Bookish ‘Sci-Fi’ Beats: Ex Machina OST


Sci-Fi Bookish BeatsMusic, much like literature, has the power to drive your imagination; it can lift the soul and create real emotion. This is Bookish Beats, a feature which will showcase some of the soundtracks which have enriched the worlds I’ve found between the pages. 


Ex Machina (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

Score Composed by Ben Salisbury and Geoff Barrow


Listen to with:

A tense science fiction thriller

Such as:

Slow Bullets by Alastair Reynolds

The Ex Machina soundtrack is pure atmospheric ambience. Created by Ben Salisbury and Portishead’s Geoff Barrow, this is a soundtrack which celebrates electronic music; transporting you to another time, another place… and maybe even another world. Dark electronic synths fall across a backdrop of moody reverberating tension to create a score which could only have emerged as a result of pure science fiction inspiration, and which succeeds in creating an incredibly evocative backdrop for reading any science fiction thriller. The Ex Machina soundtrack is subtle and understated yet retains a flair for the dramatic that excites, ripples with tension and keeps the button pressed firmly on repeat.

From the opening track – The Turing Test which, with its distinctive combination of a rolling and beating melody interwoven with dark electronic synths, introduces one of the soundtrack’s main themes – this soundtrack establishes an unyielding atmosphere which remains undiluted throughout the entire score. Watching continues this ambient theme but is overlaid with an electronic beat which slowly transforms into a beautiful creeping melody before disappearing beneath a cloud of tension, cut through with a low and wavering bass.

Ava is an entirely different type of track. There is a certain innocence which permeates the background of tension and the melody is reminiscent of the tune from a musical jewellery box. This same melody is echoed in other tracks such as The Test Worked, a piece which is saturated in gentle ambience until the score’s other main theme – a rousing and repeating electronic melody – cuts in. Skin also features echoes of this ‘jewellery box’ theme before transforming and intensifying until the gentle beat becomes a pounding, climactic finale. Out, which is one of the score’s stand-out tracks, plays with this same gentle tone but transforms it into fast-paced and melodic electronic number.

Falling is an incredibly beautiful track which is a combination of atmosphere, gentle melodies and intensifying tension which reaches a pounding and dramatic climax. This tension is an essential characteristic of the entire soundtrack and, in tracks such as Hacking / Cutting and I Am Become Death, is intensified and entwined with ambience, rhythmic beats and almost discordant sections, which gradually build the pace until cutting out to a whining reverberating chord. Bunsen Burner, a track by Cuts, uses the score’s electronic theme to create a tense and sweeping action track which creates a triumphant finale to phenomenal score.

This is a soundtrack which impresses with its subtle drama and tense atmosphere. If you’re looking for an ambient soundtrack which echoes the character of a moody science fiction thriller, then Ex Machina may just be the perfect score.

Favourite tracks

04 – Falling

Top track for action

10 – Bunsen Burner

Top track for tension

06 – Hacking / Cutting

Top track for emotion

09 – Out

heart

If you like the Ex Machina soundtrack, you may also want to try The Machine soundtrack

Amazon

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Bookish ‘Sci-Fi’ Beats: Oblivion OST


Sci-Fi Bookish BeatsMusic, much like literature, has the power to drive your imagination; it can lift the soul and create real emotion. This is Bookish Beats, a feature which will showcase some of the soundtracks which have enriched the worlds I’ve found between the pages. 


Oblivion (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

Score Composed by Anthony Gonzalez & Joseph Trapanese

Original Music by M83


Listen to with:

An action-packed sci-fi epic

Such as:

Inquisitor by Mitchell Hogan

Welcome back to another week of Bookish Beats. We’ve had a little break from this feature whilst I attempt to organise myself but this week we’re back with a vengence with the Oblivion OST.

