Hey all. I love to pump some music through my headphones when I read or write to help me stay focused. I often find video game soundtracks seem to do the trick, since they are usually designed to sit in the background and chill.
Anyway, I’m looking at expanding my playlists. So, give me your favorite game soundtracks. Ideally, I’m looking for soundtracks that don’t have a lot of lyrics (one or two songs are okay), and albums I can buy on Bandcamp. For example, my current list includes Celeste, Undertale, 2 Mello, and all four Super Giant games.
Edit: I should clarify. The Bandcamp thing isn’t an absolute requirement. I just like to support artists when I can.
Va11halla and Umurangi Generation have definitely been my most listened to OST’s for the past couple years. I find their vaporwave/synthwave derived sounds work great for working,driving,chilling, and just about anything. Most of all they both have very original sounds that surpass their influences.
I’m the procrastinator-type writer who can’t even start writing without throwing together a playlist of Mood Music, so a lot of my writing music is like ‘well, I’m writing a horror story, so let me put on some John Carpenter and the Silent Hill OST.’ But a few of my recent faves:
And one that probably only hits for people of a certain age, but I’ve been vibing a lot with this remaster of the soundtrack to Putt-Putt Goes to the Moon. A lot of nostalgia in that one, perhaps.
Also, we had a weekly thread a few months ago for chill soundtracks, some of those suggestions might fit what you’re looking for. I’ll repeat my rec there that the Tooth and Tail OST is great writing music.
Despite really liking a lot of game music, I don’t keep much of it in rotation. But beyond some of the obvious stuff for me (like Umurangi as above), I’ve been listening to a lot of the Risk of Rain 2 soundtrack lately. Really fits with a project I’m working on, and is just incredibly good background tunes.
12 years later and I still listen to both of these album in their entirety about once every 2 weeks
Ed Harrision makes a particular type of music that I have not found an equivalent to that I can just have on in the background while I’m doing something else. It gets me into a focused mode that is honestly hard for me to accomplish most of the time with other music. I probably owe him in part for getting my degree given to how much I listened to this in the college library basement while programming or writing a report.
All of the Supergiant music is excellent, with Pyre being my standout fave just because of how unapologetically weird it is. Also a huge of fan of Into the Breach and Subnautica: BZ, both by Ben Prunty. And Outer Wilds and Hollow Knight would probably round out my list of personal faves.
I have always been a fan of Fez and Hyper Light Drifter from Disasterpiece. Really atmospheric type music which gives me this great feeling of wanderlust, but also very good for zoning out on work type tasks. The soundtracks from the Pixeljunk games are very soothing. I specifically love otograph’s PIxeljunk Monsters soundtrack. Other favorite soundtracks of mine are Spelunky HD/2, Stardew Valley, and Shovel Knight (Including DLC).
Video game soundtrack adjacent, I would recommend The Consouls for jazzy video game interpretations along with The OneUps who typically play very varied styles of video game interpretations between their albums (rock, bossa nova, etc.). The latter probably being my favorite video game cover band.
To go even farther from the OPs premise, Leon Chang recently released a soundtrack for a imagined PS1 era JRPG. It’s really great! There’s something really compelling about listening to a kind of music that was very formative to me as a kid through the lens of a musician in 2020.
Despite asking for video game soundtracks I wanted to sneak in and recommended a few of my favorite movie soundtracks/scores which I am much better versed in. These are mostly or completely instrumental.
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross have been at it this past decade producing Oscar nominated and winning soundtracks but my two personal favorites are their early Fincher collaborations with Gone Girl and The Social Network. Listened to them a ton studying, writing my master thesis and beyond just as music. Might be a little different in tone but they have a strong sense of atmosphere and are surprisingly melodic and catchy at times. None are available on Bandcamp tho (But if you want some old school jazz their score for Mank is).
I listen to a lot of JRPG soundtracks usually. I’ve recently found that Vagrant Story and Chrono Cross are both really good for writing. They’re both very atmospheric soundtracks, so they tend to fade into the background easily, though sometimes I find myself pausing from my work to listen more closely to my favorite tracks. Chrono Cross is for when you want something calm and mellow, while Vagrant Story is definitely moodier and a bit ominous.``https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J5mZ7AkTA0A`https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1CLP1TpCoiY