Author Topic: Vampires & Music  (Read 1242 times)

Belchion

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Vampires & Music
« on: February 16, 2018, 11:44:26 PM »
Vampires & Music
By Belchion

Vampire the Masquerade is a part of the World of Darkness, a setting for a series of Pen-&-Paper Roleplaying Games published by White Wolf where the player takes on the role of traditional horror monsters like werewolves, changelings or (most prominently) vampires. The setting more or less merged horror stories with esoterics and technophoby, strongly drawing from the cyberpunk asthetics with powerful corporations and dark cities.

In the Pen-&-Paper Roleplaying Game “Vampire: the Masquerade”, one takes on the role of vampires. Most vampires belong to highly hierarchical sects called Camarilla and Sabbat. The Camarilla represents an ossifed ruling caste that subsists on favours, backroom deals, and intrigues, whereas the Sabbat represents violent political movements that attempt to overthrow the system and impose their own absolute rule.

Furthermore, all vampires belong to a clan. While players have to agree on a sect the whole group belongs to, members of different clans can and do work together. Those clans are bound by a shared clan curse and clan boon, which creates strong archetypes. By interpreting this archetype one can find ideas how to interpret vampires from this clan.

My friend Teylen recently had the idea to combine vampires and music, showing which songs fit her idea about the Clan Malkavian. I highly recommend checking her ideas, which are completely different from mine.

I decided to follow suit, albeit in a more methodical way as I lack the broad music knowledge that allowed her a more spontaneous approach. First, I defined the archetype Clan Malkav represents in my opinion, and then tried to find songs or music that fitted this theme.


Archetype

First of all, what archetype do the Malkavians represent? They are insane and they are fools, but theirs is the insanity that breaks through illusions and grants new insight. Accordingly, they are also known as seers and soothsayers. Still, they are monsters, and the Joker from Batman is as much a Malkavian as Cassandra of Troy.


The Music

Toccata e Fuga in D minor

The first piece that comes to my mind is always the Toccata e Fuga in D minor from Johann Sebastian Bach. In several beats, it sounds somewhat dissonant, and yet powerful. Furthermore, it was featured prominently in regard to several delusional film villains and, of course, some vampires.



Trout Mask Replica

Second, Trout Mask Replica by Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band. This song is famous among musicians, because the composer was completely uninhibited by any norms and traditions. He combined instruments and song without any regard to each other. And even though the album is also described as the most horrible album ever written, it still inspires musicians to this day and helps them to innovate. Just the same, a Malkavian’s erratic behaviour still somehow furthers the plans of the clan as whole.



Jeanny

Falco sings in Jeanny about delusions and the escape into a dream world, from which there is no escape but death. Just like there is no escape from their clan’s curse except for true death. The song is ambivalent about who is tortured by whom, just as one cannot be sure who truly controls clan Malkav.



Chain Of Fools

Aretha Franklin sings in Chain Of Fools about being bound to someone who treats her cruelly, just as Malkavians are bound to their insanity and the voices from the Malkavian Madness Network.



Cassandra

As I already mentioned Cassandra as one of the prototypical Malkavians, the song of the same name by Theatre of Tragedy fits well into this theme, given its rather macabre nature and rather depressive, yet energetic tune.




Conclusion

As ephemeral as this article might seem, it still helped me to gain a clearer picture for Clan Malkav and its role in the World of Darkness. And even if it does not have this effect on you, dear reader, I hope it will at least acquaints you with music you would otherwise not have listened to!
« Last Edit: February 17, 2018, 01:31:10 PM by Belchion »

Clockwork

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Re: Vampires & Music
« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2018, 08:58:49 AM »
I like it, Sabbat is the official title for the antagonists in english version (even though it is the same word and origin as sabbath).

I love both your ideas on Malkavian musical taste. For me; I'd play one song on top of another. Something like: In the House, In a Heartbeat - John Murphy underneath Invaders Must Die - Prodigy because to me one of the hallmarks of playing a Malkavain is being of two (or more) minds. A constant background element of some affliction, be it visions, a great plan, voices while at the same time being very much in the present with your other half screaming, fighting, painting, laughing, crying.

Or even an audio book version of Paradise Lost over Clubbed to Death - Matrix Soundtrack.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2018, 09:08:05 AM by Clockwork »
Once you realize what a joke everything is, being the Comedian is the only thing that makes sense.


Belchion

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Re: Vampires & Music
« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2018, 01:47:09 PM »
Sabbat is the official title for the antagonists in english version
Quickly corrected it, thanks for pointing it out!

For me; I'd play one song on top of another [...], because to me one of the hallmarks of playing a Malkavain is being of two (or more) minds. A constant background element of some affliction, be it visions, a great plan, voices while at the same time being very much in the present with your other half screaming, fighting, painting, laughing, crying.
Oh, that is a very interesting take, too. Something very changing as foreground music and something rather steady as background drop.

Clockwork

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Re: Vampires & Music
« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2018, 12:30:59 AM »
Yeah exactly! To me that style of a distracting foreground ringing above a backline is how I play my Malks :) Although I based my own loon off the Malk progenitor from VtM:B video game who had a very sound mind but episodes of insanity. Also mixes with what I've personally witnessed of mental illness because great RP is based on real life :P


If you're curious, Toreador is my favoured type, Malk is a very close second though!
Once you realize what a joke everything is, being the Comedian is the only thing that makes sense.


Belchion

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Re: Vampires & Music
« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2018, 06:14:04 PM »
If you're curious, Toreador is my favoured type, Malk is a very close second though!
Toreador somehow never sat right with me, never knew what to make of them.Perhaps you could create a music compilation for Toreador?

Clockwork

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Re: Vampires & Music
« Reply #5 on: February 19, 2018, 07:37:57 PM »
Ah I love them, aloof, effortless, feckless, lazy, a disarming aura, an air of mystery. Beautiful decadence, prideful narcissism. Prone to flights of fancy, stunned by beauty, innately more 'human' than most creatures of darkness.


They're very much 'twilight/true blood' vampires which gives them a bad rap. Having said that I love playing this super casual being with sudden bursts of energy and glaring weakness ;)


Musically I'd have to find something that just sounds good and it's innately cool without trying. Loathe to say it but Beatles maybe? I'll look into it.
Once you realize what a joke everything is, being the Comedian is the only thing that makes sense.


Silver Wolf

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Re: Vampires & Music
« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2018, 06:07:32 PM »
If you're curious, Toreador is my favoured type, Malk is a very close second though!

For me it's the other way round. :P

Most probably because I actually am a borderline Malkavian in real life. :P
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Silver Wolf

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Re: Vampires & Music
« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2018, 10:56:51 PM »
My latest Malkavian character has a soundtrack related to his level of humanity.
He used to be a medicine student who went through hell and back thought his life.
He's usually very altruistic, but as his humanity and sanity drop he becomes more and more destructive.
Also, he passes off as a Toreador at first.

So here are some of the levels. The names of the tracks and the lyrics actually fit the character's story very well:

Angel with a shotgun

Dead is the new alive

Liar

I believe in blood

Spasmolytic

« Last Edit: March 19, 2018, 11:06:33 PM by Silver Wolf »
"Less of a young professional - more of an ancient amateur. But frankly, I'm an absolute dream."