Friday, March 16, 2018

Music to Game to: ASS

I listen to a lot of music (over 40 days worth in 2017 according to and I find that few things help me keep the mood of a game foregrounded in my mind like a good soundtrack. Plus, I’ve discovered that when I’m playing music to a speaker via Bluetooth, I’m less likely to be on my phone, lest my players hear any stray sounds, letting me better model engagement during a game. To that end, I want to share some of my favorite music to game to; the albums that inspire and inflame my imagination and that I’ve found work well as background music for games as well. I’ll do a mini-review and cover the basics of what mood it helps me set.


This album might have a cheeky name, but it's got a serious lineage; Günter Schickert was among the first wave of Krautrock musicians, Jochen Arbeit was in Die Haut and now holds the guitar in Einstürzende Neubauten and Dirk Dresselhaus has been making music as Schneider TM since 1997. Without any vocals, these three let their guitars speak for themselves, beautiful distortions and half-imagined riffs rising and falling through the first half of the album (37° to 41°). The second half brings in more organic instrumentation, including an amazing conch melody (yes, a conch) on “Acetyl”. The album might be a little more suited to background for a science-fiction game like Numenera, but I think it would work for mood-setting in a strange fantasy environment like the underdark or the planar environments of the Planescape setting.

  • Vocals? None.
  • Music Genre(s)...Krautrock, ambient
  • Perfect for...Bringing a sense of uneasy wonder.
  • If you only grab one track, make it ...Acetyl”, where the interplay of balafon, trumpet and conch transport the listener to an uncanny and half-dreamt place.

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