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  1. I have been listening to the Kaladin album over and over again since it went out, and I think it is a priceless addition to the experience one can have of the Way of Kings. As the songs of the album are reflecting the events in the book, I wanted to write an article describing my interpretation of each song and what they refer to. So I sorted them by book chronology, and tried analyzing them as best as I could ! The goal here is to deepen the experience, and show this awesome soundtrack some love ! I also added an extra section at the end, listing the main themes and leitmotivs I found throughout the album (like the Stormlight sound for example). This work is not definitive, and I may have misunderstood things ! Comments are always welcome, and I would love to improve this with your help, my final goal being annoting my copy of WoK with some briefs descriptions of what track should be listened to and when. Without further ado, here goes ! Songs sorted by chapter: (spoiler free analysis) Oathpact Abandoned: Prelude The epic start of this tune represents legendary figures. It quickly fades into a grim, pessimist ending, leaving an impression of shame and despair. This song tells of former heroes, abandoning their companion to his fate. As the title suggests, an Oath has been broken, and will set fateful events in motion. The Assassin in White: Prologue Drums are beating as a celebration is going on. It is a day for joy, for peace has been achieved. However, a figure in white stalks in the castle, represented by a deep bass under the drums. After a few guards are killed, the music shifts to a rushing, dark tone, as guards are unable to even understand what is decimating their ranks. Once Szeth finds Gavilar, we hear the epic tones of a duel, before a single voice sings as Gavilar falls from the balcony during what seems to be an eternity. The track ends with a sad Dalinar theme played on the cello, as he helplessly runs in the gardens to find his brother dead. Honor is Dead: Chapter 2, Honor is Dead: Kaladin is a slave, locked in a van, full of regrets and remorse. He has seen too many tragic events, and has no plan to escape, as his last attempt caused even more killing. The very light and depressed start of the song reflects that mindset, before an event that will change his life radically transforms the end of the song as a windsprend begins to befriend him. The Shattered Plains: Chapter 4, The Shattered Plains Kaladin, locked up in the slaver’s wagon, first witnesses the harsh environment of the Shattered Plains. We can hear the Alethi warcamps and the sound of men training, before a chasmfiend shrieks in the distance. Finally, the last seconds are a humming choir, the leitmotiv of the Parshendi populating these lands. Bridge Four: Chapter 6, bridge Four The song begins with voices grunting and yelling rythmic motives, maybe Gaz and Sadeas’s soldiers forcing the bridgemen to run, or even bridgemen themselves staying in rhythm through these chants. We can hear a voice, possibly Kaladin’s, panting with exhaustion as the cries continue. The Parshendi throat singing then begins, foretelling the arrival on the battlefield and the increasing danger. The aggressive violins and trumpets make for a chaotic battle scene, all while the panting and yelling continues. Bridgemen are being targeted in the middle of this hellish scene, and hope is gone. The voices gain in intensity, full of panic and despair, and all there is is running forward. SasNahn: Chapter 9, Damnation Here, Kaladin is at rock bottom. He’s lost everything and everyone, and is in a place worse than hell. The opening of the track vanishes like an old memory, and a sour oboe shows the grimness of Kaladin’s depression. He now feels defined by the brand on his forehead, a dangerous slave until death. The choirs symbolize his abandon of all hope of ever escaping his conditions, with notes reminiscing those of “Oathpact Abandoned”. Honor Chasm: Chapter 11, Droplets On his way to the Honor Chasm, Kaladin almost feels relieved, hence the light beginning of this music. Everything will soon be over: no more suffering, and no more struggling. In front of the chasm, violins tell us of the tragic beauty of this place. At the very last moment though, the note is held as Syl comes back with a blackbane leaf, not knowing what her gesture means. The light flute and bells are Syl trying to convince Kaladin that Life is harder than Death, and that Kal’s duty is to live and keep fighting through every day. As Kaladin’s resolve ignites again, the music gains a more positive tone, accompanying on his way back to the camp, a new man full of determination. The Blackthorn: Chapter 13, Ten Heartbeats This track can be listened to while reading the Chasmfiend hunt scene: the first choirs represents the urge of Dalinar’s charge rushing to aid Elhokar and protect his nephew, before fighting the chasmfiend on his own. As he catches the huge claw threatening to crush Elhokar, the music becomes more tense, with a very aggressive Knights Radiant theme sounding while Dalinar lifts the monster’s claw. The fight keeps going, before the beast is finally defeated and Elhokar rescued. But to me, this song also is about the Blackthorn, an Alethi general with great renown. The martial atmosphere and quick violins show us Dalinar as seen by the Parshendi: an unstoppable, terrifying momentum. At the end of the song, Dalinar’s real character appears: honorable and righteous, trying to follow the Way of Kings principles. Sylphrena : Chapter 14, Payday Sylphrena’s entire progression as a character is represented here. First, she wanders with fragmented memories, a windspren playing among others. She then meets Kaladin, and the song tends to get deeper, her personality slowly resurfacing. Her memories coming back, she starts to remember what she is and realizes the depth of the bond she has with Kaladin. She is changing rapidly, and is growing into something unique, something unseen for centuries. You’re in my Spot: Chapter 17, A Bloody Red Sunset After his deal with Gaz, Kaladin is now the leader of Bridge Four. He endorses his role, choosing to take the first position, determined to not let anybody die again. The battle begins, and we can hear the Stormlight motif is used as Kal is already unconsciously using Stormlight. Bridge Four is running, arrows are raining and the Parshendi voices are menacing the bridgemen: they are facing the full extent of the Parshendi wrath, coming at them in waves of angry choirs. However, this song is significantly less despaired than “Bridge Four”: here, the bridgemen are holding on to their lives and the ones of their crew. The Bridge Four leitmotiv concludes on a hesitant note, as, for the first time, no one in Bridge Four got killed. Unite Them: Chapter 19, Starfalls The Knights