UPDATE (18 Feb 2019): More information on this album was emailed to me by someone named Michael (‘Mick’) Baker, after my spamblocker apparently ate his attempt to post it as a comment. Here is the email in full:
Thanks for a nice article, I actually have the ‘First Quest’ album and i got it in the mid 80s on a hunch that one track on it, may be the one i was looking for, and it turned out right :), The track The Living Dead is a slight variation of the intro into the awesome 85 film ‘The Return of the Living Dead’ the film track is credited to Francis Haines, from Gary Numans Tubeway Army the album track is credited to Denis Haines prob a alias, the film version track has never been released to my knowledge, The films soundtrack only has the good bands like Tsol, Damned etc and no film score on. The Living Dead track and the Tangerine Dream score from ‘The Keep’ are still two of my all time favourites movie scores.
Tried leaving as a comment for info for people and yourself interested in the album but it come back as saying spam.
So i thought id drop you my comment.
Fascinating stuff. Thanks for the information, Michael! Coincidentally, The Keep is on my shortlist of films to watch in the coming year, so I’ll look out for the soundtrack you’ve just praised here.
Original Post: I mentioned the other day that it was interesting the Engel RPG got an official RPG album of music, and suggested this was an interesting idea whose time had not yet come. Afterward, I remembered seeing ads in Dragon for some bellydancing music that got repackaged as RPG music albums:
I wonder how many people sent off for these LPs, and whether they were happy with what they got? I never did, but Internet to the rescue, you can hear it now:
Anyway, a sale post recently (back in September) on one of the game-related auction groups I follow on Facebook led me to the most unusual RPG/music album tie-in I’ve ever heard about, and this one goes all the way back to the mid-80s: “The First Quest”.
The album is basically electronic music—of the sort that got made in the mid-80s—and hasn’t aged well, but I do think it’s interesting that not only was it a double-LP, but that the liner notes were essentially a playable adventure for the system. A batshit one, going by the summary available online, but still—a full adventure with maps, some very basic encounter writeups, and so on. Apparently Part/Album 1 is a wilderness exploration/trek thing, and Part/Album 2 is a dungeon crawl, with the latter being more detailed in the notes. These appeared on the paper sleeve inserts that protected the LPs from the cover:
If you’d like to see the summary and more images from the album—as well as download a copy of the MP3s (the second pair of links, down in the comments, is better, not in terms of the music but because it includes the narration segments), and learn a little more about what happened behind the scenes that allowed the album to get made, there’s a worthwhile post over at Blogonomicon. (Again, that’s where I got the images above.)
Oh, and there’s more scans (though many resemble the ones at Blogonomicon) over on this post at 2 Warps to Neptune that includes an image of the art that adorned the inside of the gatefold cover (reposted below), along with more images and information, some (but not all) of which reproduces a comment at Blogonomicon by someone involved in the creation of the album.
Here’s that inner gatefold, which longtime gamers will recognize as Jeff Easley’s work (just like the front cover):
That leaves only the music. If you prefer to sample it on Youtube instead of downloading the whole thing in two MP3s using the links at the Blogonomicon post (linked above), you’re in luck: at least some of it got uploaded by that same blogger and is available on Youtube. I’ll warn you, though: the blogger’s comment that it is “especially mediocre” is quite fair and accurate, even if we bear in mind how primitive synthesizers were in 1985.
In any case, for those whose curiosity hasn’t yet been quashed, here’s an embedded playlist: