I adore making soundtracks to my stories, I will spend hours making a playlist that fits everything from the setting to the individual characters to help me get into the mindset of that particular world.
But I never listen to those as I write. I have a wide mix on each playlist, (most playlists wind up being around two hours long), and while it fits the world of the story, any song with lyrics in them completely throws my writing off and I start writing to those lyrics.
You can read about them in detail on their site, but in short Nox Arcana is original gothic music inspired by many sources and classic horror myths and works: Edgar Allan Poe, Grimm Faerie Tales, and vampires among them. You wouldn’t think it would work but it does. And that’s not even touching on their albums with original stories.
The two friends (Vargo the founder and Piotrowski) even go so far as to write and illustrate original horror stories and then compose soundtracks for them. Nox Arcana has also teamed up with other musicians and vocalists to create CDs, as well as movie soundtracks. You can preview all albums on their website, so throughout this post there will be links to named albums so you can give them a listen.
I own two of their CDs and am working on expanding my collection, but let me say that in Shadow of the Raven the essence of Poe’s works is perfectly captured. When I first listened to the album I could tell what song went to which story because of how spot on the music was. to me that really speaks to the depth of talent that Vargo and Piotrowski have. I think the brothers Grimm would be proud of Grimm Tales as well (Labyrinth of Dreams, one of my all time favorite songs is from this album and this was the first I bought).
True, some albums are weaker than others. I’ve listened to most of Nox Arcana’s CDs and I think their strongest albums are the winter themed ones as well as Transylvania Shadow of the Raven, and Grimm Tales. Those have the most variety throughout the album, and can be very moving. I personally feel that their pirate inspired album (Phantoms of the High Seas) has a bit of repetition in it sound wise, as do some of their earlier works. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t some real gems even on those albums. You might have to dig for them, but it’s well worth it.
Ultimately what I love about Nox Arcana is how into it the pair gets. You can see it in the artistry of the album artwork, and in the extras on the website (the Arcanum is dedicated to extras for their stories and albums). They put so much passion and soul into the music that you can’t help but become entranced by it.
I find that the group’s music is varied enough for me to have plenty of music to write to, relax to, and even have a funny story or two about.
Not kidding, you try listening to The Raven when you’re by yourself on a deserted back road driving through the fog.