What I’m Listening to Now, December Edition

I’ve been thinking about doing a monthly column dedicated to audio, much like I do for the written word, but I never had enough music or spoken word stuff to talk about (yeah, I listen to audio books each month, but I have to count those as books, or I wouldn’t have enough “written word” stuff to talk about…) Podcasting has changed all that. Now I’ve got plenty of good stuff to talk about, so look for monthly (or at maybe every two months) updates about music, podcasts, and other audio adventures.

Halo 2 Soundtrack, Various Artists (CD)

The original Halo soundtrack was pure gaming goodness. This time around, they expand it beyond the tracks featured in the game by including new creations “inspired by” Halo 2 by the bands Breaking Benjamin, Incubus, and Hoobastank. As far as the game music goes, it’s just as good as the original game — its immersive and powerfully reinforces both the action and the plot. As for the “inspired” music, well, it’s not all that inspiring.

I’m not opposed to the idea of popular artists expanding on the themes in the soundtrack, but overall, most of these expansions sound like so much noise alongside to Martin O’Nonnel and Michael Salvatori’s inspired creations. It probably would have worked better as a two-disc set, with one given over to game music, and the other given over to Incubus and its kin. That said that, stripped of the pop-rock crap, the CD is just as kick ass (and possibly more so) than the one for Halo 2. Expect a full review shortly.

Tech Chick Weekly (Podcast)

Ok, maybe not quite so weekly, but the Tech Chick is still an amusing listen. The latest show (Nov 25) offered a quick rundown of tech news, including Microsoft’s new lead in the handheld market, new voluntary “codes of conduct” being promoted by camera phone companies, and a cell phone version of Fox’s “24” series. She also had her “Techie’s Top Five” in which she ran down her favorite tech tools. Get the Podcast feed.

Songs From Other Planets, Jon O’Bergh (CD)

This is a “cyberjazz” concept album I received as a review copy for Nuketown. I’ve listened to it a few times through, and I’ve come to the conclusion that this just isn’t for me. It’s got an atmospheric, surreal quality to it, which is attractive for a track or two, but which didn’t sustain me through the whole albums. There were no tracks that really “hooked” me and pulled me in — all in all, the whole thing was a little too New Age-y for me. That said, if you’re looking for something that combines jazz with otherworldly electronic impulses, check out O’Bergh’s web site.

RPGMP3.com: The World’s Largest Dungeon (Podcast)

The folks at RPGMP3.com have undertaken the Herculean task of playing through Alderac’s World’s Largest Dungeon, and their recording and then podcasting every minute of play. It’s a cool concept, particularly for those who don’t have a weekly game, but personally, I really, really wish they would edit these things down into bite-size pieces.

I’ve listened to portions of a few sessions, but even with a two hour commute each day, I don’t have time to listen to every adventure, nor really the desire. I mean, a lot of what happens at their gaming table is the miscellaneous BS that happens at any gaming table; we’re not talking high drama here. But edited down to just the highlights, with some a narrator piecing together the pieces, this could be one truly kickass podcast, particularly if it came in at around 15-20 minutes per download. That way I could get my WLD fix, and still have time to listen to the rest of my podcasts. Get the podcast

IT Conversations (Podcast)

I’ve tried out a the IT Conversations podcasts, which feature round table conversations about technology that often deep into the details of various issues. It’s great if that’s what your interested in, but it just wasn’t tickling my fancing while trapped in New Jersey traffic on I-78. Call me shallow, but I find myself in need of escapism when trying to restrain myself from screaming at the cars ahead of me. Get the podcast.

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