Apropos of nothing: albums for gaming sessions, broken up by genre.
The Predator - Ice Cube. One of hip hop's best albums. Released just after the Rodney King riots, it's all about alienation, violence and anger: "Nobody I know got killed in South Central LA/Today was a good day." You don't get much more Night City than that.
Blue Lines - Massive Attack. The whole thing is infused with urban angst and underlaid with weird, unfocused tension, from the sinister dub of Five Man Army ("Money money money.../The Root of All Evil") to the driving minimalism of Lately ("Summertime always gives me the blues...")
Rhythm and Stealth - Leftfield. An hour of brutal breakbeats and trip-hop to build up an atmosphere of impending, then breaking, doom.
Organisation - Orchestral Manouevres in the Dark. Not just for the opening track, Enola Gay ("Enola Gay/Is mother proud of Little Boy today?/Oh this kiss you give/is never ever going to fade away"), which is perfect for obvious reasons. The album also has a nicely muted, vaguely menacing feel to it - just right for when the bomb has fallen.
High - The Blue Nile. An hour of sparse, melodic background swell, with just enough painful emotion to prevent comfort from settling in.
Beyond Skin - Nitin Sawhney. Like 'Organisation' this one has tracks written explicitly about nuclear war (the final track begins with a sample of Edward Murrow reading Now I Am Become Death, and two others were written as responses for the successful test explosions in India in the late '90s) but even if that weren't the case, the mournful, elegaic feel would be a fine backdrop for a session of Mutant Future.
The Rite of Spring - Igor Stravinsky. It could equally have been The Firebird, but this just pips it as Stravinksy's best, I think - and there was never a more fantastical composer, except perhaps for Sibelius. This is a frenzied, dark, brooding masterpiece for a gritty Lord of the Rings style game. And don't mention the Disney version.
Adore - The Smashing Pumpkins. Not their best by a long shot, but still a great, weird, gothic album for a session of dark fantasy gaming.
Peer Gynt - Edvard Grieg. So well known it's almost a cliche, but it captures the feel of a fantastical adventure perfectly - with In the Hall of the Mountain King the highlight.
Superunknown - Soundgarden. A rock classic, with just a twist of darkness.
Showtime - Dizzee Rascall. Not as raw as the debut but much better for it, this is the sound of Britain in the 2000s - antsy, uncomfortable, frenetic, cocky.
Cole's Corner - Richard Hawley. A gorgeous, lush, night time record which evokes dark cafes looking out onto busy winter streets.