This is Lisa here, and when I am not editing for An Empty Bliss or playing with doggos, my other job is writing book reviews. I was given a copy of Dissonant Harmonies by Bev Vincent and Brian Keene to review – and thought this was a fantastic title to discuss on this site as well. Published by Cemetery Dance, Dissonant Harmonies consists of two novellas, one written by each author and features a unique and musical approach in horror fiction. The concept was born after a conversation between the two authors about the music they enjoy listening to while writing. It was proposed that each author would choose a playlist for the other, and only write while that music was playing. Thus, The Dead of Winter by Bev Vincent was written to a playlist chosen by Brian Keene, and The Motel at the End of the World was written by Brian Keene to a playlist chosen by Bev Vincent.
Each playlist definitely has different vibes, and we have compiled the song titles here for you!
Playlist A: For Brian Keene compiled by Bev Vincent
- Track 1: Dead Man’s Blues by Supertramp
- Track 2: Mount Teidi by Mike Oldfield
- Track 3: Nothing is Something Worth Doing by Shpongle
- Track 4: Fortunate Son by Bruce Hornsby
- Track 5: Oxygene Part IV by Jean Michel Jarre
- Track 6: Crystalline Green by Goldfrapp
- Track 7: No Answers Only Questions by The Alan Parsons Project
- Track 8: I Hope I Never by Split Enz
- Track 9: People are like Suns by Crowded House
- Track 10: I Can’t Decide by Scissor Sisters
- Track 11: Wicked Dreams by Elton John
- Track 12: Billy by Nik Kershaw
- Track 13: Wait by Wang Chung
- Track 14: My Little Island by Mike & The Mechanics
- Track 15: The Bridge by Elliot Brood
- Track 16: Julie Don’t Live Here by Electric Light Orchestra
- Track 17: On the Turning Away by Pink Floyd
- Track 18: Kiss Your Ass Goodbye by Styx
Thoughts after listening – Playlist A
I really enjoyed both of these playlists, these guys have an excellent taste in music and all the 80s classic rock is definitely my jam (pun intended, yuk yuk yuk). During my first listen, I thought I had a great feel for what was going through the author’s minds. Then, I realized that Playlist A went with The Motel at the End of the World, and Playlist B was for The Dead of Winter. I had it backwards in my head, thinking the first playlist went with the first novella in the book.
The Motel at the End of the World is a short but really wild story by Brian Keene that had me questioning everything that I thought I knew. The narrator goes into a very pointed argument on the Mandela Effect, stating several well known examples that I have not seen all put in one place before. His tirade begins with some very valid arguments for his stance on the world as he sees it, before taking a dark and demented spiral. I had to put this one down after reading and take a beat – it was so excellently done.
There were some great tracks on this, and I got the opportunity to re-visit Shpongle (a band that I had forgot existed). Upon my second listen [after having mixed up which playlist went with which story] I definitely picked up some of the anger that could have spawned such a story. Lots of angry male singers here, but I feel like Ice-T’s Shut Up, Be Happy would have made so much sense to go with The Motel at the End of the World instead of The Dead of Winter. In fact, this was a large part of my original confusion – since this track by Ice-T seemed so perfect for Brian Keene’s short story.
Playlist B: For Bev Vincent compiled by Brian Keene
- Track 1: Shut Up, Be Happy by Ice-T
- Track 2: Everything’s Ruined by Faith No More
- Track 3: One Step Up by Bruce Springsteen
- Track 4: Not Dark Yet by Bob Dylan
- Track 5: Outlaw Shit by Waylan Jennings
- Track 6: I See a Darkness by Johnny Cash
- Track 7: When it’s Cold I’d Like to Die by Moby
- Track 8: Praying for Time by George Michael
- Track 9: The Show Must Go On by Queen
- Track 10: Nutshell by Alice In Chains
- Track 11: Man That You Fear by Marilyn Manson
- Track 12: Beside You in Time by Nine Inch Nails
- Track 13: Right Where It Belongs by Nine Inch Nails
- Track 14: Redford by Sufjan Stevens
- Track 15: All This Could Have Been Yours by Hierophant
- Track 16: King for a Day by Faith No More
Thoughts after listening – Playlist B
When it’s Cold I’d Like to Die by Moby is definitely the stand-out track for the feels of The Dead of Winter by Bev Vincent. The Dead of Winter is a short tale of supernatural happenings that occur when a small town is literally buried in snow. They even have to pull out the SnowCats to get from place to place, a vehicle I had only seen previously mentioned in Stephen King novels and had me thinking of The Shining. Things just seem to go wrong in horrific ways in those especially awful winters, being from Upstate New York myself, I have seen quite a few of them but luckily, have never had to deal with a supernatural occurrence during said winters. I guess a SnowCat is a great thing to have on hand in case of such an event, I would never have survived in my Corolla.
My rant on New York winters aside, I definitely get the desolate and lonely feels from Playlist B, that seem prerequisite for this type of tale. There are some great classics on both of these playlists, and it was very fun to give them a listen after having checked out the books.
While we have compiled two YouTube playlists for these two novellas (see above), it is not quite the same unless you have that YouTube plus membership (or use an ad-blocker like the ABP Chrome extension, which makes Youtube audio playback seamless). I meticulously wrote down each title and made my own playlists in iTunes. After having struggled to find music that gets me in the “writing mood” – I am having a grand time with these playlists. They seem to be just right to get those creative juices flowing and if the authors read this article, I hope they will recommend some more good writing music!
If you would like to check out my book review of Dissonant Harmonies head on over to The Forgotten Fiction to read more!
Featured artist: Al Hopwood
About Al Hopwood (source: arhopwood.com)
“My work explores the cathartic potential and ethical limits of fiction in projects that are funny, poignant and serious all at the same time. I revel in the interplay between fact and fiction, however I do this with a view to asking where the fictive should leave the truth alone (whilst also considering what kind of ‘truth’ can be found in fiction). I’m interested in communicating the psychological glitches that explain our vulnerability to suggestion, in ways that invite my audience to reflect critically on their own memories, beliefs and biases. I make art that explores the edges of storytelling so that I can further understand the use-value of fiction in our misinformation age”
Based upon fascinating scientific research that demonstrates how susceptible we are to false memories, A.R. Hopwood’s False Memory Archive features artworks and a unique collection of vivid personal accounts of things that never really happened. The project evocatively reflects on the way we creatively reconstruct our sense of the past, while providing insight into the often humorous, obscure and uncomfortable things people have misremembered.
Crudely Erased Adults
Hopwood frequently collaborates with psychologists and neuroscientists to revisit key experiments, reflecting on the history and consequences of this provocative field of memory research. Projects include a series of works made with Professor Elizabeth Loftus (University of California, Irvine), whose ongoing research has explored how memories of fictional experiences can be created through suggestion and coercion by an authority figure. Hopwood has also collaborated with Professor Christopher French (Goldsmiths, University of London) to establish a participatory archive where people can submit their own false or non-believed memories and he has developed new art works with Professor Giuliana Mazzoni (University of Hull); Dr James Ost (University of Portsmouth); Dr Kimberly Wade (University of Warwick) and Professor Sergio Della Sala (University of Edinburgh).
Intro To False Memory Archive
Reading material: The Visual Mandela Effect