Radiant’s leitmotiv opens this track, showing Dalinar visions during the highstorm. The solemn ambience of this song resonates with the command Honor gives to Dalinar: Unite Them. In the second part of the song, Dalinar wakes up and wonders how to achieve this enormous task. Interestingly enough, we can hear a hesitating Dalinar’s theme on a lone cello, reflecting his doubts and fears. The beginning Knight Radiant’s theme starts once again at the end of the track, a faint glimpse of the plan forming in Dalinar’s mind and of what is to come. The King’s Wit: Chapter 22, Eyes, Hands, or Spheres Wit is at the King’s Feast, playing on his flute lightly and throwing jokes at guests. The quick flute is of course Wit himself playing the song, and even beatboxing, adding some sharpness of mind and tongue on the more classic and distinguished cellos expected for an event among nobles. Chasm Kata: Chapter 27, Chasm Duty Deep down in the chasms, in that place so calm and otherworldly, Kaladin finds a spear. He then tries a few moves with it, before the violins gain in volume as Kal is getting fully immersed inside his training. What his men are seeing is a man dancing with a spear with total harmony, totally unaware of his surroundings and lost in memories. The song ends quite abruptly when Kal opens his eyes to meet the disbelieved stares of the other men, with a new light of respect in their eyes. Rysn: Interlude I-IV: Rysn (after Chapter 28) The very exotic ambience of this song reminds us of Rysn, the little Thaylen merchant traveling around the world with her babsk. The peculiar instrumentation of this song, with lots of choirs, drums and flutes, sound very much like Polynesian music, reminding of her journey to the Reshi Isles. The lead singer, full of optimism and astonishment, represents Rysn herself. Nota: This is the only song in the album that seems to be directly referencing Book 2. However, the exotic music sounds so much like what we would hear in the Reshi archipel that I had to quote it here. Alethi Codes of War: Chapter 3, Darkness Unseen This music is the main Bridge Four theme, and has been described by the composers as a “Bridge Four training montage music”, a purpose it perfectly fits with. Here, the bridgemen are now Kal’s crew, and train during chasm duty. From slaves, they become fighters, and practice with the spear. Bridge Four Shield: Chapter 32, Side Carry Kaladin and his bridgemen are now ready to try the plan that they perfected while training with the bridge. The more martial version of the Bridge Four theme we can hear reflects their will to stand against the Parshendi and protect each other. However, as we can hear, the song suddenly goes silent, reflecting the sour turn this plan takes and the tragic ending of this battle. Interestingly enough, the Stormlight sound can also be heard at the end of the song, although I could not figure out what it seems to reference. Highstorm: Chapter 35, A Light By Which to See Sentenced to be judged by the Stormfather, Kaladin is hanged outside a barrack during a highstorm. The first seconds show us the empty Alethi warcamps, with a tense, alarm-sounding noise, litterally the calm before the storm. Then, as the rain and winds start, the music becomes more frantic, before, with a blasting Stormlight sound, the stormwall hits Kaladin. The chaotic drums and sounds let us imagine the violence of the elements, with whilrling violins and violent debris beating Kaladin nearly to death. Before he faints, a loud sound resonates, before a surreal silence, and we’re able to imagine what seeing the Stormfather in the eye of the highstorm feels like. Hearthstone (Tien’s Theme): Chapter 44, The Weeping The very soothing and calm beginning of this tune tells us of the temper of Tien and is also reflective of what life looks like in Hearthstone. The singer is presumably Tien himself, humming songs as he manages to calm Kaladin’s spleen during Weeping. The track ends as wardrums and a distant violin starts to resonate, foreshadowing Tien’s destiny… Stormblessed: Chapter 47, Stormblessings Cenn is panicked at the idea of being thrown into his first battle. The beginning of the track is dark, tense, reflecting the terror of the young boy surrounded by enemies. Then, as a radiant sun piercing the darkness, Kaladin Stormblessed and his squad forms around him to protect him, and we feel the awe of Cenn at the sight of the young prodigy. The last voice, humming deeply with a hoarse voice at the end of the song, may represent the Thrill itself, known to be felt by Alethi soldiers at the time. The Day of Recreance: Chapter 52, A Highway to the Sun Inside the vision, Dalinar sees the events at Feverstone Keep, and immediately feels that something is wrong, as we can hear in the stressful singing and violins. A grandiloquent theme follows, showing us the Knights Radiant Orders in all their might, before being quickly counterbalanced by the grim piano and voice, as Dalinar witnesses their betrayal and the ensuing bloodbath among soldiers. 16 Seconds Pre-Death: Chapter 56, That Storming Book Here, Dalinar and Sadeas are in a tricky situation. Surrounded by Parshendi forces, as shown by the strong Parshendi throat singing, and despite the bridgemen’s best efforts, that we can very clearly hear during the beginning of the song, the battle looks lost. After a chance to escape, we can hear Dalinar turning back and returning into the fray he managed to get out of for Sadeas. Wandersail: Chapter 57, Wandersail Hoid’s flute is heard, playing softly playing around a campfire, when Kaladin joins him. As Hoid starts his story, the music takes off to illustrate it, although always guided by the flute: first, with glorious violin and dynamic choirs telling us of the most valiant crew, on the largest ship there is, set to explore the Ocean. After fighting a highstorm on water, the ship manages the prowess to stay afloat, and ventures to faraway lands once the weather has calmed. Crashed on exotic islands, the Wandersail is repaired and the crew meets the Uvaran. All seems well before the flute taakes a sad, grieving tone, witnessing the discovery of the tragic fate of the Uvaran King. The crew is then forced to escape with their guide as the Uvaran society litterally crumbles around them. The story then softly ends, as Kaladin decides to fully assume his role of Bridge Four leader. Three Glyphs: Chapter 62, Three Glyphs Parshendi are heard chanting menacingly as a new battle is preparing. Kaladin, now bridgeleader, starts the bridgerun with his trained crew, and we can hear him drawing Stormlight to protect the other bridgemen. The glorious, epic tone of this track reflects the heroic nature of Kaladin, and the fighting spirit of Bridge Four. The Tower: Chapter 65, The Tower The assault on the Tower begins, with an impressive amount of Parshendi forces represented by the