Nightscape Series

The Soundtrack Behind Nightscape: Cynopolis

David EdwardsComment

Some authors use their acknowledgements page to thank the artists whose music they enjoyed while writing. (I most recently ran across this habit in Jeremy Robert Johnson's inventive and trippily fun Crackhead City.) Instead of memorializing my musical taste in the book itself, I thought I'd just note a few of the albums I listened to consistently over the two years it took me to compose Nightscape: Cynopolis, to wit:

  • Black Milk, Tronic, Album of the Year and No Poison No Paradise
  • Elzhi, The Preface
  • FKA twigs, LP1
  • Interpol, El Pintor
  • Kendrick Lamar, Good Kid, M.A.A.D City
  • Low, The Invisible Way
  • The National, High Violet
  • Frank Ocean, channel ORANGE
  • Pallbearer, Foundations of Burden
  • Guilty Simpson, Ode to the Ghetto
  • Slum Village, Detroit Deli: A Taste of Detroit, Slum Village and Villa Manifesto
  • Spelljammer, Vol. II
  • The Sword, Warp Riders
  • Chelsea Wolfe, Pain is Beauty

Even based on this small sample, you can see I listened to a mix of Detroit rap (the better to recall the prevailing moods of the city), acid/psych/doom rock (for inspiration when it came to the weirder passages), and edgy, evocative pop (white noise with an underlying sense of vertigo). I tend to play music at a low volume during my writing sessions and avoid tunes that feature a lot of prominent vocals for fear of getting distracted. (I didn't usually play rap while sitting at the computer for that reason.)

No doubt my choice of music impacts my work, consciously or not. I think the Detroit rap I listened to in my off-hours definitely contributed to the book's urban atmosphere. I even considered trying to pull together a companion album featuring underground Detroit rappers. As I've mentioned before, what makes weird fiction work is ensuring all the mundane elements are as believable as possible.