Friday, December 14, 2012

Theremin Thursdays - music of The Hobbit, but not yet

Okay fans, so this week as a special request to my daughter, I agreed to think about the music from The Hobbit (different versions) as the theme for considering the relationship between music and gaming.

That is pretty broad territory, as The Hobbit has been done as an animated movie, has some great songs in the book, had some songs set to music by Professor Tolkien, and even in some of the various radio and audio versions has had some music appear.  Plus there are songs ABOUT The Hobbit that are not FROM The Hobbit.  And, looming over the shoulder of this conversation is the release of the first installment of the new Peter Jackson trilogy relating the book to the modern cinema.

We have a family outing planned to see the movie this weekend, so before I write the full, definitive Gaming with Chuck article on the relationship between The Hobbit, music, and gaming - I will wait until after the movie.

In the meantime, as a sort of teaser, here are some music clips....

A great song/ballad by Glenn Yarbrough for the Rankin Bass animated film.

Another song, also from the RB movie, is this one - sung by Wood Elves after the demise of Smaug...

As my one tip of the hat to the new movie, before I see it, I will post a single video that is based on the movie.  By now, even if you haven't seen the flick, you must have seen or heard the incredible trailer that features the scene at that famous party at Bag End, where the Dwarves (deep in their cups) begin getting moody and steamy-eyed and start singing of their long lost heritage and treasures that were lost to the dragon smaug.  The singing from the movie looks and sounds great in that trailer.  There is a vocal group called Str8Voices that does a cover (yes, already) of that song.  It is incredible, except for one thing.  The song really doesn't call for female voices.  See what you think -

Amazing enough, there are already some other, even more divergent, versions of this song available.  Like this one (a talented singer, Karliene, but not a Dwarf), and this one (cute, but still not a Dwarf), and this one (that last one is two twins playing electric harps - which they also do on songs from Skyrim, the Legend of Zelda, Blue Oyster Cult, and a cover of an AC/DC song - where will it all end?).  Sheesh.   All good, but not Dwarves.  I like Dwarves. 

Now Rob Inglis is a Dwarf.  And a Hobbit.  And an Elf.  And one of the NĂºmenĂ³reans.  He is the Most Excellent reader/performer of the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings as recorded books - and he is a complete one man show.  Here he sings "The Song of the Lonely Mountain" from the book, which is what all this fuss is over anyway.

Okay, that is enough for now.  But... before departing, I do have to offer up One gaming link.  As I have brought up the Dwarves singing about the desolation that Smaug had wrought on their home in the Lonely Mountain, I should cover a game that deals with that topic.  [Yes, there was a great title from Iron Crown Enterprises on this very theme, but I will get to that in the later Hobbit article.]

For this installment, I am recalling a game, in a series of boxed micro games from Heritage (great manufacturer of miniatures, a long long time ago - who actually did, for the age, a pretty good line of Lord of the Rings miniatures and rules), called Dragon Rage by the talented Lewis Pulsipher.  The list of games was called Dwarfstar games (currently made available on the website from Brainiac), and included some good titles.

Curiously this is the second micro game to appear in a Gaming with Chuck article this week, the earlier one being the excellent Metagaming title, Chitin:I.

I think that it could be very easily argued that the basic idea of Dragon Rage owes at least a little to the idea of Smaug's raid on Lake Town.  Here is a link to the game (which has been released by the original copyright holders in a free Print and Play form).

 The game has recently been re-produced and made available commercially (for those who don't want to print and assemble) by Flatline Games.  It looks really, really good.

More on the Hobbit, and gaming, in a few days, after I get a chance to view the Peter Jackson offering.

Addendum:  A few weeks ago, in the original Theremin Thursdays article, I had a link to the Peter Hollens and  Lindsey Stirling video featuring Peter's vocals and Lindsey's violin playing in honor of Skyrim.  Well, I just recently came across another fantastic video, featuring some interesting video of everyone's favorite dragonborn hero, but this time with music from the incredibly talented Malukah (see her playlist on youtube, here).  The Guild Wars song that she collaborates on has her doing some really nice vocal work.

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