choirs. The rest of the track represent the desperate battle fought by the two generals, before suddenly breaking on a abrupt and dissonant note, as Dalinar realized the betrayal of Sadeas. The end is a sad, hopeless version of the Knights Radiant theme. Tien: Chapter 67, Words This tragic music narrates the death of Tien in Kaladin’s flashback. We can hear the situation getting more and more dramatic, Kaladin realizing he won’t make it in time to save him, before time slows, and a final sword slash is thrown, Kaladin’s world tearing apart as his beloved little brother is killed in front of him. A melancholic version of Tien’s theme is heard at the end of the song, marking his death. Rhythm of Mourning: Chapter 68, Eshonai This very peculiar music can only be interpreted as what Parshendi Rhythm sound like, and what they sing or hum when they attune to a particular Rhythm. Thath (Justice): Chapter 69, Justice The sad, mourning beginning of this track represents Navani’s sorrow and disbelief at the news that Dalinar is dead. Dalinar’s Theme is played on a lone alto violin, strengthening this impression of loss. Sadeas tells her of their defeat, and a few notes from “The Tower” can be heard. A sad version of the Knights Radiant theme is sung by possibly Navani herself, before becoming more aggressive as pain turns to anger and doubt. Main Leitmotivs: Dalinar’s Theme This motif, first heard at the end of “Assassin in White”, represents the character of Dalinar. Slightly melancholic, this theme also sounds extremely determined and righteous, reflecting Dalinar’s personnality. Stormlight being used: This noise shocked me when I first listened to the album because of its very electronic-like feeling. Its most impressive occurrence is in “Highstorm”, and it wasn’t long before I tied it to the use of Stomlight and Surges. Its odd feeling perfectly fits what you would feel while seeing someone using superhuman powers only heard of in legends. Parshendi singing: The Parshendi rhythms play a huge role in their behavior, and they have always be described as singing or humming during battles. The best way to represent Parshendi is therefore this very raw and deep singing, multiple voices attuned as one. Most of the vocals in this album are lyricless, and used to describe Parshendi. Bridge Four Theme The root of this theme is “Alethi Codes of War”, but it is played on various occasions, always in moments where Bridge Four acts united as one crew. The Knights Radiant Theme This theme is best heard in the eponymous track. It depicts the Radiants in all their glory, and is sometimes used during Dalinar’s visions (see “Unite Them”). The special “Rainbow Remix” hidden at the end of this track sounds particularly awesome. Tien’s Theme Simply enough, this theme represents Tien in all of his simplicity. It is only heard in two songs, but leaves a striking impression of comfort and a longing for home. Bonus Tracks: (SPOILERS FOR Words of Radiance): Tarah: This sad tune is for Tarah, and especially for the life that Kaladin could have had with her, if their relationship hasn’t ended. Shallan’s Lullaby: Shallan’s Lullaby directly uses the lyrics given in book 2. While the song starts as a dark but soothing lullaby, it suddenly takes a very dramatic turn, as Shallan commits the worst crime, of which this song is an important part. The choirs in the background are calling her name, judging her for her actions.
  2. Good morning! Tor.com has posted Oathbringer chapters 13-15. Check out our forum topic on chapters 13-15, and for all Oathbringer preview chapters--and their discussion topic--check out the Oathbringer Preview Chapter Index. As usual, keep Oathbringer discussion in our Oathbringer Spoiler Board and the #oathbringer_spoilers channel in the 17th Shard Discord. Do not post Oathbringer material elsewhere! There's also two more Way of Kings Prime Chapters: Merin 3 and Merin 4. Prime continues to be a profoundly different story than the one we know but It's fascinating to see glimmers of what it will one day be. There have also been two Annotations for The Way of Kings posted, one for the world map, and one for the prelude. In other news the Kaladin album Kickstarter funded yesterday, ultimately raising $112,667! They have also announced that they will be composing the full album. The second half of the songs will be digital, rather than recorded instruments, but they are going to try to record at least the strings for them.
  3. Today we are here with the team from The Black Piper, the creators of the Kaladin album on Kickstarter. It's a fantastic look into the behind-the-scenes process and the backstory of the album, and their plans to come. Joining me today are Sae Sae Norris, Producer and Creative Director; Michael Bahnmiller, Composer and Producer; and Richard Williams, Composer and Coordinator. The Kaladin Kickstarter ends Monday, September 25th. For more information on Kaladin, check out our preview on it. The following has been edited for length and clarity. 17S: How nervous are you now that Kaladin and its Kickstarter is in the wild? How's the reception been so far? Michael Bahnmiller: It's always a little nerve-bending to release something you've put your heart into! With Kaladin, we all had an overpowering sense of optimism about what would happen, but when the campaign was ready and we went to "press the button", the knowledge that thousands of people would now be listening to our music, looking at our profiles, seeing who we were and what we've done - it definitely gave us pause! But I also knew that we have an amazing team and we were prepared! The reception has been overwhelmingly positive! People have been reaching out to us from all across the world to express excitement, not only about the music and the art but also about the concept. We weren't sure if people would get the idea of an original epic fantasy book soundtrack, so it's been thrilling and affirming to have people wondering why this isn't a thing already! Sae Sae Norris: Basically I feel the same way Kaladin is described as feeling during his first bridge run. This has been the HARDEST thing I’ve ever done, but it’s been insanely rewarding both personally and professionally. The film industry is full of vipers and terrible people who exist solely to use you up and throw you out. It’s also full of people who love to create art, and evolve technologically, and think outside of the box, and aren’t jaded, who know that family is more important than work. Time has proven this team to be the latter, which I honestly wasn’t expecting when we first started. I’m amazed at the tenacity, heart, integrity, and sacrifice my team has put in to this project. As its leader, I feel an insane amount of responsibility to make sure this is all worth it. And I can’t do it alone. We can’t do it alone. This Kickstarter has been an incredible crucible and