Music Listening: AAC - Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion Soundtrack - Jeremy Soule

My most recent album pickup is the Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion Soundtrack. What is this album you might be asking? Well, Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (also known more commonly just as Oblivion) is a fantasy role playing video game. The soundtrack here is orchestral and if you are a fan of orchestral film soundtracks like the Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter you will certainly find something that appeals to you.  Now the Skyrim Soundtrack composed by Jeremy Soule is the most recent game released by Bethesda and is one of my favorite soundtracks of all time. It is three hours of just fantastic orchestral music. What's more is that being designed for a video game it works perfectly as background music for reading, writing or just relaxing. 

The Oblivion soundtrack doesn't quite have the breadth or volume of music that the Skyrim soundtrack has. Skyrim is Sole's masterpiece of compositional work. Oblivion though is all of the precursor to Skyrim that it is positioned to be. The soundtrack is still extremely well made and well worth adding to your collection if you enjoy orchestral music. 

Music Listening: Vinyl - Tour de France - Kraftwerk

I have a couple of recent vinyl pickups which I will be posting here over the next couple of weeks. The first one up is the album Tour de France from Kraftwerk. This is a 2009 reissue of the album and I received this as a birthday present. If you do not know who Kraftwek are, they are an electronic music group from Germany who has been around since the 1970's. They are early pioneers of techno and the Berlin techno scene. Their music is sometimes quintessentially identified as "robot" music since the beats and rhythms are very mechanical. The group is also known for their live performances and visuals. 

This album follows in their standard music profile so if you know that you like or dislike Kraftwerk then you will know what you are getting here. The opening tracks on side A, Tour De France Étape, are probably the best tracks on the album. They are a relaxing, almost downtempo collection of synthetic textures. 

The album also features a really nice 20 page artbook, which is a collection of typographic images. It is a nice touch for those out there who are collectors of that sort of stuff. 

Great album and certainly a good evening listening type of album to put on while reading or relaxing. 

Music Listening: CD - From Sleep - Max Richter

I picked this album up from the library a couple of months ago. Most people know Max Richter's name probably from his song "On the Nature of Daylight". Richter is in all respects a contemporary composer of "classical" music. I put the word classical in quotes because while the music does use orchestral instruments the compositions are really anything but classical. Almost all of Richter's albums could be called concept albums and the music in some instances features elementals of ambient or electronic/synthesizer components. It is all very subtly done though and at first glance most of the music could be thought of as a traditional orchestral arrangement. 

The latest album from Richter follows in much of his previous work, in being a conceptual album. From Sleep is the shortened version of a larger composition which is approximately eight hours long. The music was/is designed to be listened to while one is sleeping and is said to guide you through the sleep process. This album itself is only about an hour long, but it features thematic elements of that larger eight hour composition. 

From a listening perspective, it is a nearly perfect ambient or background music piece. One could easily listen to this before going to bed, while reading or while just trying to wind down after a long day. You aren't going to hear anything here that is on the radio, but this is quite a good album overall for listening.