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Llinos's Music Commissions [Closed]


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[align=center]COMMISSIONS CLOSED[/align]



It's been a great run, but with only a short while before my husband goes off to military training, we want to spend that time together.  After training, we're not sure what our schedule will look like or our desire for re-opening commissions will be like but we will certainly update with news the moment we have it.  We appreciate all the people who have supported us, whether it was by buying a song or by showing us their appreciation.  We could not have grown as musicians without you.  Thank you for your support.


We will leave our topic in tact for those that want to peruse and just in case we decide to re-open.



- Mat and Teresa, KeKo






[align=center]Payment is expected within 48 hours of reserving your slot. Send us a PM with the desired slot you wish to purchase along with a PayPal email of where we can send the bill.



[align=center]-COMMISSIONS CLOSED-



Commercial and Non-Commercial Use. Please bear in mind that these song are for personal enjoyment only, hence the special price. Any commercial projects you wish us to be a part of will be subject to different pricing, but we are willing to entertain offers. Music for guild promos/videos/special non-commercial projects will also be subject to different prices depending on the complexity of the project. Contact us for details.







[align=center]In order of payment and priority








We will always provide a WIP to clients in which the client may suggest changes up to three times. If, after a third time, the client is still not satisfied, we will give them a partial refund (50%) and drop the project so that we may move on to others.


Refunds may also be issued if a project must be cancelled before we can get to it (either on our end or the client's). We reserve the right to turn down any project.







When doing a commission for you, we may ask that you provide inspiration in the form of journals, character/guild biographies. We encourage you to know what you want a song about your character to make people feel, or give us a specific scene to score to give us a peek at who your character is in that moment. You make make technical requests such as genre, style or request certain instruments. You may also tell us what you don't want. Examples, too, can also help. You are, however, perfectly free to give us free reign over the piece if you'd just like to hear our interpretation. However, that is leaving it up to OUR discretion how to treat the piece and the inspiration you give us. Scheduling a RP can also help tremendously in giving us an idea that you may not be able to convey (and I very much appreciate RP for the effort - we're more than just composers and like to be reminded of that!).


For songs regarding more than one character or themes for guilds, cohesion is going to be important for us. It must be told as a story or scene, we will not try to fit individual themes into one song. Tell us what feelings matter most when portraying the concept.


Also, please do be considerate of how long you take in getting back to our PMs when it is your turn. We understand that people can have busy schedules, so we ask that if you need time to please let us know and we can work something out. On that note, be patient with us as well. You’re more than welcome to ask for updates, we only ask that it is done cordially.



Tools We Use -


Professional Custom-Built Scoring Studio

Cubase Artist 7.5

Cinematic Strings

Orchestral Tools





Native Instruments



Eduardo Tarilonte

And ooooh so much more.



Terms and Conditions -


Usage terms: KeKo retains all rights to the compositions. Compositions may not be sold, distributed, used in public expositions, or used in any way outside of personal, domestic listening purposes. KeKo reserves the right to refuse any pending commission, or terminate any commission in progress. If either happens, KeKo may provide an explanation, but is not bound to such. KeKo asks that you respect any decision and/or explanation of said decision as final, and to please keep all correspondences undisclosed and private unless mutually agreed otherwise.


Using our work in a YouTube video or posting to other social media: If you wish to use our songs in your videos, please ask our permission before doing so. Once your video is up, please send us a link to it. Also, please make sure to credit us in the video description (optionally in the video itself) as well as provide a link to our YouTube page.







Music by KeKo.

KeKo's YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCkCv5Hb1fAwf65mR54XIJ-w



Input and creative integrity: Upon request, we will provide regular updates and accommodate feedback from the client. In some cases, we may change things; this is part of the creative consultation process. If the client makes repeated requests beyond what KeKo assumes as reasonable, KeKo reserves the right to move forward on its own or cancel the project entirely. KeKo reserves final creative judgment on all compositions. This is to ensure the fidelity of our work as well as retain it as "ours".







