You know, in some ways being kidnapped by monsters and held prisoner in a cave for nearly a year isn’t quite as bad as it might be.

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For one thing (and maybe I’m reaching here, but…) thanks to the monsters’ internet connection, I haven’t been deprived of music.

Not at all long ago, a music collection was something that had to be confined to a physical location: a stack of cd’s, say (don’t get me started on records and tapes). Now, of course, that’s no longer the case. And I can’t tell you how grateful I am.

Music is an essential part of my daily life. It’s also an essential part of my writing process. I don’t listen to music while I’m actually writing (or not usually – for me it’s too distracting) but I use music all the time in other ways: when I’m getting myself ready to write, when I’m thinking myself into a different frame of mind for a particular scene, and when I’m trying to come up with ideas.

I’ve found that all sorts of music can help with this stuff. But I thought I might share with you a few specific things that have been making my story-brain twitch and bubble over the last month or two…

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Broadcast And The Focus Group Investigate Witch Cults Of The Radio Age sounds like it was recorded forty years ago, but it wasn’t: it’s only been out since October. A series of short experimental pieces (none longer than a few minutes), this mini-album plunges you straight into the woozily sinister atmosphere of a 1970s horror film.

I liked where that took me so decided I’d stay, with the newly-reissued soundtrack to a genuine horror classic from the era, Blood on Satan’s Claw, composed by Mark Wilkinson. Disarmingly cute and massively ominous both at the same time, you can hear some samples of it here.

On the same label (Trunk Records) I found this incredible story about the rescue of another soundtrack from the era, in this case that of a nature documentary: Life on Earth, composed by Edward Williams. Imagine a whole album about living creatures and their biological processes. The Sex Life of the Fern, I can tell you, is a particular highlight. Comb Jellies is dead good, too.

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Finally, here’s something really odd: twenty-two pieces of experimental techno created by various artists Twitter style – allowing themselves a maximum of 140 characters of code. Click here to hear sc140, and even download it free for you to own if you like.

Febrile psychedelia, rustic English horror, music for jellyfish and what sounds like the stomach rumbles of computers. There are all sorts of weird noises to be heard in these caves. But it’s great to be able to choose them for yourself.

If you’re interested in what else I’ve been listening to, you’re welcome to take a look at my LastFM profile.

[PS: The first illustration in this post is by Henry Holiday, from Lewis Carroll’s The Hunting of the Snark.]

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EXTRA NEWS FLASH! It gives me no small measure of enchortlement and glee to announce that we have another winner for the ongoing Black Tat NMWHITMOTWC, or No Monsters Were Harmed In The Making Of This Website Competition!

Take a bow Bryan Lopez, for this wonderful winning entry made of motor oil, pudding and rocks. :D

Bryan wins Round Nine, and the unabridged audio edition of The Black Tattoo on CD. Round Ten has now commenced. Come on, disgust me!

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