Scoring Alien Worlds: World Music Mashups in 21st Century Sci-Fi and Fantasy TV, Film and Video Games
This article provides three case studies of the use of world music resources to build alien worlds in mainstream screen media with Sci-Fi or Fantasy settings. The case studies—the TV series Battlestar Galactica: Blood and Chrome, the film Avatar and the Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPG) video game World of Warcraft—show how composers and associated music professionals in the early twenty-first century increasingly draw on such sonic materials to generate a rich sense of sonic otherness and note the means they employ to sidestep such music’s existing geographical and cultural references. Each case study explores a contrasting subject position—composer, music consultant and consumer—to better trace not only the creation of such soundtracks but also what senses disparate groups of ordinary listeners subsequently make of them. The examples suggest that outside the sphere of big-budget cinema there is a growing confidence in both the creation and reception of such sonic projections, and that, when sufficiently attracted by what they hear, listeners may actively seek out ways to follow-up on the expressive characterisations put forward in such soundtracks. Three broad types of mashup are uncovered, those that work with world music ingredients by insinuation, integration and creolisation.
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