Friday, April 20, 2018

Music to Game To: Einstürzende Neubauten - Zeichnungen Des Patienten O.T.

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.


A classic album which encapsulates the early period of Einstürzende Neubauten, complete with salvaged metal percussion and re-purposed power tool instrumentation, but it transcends the industrial clichés to reach eerie and haunting peaks. Unlike many of the other albums recommended by this series, there is little chance that your players will be able to ignore this music as it accompanies your game… Still, I wanted to highlight this album as remains every bit as uncanny (or unheimlich, if you prefer) and affecting 34 years later. Not an album you’d play in the background but definitely mood setting and perfect… as you can tell from this Quietus summary:
Zeichnungen sounds as new, as bold, and as disturbing as any record in recent memory, by turns fiery and chilling, it's a relentlessly exploratory masterpiece of Cold War European decay… tracks on Zeichnungen include field recordings of disturbed children, the sound of fire, cannibalized snippets of Armenian folk melody, and humming electricity…the [title] track is built around a hand-crafted loop of shattering glass and Marc Chung's trademark machine-gun basswork, over which Bargeld howls out a dystopian vision of "a new sun, which burns more than it illuminates" and Barraud's dog listening for His Master's Voice not next to a record player but next to a tombstone.

  • Vocals?...Yes, in German
  • Music Genre(s)…Industrial, experimental
  • Perfect for…Unsettling horror games. A Dread game set in the blasted remains of a post-apocalyptic city or a particularly savage and horrific Apocalypse World or Godless session.
  • If you only grab one track, make it “Neun Arme”, which pulses with singer Blixa Bargeld’s heartbeat, as caught by a fetal heart monitor and describes a yearning to return to simpler times of microbial existence.

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