Bookish Beats: Assassin’s Creed III


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. 


Assassin’s Creed III (Original Game Soundtrack)

Composed by Lorne Balfe


Listen to with:

An action-packed fantasy adventure

Such as:

The Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks

Another day, another foray into the world of Assassin’s Creed. The soundtrack for Assassin’s Creed III, composed by Lorne Balfe, is a fantastic stand-alone album comprised of action-packed orchestral numbers, tense synths, sweeping string and soaring woodwind pieces which, nevertheless, sits well within the ever expanding AC catalogue. This is a soundtrack which gets better with every listen and provides an utterly thrilling and incredibly atmospheric backdrop to reading.

Those who love an action filled soundtrack will not be disappointed. Nearly every track picks you up and throws you along on a riot of non-stop action and, other than my top track in this category, Trouble in Town, The Battle of Breed’s Hill and Battle at Sea really stand out. Not to mention, anyone up for a bit of an Irish Jig have Fight Club and Beer and Friends to sample.

Assassin’s Creed III is not without a good dose of tension either, and though there is a tense undercurrent to many of the tracks, some pack more of a punch than others. Although I’m usually a fan of subtle tension, Eye of the Storm had me on the edge of my seat. It’s an almost overwhelmingly tense track, faintly discordant and brimming with action and movement. I defy anyone to listen to it without feeling that knot of tension build up inside.

This soundtrack is not without its slow, gently soaring moments either; tracks filled with emotion, tracks whose subtlety is perfect for those quiet moments. An Uncertain Moment and Speck of Dust are firm favourites in this category and the use of woodwind in Connor’s Life, Through the Frontier and Homestead create moments in which time stands still; incredibly beautiful and wonderfully contrasting when compared to the pace of the rest of the soundtrack.

The AC soundtracks may all be different, they are the work of many different composers after all, but they retain a consistently high standard which capture real emotion, danger and tension. The soundtrack for Assassin’s Creed III may not be as thematically strong as its counterparts but every listen surprises me, every time it gets better. It’s certainly one I intend to return to time and time again.

Favourite track

01 – Assassin’s Creed III Main Theme

Top track for action

03 – Escape in Style

Top track for tension

18 – Eye of the Storm

Top track for emotion

13 – Speck of Dust

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Bookish Beats: Belle 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. 


Belle

Belle (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

Composed by Rachel Portman


Listen to with:

An enchanting & romantic tale

Such as:

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Belle is a seriously beautiful soundtrack – one thing that Rachel Portman consistently succeeds at. In fact, Belle could arguably be her best. It’s a gentle, softly sweeping soundtrack which heightens the emotions and is incredibly enchanting in its own right. Not to mention a perfect complement to a wonderful film.

This soundtrack also lends itself to being a perfect accompaniment for reading to; whether to a tale of magic and wonder or a classic romance. This soundtrack just works; brimming with emotion and poised on the edge of dramatic tension throughout. If you tend to cry whilst reading, this soundtrack may well push you over the edge!

And though I say it most weeks, Belle is incredibly difficult to single out any particular track for the favourites categories. Every single one is of an incredibly high standard and though they are all unique, they all share a common, incredibly beautiful theme. If you want to enhance an enchanting and romantic tale, look no further than Belle.

Favourite track

01 – Main Titles

Top track for action

21 – Dido Goes To Courts

Top track for tension

20 – Lord Mansfield Watches John

Top track for emotion

03 – Are You Punishing Me?

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Bookish Beats: Elysium 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. 


Elysium (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

Composed by Ryan Amon


Listen to with:

A science-fiction epic

Such as:

Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson

Ryan Amon appears yet again in this week’s Bookish Beats, though this time his compositions are taking centre stage. The soundtrack to Elysium has been rattling around my head ever since I saw the movie (numerous times I admit) and is the perfect accompaniment to a science fiction novel. It’s tense, exciting and is interspersed with incredibly beautiful moments which consistently take my breath away.

The best soundtracks are those that allow you to be swept along with whatever it is you are watching or reading; Elysium is no exception. This soundtrack goes from thrilling action tracks, to tense dramatic pieces, to eerie and emotional vocal led numbers at the… well at the change of a track. But every one of those tracks is unique, highly emotive and memorable, each one building to a crescendo and becoming the perfect backdrop to innumerable scenes.

