If you’re a regular reader here at TORn, you know by now about composer and sound engineer Jordan Rannells’ immersive audio soundscape of music and ambient sounds, bringing to life Middle-earth. His soundscape is designed to be listened to whilst reading The Lord of the Rings – and in fact, is timed perfectly to fit with Andy Serkis’ recording of the books.
The Hobbit and The Silmarillion
Following the success of his Long-Expected Soundscape, Rannells is at it again! This time he’s tackling two more of Tolkien’s works, in epic scale. Read on below to find out what Rannells told us about his latest projects.
A new kind of Middle-earth experience for Hobbit Day
Jordan Rannells composed an original score, designed sound FX and recorded nature ambience to match all 60+ hours of Andy Serkis’ The Lord of the Rings audiobooks. Each moment is timed exactly so that when you hear Serkis describe Grond tearing through the gates of Minas Tirith, you hear it happening; when the eucatastrophe happens, we hear its theme; when the water of Wellinghall rains down around us, we hear it come and go. It is so simple to put the Soundscape together with the audiobooks, but you can also listen without them and just escape to Middle-earth any time you need to. Listen to the wind in the grass on your way to Edoras; hear the turmoil in the score as Boromir confronts Frodo; duck as the wings of the fell beast fly over you.
Rannells uses Dolby Atmos to achieve the highest level of 3D immersion possible, using the latest technology and sound design tools used in big franchises like Marvel, Game of Thrones and more.
Now, after spending a year and a half designing his first soundscape experience, An Unexpected Soundscape and A Soundscape of Eä are on the way. The Hobbit and The Silmarillion are next on Rannells’ journey, as he seeks to complete the Legendarium in this new immersive adaptation.
Listeners will be able to hear the dwarves as their barrels crash by; catch whispers of Gollum and the spiders of Mirkwood; witness the Coming of Tuor to Ulmo, and even the creation of Arda itself. New challenges present themselves in bringing the up-close-and-personal world of The Hobbit to your ears, such as recording movement and footsteps for each of the dwarves. Then, in the opposite direction, large scale and epic abstract sound design are required for moments in The Silmarillion.
Find out more about Rannells’ epic undertaking on his website. You can also experience the first chapter of the Long-Expected Soundscape on his YouTube channel. Celebrate those Baggins’ birthdays surrounded by the sounds of Middle-earth!
Now, The Towers Collection (for The Two Towers) is available – and we have some promo codes for TORn’s followers! Read on below to find out more…
The Long-expected Soundscape is designed to be listened to whilst reading Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings (and is timed specifically to sync up with the Andy Serkis audiobook recording). It is created with Dolby Atmos for full 3D immersion in headphones, and includes an original score, ambient nature and environment sounds, and designed and recorded sound effects. The soundtrack is downloadable at https://jordanrannells.com/ – and can also be accessed very easily through all usual podcast apps.
Ways to listen
Rannells suggests various ways to enjoy his creation:
1. Simply experience the atmosphere alone, without the books
2. While reading Tolkien’s works (yes you might read a bit faster, but all you have to do is wait and enjoy the music and sound effects for a bit until you hear the next significant sound or cue, and then keep reading)
3. Synced up (perfectly!) with Andy Serkis’ audiobook so you can enjoy them together (step by step process on how to do that on Discord)
4. Just as background for DnD, Lotro and so on…
Exclusive promo codes
If you’d like to get your hands on this wonderful soundscape, you can use the code TORN25 (for a discount on the whole collection), or TORN10 (for a discount on an individual book). These promo codes are good only until June 10th, so don’t delay!
Once you’ve experienced this beautiful aural world, you’re definitely going to want more! So you’ll be glad to know that Rannells has plans for The Hobbit and The Silmarillion soundscapes! He’ll be launching a Kickstarter for these, this coming December; if you’re interested in getting involved, and perhaps even having a small voice or performance role on one of those projects, join the Long-expected Discord. Happy listening!
Begun by The Tolkien Society in 2003, March 25th – the date of the downfall of Barad-dûr – is Tolkien Reading Day, a day to celebrate the works and worlds of the Professor. This year, something special is in the works, for your listening pleasure!
In May of last year, we let you know about an exciting project by composer and sound engineer Jordan Rannells. He is creating ‘an immersive audio soundscape‘ – music and ambient sounds to create a world around you, as you read The Lord of the Rings.
Tomorrow you can experience some of this incredible audio adventure. Rannells is joining with the folks from ArdaCraft to create a live stream event, where parts of The Fellowship of the Ring will be read over the corresponding chapters of Rannell’s A Long-Expected Soundscape. This 10-hour (or so!) stream will include guest readers from the Prancing Pony Podcast, James Tauber of the Digital Tolkien Project, and more – including TORn’s own staffer greendragon, who’ll pop in briefly early on in the proceedings! ArdaCraft will be providing the visuals.
The whole thing kicks off at 1pm EDT tomorrow, Saturday 25th March, and you can join the live stream here. The event will only be available live – you won’t be able to catch it later – but of course you can drop in and out as your day permits. Spend a little – or a lot! – of Reading Day immersed in Middle-earth, courtesy of these amazing, creative folks.
Watch the video below for a little more information about the event; then join the fun from 1pm EDT tomorrow.