This soundtrack is the result of a phenomenal collaboration between director Joseph Kosinski and the French electronic group M83. Following the success of the Tron Legacy soundtrack, in which Kosinski drafted in Daft Punk to create the score, the Oblivion director again went down the alternative route and selected M83 to score the soundtrack alongside Joseph Trapanese.  M83 have succeeded in creating a powerfully tense and mesmerising score which compliments the movie whilst being a stunning album in its own right.

With nods to traditional classically composed soundtracks, M83 have created an electronic symphony which flows effortlessly from one track to another and provides the perfect backdrop to any science fiction novel. Opening up with Jack’s Dream, a short piece which feels at home in a science fiction epic – grand, slow and powerful – and flowing on to Waking Up, a brilliant, slow building track which introduces the main theme present throughout the OST; this soundtrack builds to fantastic heights and provides a full complement of tracks for action, for atmosphere and tension, and for haunting emotive scenes.

Atmospheric tension is a common theme throughout this soundtrack where discordant sounds and repetitive beats create pieces which wouldn’t be out of place on a game soundtrack. Tech 49Odyssey Rescue and Losing Control are all slow building, tense tracks which reach powerful and often haunting crescendos, Radiation Zone uses elements from the main theme and overlays it with a powerful drum solo, and Temples of Our Gods uses choral pieces to give a tense track an element of grandeur.

The Oblivion OST also presents a number of impressive action tracks with Earth 2077, which weaves an electronic theme throughout this epic and all encompassing symphonic number, and Canyon Battle, a similarly tense and powerful action track which uses electronic synth melodies to get your heart pumping and succeeds in creating one of the best action tracks I’ve heard in a long while.

But this soundtrack is not without its truly haunting an emotive pieces either. You Can’t Save HerRaven RockStarwaves are all incredibly beautiful and emotive tracks, and Ashes of Our FathersUndimmed by Time, Unbound by DeathI’m Sending You Away and Fearful Odds are all downbeat chillout numbers which use haunting renditions of the main theme to create a perfect combination of tension and emotion. Something which is similarly found in the final track of the album, Oblivion, performed by Norwegian singer-songwriter Susanne Sundfør.

If you’re looking for a soundtrack to a science fiction epic then you could do much worse than the Oblivion OST. The electronic overlays give it a true science fiction feeling making it the perfect backdrop to a good book.

Favourite tracks

02 – Waking Up

Top track for action

08 – Canyon Battle

Top track for tension

07 – Losing Control

Top track for emotion

04 – Starwaves

heart

Amazon

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Bookish Beats: Inception OST


Bookish BeatsMusic, much like literature, has the power to drive your imagination; it can lift the soul and create real emotion.This is Bookish Beats, a feature which will showcase some of the soundtracks which have enriched the worlds I’ve found between the pages. 


Inception 2

Inception (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

Composed by Hans Zimmer


Listen to with:

An action-packed sci-fi thriller

Such as:

Red Rising by Pierce Brown

This week’s Bookish Beats is taking another visit to the silver screen with the Inception soundtrack, the stunning score composed by the incomparable Hans Zimmer. This soundtrack combines fast-paced action with tense atmospheric ambience to create an incredibly emotive and infinitely memorable score. The Inception OST is both powerful and haunting and is undoubtedly one of my favourite movie soundtracks of all time.

Inception is a soundtrack which Zimmer composed ‘blind’ – he wasn’t allowed to see the film once Christopher Nolan started editing the footage. This allowed Zimmer to wholly concentrate on the narrative of the film and has led to the creation of a liberated and multi-layered soundtrack which incorporates atmospheric electronics with a powerful brass section overlaid by the sweeping guitar sounds of Johnny Marr.

One of the most interesting features of this soundtrack is the use of the instantly recognisable horn section to denote a change from one level of dreaming to another. This beat was a slowed down extraction from Édith Piaf’s Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien, which also features in the soundtrack and movie.

This soundtrack’s heavy reliance on ambience makes this the perfect backdrop for reading, whilst its recognisable and powerful tracks provide a perfect backdrop to action and tense moments. Half Remembered Dream and One Simple Idea are both heavily atmospheric tracks, whilst Waiting for a Train, which samples Edith Piaf’s Non, je ne regrette rienstarts off in the same otherworldly way, gradually building the tension until the Piaf break where it fully saturates the track.