the amount of support we’ve had truly and literally has a physical effect on my well-being. When I’m feeling down or overwhelmed, I look to the Stormlight community because you are my tribe. You guys get it. You know what makes me tick and what inspires me. You feel, and wonder, and create, and jest, and hypothesize and your existence lifts me up. You peeps are my personal bridge crew and I couldn’t be more grateful to the support you’ve given to me and my team. On a more practical note, we’re on track to make our first goal--but we really want to exceed that so we can start writing new music. Most of the Bridge Four sequences had to be left out until Goal 2 because of the budget. Using a 70-piece orchestra is extremely expensive. We’ve taken a lot of care to configure our orchestras (choosing how many of which instrument to hire per session) to maximize the emotional effect of the music they’re playing. We need all the spheres and Stormlight we can muster to really flesh out the album and tell the musical story that we’ve been sitting on. You peeps have been paramount in our success so far, but we need all hands on deck for this last leg of the Kickstarter campaign. 17S: It sure seems like you've been Stormlight fans for a while. The tracks really do evokes the feel of Stormlight and the scenes they are capturing. Could you tell us how the team at Black Piper discovered Stormlight Archive or Brandon Sanderson? SSN: Yay! An origin story question! Have I mentioned how much I personally relate to Kaladin? Because I do. None of us knew each other at the beginning of this project. Well, I didn’t know anyone on the team. I had just wrapped on producing Flight From Shadow, the Wheel of Time fan-film. That shoot destroyed me. Physically, mentally, spiritually, emotionally. What was meant to be an homage to two of my brothers (one who died and whose death I blamed myself for, and to my oldest brother, who got me out of my grief by introducing me to the Wheel of Time), ended up being one of the most corrupt shoots of my life. The “bigness” of the project just went to too many people’s heads and it poisoned my team. My friends, my film family, my network. The man I loved, the man who had saved my life that one time and literally carried me into the ER, had stabbed me in the back. And he planned it while I was at the book signing for AMoL, cos he knew I was a Sanderfan and that’s where I’d be. I genuinely considered suicide the night it all fell apart. It was my composer and brother-from-another-mother, Nate Drew (composer for the Hearthstone theme) that kept me alive that terrible night and just let me cry. I was devastated and couldn’t even finish the WoT series. I stopped making films. I stopped writing screenplays and poetry. I stopped writing music. I stopped playing the piano and the cello and singing. I stopped reading. I stopped editing. I stopped teaching. My life turned into one big cremling and my fire was gone. My trust was gone. And I was thoroughly embarrassed that Brandon (who had helped with our marketing cos it coincided with the release of AMoL) and Jason Denzel could have witnessed any sort of drama, cos that’s just not how I do business, and I was (am) a hardcore fan of both of them. (I work with Hollywood A-listers all the time and don’t get nervous; but I get seriously tongue-tied and fan-girly around Brandon, his work means that much to me.) I was approached to produce an Infinity Blade film, which already had half a million dollars of funding in escrow. We made FFS on $12k, most of it out of pocket. I could have made IB look like freaking Avatar and done it in my sleep for half a million dollars. I said no. Twice. I would not do another Brandon Sanderson project. It hurt too much. So, a year later, Nate [Drew] recommends I give some producing advice to two composers who wanted to make an album. Cue a couple of Mormons meeting up in a Starbucks: a recent music grad with an ambitious dream, a final year grad savant that was severely under-appreciated, and a producer who had given up on everything. Funnily enough, I wrote about this meeting in my journal and ended up using that journal as my Black Piper notebook. I had misgivings about getting back in the game but was so inspired when I heard their music. Something inside of my stirred, but it wasn’t enough. I told them their idea was cool but it was too vague and their music needed to tell a story. I blew them off for awhile after that, expecting them to take the hint and give up before they got hurt. Then I get this email from Mike. “Hey Sae Sae, I found the PERFECT story to compose to! It’s called The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson (have you heard of him?). It’s epic and spiritual, and everything we need to do! So I wrote to him and he said to contact his agent! What do I do?” I think I had a literal heart attack when I read that. I just read that email over and over again, cradling myself and saying “Oh no!” Not Brandon. Of all the stories in the UNIVERSE Mike could have chosen and it was THAT one. I bought the book, the first book I’d read since that night. I read it in three days and emailed Brandon’s agent the second I was done with it. This was MY story to tell. And the universe kept shoving me in to Brandon’s work. I still don’t know why, but maybe it was time I listened. I knew it would be expensive. I knew they’d say no. But I figured, if I got a solid no from Brandon’s agent, Mike would get off my back. They liked our pitch. They wanted to talk. Every time someone had the opportunity to say no to us in a way that would axe the project, they ended up saying yes. I broke down the book and wrote a treatment, the first writing I’d done in years. We wrote some songs. I got to direct, something I didn’t think I’d ever get to do again. Mike, Richard, and Phil went to Prague and recorded what we wrote. I grew sixteen more ulcers. We were committed now. These were personal funds and now it was on me to make sure these kids could feed their families and didn’t get destroyed by the dark side of the industry. I vowed I would not let that happen to my team. Never again. Then I got a seizure/stroke thingy and became paralysed on the right side of my body. We had to halt the project for a little over a year. DMG wanted the rights to the cosmere. They had more money than we did and we hadn’t yet inked the deal with Dragonsteel. Stuck in a wheelchair, with nothing, my hope started to fade. It was over. I knew my team would take what I had given them and boot me, just like before. I told them that I was no good and to leave and try to succeed without me. They didn’t. They supported me, and worked with my damage. They said they needed me, and I realized that I needed them, and I needed this. DMG got the film rights but they said we could do our album anyway. That’s unheard of. (Seriously, peeps. Studios are