[align=center]We also have our own website where our music MP3s can be bought directly! And it all goes straight to us, 100%. It also has links to those important social thingys like Tumblr, Twitter, and WE HAVE A FACEBOOK TOO! It's all here: http://www.kekomusic.net/[/align]






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Current Examples:


"Daguerreo, the Hermit's Library" (FFIX Re-Arrangement)


"Dueling Destinies" (Star Wars/KOTOR Re-Arrangement)


Sci-Fi Ambient Theme Example, "Duplicity"


Slavic/Steampunk, "Trudy's Fire"





Viking/SynthRock, "Neo Oslo" (concept)


Soundtrack for Game Demo, "Chosen Heart"


Soundtrack (still ongoing) for "Tom vs. Armies of Hell"



Marvin Hamlisch Contest Entry:






More to be released at a later time. Some of our commissioned pieces below have been licensed for commercial use.



Rock/Electronic Examples:


"Liang Jiang" (Chinese, traditional, orchestral)


"Bounty Hunter's Ballad" - Rax's Theme, TOR (spaghetti-western, electronic, rock)

Song Info:


Bounty Hunter's Ballad (Rax's Theme)


Patron: Rax


Styles: Western, Folk, Orchestral, Rock, Electronic

Featured instruments: fiddle, whistle, harmonica, guitar, piano, full orchestra, synth


All of our songs tell a story. Some of them do that by evoking certain events or periods of a character's life. Others focus on the change or evolution a character goes through. The goal of this song was to tell a story in a different way; by personifying the feeling this character gives to others (particularly, his marks).


It starts off establishing the mood with rustic fiddles, harmonica, guitar twangs, and harmonica. We wanted to start a little atmospheric while also giving a sense that there's an epic yarn about to unfold. We imagined an outlaw and his friends sitting at a cantina, relating the tale of some larger-than-life bounty hunter on the loose.


After the dramatic intro, the story starts to "trot" at 0:46 with brass on top of rhythmic bass, piano, and tambourine. This is meant to be a sort of "desperado moseying into town" vibe; just a guy passing through, minding his own business. But then at 1:03, the song builds into an epic fanfare as things quickly escalate; perhaps he found his mark and dealt swift judgment, or maybe someone just said the wrong thing at the wrong time. In any case, whatever started up, he put a stop to, and at 1:25 the music relaxes back down to a trot, as if our gunslinger is already whistling off into the sunset, whatever violent business behind him.


At 1:43, a guitar riff heads us into an ambient, yet tense moment as the outlaw's story is interrupted. People in the cantina seem to be murmuring, restless. Things get quiet, and gradually folks' heads turn towards the entrance. At 1:52, an acoustic guitar at and mysterious strings herald the appearance of a shadowed figure in the doorway, silhouetted and obscured before the blazing sun outside. Everybody holds their breath, and the outlaw suddenly feels the hair standing up on his neck.


At 2:11, a tune begins to play; the last one in the galaxy the outlaw wants to hear. Harmonica on top of gritty electric guitar and modern beats confirm without question, he's not getting out of this one a free man. Things get a little classy at 2:40 with some smooth guitar riffs and brass coming back into the fray; Rax is a professional at his work.


3:01 highlights some electronic sounds melding into the beat as the song starts to build towards the inevitable takedown. 3:18 begins a dramatically-heightened reprise of the outlaw's story; ironically, as the outlaw is receiving his own bit of justice. The action ensues until 3:57, as trumpeting brass and rolling drums bring the scene down and Rax bags his quarry. Outside the cantina, amidst gaping stares and hushes whispers, Rax whistles to himself as he strides down the street, prize in tow, towards the sunset.


There's just something about doing a Western-style song that is inherently fun. Props to Rax for giving us the opportunity, and for coming up with the idea of someone dreading this theme playing in the background; we think it made for a really cool moment and brought the song up another notch!



"Tools of the Trade" - Mikita's Theme, TOR (rock, electronic, femme fatale)

Song Info:


Tools of the Trade (Mikita's Theme)


 Patron: Nixie


 Styles: Rock, Electronic, Hybrid


 Signature: 4/4


 Tempo: 120 BPM


 Featured instruments: electric guitar, electric bass, various synths, cinematic and acoustic drum kits, piano, strings


 We're starting to hone the craft of creating the "badass sound". Recently, with Bain, that meant creating a secret agent theme that goes into overdrive with its wild, almost psychotic unpredictability. But Mikita's version of "badass" was refreshingly different; she's cool, confident, and in control, yet equally and undoubtedly badass. She uses her femininity as one of her "tools of the trade"; naturally all of this sparked ideas about how to approach an encompassing theme.


