Personally I would place the background music of Numenera into three categories: Wonder, Mystery, and Strife; each covering a collection of musical themes.
Wonder is themes of optimism, enchantment, awe, and devotion: Soaring music that plays whilst characters travel and gaze upon the majestic and amazing landscapes of the Ninth World.
Mystery is themes of skepticism, secrecy, foreboding, and mystification: Enigmatic songs for searching bizarre ancient ruins and to play during anxious or tense moments.
Strife is themes of conflict, determination, courage, and discord: Music for struggling against adversity or fighting for one's life.
Below are a number of albums and artists that contain songs that fit into several of these categories:
Last Update: NOV/07/2013
- A.I.: Artificial Intelligence by John Williams
- Anarchy Online - Original Soundtrack Vol. 02 by Morten Sørlie
- Cloud Atlas by Tom Tykwer, Johnny Klimek & Reinhold Heil
- Dune (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) by Toto
- Frank Hebert's Dune by Graeme Revell
- Frank Hebert's Children of Dune by Brian Tyler
- The Fifth Element by Eric Serra
- The Fountain by Clint Mansell and The Kronos Quartet
- Green Desert by Tangerine Dream
- Journey (Original Soundtrack) by Austin Wintory
- Marsbéli Krónikák (Martian Chronicals) by Solaris
- Myst: The Soundtrack by Robyn Miller
- Myst III: Exile by Jack Wall
- Myst IV: Revelation by Jack Wall and Peter Gabriel
- Myst V: End of Ages by Tim Larkin
- Myst Uru: Ages Beyond Myst by Tim Larkin
- Oblivion by M83, Anthony Gonzalez, and Joseph Trapanese
- Other Landscapes and Other Landscapes II by Ian Harvey
- Oxygène by Jean Michel Jarre
- Panzer Dragoon Orta by Saori Kobayashi and Yutaka Minobe
- Passion (Original Soundtrack) by Peter Gabriel
- Phaedra by Tangerine Dream
- Planescape: Torment by Mark Morgan with Richard Band and Pull
- Rebel Slave Warriors of Alpha Centauri by Mister Vapor with Phillip Wilkerson
- Red Planet by Graeme Revell
- Ricochet by Tangerine Dream
- Riven: The Soundtrack by Robyn Miller
- Rubycon by Tangerine Dream
- select tracks by digitalR3public
- The Killing Fields by Mike Oldfield
- Zeit by Tangerine Dream
I'd also like to mention that I can't claim credit for many of these musical suggestions, that belongs to the various posters on the Music for Numenéra group on Ninth World Hub. I chose to compile many of their inspiring suggestions with my own selected tunes to create a collection.
Other RPGs these tunes could work well in: Numenera is pretty unique as far as RPGs go and there isn't really any other game that has a similar setting. In any case, these tunes could work in a pinch for most Science Fantasy RPGs with weird and wondrous themes.