not that gracious.) We were running out of money. Investors started coming out of nowhere and managed to give us just the amount of money we needed, when we needed it. At every turn, we thought this project would fail, but we put our heads down and our hearts in and we wouldn’t let it. And here we are. It’s been one battle after another but more and more people come in and help us. They love the music, and the artwork, and the rewards. Our intense commitment to treating this like a true Hollywood project has been paying off. This is what we do, because we have to do it. We don’t know if we’ll reach our destination. But that’s not what it’s about, is it? This project gave my life meaning and purpose again. It reignited the spark of creativity that I thought I had lost. It proved that not everyone becomes corrupt when money and studios and names get attached. I found a fandom that I can enjoy. It feels like home. Brandon is like Dalinar. His words are important and they have united us all. If we don’t make our Kickstarter goal, I honestly don’t know what I’ll do. But I know I won’t do nothing, not again. It would be the biggest forward fail of my life. But if we do succeed, and we can only do it with everyone else’s help, we will take this project and make like Fleet and just keep running. 17S: What's been the biggest challenge on making Kaladin? SSN: I pretty much answered that from a personal point of view, at least. Logistically, I’d say our biggest hurdle has been the money. We have the team, we have the vision, we have the street cred, we have the inspiration. This whole experience would have been a whole lot smoother if we’d had the seed money to properly get this thing past development all at once, instead of in micro-chunks. As it was, all our funds came in increments, and took a LOT of effort and luck to get. We’ve calculated into our budget what we’d need to set aside from our profits to make a second album without all the bumps and hurdles. Hopefully, we’ll make it that far. We’re really planning on a long-term business. The first project is always the hardest. We have a lot to prove, despite our contacts and experience. We’re basically starting a new genre, and being the trend setters is really difficult to do, especially in an industry where the big money bets on what they know already works. So far, we’ve erred on the side of being over-prepared, but this is new territory for us. No one has done a book soundtrack like we’re doing it. And now we know why: it’s freaky expensive. We’re hoping that our formula for the book soundtrack is the one that will crack the code and open up the genre. 17S: What was it like recording with the City of Prague Orchestra? How much rehearsal do they do before it's recorded? I'd love to know more of that process. Richard Williams: They basically have no rehearsal time, they are recording it live sight-reading. Recording with an orchestra is a much more interesting experience when you hear live instruments instead of the computerized mockups. I think it’s common as a composer to have a bunch of questions about your orchestration or to not be sure about if things are going to sound okay, but when you let the orchestra play it, more often then not, that goes away, and you’re just able to sit back and enjoy the beautiful creation. I must admit we had so much on our minds since it was our first time there that there wasn’t a lot of sitting back and enjoying, but we were working and making sure the music sounded as good as possible. The string players there are really amazing! I was amazed at how fast they were able to play my very fast and difficult music. I can’t believe how good they can sightread! 17S: Being realistic, how many tracks will be in the album if you only meet the first goal of 110,000? SSN: If we only reach our minimum goal of $110k, then there will be 14 songs on the finished album. [Take a look at 17th Shard's preview for a look into most of these tracks] The Most Important Words a Man Can Say Stormblessed Sylphrena’s theme Honor Chasm Alethi Codes of War Chasm Kata Highstorm Hearthstone Wandersail Three Glyphs (Wind, Protection, Beloved) The Tower Thath (Justice) Shallan’s Lullaby: a bonus track to give Shallan some love and let you all know what kind of sound and feeling to expect from her album, should we be lucky enough to make it. Tarah: a bonus track devoted to the mysterious Tarah, who is only mentioned once in TWoK and once in WoR! Sae Sae’s only original track on the album, and a piano solo to boot. (If we can afford an orchestra later, we’ll add it) 17S: The Kickstarter, and the album, focuses on Kaladin and his struggles in The Way of Kings, but there was also the Shallan's Lullaby track. Are there any other Words of Radiance-inspired tracks? MB: No. This album is all about Kaladin! We had just found Shallan's Lullaby by Alex Crandall on YouTube and thought it would be awesome to record and include it! So, it became a bonus track, and I'm so glad we found it! SSN: Creatively, we are ready to go on a Shallan album! I’ve got the treatment, and the sample track lists, and am so excited to do it! But, due to the budget we were only able to tell Kaladin’s story on this album. Ideally, we’d like to end up giving each character their own album (if we can get permission, that is); Kaladin has his; Shallan will have hers and will include both her story in TWOK and WoR; Dalinar will have his, which shall include his story in WoR and OB, and so on. To clarify, we do not have any other Cosmere albums lined up with Dragonsteel. Basically, if this album is a success, then we’ll be in a position to possibly negotiate further Cosmere albums. Please help us get this campaign successful so we can blow your socks off with our next album! Shallan’s album will sound totally different from Kaladin’s, a little more like Danny Elfmann, Max Richter, and James Newton Howard. A lot more feminine, but powerful, and very dark and whimsical. I really hope we get the chance to do a Shallan album properly! 17S: Will you use (or have you already used) rare instruments to make the music sound more unique, as Roshar is a unique world? MB: We've used some more unique synth sounds in the tracks. Synths are computer generated (or computer processed) sounds that we layer together with the live orchestral sounds. We are also planning on using a custom made set of bamboo flutes for Wandersail. We are using "electric cello" recorded by the amazing Tina Guo for the Thath track, if you can count that as "rare"! SSN: We’ve got the use of a sitar, and we’re literally creating a flute for Hoid to play during Wandersail because there honestly isn’t one in existence that can do what he describes in the book. But we’re patterning that after a Chinese design (a dizi is what I think we decided to go with), with a few flairs. Our synths are massively processed. The horns that you hear playing in Alethi Codes of War are processed into synths to create the crashing lightning of the Highstorm song, and represents the use of Stormlight. I really can’t wait to record the Parshendi and bring them in to the orchestrated music! Their use of breath, rhythm, male and female overarching each other, yet still somehow in unison, and all in a language that Kristina A. Bischoff created…yeah, I really can’t wait to do the Parshendi vocals. 