 The song starts off with an ambient synth sound, followed by a steady rhythm characterized by the sound of tools forming a regular beat. We imagined this as a sort of calm "zone" that Mikita enters when working on ships. It's a bit reflective, a bit therapeutic; it's sort of "out there" and solitary but with a sense of warmth brought upon by the major key piano and humming bass line. The drums move at a relaxed, deliberate pace, which we used to introduce a sort of confidence that is continuous no matter where she is.


 Which brings us to the first change in the song at 1:04. The warmth is quickly replaced by a bit of waiting and ambiguity. The synths sort of go into a holding pattern until 1:12, where a kick drum introduces this sort of 80's pop mixed with a bit of 50's rock-and-roll; sounds weird on paper, but it was one of those things that we tried out at it just worked. As Mat describes it, you can imagine Mikita walking down the street to the beat, heels and Wayfarers on, as everyone watching holds their breath. Or maybe Mat's been watching too many 80's music videos!


 At 1:21, we get into the main chorus with the introduction of the electric guitar. We wanted this guitar to be smooth and confident, in contrast to the wild, almost frantic guitar performance of Your Number's Up. It's supposed to represent Mikita's cover as a flirt, femme fatale, and overall badass. Key for this part was that feeling of deliberateness; being in control and having things go the way she wants them to. Another key was maintaining the qualities of ambiguity and femininity. For the former, we created the melody to be gritty and dangerous, but not to give the outright impression of "evil" or "dark". For the latter, we came up with a sort of "back-and-forth" piano rhythm for the phrase at 1:53; sort of cat-like with a slightly playful, sleek sound.


 2:25 brings us to a "palate cleanser" moment, where we drop the rhythm for a bit and focus on creating an ambience with contemplative synths, piano, and strings followed by furtive hi-hat taps and clean guitar. Here we do allow for a bit of darkness and questioning to come through; after all, not everything in Mikita's life is fast ships and lipstick. This in-between movement is sort of a metaphor for those moments when she's struggled to find herself before people like Zachiry came along. Sort of a "life between the fronts", so to speak.


 But 3:16 brings back that confident beat, and soon, we're back to the main chorus. Another guitar comes in to improv with the first, though we deliberately avoided the temptation to grow into some big crescendo. Also, there are no out-of-control guitar squeals or a lot of looseness on the performances. Everything remains cool and "to-the-plan". The phrase that comes to mind is "relax, I got this". Mat looked to the smooth sound of Santana's guitar performances for inspiration on this part in particular.


 Finally, the guitars echo away at 4:25 and a soft synth fades us out, slipping away before you knew what hit you.


 This song was an awesome experience to work on because it challenged us to take certain qualities (confidence, deliberateness) and continue them through the entire song, despite constant shifts in instrumentation, rhythm, and texture. Normally, we partition off characters' qualities pretty strictly into movements, but with Mikita, there are these overlying impressions that are there no matter where she is or what front she's putting on. It was this outside vs. inside dynamic that was one of the qualities Nixie asked us to incorporate, and it was an extremely fun challenge to try and pull it off. We're very excited at how this came out, and we hope you like it too!



"Your Number's Up" - Tylen's Theme, TOR (rock, electronic, spy)

Song Info:


Your Numbers Up (Tylen's Theme)


 Patron: Bain


 Styles: Cinematic, Rock, Electronic, Orchestral


 Signature: 4/4


 Tempo: 120 BPM


 Featured instruments: electric guitar, electric bass, various synths, cinematic and acoustic drum kits, strings, brass, woodwinds, piano


 We love electric guitar. In fact, when we finished Book's song, Mat was anxiously awaiting the time when he would get to play with it again. So when you mentioned that you wanted us to incorporate electric guitar for your song, well, let's say Mat didn't waste the opportunity.


 But we're getting ahead of ourselves here. The beginning of the song starts out sort of Bourne Identity; electronic beats and "cool"-sounding percussion, for lack of a better word. Then we get some classy strings, vibraphone, fluttered flute, and muted brass inspired by classic Bond films to help establish Tylen's confident, unflappable demeanor. A smooth guitar at 1:20 slides in to help reinforce the arrogance bit about him.


