Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Music For Writers #2: Iain Rowan

This week's Music For Writers should be good, because selecting the tunes is Iain Rowan, a man who I already know has fine taste in music. Below he talks about some of his favourite music to write to, and his choices certainly work for him, because his work includes such gems as the brilliant collection of literary horror Ice Age, the also-brilliant crime novel One Of Us, and many other also-also-brilliant things.

Take it away, Iain:

I tend to avoid listening to music with vocals when I’m writing, in case the rhythms and images of the vocals creep in and colour what I’m doing. I also tend to listen to playlists rather than individual artists, so some of these choices have been picked as representative, rather than the one true song, and that makes it harder to tie a piece to a particular story. There’s a fair amount on here which gets played much more when writing than any other time, and a lot of what I listen to most day to day doesn’t feature here at all.

Patashnik - Biosphere
This gets listened to as an album, but this particular track most of all. Also here as a representative of a big electronica playlist called Headspace that my wife put together -  lots of things like this, Four Tet, Boards of Canada, Amon Tobin etc. 

Mariette - Mark Kozelek and Desertshore
An exception to my no vocals thing - and it’s ironic because he has such a distinctive vocal style you’d think it would be the worst thing - is most of Mark Kozelek’s output, because the reflective world-weary tone seems to unlock something in my head. For some reason though, this is very much short story soundtrack, not novel writing.

Avril 14th - Apex Twin
I do remember once putting this on repeat and just writing, writing, writing while it played over and over.  This one I can tie to a particular piece too - this was when I was writing ‘Waiting for Mr Opera’ which is a 45 min radio drama that’s doubtless just about to be rejected from the BBC’s Writers’ Room drama call. And funnily enough - I’m writing this on 14th April…

Ashes In The Snow - Mono
My post-rock playlist gets used a lot when I’m writing: big emotional, atmospheric music but rarely a lyric to be heard. Listening to this a lot while working on novel revisions at the mo.

Blue Ship - Justin Sullivan
Another exception to the no vocals thing - the album this is from gets listened to as an album. It has a really consistent feel to it, all the way through. This is currently soundtracking an effort to turn a short stage play called Reading The Stones into a full length thing.

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