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Subject: A Soundtrack for Dystopia rss

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Michael Christie
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I have seen comments here and elsewhere about how Android is like a movie, both in its presentation, notably influenced by Blade Runner, and game concept, wherethe players are like directors or scriptwriters influencing the story arcs of their character. So, I decided to give it a soundtrack.

Bearing in mind that it's a long game with lots of sci-fi flavour, I grabbed a whole bunch of CDs from my collection, particularly focusing on the industrial, techno, anbient, & electronica styles of music, with a few songs chosen for irony (such as Faith No More's "Evidence").

Highlights from this home-made Android soundtrack included:

- the Blade Runner soundtrack (of course!)
- the Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex soundtracks (all 3 of them)
- the first two Serial Experiments: Lain soundtracks
- Earth Maiden Arjuna, notably "The Clone" which could practically be the Jinteki Corporation's theme song. (I would have included Weird Al Yankovic's "I Think I'm a Clone Now" but it's not available on iTunes ).
- Also, Nine Inch Nails' instrumental stuff fits the bill pretty well.

Some moments where the soundtrack notably added to the game immersion for the players included Caprice Nisei struggling with her "Descent into Madness" storyline while the soundtrack played "Climbing Up the Walls" by Radiohead. (When I say "struggling with the storyline", I mean the other players were playing dark cards to mess her up).

Rachel Beckmann (the bounty hunter) was putting hits on murder suspects to the aggro remix of the Depeche Mode tune "Never Let Me Down Again". Somewhere along the line however, her troublesome cyberware did let her down - in a fit of cold, disastrous logic, she eliminated the suspect that she thought was innocent.

Raymond Flint, the troubled P.I. found himself wandering around the war memorial moping about his old war buddies, with another Depeche Mode instrumental, "Agent Orange" playing in the background. On a related note, he found Parsons and resolved his trauma over Keene's death. Unfortunately, dealing with his personal stuff got in the way of him solving the case.

Floyd 2X3A7C spent a lot of time obsessing over Eve 5VA3TC's involvement in the murder, all the while humming along to "Corporate Slave" by SNOG. Floyd convinced the notorious underworld figure Mr Li to protect Eve during the climax (removing a hit token late enough in the game to keep her from being permanently removed from the list suspects).

Louis Blane, the corrupt cop, basically cashed in on the grassroots conspiracy, as it became obvious that the conspiracy was mostly just the people of the street fed up with their downtrodden situation. He raked in street favours, which ended up quite valuable due to multiple links on the conspiracy puzzle pointing to it. Cue the consiracy-themed music of SNOG again (paricularly "The Illuminati"), and, to a lesser extent, Recoil - particularly "Missing Piece", and "Shunt". (I tried linking to their wikipedia entry but that doesn't seem to behave with the url tag)

The court found both Eve 5VA3TC and Noise guilty, so Floyd and Louis were congratulated for their efforts in solving the case, but Louis' accumulation of Street favours, and the mending of his relationship with his wife saw him win the day.

All in all, much fun was had. The soundtrack kept people entertained during the time between their own turns and actions on other players' turns.

So, if you were putting together a soundtrack to play Android to, what music/bands would you include?
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Geoff King
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I'm not very familiar with much in the way of soundtracks, but based on what I am familiar with (and what I have in my collection/hard drive) I'd probably burn a few comps mixing industrial/metal like Ministry, KMFDM, Front 242 and similar stuff. Maybe some 70s Tangerine Dream for variety. Maybe soundtracks like The Matrix and The Crow.
I've heard some of Koyaanisquatsi (Philip Glass) in the recent trailers for The Watchmen. That might fit the bill.
 
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Arvid A Cederholm
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I have used the Blade Runner soundtrack, and the more noiry songs from Max Payne and Max Payne 2.
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Paul Imboden
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Anomalous wrote:
So, if you were putting together a soundtrack to play Android to, what music/bands would you include?


Merzbow. Sunn O)). Aphex Twin.
 
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Christopher Todesco
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Read it again, carefully...
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Huh.. that's funny, I kinda did the same thing for our sessions, but while I had collections like the Blade Runner soundtrack as my starting point, I steered more towards the noiry/jazzy sound than techno/industrial/metal. Here's a couple of things I found are working if you wish to also look in that direction:

Abney Park - a "Steampunk" band, described as "industrial trip-hop"...

Bohren und der Club of Gore - Jazz/noir but with a bit of flavor that seems to pair well with Android.

Duke Ellington - Very much classic American Jazz, and has a HUGE library of songs that you can find quite a few fitting pieces. A lot of it is too "happy" to include it without picking out the good ones...



I also tried tracking down soundtracks from classing Film Noir movies, such as "The Maltese Falcon", "Murder My Sweet", "Key Largo", "The Asphalt Jungle", etc... Unfortunately, the soundtracks of these 50 year old movies aren't easily found, and most compilation discs are quite disappointing-- usually only having the title song, not the mood music that

I really like the juxtaposition of the more jazzy/noir music to the edgy sci-fi stuff from the Blade Runner soundtrack. It really fits the "The world changed. Crime did not." tagline. I'm going to look into these other suggestions to increase their presence, especially some of the Anime soundtrack suggestions.
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Seth Ben-Ezra
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I'd also recommend Portishead. Here are a few samples:

Glory Box from Dummy
Humming from Portishead
Machine Gun from Three

Seth Ben-Ezra
Great Wolf


 
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Seth Ben-Ezra
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Also, Only You.

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Christopher Murphy
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Anomalous wrote:

- the Blade Runner soundtrack (of course!)


A great companion to this is a lesser known album also by Vangelis (the Blade Runner soundtrack composer for any who might not know) called The City. In some ways it really comes off as Blade Runner Soundtrack Part II. Each track deals with a different time of day in the city (the City slowly coming alive in the morning or the evening progression of city workers back out to the suburbs, for example) or a different location, such as industrial factories or red light district.

I encourage Blade Runner fans to give it a go!
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Seth Ben-Ezra
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The man speaks truth. I spent years (years!) trying to find "The City" until I discovered it on Amazon MP3 download. It really is that beautiful!

Seth Ben-Ezra
Great Wolf
 
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Calavera Despierta
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I like the suggestions of the trip-hop like Portishead, or the ambient glitch electronica like Aphex Twin, but I almost wonder if a more... retro feel would not actually create the right atmosphere - the way that the 1930's retro music adds to the emotional complexity of game play in Fallout 3.

Consider the detective noir tones generated by:
Cole Porter
Billie Holiday
Ella Fitzgerald
etc.

You could also make things really interesting by mixing in the big band stuff with the sort of rough-edged Woody Guthrie California labor protest folk music, which would support the politicized atmosphere of the game.
 
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