Music for the Mind

One of the benefits when doing art is getting to listen to music while you work. I realize that you can always listen to music, but the only time I really listen is when I am working. Of course I can’t listen to music while doing video editing, but for rotoscoping, 3D, and motion graphics the first thing I do before I begin is turn on my iTunes and begin listening. I thought it might be fun to share some of what I listen to in the hopes that it might inspire others

Within Temptation

If I am going to listen to music that has singing in it, I will usually turn on Within Temptation. I don’t remember how I found out about them, but I really do enjoy their music. They are a Dutch band that has been around since 1996. I didn’t find out about them until this past summer. Go figure. Within Temptation can be described as a gothic metal or gothic rock, but I prefer to think of them as Symphonic Rock. They have metal sound, but also use strings and orchestration, so symphonic rock. Anyway, the first song that really got me interested is entitled What Have You Done. After I heard that song I decided to check out the entire album and purchased it based on a couple of other songs. I really love so called “power ballads” and this album has two. The first is called All I Need and is a very catchy song. Sharon den Adel, the lead singer, has an amazing voice. I would have to put this song as one of my favorites. However, my favorite song on the album would have to be Forgiven. It is a bit quieter than the other songs on the album, but really shows off Sharon’s voice and a quieter side of the band. Overall I would say that this band reminds me of Evanescence, but a bit more grown up. I just bought their album Black Symphony is a live concert complete with a symphony orchestra. I really love when bands do this. I loved Metallica’s S&M album and this one is excellent. I highly recommend anything from Within Temptation.

Hans Zimmer

If I am going to listen to just music without any lyrics, I usually turn to movie scores and one of my favorites is Hans Zimmer. I was first exposed to his music back in college. He wrote my favorite soundtrack of all time, The Rock. I really love how he melds symphonic sounds with electronic instruments. I used to listen to this soundtrack when driving back and forth between my parents’ house in Conroe and college in Denton. This is an excellent driving soundtrack. This is one of the few cds I have that I have worn out. I had to actually buy another copy because my original got scratched so much. Another soundtrack I love that he wrote is the soundtrack to Crimson Tide. These two soundtracks really compliment each other. Crimson Tide is also a driving score with some softer areas including The Navy Hymn, Eternal Father Strong to Save. This is one of my favorite hymns and the version on this score is excellent. Zimmer is probably most widely known for his score of Gladiator, I have to say that it is not one of my favorites. He didn’t use the theme as much as I would have liked, but if it turns people on to his music then that is great. I own a lot of Zimmer’s work including those mentioned above, The Da Vinci Code, The Dark Knight, and The Last Samurai, so I would definitely consider him one of my favorites.


There is a new artist and soundtrack that I have been listening to a lot and that is Steve Jablonsky’s score to Transformers. While it hasn’t shaken The Rock from being my favorite, this is probably now my second favorite score. Steve has done an excellent job with this score. There is an excellent main theme that is present in many of the pieces and the whole album works together very well. I would have to say that Arrival to Earth is my favorite song on the album and one of my favorite move score tracks. The song illustrates the triumphal entry of the Autobots into the movie and does so with a strong sound and moving tempo. This is one song and score not to be missed. I really like Jablonsky’s sound because it reminds me of a video game. I was doing some research on him and found out that he has, in fact, written the scores for several games. I purchased the score to Command and Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars. I haven’t had a chance to listen to the whole thing yet, but I really like what I have heard so far. I also bought his score to Gears of War 2. I am really liking that a lot, but I still think Transformers is my favorite so far. If you like Hans Zimmer, you should do yourself a favor and check out Steve Jablonsky. They have very similar styles and Jablonsky even works out of Zimmer’s studio.

Well I hope I have given you some inspiring musical choices for working creatively, driving, or just listening. Each one of these artists is great at what they do. I cannot recommend them highly enough. They are each moving in their own way and you can really lose yourself in the music. Give them a listen and you will be impressed.