Jul 10, 2013

100 Heads in 100 Days #44 - Jeremy Soule & the Elves

Today, I am going to talk about two things that would appear to be only superficially related - Elves and Jeremy Soule. In my world, these two things are very much related, almost entwined. Here's why-
Whenever I have the option in a game, be it a console or tabletop game, I always go for an Elf, most likely a Wood Elf. I've often mentioned that I have a deep fondness for forests and mythical forest dwellers, Elves are some of my favourites. I love a game where archery has solid mechanics and if it can be an Elf wielding one, I'm sold. I'm not much of a hack-n-slasher, I prefer to fight from afar, like the coward I am. There are very few really good console fantasy rpg's out there in my opinion. I think it is because to make a successful game in that genre, an incredible amount of detail is required. Many games have tried, very few have succeeded, again, in my opinion.
Which brings me, nicely, to Jeremy Soule...
For those of you who don't know the name, Jeremy Soule is a composer. He's worked on a whole stack of games including the Harry Potters and Dungeon Siege, but most memorably for me on the Elder Scrolls games Morrowind, Oblivion and Skyrim. He's probably the most popular composer in the gaming industry at the moment, perhaps of all time. He's that good.
I first came into contact with Mr. Soule's work whilst playing Oblivion back in early 2007. I love that game. I played it waaaaay too much. In that time, I got to know the Oblivion music inside and out, and over the hundreds of hours that I played away, I noticed that I never grew weary of the music. In fact, I reveled in it. Then Skyrim came along in late 2011. Here was another game to deeply immerse myself in (which I promptly did) and all-new music to absorb. I quickly snapped up the Skyrim soundtrack when it came out and was amazed when the 4-disc set arrived on my doorstep, signed by Jeremy Soule himself. Since then, I doubt there's more than a couple of handfuls of days when I haven't listened to at least some of his music. When I walk to and from the bus stop, I'm listening to Jeremy Soule; when I'm on the bus, I'm listening to Jeremy Soule. And when I am drawing and the wife isn't watching TV, I'm listening to Jeremy Soule.
I know, I know, how can somebody listen to the same thing over and over again? Easy. Take into consideration the fact that the Skyrim soundtrack alone, with its four disks, is over three hours of listening right there. Heck, the last disk is a forty-odd minute track of Skyrim atmospheric sounds! Couple that with the various other pieces of music he has recorded and you have many, many hours of listening.
But more than that, it's about the actual music itself. For me, Jeremy Soule's music is the pinnacle of atmospheric fantasy music. It's the sort of thing that you can either chose to listen to intently, or let it wash over you and float you along. It has highs and lows, calmness and immediacy, poise and action. Sometimes it is delicate and wistful, other times it is urgent and epic.
That's one of the great things about Jeremy Soule's work - it is ever changing and flowing. Much like the setting for one of my favourite pieces of his, the White River, his music ebbs, flows, turns, eddies, churns and tumbles.
So you can imagine my horror when I recently discovered that Mr. Soule had a Kickstarter campaign for an original composition called 'The Notherner.' The horror being that I completely missed it... grrr. I'll be buying the music as soon as it comes out anyway, but it would have been nice to have contributed to that.
Anyway, here's to the elves and Mr. Soule!

100 Heads in 100 Days #44
A pretty lame looking Elf. With something on his forehead.
Me Fact #44
I have broken my right arm twice, my left arm once. I don't recommend it.

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