The Lord of the Rings soundscape is coming soon!

Have you ever wanted to listen to the sounds of Mirkwood? Can you hear the flow of the Brandywine River? Or perhaps stand amid the whistling winds on Caradhras? Soon you will – thanks to the extraordinary concept and creativity of Jordan Rannells.

Jordan is a composer and sound engineer, with many years of experience in the field. His work will be familiar to some Middle-earth fans: he is editor of the Prancing Pony podcast. He also has his own podcast – Music of Middle-earth – and, as if that weren’t enough, he worked with famed Tolkien artist John Howe on his audiobook. Ultimate Fantasy Art Academy.

But Jordan has a dream and a vision – or maybe we should say, an “audition”! He has long felt that something was missing from audiobooks. In computer games, the artificial kingdom comes to life with music, sound effects, and ambient sounds; the same has long been true for radio plays. And yet, when we listen to books recorded by brilliant readers such as Stephen Fry and – more recently in Middle-earth – Andy Serkis, we usually only hear their voices delivering the text.

Jordan has a plan to change that. He creates (to quote his own words) ‘an audio soundscape to accompany your journey through Middle-earth as you read JRR Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings’. He tells us :

This is something that has never been done before. It’s on a scale far beyond all of our wildest Tolkien fan dreams. I will have the CHAPTER SPECIFIC audio.

  • I’m going to write an entire score. Each piece will run along an entire chapter of the book.
  • I will use advanced 3D immersive audio equipment to record the natural world. These recordings will be inserted into the soundscape to make you feel like you are walking alongside the community.
  • I will design and mix sound effects for creatures like the Balrog, Ringwraiths and many more that will appear throughout your journey through history.

All these layers will be presented separately and together to have a multitude of listening experiences for your adventures in this world. They’ll be composed and mixed with the intention of being listened to while you read, but these files will also be great for chilling out, D&D parties, immersing yourself in other fantasy worlds, and more!

Composer and sound engineer Jordan Rannells

Jordan recently shared with TORn a preview of HOW exactly he’s going to create this incredible soundscape. Thanks to the latest technologies (such as 3D microphones), it can capture localized sound, which will surround the listener. He intends to record specific and different soundscapes for all the realms of Middle-earth (no two forests will be the same!); and to have a continuous and composed sound, without loops. He also plans to create different speed versions of the soundscape – with one perfectly timed to play in the background while you listen to Andy Serkis’ recording of The Lord of the Rings!

All of this is a huge undertaking, of course! We can’t wait to hear how Jordan’s journey to create this audio feast progresses; we hope to connect with him in the coming months as he conjures up and explores his soundscape for Tolkien’s world. In the meantime, if you’re as excited about this project as we are, you’ll definitely want to learn more – and see how you can get involved, and maybe even lend your voice to the work! Click here to read all the details of this incredible company. We wish good luck to Jordan! I can’t wait to hear the finished product!

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