Elysium has become one of my favourite movie soundtracks; I get goosebumps listening to it. Whether to transport myself back to Mars or to Elysium or to somewhere else entirely, this soundtrack will always occupy a place in my collection. Elysium is an incredible movie with an amazing soundtrack and I recommend both highly, and if you haven’t seen the movie – worry not! Just put on this soundtrack and be transported to new worlds.

Favourite Track

29 – New Heaven, New Earth

Top track for action

02 – Fire Up The Shuttle

Top track for tension

25 – Fire and Water

Top track for emotion

27 – Breaking a Promise

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Bookish Beats: Assassin’s Creed Unity


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. 


Assassin’s Creed Unity (The Complete Edition) [Original Game Soundtrack]

Composed by Chris Tilton, Sarah Schachner and Ryan Amon


Listen to with:

An action-packed historical or fantasy adventure

Such as:

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

Last week’s Bookish Beats post sank into oblivion after a wonderful weekend away at the Liverpool International Music Festival – I think I can class that as research, right? This Sunday’s post may have gone the same way (hello glamping weekend) but hurrah! I remembered and scheduled it early! Don’t fail me schedule! If you’re a regular reader you might also notice a slightly different look to this post; in an attempt to be more tablet and phone user friendly I’ve changed the layout around to avoid (m)any dodgy text placements!

This week’s Bookish Beats features the Assassin’s Creed Unity Soundtrack. I have big love for game soundtracks and those of the Assassin’s Creed franchise in particular. They make some pretty damn good music. So good, in fact, that I would have a hard time choosing a favourite. With three new composers on-board, Unity is no exception; a long and comprehensive soundtrack, it combines brooding atmospheric pieces with heart thumping action tracks which truly enhance the reading experience.

The complete soundtrack is made up of three volumes, each of which is by a different composer, all of whom bring a unique and brilliant component to the score. Chris Tilton’s lengthy volume is saturated in tension and arguably has the best action tracks; Sarah Schachner captures the unique combination of sci fi and history with beautiful baroque string compositions underlined with modern synths; and Ryan Amon’s tracks resonate with tension and atmospheric ambience. Choosing favourites is always hard but this soundtrack was particularly difficult, though it did mean I could listen to it repeatedly!

I always find game soundtracks an excellent accompaniment to books, they’re rarely intrusive to reading and often add to the dramatic tension. Assassin’s Creed Unity is a wonderful example; you can feel the stealth, the tension and the intrigue in almost every track and you have three stylistically different but complimentary volumes to choose from. Every time I listen to this soundtrack I am instantly transported back to the world of A Darker Shade of Magic and I cannot wait to listen to it with another book.

Volume 1 – Chris Tilton [1] | Volume 2 – Sarah Schachner [2] | Volume 3 – Ryan Amon [3]

Favourite Volume

Volume 2 – Composed by Sarah Schachner

Favourite Tracks

01 – Unity [1]

04 – Dark Slayer [2]

01 – DeMolay’s Condemnation [3]

Top tracks for action

20 – Belle of the Balloon [1]

07 – Treachery and Butchers [2]

01 – DeMolay’s Condemnation [3]

Top tracks for tension

13 – To Your Stealth [1]

08 – Storming the Guilty [2]

04 – Paris Gateways [3]

Top tracks for emotion

23 – The Bottle of Solitude [1]

01 – Rather Death Than Slavery [2]

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Bookish Beats: Röyksopp – The Inevitable End


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. 


Royksopp3The Inevitable End

Röyksopp


Listen to with:

A science fiction adventure

Such as:

Doctor Who: The Drosten’s Curse by A.L. Kennedy

Well it’s about time I put something other than a soundtrack on Bookish Beats. So here we have it, Röyksopp’s last LP – The Inevitable End. When a soundtrack doesn’t do it for me, downbeat electro is often a good choice. For science fiction it can be perfect. Rhythmic. Mellow. Something that doesn’t distract but adds to the book. It’s just one of those albums you can have on a loop and forget that you’ve listened to it ten or fifteen times in a row. Not bad.

