Song: Cyaron’s Gate

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“Cyaron’s Gate” will always hold a special place in my heart, since it was the first composition for which I won an actual award.  (1st Place, Audio Division: 2000 Utah State Multimedia Festival) As you can tell from that date, this piece was completed last century… a.k.a. 1999.

After a brief introduction, the first theme is introduced. Depending on your familiarity with Baroque music, you may notice a strange similarity to Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D Minor.  (Please follow that link and listen to the original piece if you’re not familiar with it – it’s spectacular.)  I did indeed use Bach as inspiration for the first movement of this piece, though I imagine he’d heartily disagree with my use of a cheesy drumbeat alongside an otherwise nice melody.

Meh.  I always envisioned Bach as being kind of a prick, so I’m not too concerned with hurting his feelings.

After the Bach-ish theme, you’ll notice a pleasant middle bridge marked by an electric guitar (not sure why I picked that instrument, but I left it in the remaster since it’s been that way forever).  Once the second movement hits, you may notice its theme as “Remember,” another piece already available on this site.  “Remember” was originally written as the second half of “Cyaron’s Gate,” and it wasn’t until years later that I pulled that theme out and gave it its own piece.

I’ve tried to leave the instruments somewhat synthy so you can get a feel for how this piece sounded 10+ years ago when it was first written.

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"Cyaron's Gate" 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: Defiance – REMIXED

Listen online:last.fm

Download song: mp3 Ogg MIDI

What better way to release some new music than this – a remix of one of my favorite rock themes.  Video game battle themes have moved away from orchestral themes in recent years, opting instead to use a lot more guitars and drums.

Thus we have the newly remixed Defiance.  Soundfonts have been used to render the entire song, and a new intro lends itself more to classic RPG boss battle themes.  The end of the song has also been remixed, including more than 60 seconds of new material.  This remix originally appeared in the TGP/TLA project of 2000-2001, but I’ve never released it online.

So here you go!  Enjoy the new tune, and if you’d like to compare it to its predecessor, the old Defiance theme is available here:

http://www.tannerhelland.com/26/defiance/

Creative Commons License

"Defiance - REMIXED" 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: Retribution

Listen online:last.fm

Download song: mp3 Ogg MIDI

Retribution is my favorite rock / battle theme to date.  It’s a great mix of old and new RPG elements, and I doubt you’ve ever heard a song quite like it.

Also – unless you’re a die-hard MIDI fan, I absolutely recommend the mp3/ogg versions of this track. Even a killer MIDI setup won’t be able to replicate the great soundfont arrangement used here.

Creative Commons License

"Retribution" 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: King of the Desert

Listen online:last.fm

Download song: mp3 Ogg FLAC MIDI

“King of the Desert” is a new endeavor for me.  In experimenting with some new guitar soundfonts, I’ve really wanted to bust out a powerful rock ‘n roll number.

This is what happened. (Note: the epic metal section kicks in around the 1:30 mark. Wait for it!)

This chord progression has been in the back of my head for awhile, but until this song I hadn’t found a good use for it.  While I like the melody and structure of “King of the Desert,” the real masterpiece is the countless subtle effects used throughout.  The strum of the guitar, the pitch fades on the high power chords, realistic harmonics on the guitar solos – this song is only possible thanks to many subtle, meticulously hand-tuned tweaks. You won’t hear a better hand-edited MIDI guitar track than this.

Creative Commons License

"King of the Desert" 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: Reign of Anarchy

Download song: mp3 MIDI

This song is, in a word, random.  Sometimes I get a bunch of ideas in my head and I can’t think up a whole song for each one, so I throw them together into one big mess.

Like this.

Organs are a greatly underutilized instrument, in my opinion.  They’ve been around for hundreds of years and are such a critical element of hymns and spiritual music, but really they fit a whole variety of other genres.  I love what “Phantom of the Opera” did for the organ – it applied it in a modern context with the grandeur it deserves.  Organs are sweet.

Now this is not to say that I use organs appropriately in “Reign of Anarchy,” because I really don’t.  I wanted to write a really evil organ bad guy boss kind of song, but – as always – it didn’t really turn out how I’d planned it.  This song sounded way different in my head.  The opening bars are probably my favorite part of the song, and it’s kind of downhill from there.  This song is a little too unfinished for my purposes, but it’s fun so I’ve uploaded it here.  I’d appreciate any ideas regarding a future final arrangement.

