Ancillary Justice – a mixtape

Fanmix ImageI’m a huge fan of Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Justice (and Ancillary Sword). Like a, read it twice, love it beyond measure, mention it way to often, fangirl. Those of you who’ve read the book will know that singing plays a major part in the stories and ever since reading it I’ve found myself picking out odd songs and thinking ‘this would be perfect for that moment in Ancillary Justice when..’. And so I’ve finally gathered them together into one mixtape.

Each song is set out below with a chapter, line or scene that, to me at least, seemed to match.

The first thing you’re going to notice about this is that the songs are (with a few purposeful exceptions) entirely vocal. My reasoning for this is that for the majority of the time One Esk/Breq is either doing soldier things or on the move. Not environments conducive for instrumentation. And she’s largely just singing to herself, or with herself. The exceptions are explained below. Secondly, it’s a really mixed bag. With several thousand years travelling around the universe I’m assuming the songs One Esk/Breq knows are going to be as varied as any I can imagine!

Play it over on Spotify. [I know, I know, Spotify is a pain. But I couldn’t get everything on any other site. I’ll try and get it onto additional sites eventually.]

Warning: GIANT SPOILERS for Ancillary Justice.


Opening: a figure in the snow 

s’Rothe Zäuerli by Öse Schuppel
I always saw this moment as like the opening of a movie as we close in on a bloody figure in the snow and weirdly incongrous music. Eerie as shit. (ch.1)

Singing around the city
Kullama Nadayta Yu Ha by Aa’shiq Al-rasul
I wanted a song that was just something that One Esk might sing on any given day around Ors. (ch.2)

My heart is a fish
A Song for the Different Lappish Communities by Inga Susanne Haetta
A child’s song strikes a chord. (ch.2)

Seivarden
The Lonesome Coffin Blues by Mark Binder
Because Seivarden is such a sulky bunny in the early parts of the book she gets this as her theme. (ch.1-19)

Withdrawal
Bombed by Mark Lanegan
At Strigan’s house on Nilt Breq frequently plays with a stringed instrument so here it features in a song. This one I saw as her singing a familiar Radch song that even Seivarden, deep in her Kef withdrawal week, might recognise and unconsciously join in. (ch.3, 5)

I want the gun
Landlady by Walter Gurguson Gavitt
Another song with the stringed instrument. I read Breq as someone who is far from humourless, and I love the idea of her singing this, when she knows Strigan is listening, as part of her campaign to annoy her into giving up the gun. (ch.3, 5, 7, 9)

Arrival of Anaander Mianaai | An order given in the temple
Star in the East by The Rose Ensemble
All seeing, all knowing, terrible, formidable, many faced. Gods have wielded less power. (ch.6) 

The day after
Misere by Allegri
(ch. 10)

If you’re going to do something that crazy, save it for when it’ll make a difference
Missa Charles Darwin: Alleluia by Gregory Brown & New York Polyphony
Sometimes small thoughts can change the world. (ch.10)

This is music?
Heroin by David Lang
At the Nilt bar watching someone’s cousin singing. This one with a bowed sting instrument because that was also mentioned. And I like the theme of this one because it encompasses both Breq watching the music and Seivarden making bad decisions. And good ones. (ch.13)

Rest, Lieutenant
Lullaby of Itsuki
The care that One Esk shows for Lieutenant Awn when they return to Justice of Toren, sheltering her from stress and giving her peaceful moments was one of the moments that made my heart dip at the realisation of One Esk’s emotional involvement. (ch.12)

A new segment
Sugubaya Ekstenija by St Peter & St Paul Cathedral Choir of Minsk
One of the most traumatic scenes of the book; One Esk gets a replacement body. (ch.12)

Death will overtake us
God’s Gonna Set the World on Fire by Florida Alabama Progressive Seven Shape Note Singing Convention
Breq remembering the Valskaay who rebelled against Anaander Mianaai and learning to lie. (ch.14)

I fired | I fell apart | One Esk Nineteen |
Gemalde eines Erschlagenen by Ariana Hölszky
(ch.16)

Too soon, alone
Myfanwy by The Morriston Orpheus Choir
Breq, alone in the shuttle, sees the flash too soon… That last half page of chapter sixteen made me cry and this song makes me cry. If you’re from Wales it probably makes you cry too.

The station
My Bonnie Lass She Smileth by The Morriston Orpheus Choir
The busy station is a return to the familiar for Breq. A brief joyful relaxation as she is finally at home with the customs and language.(ch. 17)

A pin for a friend who died
Small Chinese Cabbage by China Orchestra Chorus
(ch.18)

Temple offerings and tea
Dobra vecer me kucamo by Klapa Komin
(ch.19)

The chase
Svatba by Bulgarian State Television Female Choir
(ch.21-22)

Free?
No Strings (Calypso Acapella) by Bobby Nio
As we leave Breq to walk her own path, wherever it goes. “Choose my aim, take one step and then the next. It had never been anything else.” (ch.23)

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