So some of my long time followers may remember some tweets of mine where I explain some of suteF's influences. Probably one of the biggest influences across all of my works is music — specifically Prog Rock.
It should be said that I never really listened to much music when I was growing up. I found more interest in writing my own songs when I was in high school, and I didn't enjoy any top 40 tracks or any other songs that were repeated endlessly on the radio on my bus trips to school every morning.
When I finally made my glorious entry to college, I was quickly introduced to Pandora by other students to drown out the commotion of class. Since I was interested in making my own music and possibly getting into midi keyboard recording stuff, a Jordan Rudess video of a weird keyboard he was trying out made me build a Pandora station devoted to him.
I never was able to fucking learn how to play any kind of keyboard, but I devoured the genre that Rudess (by way of Dream Theater) was involved with: Prog Rock.
Hour long epics? Sweeping, technical musicianship? Sign me UP!
This post isn't so much about all of the different music references in my games but more about sharing what is influencing Bulletromancer and giving you guys some "evidence" to go hunting down the previous references yourselves.
FAIR WARNING! — none of the songs you're going to see here and listen to in this post are less than 10 minutes long... So if you don't want to go insane or lose a lot of time, you may want to skip them. I also understand that the genre probably has some weird-ass kind of "acquired taste" to it, so if you're not a fan, I won't take it personally. :P
This was one of the first songs where I found out that folks actually made songs longer than four minutes. It was a gateway for me to find out the whole genre prided itself on the epics — songs with a really high minute count that tell a story (often abstracted to the point of nonsense).
People often separate Spock's Beard into three "eras," Neal, D'Virgilio, and Post-D'Virgilio. Neal Morse was the original singer and did keyboards on their first album, then Ryo Okumoto joined as keyboardist. Neal left to pursue Christian Rock, not feeling that the things he wished to write would mesh well with Spock's Beard. Nick D'Virgilio, the drummer, took over as lead singer for several albums. Spock's Beard as it is today is without D'Virgilio, but are still performing.
Now, I personally really liked all of the albums Neal Morse did with Spock's Beard (DAMN that man can sing). I was pretty upset to realize that he pursued religious music and how a lot of "religious undertones" are sort of inserted into (and become really obvious once you know) a lot of Spock's Beard's lyrics.
HOWEVER, I don't think any of the music's meaning is tightly wrapped into religion. Some of the wording indicates it to be so, but the broader concepts are much more abstract than that. Spock's Beard feels like a VERY guilty pleasure in that sense... because I'm definitely not a fan of religion.
But, if you don't want to even bother with that snafu, you can listen to my favorite D'Virglio era songs:
The Flower Kings
Not so much to explain here, but I just love The Flower Kings, too. They output a lot of albums very quickly, they're usually really good albums, and they almost ALWAYS have an epic... most 30+ minutes long.
Also love these guys. They are active on twitter, and are still striving to continue making hyper-original music. Not too many bands out there trying to do that, right?
Last, and most certainly not least, Transatlantic. Let's imagine taking all of the Prog Rock giants and, I don't know, PUT THEM TOGETHER INTO A FREAKING SUPER GROUP It's composed of Neal Morse from Spock's Beard, Roine Stolt, a guitarist from The Flower Kings, Mike Portnoy, ex-drummer of Dream Theater, and Pete Trewavas from Marillion.
Transatlantic is by far my favorite band and has been one of my biggest influences to continue working on The Bulletromancer and keep moving forward through rough times in life. My selection for this band is "Stranger in Your Soul" — arguably the greatest song they've done.
Here's an (embedded) playlist of all of the songs I mentioned/showed here, and a bunch of other tracks that "didn't make the cut" for the post, but are just as influential to me. If you want to see the playlist on Grooveshark, check it out here.
I hope you guys enjoyed seeing a little bit more of what influences me, and who know, maybe you've discovered music you haven't heard or seen before? Constructive sharing if that's the case! What influences you? Cacth me on Twitter!