Friday, April 6, 2018

Music to Game to: Ivar Bjørnson & Einar Selvik – Skuggsjá (A Piece for Mind and Mirror)

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.


Commissioned for the 200th anniversary of the Norwegian Constitution, the album aims to tell the entirety of Norwegian history. Fans of the Viking TV show might recognized Einar Selvik from his work on that soundtrack, and like the music for that show, Skuggsjá makes use of many Norse folk instruments. Ivar Bjørnson is the lead guitarist and vocalist for the black metal band, Enslaved, so there are some black metal vocals, if that’s not your bag. I got the album to use as inspiration and soundtrack when I was running my (unfortunately) short-lived Jokilaakso saga, but it’s made its way into my wider rotation of gaming music as the mix of metal guitar and folk instruments provide an evocative Norse feel for any game and since the lyrics are in Old Norse and Norwegian your players are unlikely to be too distracted by following along to the words.

  • Vocals?...Yes, Old Norse and Norwegian
  • Music Genre(s)…Folk, Folk Metal, Nordic
  • Perfect for…Viking Epics or anything with a strong Norse theme.
  • If you only grab one track, make it…Rop Fra Røynda – MæFra Minne”, which opens with a raven’s call and feels like the dirge Viking warriors sing as they gather their dead from the battlefield.

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