17S: I saw you had to get the permission from DMG Entertainment [the people who own the film rights] to do this. Has there been any talk to use any of this soundtrack for stuff they produce? Have you had any discussions with them about it? MB: DMG has been very gracious to allow us to do this! Regarding using our music for their production, there hasn't been any talk of it, but typically film needs to be scored very specifically. It actually has much different considerations from what standalone music has. For example, the battle scenes will likely have a different pacing from what the Kaladin album has, they may be faster or last longer. Certain moments will happen at different times, and there are also a lot of nuances that a picture has. The director also brings to the table a vision for the aesthetics and the music. He or she may envision something moving and touching played over a particular battle scene, where what we have is epic percussion! Of course, we'd certainly be beyond thrilled to be considered to compose for something they produce, but as of yet, there has been no discussion! 17S: Which is the track you're most excited to hear with the full orchestra? For me, it's probably "Highstorm." I can't wait to hear the final version of that. SSN: Man, that’s a tough one. I’d say I want to hear Highstorm, Alethi Codes of War, and Honor Chasm. The sheer bossness of Highstorm and its arrhythmic timing, the fun Celtic syncopated jig of Alethi Codes of War, and the heart-wrenching music of Honor Chasm that stops way too early... Do I have to pick one? MB: I'd have to say Sylphrena! Philip Klein, who wrote the track, is one of my favorite composers and a good friend, and I just love this track. Just the mockup version of it takes me back to feeling like a child again, and he does it with such deftness that I forget where I am or that I'm not 6 years old and carefree. I can't wait to hear it all put together and mixed by the wonderful Casey Stone! RW: For me, it’ll probably be The Tower. That song was written literally in 10 hours in one day. It was the day before we were to fly out to Europe. And I love the addition of the drums and choir that will be added, so I’m excited to hear the full version when its done! Highstorm is probably a close second. That was the song that I was amazed at how the string players could sightread such a piece. 17S: What are each of your favorite tracks and why? MB: Well, Sylphrena, for sure! And Alethi Codes of War by Caleb Blood is just so fun I wish I'd written it! Oh, and Shallan's Lullaby just has the coolest arrangement - written by Alex Crandall and arranged/orchestrated by Sandy Schnieders. And Hearthst--- OK, you probably only wanted one track, didn't you? RW: Hmm, besides The Tower, and Highstorm, I like Sylphrena’s Theme and 16 Seconds Pre-Death. Sylphrena’s theme has some really cool chords in it that really remind me of that Hollywood sound, and the song it self has an epicness that is in a different style than many of the other epic action songs on the album. So it’s nice to hear another angle in that way. I like 16 Seconds because it’s unnerving and intensely ominous at the same time. I like the chord progressions that happen in the song as well. It reminds me a bit of old classical influences how things morph with the chords. And I like the unnerving groans that happen towards the beginning. That adds to the ominous feeling that surmounts. SSN: I honestly go through phases with the album. For awhile, I’ll be feeling it with Highstorm. It was so much fun to pull out of Richard the idea I had in my head. He was the perfect one to write the song. Then I’ll be feeling it with Alethi Codes of War (okay, this might be a favorite simply because it’s got the Celtic feeling and I’m a sucker for that). Then I get the feels with Hearthstone, which is satisfying to listen to because it really took a LOT of takes to get this just right. I wish you peeps could hear it with the male humming in the background. Sandra thinks we should go with a tenor, to represent Tien; and I think we should go with a bass, to represent Lirin working by himself. Either way, whatever we end up with, I know it’s going to hit us all right in the feels! Thanks for joining us! Check out the Kaladin Kickstarter over here to back this project.
  4. Today we're taking a look at a really special thing. It's a Stormlight Archive album called Kaladin, by a group called The Black Piper. This is quite a huge project that has been worked on since 2015, and consists of three producers and several Hollywood composers and orchestrators. About half of the album has been recorded with the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra. In other words, this is a very legit and awesome project. The Black Piper has given 17th Shard a look at fourteen tracks--half of the album--and we're here to tell you about all of them to try to give you a feel for what these are. We're going to talk about the people involved with the project, and also, we're going to talk about the Kaladin Kickstarter they have. So who's working on this? The Black Piper was formed by producer Sae Sae Norris, film composer Michael Bahnmiller (who has done music prep on Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and La La Land), and videogame composer Richard Williams (two-time Student Emmy winner). These aren't newbies to the industry at all. The Black Piper also has a desire to support artists and composers, and there's a lot of other composers on the project, which you can see at the bottom of the The Black Piper's About page. All of these composers have worked in the film, TV, or video game industry. In Kaladin you can really feel the influence from films and video games; it'd feel right at home in either. In their Kickstarter, they want to produce Kaladin with the same level of quality as any movie soundtrack. Their goal is to record 95 minutes of music total, 31 tracks in total. and record the remainder with the London Symphony Orchestra. That orchestra has recorded incredibly iconic film scores, some things you may have heard of, such as Star Wars or Harry Potter's soundtrack. You know, just the minor things. They also wish to hire world-class soloists to put in the tracks as well. There's also artbooks that you can get, as well as a number of other Kickstarter upgrades, which we'll talk about soon. But first, you guys want to know what it sounds like. The