Creative Commons License

"Reign of Anarchy" 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: Defiance

Download song: mp3 Ogg MIDI

Note: a remixed version of this song is now available here.

Ah, sweet “Defiance.”  I’ve gone through hundreds of variations and modifications of this theme, but still I love the original incarnation of this piece.  Yeah, it’s repetitive; yeah, the layout is awfully simple; yeah, that’s a weird techno-ish sound in the middle of what should be a solid rock song.  But somehow it works.  I don’t know how, but this song still rocks (and I’ve heard it probably a thousand times).

Getting a solid distort guitar sound out of raw MIDI is tricky, but I think “Defiance” succeeds.  My goal for the near future is to produce an mp3 remix of this using real guitars.  I’m not sure where I got the idea for the swayed power chord that comprises the whole first half of the song; I think it most likely came from listening to too much Disturbed or Godsmack.  The 2nd half – in case you haven’t already figured it out – is a straight adaptation of the bridge in Vertical Horizon’s “We Are.”  On a random side note, Everything You Want was the first rock album I ever bought.  Weird.  Anyway, I love the riffs VH pulled out of that album, and “Defiance” borrows from them as a kind of twisted salute to a good band.

Rock on, 40-year-old dads.

Creative Commons License

"Defiance" 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: Dark Knight

Listen online:last.fm

Download song: mp3 Ogg FLAC MIDI

“Dark Knight” is one of my oldest compositions.  I wrote the initial 8-10 measures as a sophomore in high school, but it took several years before I finally dedicated the time to produce a full-length battle theme from the original motif.  In this form I’m not even sure it embodies its title, but since it’s been known as “Dark Knight” for so long, I guess it deserves to stay that way.

My biggest hurdle in completing this song was the ungodly 5/4 time signature.  (I think I was tempted to try 5/4 after hearing FF8‘s excellent battle theme.)  Up front, I didn’t anticipate much difficulty working with a 5-beat pattern, but now I can unequivocally state: it’s a major p.i.t.a.  When done properly, however, the climatic feel of 5/4 is hard to beat.

I’ll let you decide whether or not “Dark Knight” constitutes “done properly”, haha… :)

Creative Commons License

"Dark Knight" 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: Now or Never

Download song: mp3 MIDI

This song would sound 100% better with a real orchestra and choir behind it.  One of the unfortunate downfalls of MIDI is the extreme difficulty in getting synthesized instruments to sound “full”.  As an orchestral battle march, “Now or Never” certainly demonstrates this.

In writing this piece, I envisioned a captain touring his camp, readying his troops for the morning when they will stand and fight in defense of their homeland.  Soldiers are shining their boots, checking and double-checking their guns, and the captain inspires each with a gentle nod and a grim smile.

“Now or Never” was purposely designed to be a notch below the intensity of actual VG battle music, and is instead a preparatory or preliminary battle theme.  As such, there is much less percussion, and the driving beat is left instead to the accompanying strings.

Creative Commons License

"Now or Never" 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: Ominosity

Download song: mp3 MIDI

Ominosity. Such a clever name.  Hehe.

I hate naming songs (I’ve got no less than twelve unfinished songs with the name “Battle” ), so I get excited when I actually think up something witty.  Simple things for simple minds, as they say.

A couple experiments are taking place as you listen to this song.  First, I decided to write something in 6/4 just because I could.  I’d never used this time signature before “Ominosity”, so what you’re hearing is my trial run.  (Note that I’d already tried 5/4 with “Dark Knight”, and I have no plans for trying 7/4 anytime soon.) Second, I wanted to stick as much as possible to using only complete minor scales.  Don’t ask me why I wanted to try such a thing, because I don’t have an answer for you.  I guess I was bored.

What amazes me is how well the minor scales ended up working for a song like this.  This was also one of my more fitting drum lines.  The cymbal work in this nothing short of masterful (especially for a hand-entered MIDI drum track!).

I suppose that part of the inspiration for Ominosity came from Metallica’s S&M album.  There is something so cool about a full orchestra and rock band playing together, and Michael Kamen really outdid himself with the orchestral work on that album.  In that spirit, here is a tribute to one of the more influential bands in recent rock history.

Creative Commons License

"Ominosity" 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!