Monday, June 5, 2017

Gaming Soundtracks: Island Tracks by Simon Stålenhag


This is post number 5 in the series “30 Days of Tales from the Loop,” a celebration of the game set in an 80s that never was.

Island Tracks is an album composed by Simon Stålenhag himself, the artist who created Tales from the Loop. The album was a Kickstarter stretch goal, consisting of "eight ambient tracks, recorded using synthesizer and piano.”

As I like to do here sometimes, now I’ll give a brief description of each of the tracks on the album, along with recommendations for how you might use each as background music during a game.

If you like this album, check out more of his music on Simon's SoundCloud site.

FYI, I know I could ask someone what the track titles mean, but I thought you might enjoy it more if I try to puzzle them out myself. Here we go!

Track List:

  1. Karlskar. Calm, ambient music. Good for Kids who are exploring someplace new—before things turn threatening. (Karlskar is a village on one of the islands in Lake Mälaren, the default setting for the Tales from the Loop RPG and much of the Tales from the Loop art book.)
  2. Eldgarnso. Low-key piano music, with perhaps a hint of looming conflict. Use to build tension. (Eldgarnsö is an area near Stockholm.)
  3. Loten. Similar to the previous track at the beginning, then adding some eerie mechanical sound effects. This should unnerve the players. (Löten appears to be a town or farm north of Stockholm.)
  4. Oxelgarde. Reminiscent of synthesizer music from Stranger Things (which I’ll be covering later in the month). Kinda creepy, but not outright scary. Good background for investigation or exposition scenes. (I can’t find Oxelgarde, and Google Translate is totally letting me down on translating some of these Swedish map pages.)
  5. Goholmen. Somewhat melancholy piano piece. Useful for a sad or wistful scene. (Göholmen appears to be an island in Lake Mälaren.)
  6. Davenso. Another melancholy piano piece. Use as above. (Dävensö is another island in Lake Mälaren.)
  7. Sanga Saby. Continues our theme of slow-paced, somewhat sad piano. Maybe it’s just me that finds these melancholy! If you have a different experience, please let me know and I’ll seek treatment. (Sanga Saby is a hotel on Svartsjölandet, which is—you guessed it—an island in Lake Mälaren.)
  8. Stavsborgs Fabrik. Maybe I’m feeling better, but this one seems lighter and more fanciful. Good for exploring strange new settings, or perhaps talking about the Kids’ new experiences when they’re back at their hideout. (According to Wikipedia, this is a bus station in Färentuna, Sweden. Which is on Svartsjölandet. On Lake Mälaren.)

Hey, you know what it took me this long to realize? That all these place names from islands on Lake Mälaren are the reason for the album’s title, Island Tracks.

(In my defense, I never claimed to have a Rubik’s Cube-solving level of intellect.)