Music The Black Piper has posted a playlist of excerpts from nine different tracks, which you can see here: We got to listen to complete versions of these tracks and more, for a total of fourteen tracks so far, which is less than half of the thirty-one they want to have in the finished product. Now, most of the full tracks we heard were, computer generated, which means they didn't have the live orchestra sounds in it (except for a few). I'm going to be honest: these tracks were amazing and they aren't even the final versions. It feels cinematic and epic. The unanimous opinion of our staff was essentially: "this is amazing, we can't wait to see the final version." But remember, the tracks might change into their final product, so our descriptions might be off in the long run. So let's go through each of these tracks. I'm terrible at analyzing music, but big thanks to MozyTheHealer, Kaymyth, and FeatherWriter for their musical expertise. They helped a lot in writing this. Also, Kerry, Jofwu, and Botanica helped me here, too! Thanks all! 1. Stormblessed This track is a lot like a "welcome to our story" track. There's a slow, solemn lead-up with bassoons, breaking into a proper battle theme that really evokes the battlefield well. There's big sweeping lyric melodies, with some awesome French horn. FeatherWriter says, "There’s a really incredible bit of time signature change with super interesting syncopation that really caught my attention. Just as you're getting used to the 4/4, it throws you out." This one strongly feels at home in a film. This would work perfectly as the music for a trailer in a Stormlight film. 2. Sas Nahn Shash As the title suggests, this is all about sadness, despair, and defeat. It really captures melancholy, and has a slight feeling of unwanted hope at the end. One of the composers on this album is really into impressionist sounds. It is heavier on the strings and higher woodwinds, and is overall very atmospheric with its long high notes in the violins and sopranos. 3. Sylphrena This one isn't a particular scene from the book, but it tells about Syl's journey as a character. It starts serene, as if she's a mere windspren, then slowly builds into a joyful film score sound. In the middle, it reminded Mozy of Zelda when the track picks up with chimes and violin runs. At the end, we have a big crescendo that hints at the triumphs to come, then fades away at the end. It's a great, hopeful track, which is a nice contrast from the first two. Feather thought the track portrayed Syl as a soothing comfort to Kaladin. It definitely feels like Syl's growth from windspren to Honorspren. 4. Honor Chasm Compared to the joy, happy sound in the last track, this one has a sense of mystery, darkness, and gravitas to it. It feels like the part near the beginning of The Way of Kings where Kaladin goes to Honor Chasm, contemplating ending things. The sound captures a lot of uncertainty with the sparse orchestration and minimal harmonic progression. The harmony sits on notes for a very long time before it moves. It then switches to some motifs from the Sylphrena track, and then ends hopeful and triumphant, as Kaladin has new hope. 5. Alethi Codes of War This song is quite different from the first few tracks. It'd be perfect for a training montage scene, like Kaladin training with Bridge Four. There's a Celtic or folky feel to it. It has a lot of percussion and rhythmic motives in the low strings that makes it feel properly militaristic. The reeling melody that weaves through the percussion is an excellent reflection of Alethi revelry even in the middle of the warcamps. This is one of my very favorite tracks--as well as some others' favorite too--and I think I've listened to it about forty times already. 6. Chasm Kata There's a lot of atmospheric anticipation in this one. Layers slowly build up, eventually ending more triumphant, with a sweet violin solo. It has the feel of a character's self-discovery moment. It's easy to imagine this right in a movie or TV show, and you can feel exactly the scene this track would go into. 7. Highstorm You know exactly the scene a track named "Highstorm" would represent: Kaladin facing the storm. This track starts dissonant and discordant, giving you a feel of unease. Then, the track rapidly builds, like the stormwall is rushing right toward you. The string instruments go crazy, the brass enters, and the bass is literally dropping. Just listening to the track, you can feel your heart beat faster and you're just thinking, "oh crap, oh crap!" This is intense. The song ends more calmly, almost ethereal, as the highstorm passes and you're in the riddens. This one is spectacular and perfectly matches the urgency and majesty of the highstorms. 8. Hearthstone (Tien) This one feels warm and homey. Kerry described it perfectly: "I feel like I’m walking the main character of a JRPG through their hometown, and that’s exactly what a Hearthstone track should feel like. Rich with emotion and nostalgia. I thought I caught a bit of a Shenandoah-inspired melody here and there, which lent an air of homesickness when listening from the perspective of Kaladin reminiscing." At the end there's a snare drum part which made basically everyone who heard this song die. The drum could either represent the drums of war, or the drums before an execution. R.I.P. Tien. 9. Wandersail So, obviously, Wandersail has a flute part in it. Well... we didn't hear this song with the flutes. (I imagine this is one of the "hey we want a world class soloist to do this" thing from the Kickstarter.) What we heard is a sweet underscore of non-flute stuff where Kaladin is seeing what Hoid is making, in between flute parts. In some respects it feels a bit like Pirates of the Carribbean in Stormlight, which is a big compliment. It's strong and cinematic, especially near the end, where it is gets faster and darker, to show the end of Derethil and the revelation about the Uvarans. Still, we really want to hear the flute part! 10. Three Glyphs - Wind, Protection, Beloved This is the scene where Bridge Four is on a bridge run, and Kaladin, in Parshendi armor, distracting the Parshendi from the bridges. You can very clearly hear the transitions between the three glyph themes. Wind is ominous and powerful, Protection is equally powerful but more rhythmic and certain, and Beloved lifts the piece up into a state of joy. The end, though, feels like it pulls at least the second two together into one. It takes a while for this to feel like a cohesive piece, but the payoff at the end is worth it. 11. 