Experience The Lord Of the Rings Like Never Before With ‘A Long-expected Soundscape’
The presence of audiobooks has risen over the years and this is encompassed within the telling of J.R.R. Tolkien’s works too, more notably ‘The Lord of the Rings’ with a recent example being the audiobook narrated by Andy Serkis. However, we have had audiobooks of LOTR in the past, movie adaptations, radio dramas and have read the books multiple times. However, ‘A Long- expected Soundscape’ by composer and sound engineer Jordan Rannells offers fans of this timeless story a new way to experience the pleasure of ‘The Lord of the Rings’ and our interview with him helps explain how and why!
The Fellowship Collection and The Towers Collection are available now and The Return Collection will be available in September. Use codes FOF25 (for 25% off of the entire collection) or FOF10 (for 10% off of a single book) at https://jordanrannells.com/shop
First off, what is A Long-Expected Soundscape and how does it differ to previous retellings?
A Long-Expected Soundscape is a chance for fans to experience The Lord of the Rings in a new and immersive audio experience. We have the movies, we have the audiobooks, we even have the BBC Radio Drama. This is something different. I’ve created a full 3D audio experience for people to explore the Trilogy with only a set of headphones. Every moment of the story is illustrated through music, sound effects, and ambience layers.
Would you be able to give us a descriptive example of how this audio experience would work and feel?
Sure, take The Bridge of Khazad-Dum as an example:
We start the chapter with the ambient echoes of Moria ringing out around us. We hear a solo french horn playing Balin’s theme with the Khazad-dûm harmonies on strings. As the music fades we transition into a tension filled few moments of beats on distant drums. Finally horns ring out and the buildup to the battle begins. Soon we hear the orc voices growing in the distance and heavy slams on the door to the chamber. Arrows fly by our ears, swords ring and the Fellowship goes to battle as we hear the Fellowship Theme on powerful brass.
By listening to the soundscape, would fans notice, based off of the music and sound FX, where in Middle-earth they are and what is happening in the story?”
Fans of the books will have no trouble recognizing where they are in the story as they listen. Gandalf’s fireworks, the wind howling through the vines of Old Man Willow, and if you listen carefully you might even hear a yellow-booted Tom (performed by Phil Dragash) far off in the distance, singing nonsense as Goldberry preps for her washing day. Not to mention the Riders of Rohan and the thunder of their horses, the Horn of Helm, the Mûmakil, and so much more.
Structurally, how does the scoring work?
Each chapter is specifically scored, the music follows the emotion and dynamic of each scene. We hear uneasy harmonies as Frodo and Sam make their way through the Emyn Muil. The Eucatastrophe theme comes in as Gandalf and Erkenbrand arrive at Helm’s Deep. Or the steadily increasing madness of Boromir as he attempts to take the Ring from Frodo.
What is the most exciting part of your ‘A Long-Expected Soundscape’?
The most exciting part of A Long-Expected Soundscape for me is that there are so many different ways to enjoy it. Firstly, you can just put headphones on and listen your way through the story, noticing the moments we all know so well and hopefully picking up on a few you may not have caught originally. Secondly, because the Soundscape was designed and timed exactly with Andy Serkis’ audiobook, you can play both at the same time for a truly special experience. Thirdly, you can sit down with your book and read along while you listen. These are just a few examples of how you can enjoy the Soundscape but there are Score-Only, Ambience-Only, and other variations included in your purchase that allow for excellent background when playing D&D or LOTRO or however else you choose to listen!
Could you please talk us through how to you set up and listen to ‘A Long-Expected Soundscape’?
The Soundscape is easy to get things set up for listening. The Soundscape is presented in two formats:
A private podcast feed where each chapter is an episode so that you can access it whenever you like, wherever you go.
A private Google Drive folder where you can download all of the files onto your computer and upload them to whatever listening platform you prefer. This method also allows for syncing with Andy Serkis’ audiobook which I have step-by-step instructions on how to do on my Discord.
What was the creation process like setting up this soundscape?
I’ve created this experience using the newest and most innovative technologies available to us in the audio world. Mixing in Dolby Atmos to create 3D movement as if we are really in the Shire and can hear the winds blow through the leaves around us. I used industry leading software like Dehumaniser 2 which was used to bring other-worldly characters to life in projects like Avengers: Age of Ultron, The Jungle Book, Far Cry 4, The Conjuring, and Stranger Things. I even have future plans to upload (at no additional cost) another version of the Soundscape utilizing Apple’s Head-Tracking technology for the ultimate immersive experience.
This all sounds great so far! Providing a new way for fans to listen and enjoy ‘The Lord of the Rings’. Are there any potential discounts and bonuses for fans and readers of the FoF community?
The Fellowship Collection and The Towers Collection are available now and The Return Collection will be available in September. I hope you enjoyed this quick look at my project and are excited to check it out! You can even use the codes: FOF25 (for 25% off of the entire collection) or FOF10 (for 10% off of a single book). Huge thanks to Fellowship of Fans for providing these discount codes!
Is there any free version or sample that people could listen to before deciding to purchase?
If you’d like to get an idea of what the experience is like, you can check out the entire first chapter for free on my Youtube.
This interview was part of a paid promotion.