If I’m not listening to Radio 4, or required to have two receptive ears to do my job, I’m listening to music.
My desk is a testament to this, as I currently struggle to incorporate a pair of unsubtle Roth Oli 2 speakers that loom either side of my screens like guardian lions. Those are driven by a Cambridge Audio Topaz AM1 amplifier, but when my housemates and neighbours need a little peace a quiet, I’ve also got a pair of Philips SHP9500 headphones.
My tastes are wide and varied. I’m beginning these monthly posts as a way of both keeping a record of great music, my changing tastes over time, and possibility allowing you, my readers to discover some new music for yourselves.
This month I’ve been listening to lots of trap and melodic dubstep, as per usual for the last few years, along with a haunting game soundtrack and an Idyll by Wagner.
Grant – Are We Still Young (feat. Jessi Mason)
Mercy X – Caught Fire (feat. Ashley Lawless)
Julian Calor – Make me Believe
Justin Caruso – Talk About Me (ft. Victoria Zaro) (Kuur Remix)
Cashmere Cat – Love Incredible (ft. Camila Cabello)
David García Díaz – RiME Soundtrack
I watched Youtuber Nerd³ play this game and the art style immediately evoked fond memories of Zelda: Wind Waker. The gameplay is puzzle based, but primarily focused on immersing the player in the sumptuous and mysterious environment of its desert island, rich in secrets. This wouldn’t be possible without an equally expressive and emotionally moving soundtrack. Suffice to say, Spanish composer David García Díaz has produced exactly that. The track I chose here – Promenade – features a haunting melody that is repeated often throughout the game. It begins wistful and melancholy, but eventually rises to hopeful crescendo, capturing both the feelings players go through as they struggle to complete the more challenging puzzles, but also the main character’s own narrative arc, filled as it is with tribulations and painful memories.
Richard Wagner – Siegfried Idyll for 13 Instruments
I discovered this piece thanks to Feedback on Radio 4 (the thinking man’s Pick of the Week), which featured it as so many listeners had written in to express just how much the episode of Soul Music on Wagner’s Siegfried Idyll had moved them (one had to pull over onto the hard shoulder of the motorway, eyes streaming, and wait until the programme finished before she could continue driving). After such praise, I had to listen to the episode myself. I was also suitably moved both by the music, with it’s rich, hopeful melody of strings, overflowing with deep emotions, and the story behind its composition and stories of those lives it has touched.
Cellist Nick Trygstad concluded:
It’s an expression of the things that are unfulfilled for us,
It’s also an expression of just how beautiful life is.
Wagner manages to express the things you have,
The things you left behind,
The things you want,
And may never get.
I’m such a sucker for Romantic composers!