Playlist to create by

I’m a true child of the city.

For me, this means that I think better when there is a constant stream of white noise that I can block out entirely. It’s the reason I could never study in the library at college; it was so damn quiet that any scrape of a chair, any turning of a page would distract me. My favorite place to go was our school’s Memorial Union building, it was where the post office, bookstore and travel office all came together. It also had the most awesome room looking out onto our quad with huge square cushions where one could set up books/laptops/various studying accoutrements. With the constant stream of students in and out and the bursts of noise from the requisite frisbee-players outside, it was the perfect place for me to concentrate fully on whatever was in front of me.

Hopefully not this. Slightly more distracting.

The same applies now. Minus the protesters, in theory.

I prefer to head out to a favorite local coffeeshop (of which there are many in LA, thankfully. I’m looking at you, Groundworks! I <3 you! ) in order to write or read as there is just enough hum of noise for me to be able to fully enjoy whatever is in front of me. At home, however, it gets a little more difficult as I don’t live in a hostel or commune. YET.

I love putting on background music while I’m writing, or turn on Direct TV’s music channels if I’m on the couch in the living room. But if I’m reading, I can’t listen to music with actual lyrics as my brain just wants to sing along. Instrumental music is a must. For a while I only had a few Firefly songs on repeat (I HIGHLY recommend “Inara’s Suite” if you haven’t heard it), but even the awesomeness of Greg Edmonson can only be listened to so many times. I therefore went on an iTunes binge and put together a still-growing playlist of music I enjoy to have on while gaming/reading/blogging/swiss polka dancing.

Maybe not the last one.

I tended to favor songs from sci-fi and fantasy (Quelle suprise, I’m sure. ) Some of the songs I’d had for a while (River’s Dance/Inara’s Suite/Inside the Tam House from Firefly. I also found out that a few songs I’d had on my iTunes forever like Adiemus was not done by Enya, but rather Karl Jenkins off the Pure Moods, Vol. 1 album. My version of Braveheart’s Theme? Also not by Enya or even James Horner, but rather by Crimson Ensemble on another Celtic compilation album.

I started adding to my collection by looking at various films and easily found songs from favorites like Lord of the Rings. However, I started realizing that while I loved them in the context of the film, they were sometimes a little too distracting and rousing to fit well in the playlist (Although, I did love The Council of Elrond (Theme for Aragorn and Arwen) [feat. “Aniron”] from the original soundtrack. Gorgeous!) They sounded like movie songs. Luckily for me, there were albums out there like Music Inspired By Middle Earth by David Arkenstone that fit perfectly. Movies like Avatar were awesome as well, but only a few songs (like Jake’s First Flight and The Bioluminescence of the Night were the type I was looking for.

The ‘Genius’ sidebar in iTunes was also extremely helpful, leading me to various songs from the Doctor Who and Angel soundtracks, to name a few. I also tend to have an affinity for asian themes, so Going to School from Memoirs of a Geisha is one of my favorites as well.

I couldn’t leave out anime and video games, so I started with classics like Princess Mononoke (The Instrumental Theme Song is just gorgeous), and Lelianna’s Song from Dragon Age: Origins as well as a few songs from Final Fantasy X are on there (“Wandering Flame” from Disc 4 is a favorite).

As a side note, it is a huge pain in the ass to get a text playlist file from iTunes. Getting a .pdf was fairly easy, but attempting to convert it to something that is easily cut-and-pasteable proved frustrating at best. So unfortunately, I had to make do with only including a .pdf file to easily view all of the songs.

The FULL Instrumental Playlist is available here in .PDF format for your viewing pleasure.

12 comments on “Playlist to create by

  1. I really like a lot of the stuff Bear McCreary has put out such as the BSG and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles soundtracks. Also The Dark Knight soundtrack is very good. Thanks for the list.

  2. You should check out, which streams fantasy and sci-fi music 24/7. I tune in whenever I get sick of the Final Fantasy X soundtrack (good call on “Wandering Flame,” by the way).

  3. I believe google documents has a pretty easy pdf->text convertor that might be applicable here. Maybe.

  4. I definitely spent a LOT of time perusing BSG’s soundtracks, but I ran into the same problem I had with movie soundtracks; the songs are just so stirring! Great to listen to, but distracting if you want them in the background. Loved “Kara Remembers”, though.

    Will definitely check out RadioRivendell, I’d never heard of it! And thanks for the tip about the Google documents converter; I’d tried others with unsatisfactory results.

  5. I like the soundtrack to ‘The Last of the Mohicans ‘, ‘Batman Begins’, “O Fortuna”
    from Carmina Burana by Carl Orff,

  6. Thank you very much for this post. I’m not city but I can’t focus my thoughts without something to ignore either, and I’d been listening to the Lost (fantastic, I highly recommend it) and Doctor Who soundtracks for a little too long. This list is great and has me tossing more money at Apple than I’m willing to admit in public.

  7. It’s nice to find someone that listens to a lot of the same things I do! Usually someone asks me what kind of music I like, then looks at me like I’m crazy when I tell them soundtracks. I’ll have to check out the music from Avatar, I haven’t heard it yet.

    I have a 2 disc set of The Incredible Film Music Box. They have some really good ones on there. I like several of the songs from Schindler’s List. Across the Stars from Star Wars Ep 2 is really good also.

    Thanks for the list! That gives me more music to go look for.


  8. Great list! If you don’t have it and can find it, I highly recommend the first OST for Record of Lodoss War. It looks like this:

    I also like the first Megazone 23 OST, although it sounds very 80’s dated. And of course the TRON soundtrack is awesome too, as is The Princess Bride. And although not fantasy/sci-fi, The Sweet Hereafter soundtrack is really good.

    On the New Age side, David Arkenstone’s album In the Wake of the Wind is good and fantasy-quasi-soundtracky, and Mark Isham’s album Castalia is brilliant, esp. tracks 5 and 7.

    On the Classical side, I love Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition (I prefer the original solo piano to the orchestral versions by Ravel and others). The late 19th century / early 20th century tone poems all have kind of a soundtracky feel to them.

    Oh, and Esquivel. I heart Esquivel. And J. G. Thirlwell (aka Foetus, aka Manorexia, aka Steroid Maximus, aka the guy who does the music for The Venture Brothers) is good too.

    And lastly, if you don’t already have it, you MUST download the soundtrack to Doukutsu Monogatari, as well as the game itself:

    The fact that the programmer wrote the music, despite having had no training, makes me want to kill myself.

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