Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Coming home to Radio Rivendell

As you can probably imagine, I listen to a lot of radio: Terrestrial; Satellite; Internet. You name it, and I've probably heard it. That said, I do have favourites that I go to frequently, and I also have stations I listen to when I'm in a certain mood or state-of-mind.

We all have those dreary days where we wished we were somewhere else. For me, this happens with a certain regularity since I can't resist a good session at the pub. Sure those pints of Becks or London Pride seemed like a good idea at the time, but the next day is invariably a bit of a slog. It's times like those, that I mellow out to Radio Rivendell: the all fantasy [mainly film score] station. Listening to scores from films like Lord of the Rings, Pan's Labyrinth, and my all time favourite Krull, gives me that warm and fuzzy "coming home" feeling.

But before I explain more about Rivendell, I should state my biases: I have always been an avid fantasy film buff. You see, as a child of the 80s I had but one simple criterion to help me determine whether or not a film was worth $2.50 (the going rate at the time): The Neil Monster Quotient. If the movie had one or more monster, it was worth looking into. If the movie had several monsters, it was a must-see. So, movies like Krull, Clash of the Titans, Beastmaster, Willow, and The Dark Crystal (and yes the Star Wars movies) were [in my mind] some of the greatest films of all time. Ah, but I have other biases towards fantasy: I am good friends with published horror/fantasy author Jason Ridler author of "Blood and Sawdust" (available on-line at and "A Whisper in the Scream" (available on-line at Finally, I should mention that I live in Toronto, which is where Howard Shore lives, who won the Oscar for best film score for his Lord of the Rings score (we also produced an over-the-top broadway-style musical, which was reworked and moved to London).

Getting back to fantasy music. What is it exactly? Well, I think in the popular imagination fantasy music is something medieval sounding with lots of mandolin, flute, whistle, harp, and coral music. While these elements are present in some scores, fantasy film music is no longer beholden to these "Jethro Tullesque" cliches. Case-in-point: Many of the best film scores, and best film composers are for fantasy films:

  1. James Horner's Krull score
  2. Basil Poledouris' score for Conan the Barbarian
  3. Jerry Goldsmith's score for The Secret of NIMH
  4. John William's score for Harry Potter
  5. And, of course Howard Shore's Oscar winning score for The Lord of the Rings
Of course, at Radio Rivendell you can hear all of these scores, and many many more. In many ways, Rivendell stands on its own simply as a film score or even classical music station.

I've also been rooting around the site and also really enjoy it's design and layout. The site (and the station) have ostensibly been assembled by the one and only Lord Elrond, and is faithful to its fans and genre. I'm sure Tolkein would be proud.

Signing off, I implore my readers to return to or begin anew at the one of the Internet's coziest shires, that is Radio Rivendell.

Stay TUN3D.

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