Friday, 28 October 2016

The Witcher music

I can’t remember the world without the Witcher. Being Polish and about as old as The Sword of Destiny, I was always aware of Geralt, at first learning about him from my dad and aunt, and seeing simple white covers with single-coloured stripes all around, later, reading the books myself, (probably much too early), loving Ciri and being sort of disgusted with the neverending drama of Geralt and Yen (much too early, told you). Still, I only got into games 3 years ago, when I rested after an operation and needed distraction (and they are the best distraction in the world, proved by all games completed 4 times).

Responsible for soundtrack to the latest games were Marcin Przybyłowicz and Mikolai Stroinski, also joined by Piotr Musiał in Blood and Wine, and by Percival, Polish folk-metal band (think Eluveitie but heavier and crazier), in all three works. And as much as I enjoy the games, I urge you, even if you are not a gamer, try the music alone. It completely dominated my playlist in the recent months, and rightly so, as it has everything one may desire from daily music companion.

So let’s make a reference point list! If you are looking for:

Action - check Silver for Monsters… & ...Steel for Humans - the most characteristic feature of witchers is the fact that they carry two swords. While all Percival songs are amazing, these two show two very different faces of this story - Silver is the chase, wildness, entrancing dance and fear creeping at your shoulder, Steel smells of sweat, heavy weapons and hostility. Choose for yourself which one will be more helpful fighting Mondays.

Vikings - go to Spikeroog and King Bran's Final Voyage - with Skellige being the land modeled after Scandinavia (and to some extent Scotland), its two introductory music tales are properly winterly, moderate in words and spectacular in its actions and nature, vibrant with underlying emotions. To me - definitely top of the list. While Spikeroog calms and sooths, King Bran's Final Voyage is seriously the most sublime, honoring and yet humble melody ever.

Game of Thrones - Emhyr var Emreis, Witch Hunters - the game plot takes place in a shadow of a great war and it’s really interesting to see how themes related to two rulers are very similar in their thrilling, spying and merciless style of terror and yet, how much they differ - with Emhyr’s subtlety, depth and growing waves of threats and simple, blind cruelty of Radovid’s Witch Hunters.

Wise love - The Wolf And The Swallow - The Witcher saga and the third game could be summed up as Father, monster slayer, seeks his lost daughter - a princess and monster slayer in training - and fights everybody who stands in his way - monsters, monarchs, wizards and a surprising amount of side quests). Seriously though, I can’t imagine capturing complexity of desperation, worrying about loved one and homesickness accompanying parent-child love better than this song does it. That said, Geralt is the father of not year, but eternity. Also, SPOILER ALERT for gamers, this was the first scene that caught me off-guard and left me crying like a little girl I am. And gets me every. single. time.

Epic Fights - Welcome, Imlerith, Ladies of the Woods and Eredin, King Of The Hunt - I am not overly fond of either of main story big bosses, I found book Eredin annoying and we don’t get much back story of Imlerith. However Imlerith music theme always scares me a bit, and Ladies of the Woods scare me… a lot. Ok, so here is scary confrontation music for you.

Ghost story - Whatsoever A Man Soweth… - while the main theme of Hearts of Stone is thrilling on its own, it is this slowed-down version with exposed strings, slight reverb and ghost-like moans that fully reflects the sad loneliness, hopelessness and remorse. Also Go Back Whence You Came. Seriously, you should listen to these songs before going to confession, I recommend!

Cool languages - apart from Polish and English you can also hear old Belarussian (The Song of the Sword-Dancer), Scots (The Fields of Ard Skellig), Bulgarian (...Steel for Humans) and Croatian (Widow-Maker). And they do it oh-so-great!

Awesome trailer music - Sword of Destiny - a powerful combination of fight/hunt sequences, Lullaby of Woe - have you ever felt sorry for a vampire? The song is a tender, yet morbid in lyrics, lullaby, which will give you goosebumps. Also, if you are playing - look out for its cameo in the latest expansion.

The love song we are all humming - Wilcza Zamieć aka Wolven Storm, sung by female bard, Priscilla, and telling the story of Geralt and Yennefer’s romance. I do encourage you to listen to the Polish version as it’s nicer vocally, but there are so many language versions, that you can check them all.

Twisted France - with the last expansion set in quasi-France, countryside, names and its entire OST bear a lot of French blinks of an eye. One such example may be On The Banks of The Sansretour, the other…

The creepiest accordion you’ll ever hear - Seeking Resonance and On The Champs-Désolés - if accordion makes you think of lousy old folk and wedding music, go listen to these two and see for yourself. Simply horror tunes. Wine Wars also has nice accordion, but it’s not THAT scary.

Weird fight music - I Cannot Let You Live, Tesham Mutna - one of the best things about Blood and Wine are these crazy broken-rhythm, squawked-sung pieces. And vampires. Who under no circumstances shine insunlight.

Bonus: Since all Witcher soundtracks are amazing, I give you my favourite Witcher song ever: Dwarven Stone Upon Dwarven Stone. If you happen to find yourself in Polish mountains and see a girl playing and singing it - big chances it’s me.

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