 At 1:37, things get a little dark and contemplative. The beat drops away for the moment, and we're introduced to dramatic, thoughtful string staccatos and ambiguous piano. This represents Tylen's struggle to balance his life as a Cipher with that of his attachment to Zirco. Both the piano and string staccatos get more urgent at 1:45 to signify the rising tension this creates with Tylen, culminating in a crescendo at 1:52 and the introduction of the badass guitar!


 Because, as we know, the job of being a Cipher doesn't wait on convenience, and it's back to being a badass. The guitar and amped-up drums take the stage for pretty much the rest of the song, taking a small break at 2:25 before diving right back in with a second guitar improvising face-melting riffs and squeals.


 We're really, really proud with how this song came out, and we hope you enjoy listening to it as much as we did making it! Oh, and thank you for giving Mat an excuse to shred on his guitar again.



"_algoRhythm" - Cnids's Theme, TOR (electronic, synth, pop-opera, vocals)

Song Info:


algoRhythm (Cnids and Lenn's Theme)


 Patron: Cnids


 Styles: Electronic, Cinematic, Synthpop

 Signature: 4/4

 Tempo: 120 BPM


 Featured instruments: vocals, various custom synths and warped/distorted/digitized acoustic instruments


 When Teresa showed me (Mathew) the rich, detailed paintings of Cnids created by her roleplayer, I was both awestruck and a bit startled. As described, Cnids is not meant to be conventionally beautiful, and that's the first thing we wanted to get across in the song. It starts out a bit dark, with a lot of uncertainty, and also with some fairly grainy, distorted synth work. But in reading further into Cnids's journals, we also got a sense of the optimism that this character harbors, despite her lonely past. This is a person who is striving for something we didn't initially understand. In cinema and elsewhere, we are repeatedly conditioned to view the combination of man and machine as untrustworthy and dangerous (just look at Hollywood's most recent attempt, Transcendence). But in reading Cnids's journals, we asked ourselves "why?" In her eyes, Cnid's views her eventual transformation in a positive light. She sees beauty and tranquility in 1's and 0's. She craves a release from the loneliness that has remained with her all these years.


 0:00 to 0:25 represents the darkness of her young, organic life, From 0:25 to 1:37, warmer textures are introduced as well as a trebly warped piano, playing a thoughtful, exploratory melody. This represents Cnids's introduction to the digital world and eventually opening herself to the idea of transformation; it's somewhat uncertain, but wondrous at the same time. At 1:45, the lights "turn on", so to speak. We wanted to convey a sense of a system starting up, followed by lots of movement characterized by a synth arpeggio, synth beat, and warm synth bass.


 And then Teresa's lovely vocals arrive at 2:17, meant to represent Cnid's dynamic, emotional inner self at the outset. We spent a lot of time balancing the natural and synthetic applications of Teresa's voice, including dynamically morphing between the two (especially at the end of long sustained notes). We wanted to have the humanity and emotion come through at all times, while retaining a subtle synthetic quality.


 3:05 marks the beginning of Cnids's transformation, signified by a distinct key change and the introduction of heavy, busy, highly atmospheric textures. Just prior, Teresa's vocals dip into a slightly dark, ethnic quality; the decision to incorporate ethnic techniques was to convey Cnids's free-spiritedness; despite being pained by loneliness, she nonetheless remains optimistic. At 3:21, we reintroduce Teresa's vocals in a much more ambient manner, signifying the dreamlike state we imagine the process entails.


 At 3:38, the clutteredness and complexity fades quickly into tranquil clarity as Teresa's voice and smooth synthetic strings build into the climactic moment of "ascension", as we call it. The vocal harmonies at 3:59 take on operatic proportions, signifying the culmination of Cnids's dream coming true at last. There is a brief moment of uncertainty portrayed by a hanging string chord at 4:09 (as if to ask, "did she survive?"). The answer arrives in the form of the warm bass line and familiar beat returning at 4:15. The process having been successfully completed, we are now introduced to Cnids's newfound freedom. At 4:38, Teresa's vocals are at their most expressive, jovial, and free. For this, we looked to various Cirque du Soleil-style vocal techniques (an idea Teresa came up with after trying out a rewrite I did; I ended up really digging it) due to the liberating feeling that style of singing conveys. We also employed the technique of call-and-response to signify that Cnids and Lenn are finally together as one.


