History doesn’t repeat itself, but it rhymes.
We started our imaginative careers in sci-fi and fantasy worlds of literature and role-playing. Later, we applied the sense-making apparatus thus developed to process music into kinaesthetic scenarios where beats stomped like the boots of space commandos, and synths unfurled in front of your eyes like the evil pixels thats simmer in the boundaries of a necromantic spell.
Today, we play board-games where whole universes are reduced to compact and elegant sets of rules. We create mixtapes to animate the ensuing soirées. The arts meld and clash and in their overlap create a wormhole through which we are again transported some place else. We become once again children, teenagers, young men, us, searching for the weird fantastic high that lies in hiding behind all our intermediate highs.
Here are some examples:
In Seven Wonders you are the ruler of an ancient Mediterranean civilisations who through industry, trade and war, accumulates the resources to build a Wonder that will astonish the world, bring immortality to your name and glory to your people. Gail Laughton’s “Harps of the Ancient Temples” is its perfect soundtrack: brief and enigmatic harp compositions with melodies that simmer holographically like torches glowing over the stone walls of corridors extending into the darkness, into rooms of full of treasure, ritual and mystery inhabited that peoples that were like us, but oh so alien.
In Great Western Trail you are a cattle farmer, cowboy and engineer. You assemble wonderfully diverse herds of cows which you will drive across the plains, into steam locomotives that will take them to their mass slaughter and consumption in markets far away.
Although this is a game of cold economic strategy and route and resource optimisation, it nevertheless brims with the romance of the Wild West: open skies and epiphany-inducing masses of clouds, the wind in your face and the echo of an harmonica. What better sounds to accompany this adventure than Dibson T Hoffweiler’s glowing guitar whirlpools of timeless Americana?
You can acquire When I Went West here.