While I was growing up music was a common thing. Not simply the radio blaring away in the background. You see my father was a drummer, and he played in various combos throughout my childhood. From polka to 1950’s/1960’s era rock and roll. When I was a teenager his band would often rehearse in the garage in the summer months. My sister was an accomplished musician as well throughout high school and college. She played mainly classical music. I myself played the saxophone for most of my junior high/high school years, mainly classical and jazz. My brother-in-law is a musician as well. So, I guess you could say that my exposure to music and knowledge of it is more extensive than a lot of people who simply see music as background noise or the trendy thing to listen/dance to.
Although I no longer played an instrument after high school I continued to take courses that were related to music while in college, and through friendships during my college years I got exposed and learned to appreciate a wider range of music from various parts of the world, in particular the Far and Middle East.
I know several of my writer/artists friends listen to music while working on their creative projects, and the majority of the time I do as well. A lot of the time I feel it helps not only set the mood for what I’m working on but living in a large apartment complex with annoying neighbors makes a pair of headphones is a god send when it comes to transcending the banality of the everyday world.
For the past few years or more I’ve been listening almost exclusively instrumental music while writing. I find that music with lyrics is far too distracting. Kind of like someone whispering in your ear while writing. I know my friend and fellow scribe Fiend Gottes loves heavy metal and draws a lot of inspiration from that sorta music. Although I enjoy it in my free time, when it comes to writing I’ve come to prefer movie soundtracks or various contemporary instrumental musicians like Red Sparrows or Earth or Zoe Keating. Musicians that delve into the ethereal darkness with guitars and cellos. Perhaps this style of music is appealing due to my exposure to classical music but also the rock and roll in me. I find myself being very particular about what I listen to while writing, certain things can be way too annoying and distracting. While others are divine. There’s a fine line for sure.
In contrast to all that, sometimes I find myself just wanting silence, which is rare around here, and I wish I had a cabin in the woods to simply write without the intrusion of humanity. When I go for hikes in the mountains and come back to the city and I realize what noisy/filthy creatures we are…but I digress…
Recently, I came across this group called Aklo which writes and performs instrumental music influenced and inspired by the legendary pulp writer of speculative fiction, H.P. Lovecraft. Lovecraft is one of my literary heroes, and like a lot of other writers of the speculative/horror/weird fiction genres he’s a major influence on my writing in terms of ideas/themes. The group Aklo has done a marvelous job at capturing the sound of his writing, the perfect blend of odd atmospheric sound effects and creepy melodies. Although no movies were made of Lovecraft’s stories during his life time, I could easily imagine this music being scored for any adaptation of them. Despite the fact it is contemporary, Aklo’s music has a weirdly antiquated quality to it. When it comes to setting the mood for writing, Aklo fits the bill for me.
If you have any interest in their music you should check out their website, which includes free samples as well as albums for purchase. http://aklo-lovecraftian.bandcamp.com/music