 We always like pushing our boundaries, and this song was no exception. Despite the lack of a "real" orchestra, the song nonetheless features some of our most intricate writing, mixing, and vocal work to date.



"Blind Ambition" - Book's Theme, TOR (orchestal, rock, world fusion)

Song Info:


Blind Ambition (Book's Theme)


 Patron: Book


 Styles: Cinematic, Electronic, Rock, Orchestral

 Signature: 4/4

 Tempo: 120 BPM


 Featured instruments: violin, strings section, orchestral percussion, modern drums, electric guitar, electric bass, sitar, tablas, various synth leads/pads/drones


 This song gave us a unique challenge: how do you create a theme for a character who has done a little bit of everything, and been a little bit of everywhere? Well, we here at KeKoPro take challenges as opportunities, so we embraced that eclectic nature and put our own spin on the popular hybrid style.


 The song starts with an ethereal tone; somewhat muddy and indistinct, hollow. This is supposed to introduce the listener to a feeling of blindness. Another fun challenge was representing that Miraluka side and how they 'see' with the Force. A lone violin sounds in the void, played a bit melancholy, representing the presence of the Force.


 Things pick up pretty quickly, and soon we are enveloped by epic strings, pulsing synths, and aggressive electric guitar. The dark energy of this section represents her time with the Sith.


 At 1:44, the song slips into a cool, slick tone with smooth bass and guitar riffs. This section represents her life as an information broker, navigating the classy casinos on places like Nar Shaddaa as well as the seedier establishments. 2:00 molds the tune into a more shadowy representation of life on the job, adding fuzzy, whispery synths to reinforce the blur that she experiences from such a dynamic lifestyle.


 The blur served another purpose, as well. We wanted the 'distinct' things that a Miraluka sees to be, well, distinctive. The sitar, tablas, and 'clear' sounds all have their own distinctive sound, and the electronic stuff is fuzzy (as I imagine it would be in the Force). The sitar also added a nice worldly flavor at times, but we wanted to see what else it could do with it to make it more eclectic like Book and have it shift with her moods and whims.


 At 2:32, things slow down again as we return to the original melody. This reprisal once again brings back the violin, but also keeps a synth undertone, hinting that her past experiences might bleed into the next. The sitar also reappears here, but this time plucking in a manner evoking a Western, suggesting some rough times on the other side of the law.


 Before long, a large orchestral section enters the scene and propels the song towards the finale at 3:20. The octaved strings (sections playing at high and low octaves) evoke an epic, world travel feeling. The synth textures and energetic drums also return, suggesting that this is all of Book's many sides converging into one. At 3:44, we are reintroduced to Book's main theme with soaring strings and wailing electric guitar, culminating in a dramatic close.


 As always, we have a lot of fun weaving all the details into our songs, and this was no exception. We hope you like it!





"Aegis" - Karshok's Theme, GW2 (cinematic, war theme)

Song Info:


Aegis (Karshok Ironclaw's Theme)


Patron: Karshok


Styles: Cinematic, Orchestral, Epic, Hybrid

Featured instruments: violin, cello, flute, trombone, tuba, choir, big-ass drums


There's a certain level of expectation when someone requests a theme for a Charr warrior. Big ol' drums, militaristic sound, very warrior-ish. That's what the song starts out with. We tried to meet that expectation early on, with the strategy of evolving it into something else. So there's a lot of dark energy at the start. Mathew busted out his epic low libraries; there's tubas, trombones, a cello played in a very gritty manner, double basses, and male choir. Oh yeah, and drums. Lots and lots of big-ass drums. In characterizing the Charr, we also used a lot of unique sound design; at 0:25, you hear what sounds like a low growl, which is actually a cello being bowed very rapidly (tremolo) and very close to the bridge, creating that nasally, wild sound.


But warrior though he is, Karshok is rare in that he was raised by humans, and carries with him an awareness and acceptance that expands his horizons so to speak. So there's a definite dichotomy here; a tug of war between the worlds that we needed to address. Thus, at 0:53 the song begins to delve into a more melancholy, sentimental mood, with a violin being introduced at 1:00. Whereas the cello represents his stern warrior nature, the violin represents the sobering loss and sorrow that he's experienced in war.


1:14 returns us back to the fiery Charr furnaces, complete with gongs and cymbals meant to resemble the hissing of steam, and anvils personifying the clanking of machines. Brass stabs lend an almost primal feeling to the section, further evoking the feeling of war.