16 Seconds Pre-Death The title of this references the death rattles, and as you could imagine, it is quite spooky. It isn't a slow track, though, but more a scene during a battle where things are going very wrong. It's about the part where Kaladin says the Second Ideal, and it is dark and despairing. It has some synth parts creeping through the other sounds, which makes it feel foreign. It gave me a slight bit of a Mass Effect vibe because of it. I'm told there will be some Parshendi chanting added into this song, which will be layered on top of the abstract synths. Considering it already sounds alien and weird, I can't wait to hear the final version with the Parshendi chanting to it. It can only add to the effect. 12. The Tower It's the Battle of the Tower, of course. It opens with an epic, truly film soundtrack feel of a battle, but then transitions to a section that captures the feel of betrayal and sorrow of the moment. Then it moves into with some triumph in it, but also keeps you on edge. It grows frentic and chaotic, as the fighting intensifies. Some of the transitions are so gradual and then others just happen in a split second, that it makes there be a feeling of uncertainty amidst the badassery. At the end, it slows, and you can finally breathe, as the battle ends. The end fades, but it isn't a glorious triumph, instead feeling just like they got out barely, and so many died. It fits the battle excellently. 13. Thath This we heard with the final orchestrated version, and everything I said about the other tracks being awesome are true, but this really feels way more awesome with the orchestra and the vocals. Mozy describes the track as such: "The beginning does some pretty good anticipation IN THREES with the first motive. (Threes are my favorite thing where it takes three times to really hit the moment). The first start is like “ooh is something happening?” and the second one is like “Yuusss something is happening” and then it flakes out. There’s obviously a few different things going on. I feel like the beginning is more war-like, and then it hits a pretty nice lyric section, that moves into the vocal part at the end." A piano joins at the end, building into a true triumphant moment, which feels exactly like would play when Dalinar puts his Blade on the Thath glyph to save Kaladin. Heck yes. It's emotional, stirring, and breathtaking. 14. Shallan's Lullaby So in the description of the project on the Kickstarter, they say this album is about Kaladin's journey through The Way of Kings, but here we clearly get a Words of Radiance inspired track. It has both male vocals and female vocals singing the lullaby in Words of Radiance, clearly echoing the notion that Shallan's father sung this at the beginning of her flashback sequence, but Shallan also sung it at the end, too. It's a sad track that feels despairing, with a soft, mourning air to it. It starts with male vocals, alternates between female and male, and there's a short duet, ending with the female vocals. I enjoyed that it ended on female vocals, as anyone who read the last Shallan flashback would know. The background sounds of blowing winds, dripping raindrops, and lightning add much to the music. Then, silence for a few seconds. It slowly grows into a huge choir and organ part, which would be appropriate in any dark moment, evoking the feel of the horror of either moment where this lullaby is sung. It reminded me more of the end of Shallan's flashback sequence, with the storm outside of the manor, and a corpse inside, as Shallan realizes what happened. This last part was a bit controversial among us, as it was quite a different change in the track, but this is how I interpreted it. ---- And that's all the tracks we heard! Overall, there's a depth and complexity to the music that so wonderfully feels exactly what the scene would feel like. We all felt like this would be right at home in a Stormlight movie, TV show, or video game. If we had one critique, it was that we generally wanted the tracks to be longer--which I'd say is a pretty good thing, to have us wanting more! I have absolutely no doubt that the final product will be spectacular. And this is just fourteen tracks. There is definitely a track called "Bridge Four," but after that, I imagine there will be some other really sweet things here. They want a total of thirty-one tracks, for 95 minutes of music, if they hit their goals. So, let's talk about the Kickstarter. The Kickstarter The Kickstarter is very ambitious. There seems to be three goals, which are not all listed at the moment. There's a $110,000 tier as the first goal, there's a second goal at a money value I'm not certain what it is, and then there's their final goal, which seems to be $600,000, but it isn't fully spelled out. If they hit their second goal, then they will create the second half of the album (which is not created yet), and also record with the London Symphony Orchestra. That means at the first goal, as listed, we wouldn't get the full 31 tracks, but that is their hope to get that many. The biggest goal will involve musicians working on bonus tracks. So, admittedly, that's ambitious. But what we've heard so far is really great, and if it sounds cool to you, consider backing the project! What are the reward tiers for the Kickstarter? $25 or more: a digital download of the album, a Black Piper wallpaper, and a digital art/sketch card. $45 or more: in addition to the lower tier things, you'll get a physical album, which will come with a six page art insert, containing Kaladin art, and a physical art card $100 or more: in addition to the lower tier things, you can be a voice in the virtual choir and actually be in the album $950 or more: in addition to the physical album and those things, you'll receive a page of the score of a given song, handwritten in the composers hand, coated to protect it, and signed. $3500 or more: in addition to the physical album, you spend an evening with the creators over dinner. So... you can spend a lot of money if you'd like to! The physical art card in the physical editions are one of six collectible character art cards. They will be one of these six: Kaladin, Sylphrena, Bridge Four, Navani, Dalinar, or Szeth. There are also a variety of add-ons you can add to your pledge. You can add $2 for a Stormlight character bookmark, drawn by the amazing Botanica Xu, who has drawn tons of Stormlight art, or $12 for a full set of eight bookmarks. You can get a physical album signed for $5. There's an 100 to 150 page Kaladin artbook at $57, containing some existing Stormlight art but also new art too. With pages something like this (though this isn't final): That's Kaladin. It's a big, ambitious project, but these composers are insanely competent and I'm sure if they meet their funding goals, it will be an amazing final product. Hopefully this gave you a huge amount of information into Kaladin so you can decide if you want to back this! Huge thanks to the Black Piper for letting us listen to some tracks in advance! Also, thanks again to MozyTheHealer, Kaymyth, Kerry, Jofwu, FeatherWriter, and Botanica for helping me writing this article, especially with discussing each of the tracks.