The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers - The Complete Recordings by Howard Shore and released by Reprise Records is a huge collection containing 3+ hours of music from the movie spread over three CDs and augmented by a video DVD documenting the soundtrack's production. It's so huge that a single review won't do it justice, so instead, I'm blogging it. View the "Blogging the Complete Two Towers" category for the complete list of posts in this series.
My first impression as the music starts playing -- and I'm immediately confronted with notes I haven't heard since watching The Two Towers-- is that the difference between this and the regular soundtrack is like the difference between reading the books and watching the movies.
The movies give you a beautiful experience … but the books give you depth. And that's what the complete series CDs give you as well -- every note played on screen, evoking every musical sense that you felt. No short cuts, no abridgments, just Howard Shore's beautiful music.
My iPod finally decided to connect to my PowerMac, allowing me to finally download a bunch of new podcasts to listen to. First up on my list were for Dragon's Landing Inn, Misfit Brew's Round Table, Fear the Boot and Geek Fu Action Grip.
J.C. Hutchins' podcast novel 7th Son will get a little touch of the Verse on Nov. 14 when Firefly's Nathan Fillion recaps "the story so far" for the book's listeners. This isn't the first time Hutchins has had such notable guest narrators; others include Robert J. Sawyer (Mindscan, Neanderthal Parallax trilogy), Mike Resnick (Santiago, the Starship series), Tracy R. Hickman (Dragonlance series) and Jeph Loeb (writer/co-executive producer for NBC's Heroes, Batman: The Long Halloween).
According to Hutchins:
7th Son is a free weekly podcast novel. The story chronicles the lives of seven strangers who have been brought together after the recent assassination of the U.S. president. These men quickly discover they all appear to be the same man, with identical childhood memories. Unwitting participants in a human cloning experiment, these "John Michael Smiths" have been assembled to catch the man who murdered the president. Their target? The man they were cloned from ... the original John Michael Smith, code-named John Alpha."
Cory Doctorow's short story "0wnz0red" is available as a four-part podcast. He describes it as "a story about trusted computing, geek culture, and getting root on your body", which sounds nicely weird. I haven't listened yet, but I've got it queued up and ready to go for today's workout at the gym.
If listening to fiction isn't your thing (yes, I'm looking at you Berin) then you can always try subscribing to the episodic, RSS-based version of Doctorow's exceedingly strange urban fantasy novel Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town. The feed delivers a few pages to you each day until you've completed the book. Read my review of the dead tree version of the book.
John Williams' original Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone soundtrack was a whimsical, wondrous album with a hook that was instantly as memorable as anything he'd done for Star Wars or Jaws.
If you've ever wanted to know what ol'Uncle Bear sounds like, now you can. Berin Kinsman co-hosts Dice Make Bonk #20 with Cameron Goble. They discuss ditching a few thousand feats as part of an effort to reduce d20 to its fundemental core.
Visitors to Uncle Bear will have read much of this before, as it tracks with our conversations over the last few months (particularly since the dire shark jump), but you've never heard it before.
Superman Returns is the archetypal superhero soundtrack, expertly incorporating the full spectrum of full-color emotions -- heroics, passion, dread, wonder, inspiration -- while paying homage to John Williams' original tracks.
A new report by Nielsen/NetRatings looks at the online behavior of podcast and vlog consumers. It's got some interesting statistics: the most popular web site for podcast listeners is Macworld.com (not the most popular podcast; they didn't report that information) while vlog viewers like to hit StarTrek.com, which surprised me since Star Trek has been in the doldrums for the last few years.
I'm working on my latest Knights of the Dinner Table "Summon WebScryer" column, and have decided to return to the Eternal Well of Podcasting for a third time. Normally I don't like to keep hitting the same topic, save for my various "GM/Player Tools" columns, but in this case I think it does a service to the gaming community, letting folks know these podcasts exist while at the same time giving podcasters the sort of infusion of listeners that can keep them broadcasting.
The Chronicles of Narnia soundtrack has me torn. On the one hand, I've now got another fantasy-themed soundtrack that I can use in my role-playing game sessions. On the other, my geek music collection now includes a song by Alanis Morissette.
I mean no offense to the women geeks out there, for whom this is probably a good thing, it's just that I've never really liked Alanis' music all that much -- its just too depressing, too angsty for my taste (but hey, I still regularly listen to Huey Lewis). Fortunately her track on this album -- "Wunderkin" -- is fits the soundtrack quite well, and has less angst-per-beat than most of her other music.