Music Monday: New People, Old Empires

It’s another Music Monday and it’s another piece from the AC: Valhalla soundtrack. As with last week’s, this one was composed by Sarah Schachner.

This is a quiet piece mainly performed with voice and strings. There’s no bombast, or climaxes. Instead it’s more of a thinking piece. There’s an air of mystery to it and an undercurrent of menace, too, which seemed to perfectly fit the middle point of young!Kari’s journey. I listen to it and I can picture her in a boat, sailing across a stretch of open water towards her next destination. Will it be the place she ends up calling home, or will it be another place she moves on from?

At the same time, it also goes along with the contemplation older!Kari is doing and the beginnings of the mystery she uncovers on her first day on Fasta Åland. Is what she sees innocent or sinister?

The Elsehere Soundtrack on Spotify has been updated to add this in.

That’s all for now. Happy reading and listening!

Music Monday: Voices of Fornburg

This week’s Music Monday is also from the Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla soundtrack, but this time it’s by Sarah Schachner.

Sarah Schachner is a familiar name on the Elsehere Soundtrack. She is one of the group of composers I got to find via the AC universe and whose work I adore. What I particularly like about her music is the variety between projects and within projects, for that matter, so when she was announced as one of the co-composers for AC: Valhalla, I was excited to see what she would come up with…

…and as with Jesper Kyd’s work, I was absolutely delighted. (Did I mention you should go check the whole AC: Valhalla soundtrack out yet?…!)

Voices of Fornburg is a stately, steady, piece of music. Almost processional, with a serious weight to it. Most of the melody is supplied by female voices, echoed/mirrored with woodwind, while the underlying rhythm is provided by percussion, horn and male voice played/sung in a very limited range. It’s a simple piece but it is superbly effective.

The heavier weight of this piece made it the perfect mood music for Kari’s time in Hólmgarðr, a very different sort of place to her childhood home. More intimidating. More dangerous.

The Elsehere Soundtrack on Spotify has been updated to add this in.

That’s all for now. Happy reading and listening!

Music Monday: The Kingdom of Wessex

Welcome to another Music Monday post. This week’s music is by Danish composer, Jesper Kyd, from the soundtrack to Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla.

As you may already have picked up from these Music Monday posts, I am an absolute sucker for the music from the Assassin’s Creed games and that, I have to admit, is largely Jesper Kyd’s fault. I found his music on Spotify quite by accident and from his soundtrack to AC: II, I gradually branched out across the rest of the games and, eventually, branched out into actually playing the games! I was, initially, a bit disappointed that Kyd only did the soundtracks for the first three-and-a-bit games (although his leaving the franchise did mean I got to know several other awesome composers – more on them in due course!), so you can imagine how excited I was when it was announced he was back for AC: Valhalla…

…and I wasn’t disappointed. It’s a brilliantly evocative soundtrack that he and his co-composers have created. (Seriously, go check it out!)

Kingdom of Wessex was one of the pieces that was released in advance of the main album and it’s a great swoop of music that builds up in layers of percussion, strings, woodwind and then voices (though not lyrics, as such) before dying away into ghostly echoes. Basically, it has every ingredient that I adore in a musical composition, combined up into a perfect three and a half minutes. It really doesn’t get any better than this!

Writing Valkyrie, this became the theme for Kari’s childhood. It made (and makes!) me think of a small community, on a windswept coast or marsh and it helped me considerably to get the sense of place I needed for that section of the book.

The Elsehere Soundtrack on Spotify has been updated to add this in.

That’s all for now. Happy reading and listening!

Music Monday: Afraid of Sunlight

This week, ahead of Valkyrie’s publication, we’re back with the Elsehere Soundtrack and this is probably the crossover piece between what I was listening to for Sekhmet and what I was listening to for Valkyrie. It’s a song by Marillion from their album of the same name.

Marillion are an English rock group who formed in the late 1970s and are still going strong, albeit with one or two line up changes in that time. Afraid of Sunlight was released in 1995 and is a meditation on fame, fortune and the costs thereof.

Where to start. I’ve mentioned before that I love a good, complicated bit of music and Afraid of Sunlight is certainly that. The music builds up to a climax, before ebbing away again until it ends with just Steve Hogarth’s plaintive question. As for the lyrics, I love the questioning nature of them. It’s not a song that tells a story, but it definitely tells emotion.

And that’s where it fits into the Elsehere soundtrack. It’s very much a character piece for Kari. It reflects where she is at the end of Sekhmet and where she starts Valkyrie. She’s questioning herself and trying to figure out where she goes from here. She’s driving the road, the question is, does it lead to surrender or to something else?

Valkyrie is out on the 18th and can be pre-ordered now.

The Elsehere Soundtrack on Spotify has been updated to add this in.

That’s all for now. Happy reading and listening!