Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Music and Writing

Today I'm thinking about music people listen to while they work on their own art, be it fiction, poetry, painting, graphic design, whatever.

A former professor of mine listens to very complex orchestral music when he's doing a first draft, claiming the music grabs the attention of the left side of his brain leaving the creativity of the right side to run rampant. When he starts revising he listens to free jazz, supposedly with the opposite result.

I usually shoot for mood. If the part I'm writing has a lot of action, I'll listen to something that's more rhythmic like industrial or techno. If it's supposed to be sad I'll usually put on ambient or goth, or maybe Leonard Cohen or Tom Waits. For the horror piece I just worked on I pretty much listened to the Black Box the whole time, which is a collection of early industrial and techno put out by Wax Trax. For editing I guess I just put on something that won't distract me, which could be anything really. Film scores to jazz to regular rock or metal, depending upon mood.

Very very rarely, when I'm either really stuck or I'm working late at night and need to stay awake, I'll turn on a talk station on the radio, put on a cd and turn on the t.v. The odd blend sometimes brings things out of me I can't pull out on my own.



LadyLitBlitzin said...

Hey -- this is such a great question. I've been listening to a lot of old goth stuff for my horror novel I'm working on for NaNoWriMo. However, you made my day by mentioning the Black Box. I love it -- but then again, I think I already mentioned the old Wax Trax stuff is near and dear to me. I've got boatloads of stuff from that timeframe.

It is such an amazing collection. One of the best investments I ever made, music-wise, without a doubt. It's in the "still in circulation" pile of CDs constantly -- it just doesn't get put away. It's way too good to be put away. :)

Hebdomeros said...

I worhip the first disc most of all, but that makes sense because I'm more of an experimental rock/metal/noise guy than techno oriented things that come later. Coil, though, is amazing, and Thrill Kill Kult is always ful. I really treasure that box set, because I came to industrial pretty late and it fills a lot of holes in my collection. The little booklet's cool, too.

Hebdomeros said...

Ooops! That should be "fun", not "ful"!

LadyLitBlitzin said...

Yeah, TKK is fun and always entertaining. I have quite a bit of their old stuff but they kind of lost the plot after the "13 Under the Night" album or whatever it's called.

Yeah, the set has been really been wonderful, as in filling in gaps I didn't have, or in terms of replacing stuff that was lost. (For example, one of my worst music casualties was when an ex-boyfriend accidentally dropped and broke my Young Gods "carved in stone" CD a few years back, which I'm pretty sure has long since gone out of print -- I certainly haven't been able to find it. At least "Envoye" off that album -- one of the most kick-ass songs ever, IMHO -- is on the Black Box.) Also, I have a fair amount of NIN, but never had "Supernaut." And while I love Ministry, I didn't have "Every Day is Halloween" and wasn't crazy about their super early stuff (I recently traded "Twitch"), so that was a coup. Then there's obscure stuff like "Faster than Light" -- a great song and I'm sure you'd be hard pressed to find Lead into Gold now.

I could just go on and on about that set!!!! And yeah, the booklet is awfully cool too! I didn't really know all the background information, even at the time.

I need to listen to more Coil though...

Hebdomeros said...

Oh, lord. The Young Gods. They are amazing, but I'm never quite sure how to take them. It makes me laugh to hear their new albums sampling and remixing samples of Pink Floyd, Stooges and the Doors from their own earlier albums. That along with the weird, weird lyrics and the whole Kurt Weil thing, sometimes I feel like I'm listening to some weird personal joke. But their sound is so lush and so perfectly produced I end up getting lost (in a good way) anyway.

Yeah, I need to buy some more actual Coil albums. I always like what I hear, and I don't always like stuff that's 100% electronic. Also love the early Foetus on the set, but his stuff's pretty easy to find now that he's reissuing it himself.