Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Game Night - The Thin Purple Line

I've dropped one RPG related music mix on you before, and since I do these pretty regularly I figure I'll keep 'em coming with a new series of posts called Game Night. This next one's pretty timely, as it's the soundtrack I put together for my gaming group after finishing up our Feng Shui game. Naw, we weren't arranging furniture or nothin' like that, it's an RPG based on Action Flicks, Asian ones in particular. Joints like Hard Boiled, Once Upon A Time In China, and Fist of Legend are among the scores of source material that's used for the basic setting. On top of the basic idea of the game taking place in an action movie universe, it also takes place in a few different time periods, with the main time period being 1996. Pretty crucial time period to the setting, because of England losing its lease on Hong Kong in the following year. Most people running the game tend to at least start in Hong Kong, if not do their entire runs there, but I decided to do this one a little differently and start the show in 1996 L.A. That gave me the chance to pull in a lot of cool plot elements and pull from real life. I make reference to the Tupac and Biggie murders, the aftermath of the L.A. Riots, the Rampart Division scandal and a lot of other stuff. We're pretty grown up when we play pretend over here. To cut to the chase, putting together the soundtrack for each Saturday evening was a pleasant trip back in time, and I tried to capture the feel of the whole game when I put the final list together:

1. A Tribe Called Quest feat. Consequence - Jam (Remix) - The game opener took place at the opening of a nightclub, and the remix of this record from Beats, Rhymes & Life fit the bill to kick things off. (Amazon|iTunes).
2. Elastica - Line Up - Solid piece of traveling/background music from the self-titled album of one of my favorite Britpop bands of the time. (Elastica|iTunes)
3. Cardigans - Lovefool - This song was dumb huge back then, and you're lying if you didn't get it stuck in your head at least once. In our game, one of the players was chased out of an Italian restaurant by the kitchen staff while this played in the background. Mind drilling qualities of that single aside, First Band on the Moon was a solid album. (Amazon|iTunes)
4. The Toadies - I Come From the Water - Most people know these guys from the song "Possum Kingdom" but the whole of Rubberneck a good record, and made for fine fight music in the game. (Amazon|iTunes)
5. Ghostface Killah - Daytona 500 - I finally got to realize my dream of setting a car chase to this song. I upped the ante by setting this chase on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. If you don't have Ironman, you're not a proper Ghostface fan. (Amazon|iTunes
6. Deftones - Teething - The Deftones were lumped in with bands like Korn and other nu-metal acts, but the difference with Deftones is that I actually like them. This song from the soundtrack to The Crow: City of Angels made for good music to commit violence by. (Amazon)
7. Tricky - Hell Is 'Round The Corner - When I was introducing the players to a South Central L.A. neighborhood that wasn't too far removed from a war zone, I wanted a less than obvious choice. Tricky's take on his Bristol neighborhood worked for me. From Maxinquaye. (Amazon|iTunes)
8. Xzibit - At The Speed of Life - Background music for group's time in South Central, from one of my favorite albums by Mr. X to the Z. (Amazon)
9. Ice Cube - Really Doe - More South Central background music, from Lethal Injection. (Amazon|iTunes)
10. DJ Shadow - What Does Your Soul Look Like, Pt. 1 - With time travel being a major theme of Feng Shui, there's a place that exists in between all the time periods called the The Netherworld. This song from DJ Shadow's groundbreaking Endtroducing... introduced my players to it. (Amazon|iTunes)
11. Bishop Lamont feat. Black Milk, Guilty Simpson, Busta Rhymes - Mouth Music - From the sublime to the base, one of the group's first spots to hit up in the Netherworld was a strip club. This was on the house speakers as they arrived. From Bishop Lamont and Black Milk's collaboration, Caltroit that you can download for free from DubCNN.
12. M.I.A. - Paper Planes - Before this song blew the 'eff up (after being out for quite a while already) I'd had it in mind to use for my game. By the time the group got to meet the character it was attached to, an African child soldier turned arms dealer, they got familiar with it in a different context. From M.I.A.'s album Kala (Amazon|iTunes)
13. DJ Krush - OCE 9504 - Given the strange and mysterious nature of the Netherworld, many of Meiso's tracks made perfect background music(Amazon).
14. Goodie Mob - Soul Food - Back in the real world, our players were tasked with protecting a Community Center in the war-torn neighborhood I introduced with Tricky earlier. Given that I took a lot of the personalities from that were running it from my younger days in the South, I felt it was more than appropriate to use this Goodie Mob classic. This song also came in handy during the group's trip to Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles. (Amazon|iTunes)
15. Raekwon - Verbal Intercourse - One of the characters was a cop, and I chose this to be the first bit of background music the players heard as he entered the precinct. Something about this joint from Only Built 4 Cuban Linx always sounded like it could've been right at home in a 70s cop show, dunno why. (Amazon)
16. De La Soul - Stakes Is High - Once things started to edge closer to the climax, the music reflect the dire turns the plot was taking. The title track off of De La's '96 album fit the game's themes like a glove. (Amazon)
17. Outkast - Mainstream - Along with Stakes Is High, plenty of stuff from Atliens fit the tone of the game in its late stages, this song in particular. (Amazon|iTunes)
18. Blu & Exile - So(ul) Amazing (Steel Blazin') - And here's the closer. Considering that the gang brought a bit of a brighter future to L.A., I thought that a song from one of the West's brighter spots in music nowadays would be appropriate. From the modern day classic Below the Heavens. (Amazon|iTunes)
19. Blu - CityOfLos(t)Angel(e)s f. Co$$ - The alternate ending, for the results they could have achieved. Less hopeful, more focused on the rough patches of L.A. From Blu's MySpace that he liberated a while back.

Here's the mix, which gets its title from the name of the game, which I took from a documentary called The Thin Blue Line. Google it if you don't already know, as it's late and this took a lot longer than I was anticipating:
Feng Shui - The Thin Purple Line

Bonus: I was going to actually include this remix of Paper Planes with verses from Bun B and Rich Boy in the soundtrack, but it wouldn't fit on CD with the rest of the sountrack. My players' loss is the internet's gain.

M.I.A. feat. Bun B and Rich Boy - Paper Planes(Remix)

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