TORn staffer ImladrisRose was in attendance at Monday night’s performance: and it reminded her of all the very best things about the Tolkien fandom, and the joy it has brought us all. Here are her thoughts on the experience.
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring 21st Anniversary Concert at Radio City Music Hall in NYC
The Lviv National Philharmonic Orchestra of Ukraine was at the helm, bringing Howard Shore’s incredible score to the packed house in Manhattan. Led by conductor Ludwig Wicki, Shore’s sweeping pieces, expertly performed by the Ukrainian ensemble, filled the concert chamber with pure magic as we were watching the film play out before us. Soloist Kaitlyn Lusk had quite the feat before her, but performed her piece with grace and ease. The Mastervoices Adult Choir sent chills through the theatre on multiple occasions, whether it be in the halls of Khazad-dum or the Departure of Boromir. The Brooklyn Youth Chorus and their shining stars brought us a deeply haunting experience through the fall of Gandalf, and with every moment they were given to shine.
The concert was a euphoric experience, one that will not soon be forgotten by anyone in attendance. Nothing compares to a live performance like this, seeing your favorite piece played out before you, feeling the synergy of the room. Uniting under one roof for a love of the arts and The Lord of the Rings…
I’ve been a part of this fandom since my mom “dragged” me to see Fellowship opening night. I was a ride or die Harry Potter fan and wasn’t willing to consider anything could impress me more. Let’s just say that I remember audibly gasping as the Fellowship rose over that mountain peak, the Fellowship theme triumphantly booming, and by that point in my first screening, I was obsessed (thanks mom!).
Twenty-one years later, my love of all things LOTR has taken me around the globe, launched my film career, given me an immense amount of opportunity and a community that I adore (looking at you, TORnSibs). I’ve seen the rise and fall, the ebb and flow of this fandom, and overall, Ringers are a group of excellent and admirable folks. With the recent release of a certain big Amazon show, I became disheartened by a lot of what I was seeing within our beloved fandom. As someone who spent many hours with my fellow staffers, moderating comments, it was causing me to lose that love and spark that I have felt for Ringers for 20 plus years. It shone a light on the underbelly of not just a fandom, but the world in general. LOTR has always been an escape from all of our societal nonsense, but this time period was a stark reminder that even within a community you love, there can be toxicity. I LOVE a good debate about anything and everything, but when things become about hate rather than discourse, your point is lost on me. In Middle-earth, all are welcome….
Monday night’s concert reminded me of why I love this fandom so much. It’s been probably ten years since I’ve been to a screening of Fellowship and this crowd was thrilled to be there! Not only would the audience erupt into cheers after hearing a favorite piece of the score performed (which, let’s be honest, is pretty much the entire score!) or after Lusk wrapped a solo, the crowd would literally go wild when a new character came onto the screen! So much so that at times you couldn’t hear the film or the orchestra!
A stand out for me was when members of the Fellowship arrived to the Council of Elrond. Aragorn received a 7/10 volume for cheers, Legolas 8/10, but Gimli received a full 10/10 in crowd reaction! My husband remarked that he was shocked Gimli got significantly more love than Legolas, to which I replied “Gimli has more substance and better dialogue!” To each their own. Fans next to my husband jumped at Bilbo lunging for the ring, and then commented that they had forgotten that part of the film. While next to me at the exact same point, a fan laughed and remarked that he always thought that part was funny. Two completely different reactions to a moment, but both existing in harmony with one another.
The majority of people there that night (I’m quite sure) have seen these films, read these books, countless times. Yet experiencing it together, as one unified group, made it seem somehow new again. The ambiance of the venue, the exquisitely performed film score, the fans reacting in utter joy and exuberance throughout… all of this made the evening a true night to remember… and I’m forever grateful.
Last September we brought you the exciting news of screenings of The Fellowship of the Ring, to be performed with live orchestra at Radio City Music Hall in New York. Time has flown by, and now those special performances are NEXT WEEK!
The good news is, two extra dates have been added; the shows are now Feb 6, 7, 8 and 9. It has also been announced that the orchestra for the performances will be the Lviv National Philharmonic Orchestra of Ukraine! AND there will be a post-concert talk, with conductor Maestro Wicki, each evening. For those of you lucky enough to be able to go, there are still some tickets available; click here to get yours!
AND – if you’re hoping to meet up with fellow fans, either before or after the concert, on Monday 6th Feb we have reserved the upstairs at McCarthy’s bar (46th and 6th). Go along before or after – the kitchen stays open until 2am! – head upstairs, and find your kindred spirits! (Or just spirits at a well stocked bar…) Have fun!
The awesome folks at Ravensburger Puzzles wanted us to let you know that right now, fans can snag two awesome puzzles, representing the first two films in Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. These beautiful, 2000-piece puzzles are great pieces of art representing each film; The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers are available now at a variety of retailers.
The Return of the King puzzle is coming in 2023, so you won’t have long to wait to get that one as well. These puzzles would make great gifts for the Ringer in your life! We will also be giving you all a look at these puzzles in the future when we put together ours – so be on the lookout for that review.
Meanwhile, you can enter for a chance to win! One lucky winner, chosen at random, will receive both of these first two puzzles in the trilogy. Simply complete this form to be in with a chance to win. The giveaway runs until 11.59pm PT on Wednesday 7th December, and winner will be contacted after that. Sorry, only open to fans in the United States.