The Inevitable End is a fantastically diverse album which varies between slow instrumentals, steady paced synth numbers, and electro pop vocals.  I have a love hate relationship with electro pop so whilst some of the tracks hit me in the sweet spot, some are just….well just too pop. Not my thing. Thankfully these are at a minimum and there are so many amazing tracks that I soon forget they’re even there.

The beauty of downbeat electro is that it can go equally well with action scenes, dramatic scenes, and slow scenes, so categorising this album into ‘top track for…’ was difficult. All the tracks work to varying degrees and the steady beat keeps the pace of reading at a happy medium. However my preferences, with the exception of Monument, generally lie with the more instrumental tracks. The fewer vocals the better.

If you’re not adverse to electro and like Kraftwerk influenced music (Skulls is a brilliant example and Save Me samples Kraftwerk’s Home Computer) then it might just be worth pressing play. Even if this is their last studio album, it won’t be the last Röyksopp album featured here.

Favourite track

01 – Skulls

Top track for action

02 – Monument (The Inevitable End Version)

Top track for tension

11 – Coup de Grace

Top track for emotion

16 – Oh No

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Bookish Beats: The Secret Garden 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. 


sg4

The Secret Garden (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

Composed by Zbigniew Preisner


Listen to with:

A haunting and atmospheric tale

Such as:

The Somnambulist by Essie Fox

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett was one of my favourite books as a child. Burnett could create a world of magic, a world from secret and simple wonders which I would dream I was a part of. The film was no exception; I would watch it over and over again, and become lost in the gardens and halls of Misselthwaite Manor.

This soundtrack suffuses haunting melodies with tension and magic, interspersing them with  joyous crescendos.  As soon as I started reading The Somnambulist, I knew which soundtrack to go to. In fact, there are a lot of similarities between Misselthwaite Manor and Dinwood Court, and this soundtrack accompanied Essie Fox’s writing like it was made for it. During the opening track, Main Title, you could envisage Phoebe Turner and the exotic and dazzling world of the music halls, and Leaving the Docks was a perfect complement to her conflicted journey to Dinwood Court.

This is a soundtrack with a good range of music; exotic tracks lead into magical and haunting piano pieces, which lead into light and airy choir numbers. The main theme, which I can’t help but love, runs through many tracks including Leaving the Docks, First Time Outside and Shows Dickon Garden. If you are looking for a soundtrack to accompany a haunting and atmospheric tale, or indeed a Victorian Gothic novel, then I wouldn’t look any further – The Secret Garden could just be perfect.

Favourite track

04 – First Time Outside

Top track for action

01 – Main Title

Top track for tension

03 – Mary Downstairs

Top track for emotion

02 – Leaving the Docks

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Bookish Beats: The Machine 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. 


machinec

The Machine (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

Composed by Tom Raybould


Listen to with:

A tense science fiction thriller

Such as:

Inquisitor by Mitchell Hogan

I love reading to music and can read to just about anything as long as it ‘goes’ with the book. I listen to instrumentals, to classical music, to game and film soundtracks, to rock and metal, to blues and jazz, to new age music and folk music – the list goes on! Finding the right music for the right book can make your reading experience all the more intense and engaging.

This week’s Bookish Beats features my current favourite soundtrack for an action packed sci-fi novel. The Machine is a science fiction thriller which came out in 2013, a film I just so happen to love. I last listened to The Machine OST whilst reading Inquisitor by Mitchell Hogan, and the combination of slow building pieces and fast action tracks made it a perfect complement to what turned out to be a fantastic book.

This soundtrack is subtle. It doesn’t intrude on your thoughts and it doesn’t come out all guns blazing, it’s as though it were made for reading. After pressing play I could feel the knot of tension building inside me; if you are reading something tense, then this soundtrack will put you on edge. The Machine OST really did take me into Mitchell Hogan’s world and once there, I didn’t want to come up for air. So if you’re looking for a soundtrack to your sci-fi thriller, give The Machine OST a try. I certainly wasn’t disappointed.

Favourite track

01 – Birth

Top track for action

18 – The Machine Fights

Top track for tension

06 – Arms

Top track for emotion

19 – The End

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