reasons.  So it’s just something I do for fun, and both of the above tracks are “set” in my mind as pieces for trailers to the movie versions of these two stories, if such things ever existed.  “Prologue & Birth” fits very well with a story idea that came to me on a whim, based on some imagery that came to a friend of mine on a whim, which was in turn based on a random picture we were looking at of a train in heavy snow.  This one idea sparked a concept involving the life of a fairly ordinary person, in the real world, who has an encounter with a… a spirit?  Ghost?  Something that appears human, but isn’t, not quite.  At first, I thought she would be a “ghost”, more or less in the traditional sense, but later I moved away from that idea, into something a little different.  I’m still working out the details of what exactly this other character is, so I don’t yet have the necessary wording to describe her.  As time went on, and I realized this story was something I wanted to develop, I hit upon the notion of setting it in Valocea.  In Part 4 of the project overview, I mentioned that it might be fun someday to write a story that was set there, treating the place as if it were real even though it is in fact entirely fictional itself.  I guess I should have known it wouldn’t take THAT long for me to come up with a concept for such a story; generating interesting ideas that form the basis for stories is kind of my thing, which is why I have way more potential ideas and partially finished stories than I do completed works.

“Eternal Flame”, on the other hand, fit perfectly as the trailer music for a story called Crafters, which I began writing last year as part of NaNoWriMo 2012.  I’ll probably go into more detail about this story in a dedicated post at some point (and put up an excerpt, as well), so I won’t spend too much time describing it here, but in brief, it’s about a fantasy world where certain gifted people (the titular “crafters”) are able to tap into a powerful form of magic, which translates the execution of their talents (whether it be painting, smithing, writing, etc) into an energy that literally helps maintain the consistency of their world.  This energy holds the world together, and can also be used to reshape it: a river might be moved, a forest created from nothing, or other such alterations, to address the needs of the various beings living in this world.  One such Crafter, a young artist who has only just begun to refine her skills at the start of the story, is the protagonist.  Back in November when I was writing it for Nano, I’d listen to this track and imagine it as a trailer for the Crafters movie; that sequence I pointed out above (from 2:30 to 3:15) evoked images of energy flowing through their world, changing the landscape and holding together the seams that keep their lands safe from that which lies beyond them.

More about Crafters (and the other story) later on.  Enjoy the music!

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