Song: Honky-Tonk Villain

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After reading through archived comments I had on my last song (“Daybreak“), I found myself feeling a bit nostalgic – so I decided to make today’s song another oldy-but-goody.

Honky-Tonk Villain has a bit of a history behind it. I was originally commissioned to write this piece for a flash animation parody of the silent-film era. (I’ve scoured the web for the original flash file but can’t find it anywhere, sadly.) After finishing that project, I didn’t do much with this song – after all, it’s not exactly fitting for video game composing, which is what I mostly focus on.

However, while working on the same game project associated with the aforementioned “Daybreak,” I needed to come up with a character theme for a particularly bad-ass villain character (appropriately titled “The Dragon”). This bad-ass villain was actually based off one of the writers on the project (and a good friend of mine), so the intent was for me to really put together something befitting an evil mastermind.

You can imagine the response when I submitted this piece for consideration. To quote the writer/inspiration:

“This is so typical of the relationship between Tanner and I. He threw this in there because he knew I’d roll out of my chair laughing, and sure enough, I was bowling over by the second bar! I can picture him giggling like a little schoolgirl as he’s composing this piece with me in mind, and I’m giggling like a little schoolgirl (a huge, demented little schoolgirl, with a menthol burning between his fingers :p ) writing this review. I think this could work as my theme with a little adjustment. ;) This one gets a 9/10 just because of his sense of humor. :D”

(For the record, I did giggle like a schoolgirl upon submitting the piece.)

Anyway, thanks for indulging my momentary nostalgia – and be sure to think of a moustached villain in a cape tying an innocent woman to a set of train tracks while this song plays. Fitting, no?

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"Honky-Tonk Villain" by Tanner Helland is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be obtained here.

This site - and its many free downloads - are 100% funded by donations. Please consider a small contribution to fund server costs and to help me support my family. Even $1.00 helps. Thank you!

Song: Purgatory’s Mansion

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This piece uses a really simple mix of instruments – four pianos and a drumset – to create a driving yet haunting theme unlike anything you’ve heard before.  The simplicity of “Purgatory’s Mansion” is remarkable – I really like this recurring simplicity idea, if you haven’t guessed – and I think that’s why it’s such a dramatic piece despite its lack of orchestration.  With the piano being my favorite instrument and the one I’ve studied the most, you’ll notice it shows up in almost every one of my compositions for at least a cameo appearance.  “Purgatory” is one of the few pieces that really uses it front-and-center, and I like it.  Pianos are great!

Creative Commons License

"Purgatory's Mansion" by Tanner Helland is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be obtained here.

This site - and its many free downloads - are 100% funded by donations. Please consider a small contribution to fund server costs and to help me support my family. Even $1.00 helps. Thank you!

Song: March of the Zargansk

Download song: mp3 MIDI

Your first question is probably “what the **** are Zargansk?”  That is a very good question, and I don’t really have a good answer, but this is what it sounds like when they march.

“March of the Zargansk” is a very bass song.  Over 90% of the song takes place below middle C.  There’s something ominous about the bass clef and I like exploiting that.  Also, MIDI instruments sound best in the low bass range because the human ear isn’t as precise at those low wavelengths – so the synthesized instruments sound more realistic than, say, a piccolo or flute in its natural range.

Were I to pick another name for this song that didn’t involve imaginary names, it would probably have something to do with “inevitability.”  This song conjures up images of something really big, really bad coming…and there’s not a thing you can do about it.  Inevitable indeed.

Creative Commons License

"March of the Zargansk" by Tanner Helland is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be obtained here.

This site - and its many free downloads - are 100% funded by donations. Please consider a small contribution to fund server costs and to help me support my family. Even $1.00 helps. Thank you!