Thursday, 10 November 2011

Better Living Through esports Music

It's a truism that music affects people's lives.  But for me, music goes hand-in-hand with esports for a whole host of reasons.  Firstly, I got into esports at the most important time in my music-listening "career," 16-18.  My earliest memories of Counter-Strike are soundtracked by music I was just discovering through friends at the time: Radiohead, Rage Against the Machine, Tool et al.

But in the early 2000's, there was an even more direct link: gaming movies.  I discovered what I'd consider more sophisticated music (Soundgarden being a perfect example) through social channels, but esports movies gave me Nightwish, Hammerfall and Pendulum.  Of course, I had to sift through an awful lot of shitty Nu Metal to get there, but I like to think it was worth it.

When I began watching CS movies, they featured almost solely Nu Metal and Symphonic/Fantasy Metal.  Anyone who doesn't know "Ice Queen" by Within Temptation is surely an esports noob.  Hell, i didn't even like the eoL movie, but it introduced me to a whole body of work I would never have come across otherwise.  In fact, it's quite an ironic trend that shitty movies introduced me to better music.  If anyone remembers the Ocrana multi-gaming movie, they probably also remember "My Secret People" by Dover - a Spanish band who are fairly obscure outside of their homeland.

Then, of course, there was the fantastic Annihilation series, which introduced me to Guano Apes - well, kinda.  I knew of them, but never bothered to listen to much of their stuff until I realised how fucking awesome "Open Your Eyes" is.

But alongside Within Temptation, Nightwish were probably the best find.  Their somewhat pretentious mix of operatic vocals and melodic metal, combined with 2nd-rate fantasy novel lyrics, is a lot better than the sum of its parts.  They were almost unavoidable in early 2000's CS movies, but, unlike the other, shittier mainstay (Linkin Park), I was actually glad of it.  Not only because I like the music, but it was very appropriate.  Go back and watch Neo - The One, or Art to Frag, and tell me the music doesn't work.

By the mid norties (eww, ewww, i can't believe I just wrote that "word"), I was playing WoW and my tastes were about ready to broaden again.  A lot of WoW pvp movies made use of the same fast rock and metal i was used to, but as editing skills evolved past flashing when something exciting happened, electronic music became a natural fit.  Good editing became a way to hide average skills and the music was a huge part of that.  Check out Eviscerape 2 for how I discovered Pendulum.  WoW players will probably recognise that he isn't even that good of a rogue, but that movie blew me away when I first saw it.

Of course, Pendulum is so big and popular now that I would probably have discovered them anyway.  But the remix on that movie led me down a long and winding road into trance - a genre I had always viewed with some disdain.

So where should I go with this blog now?  It was a fairly self-indulgent stream-of-conciousness, so I guess i'll just leave it here.  I would've been no good as a script writer for kids cartoons ("the moral of the story is, um..."), but I would've appreciated the theme music, at least.

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