Action and tension are very much intertwined in this soundtrack. Dream Is Collapsing is incredibly iconic, the drawn out horn section powering slowly and deliberately to a backdrop of tense strings instantly transports you to a completely different world. Radical Notion takes the powerful horn section and repeats it in this paired down track, incorporating synths and string sections to create an eerie resonance throughout. Mombasa, however, is an action track through and through.

This score is not without it’s beautiful orchestral pieces either. The gentle, sweeping and downbeat We Built Our Own World and Old Soulsas well as the hugely popular Time are Inception’s key emotive tracks. There are also many tracks which exhibit the multi-layered approach – the dream-shift – to become tracks of two halves. 528491 opens with a slow, emotive piece which builds to a tense crescendo whilst Dream Within a Dream takes the same elements as Dream Is Collapsing to create a tense duality.

The Inception soundtrack is a beautiful and otherworldly score which can be listened to again and again and will remain one of my favourite backdrops for reading. Just listen for a moment and you’ll feel that shift and find yourself transported into the story – a world within a world.

Favourite track

03 – Dream is Collapsing

Top track for action

07 – Mombasa

Top track for tension

10 – Waiting for a Train

Top track for emotion

12 – Time

heart

Amazon

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Bookish Beats: Audiomachine – Phenomena


Bookish BeatsMusic, much like literature, has the power to drive your imagination; it can lift the soul and create real emotion.This is Bookish Beats, a feature which will showcase some of the soundtracks which have enriched the worlds I’ve found between the pages. 


Phenomena

Audiomachine


Listen to with:

An action-packed fantasy adventure

Such as:

The Stormcaller by Tom Lloyd

This week’s Bookish Beats features Audiomachine, a production company who produce music for movie, TV and game trailers. Audiomachine’s composers, Paul Dinletir and Kevin Rix, have written music for countless trailers including those of The Hobbit, Harry Potter and Prometheus, and I first came across them whilst listening to the Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare soundtrack, which they composed alongside Harry Gregson-Williams.

Phenomena manages to capture epic and grand scale action perfectly, combining powerful brass and percussion sections with soaring strings and choral vocals. Those tracks which start off slow gradually build to a crescendo, each one a snapshot of a moment – an epic scene. It is not hard to visualise wars and battles, and quests and adventures when listening to Phenomena, and its tracks have featured on the Lego: The Hobbit game trailer, Exodus: God and Kings film trailer, and even the 2014 Winter Olympics.

And if you’re reading a fast-paced, action-packed novel then Phenomena is a perfect compliment. Every single track is sure to sweep you away, whether on a tide of eerie vocals and strings or in a surge of blood-pumping percussion. Stand-out action tracks include Blood and Stone and Lords of Lankhmar; Crossing Destiny and God of the Drow are brimming with tension; and Ice of the Phoenix and Epiphany are the epitome of triumph.

Phenomena may be chock full of ‘triumphant’ tracks but it’s not without its quiet moments either… quietly epic that is; Red Sorrow, Fortress of Solitude and Legacy of the Lost are tracks filled with emotion – the slower and drawn out pace capturing the full spectrum of sensations. Or tracks such as The Last Ember are a mind-blowing combination of action, tension and emotion.

If you’re looking for something to read epic or heroic fantasy to, then look no further; Phenomena is a phenomenal soundtrack for movies, games and books alike. And if Phenomena whets your appetite, Audiomachine has a whole host of other albums to keep you hooked. This is definitely one for the playlist.

Favourite track

06 – Legends of Destiny

Top track for action

01 – Blood and Stone

Top track for tension

09 – Crossing Destiny

16 – God of the Drow

Top track for emotion

14 – Fortress of Solitude

heart

Purchase Here

Follow my blog with Bloglovin