1:46 sees a major shift in the tone; and this is indeed to be taken almost as a mirage or visage in the midst of battle; a moment of beauty and peace. Is Karshok wounded? Is he hallucinating, drifting out of consciousness? In any case, this is an unexpected moment of extreme peace and beauty, as Karshok gets to behold what it is he is fighting for. Warm strings, moving choir, elegant harp, and a lyrical flute... these are not what you would associated with a Charr. And true for Karshok as well, at least on the outside, but inside he is these instruments; an intelligent and thoughtful being fighting for beauty and peace.


Of course, we just can't let that last though! At 2:24, the chords take a subtle but knowing turn, and we lose our grip on the moment of respite and bliss, almost as if a bullet whizzes past and Karshok is forced to snap back to the deafening chaos and confusion of war. The drums return, and the horrors of battle ring loud in the ear once again.


But overall, Karshok's story is one of hope and the promise of a new dawn. At 3:30, with the sacrifices made and losses endured, we delve into a reprise of the earlier violin movement, this time finishing triumphant, but still with a color of sadness and remembrance. This time, the entire 1st violins section joins the concertmaster playing in passionate molto vibrato, with proud and dutiful rhythmic cello chugs supporting the feeling of warmth from this new dawn. 3:53 brings the piece to a close on soft chord, intentionally ambiguous and just slightly dark, as if questioning the future of this great warrior and his noble life's work.


Our friends in the composing business often roll their eyes at the ubiquitous epic stuff these days, but when done with the heart, and more importantly with character material to work with, it can become much, much more. That's what we felt happened with Aegis, and we couldn't be happier with the result. We hope you enjoy it!



"One Spirit" - Clan Aisha Theme, TOR (cinematic, asian fusion)

Song Info:


One Spirit (Aisha Family Theme)


Patron: Imoshi


Styles: World, Cinematic, Orchestral

Featured instruments: cello, shakuhachi, taikos, Celtic whistle, recorder, Tibetan chanting, singing bowls


This is was our first theme that encompassed more than two characters; five, to be exact. Composing a family theme provided it's own unique challenges and rewards, with each character being distinctly different yet needing to contribute to a cohesive whole. In the end, we're really excited with the result!


Imoshi wanted the song's style to incorporate the real-world influences of the Aisha family heritage; namely traditional Japanese and Celtic music. She wanted each of the five family members to have a part that evoked their distinct personality, with a leitmotif (recurring theme) linking them together.


The structure of the song thus contains five unique segments representing each of the family members, with a family theme being introduced in the beginning and then recurring throughout in different forms and voicings. The siblings' segments overlap slightly to show their closeness and to play off each others' energy. After all of the members receive their featured segment, the song finishes with a finale representing the family as a whole. The song incorporates elements of both Japanese and Celtic instrumentation and technique (though stylistically the piece leans more on the Japanese side overall).


The song begins with the soft cadence of singing bowls layered with tense strings and the dark drone of monk-like chanting. A solo cello slides in, introducing the leitmotif that will recur throughout the piece. This opening segment represents the father, Suichi, who is shrouded in mystery and represents a foreboding presence. With the instrumentation for this part, we wanted to evoke the depth of the unknown as if it's swallowing you up; the soundscape is ethereal and the chords are elusive and ominous.


At 0:57, harp and choir are introduced as we move onto Pitagora, the mother. This segment maintains much of the mystery and ethereal quality, but shifts to a more peaceful feeling, with contemplative harp plucking and soothing choir chords. Solo voices appear at 1:15, carrying on the family theme established earlier, and the individual voices join harmonically into a crescendo at 1:28.


This leads us into the first sibling, Kontanbu. He represents the fire, anger, and strength of the family, and what better way to represent that than a troupe of awesome taiko drummers? An overblown shakuhachi heralds this change at 1:29 and introduces us to Kontanbu's unpredictable nature, backed with some introductory taiko strikes and strong cello chords, before the drums take full charge at 1:50. This segment is unique in that it's the only one which does not feature the leitmotif; we wanted to have Kontanbu stand out as the "rebel" of the family, and also to provide a break from the motif by focusing on energetic and rhythmic texture.


Next, we get a bit of Neehowe overlapping the drums at 2:05 with the heralding of horns. The drums, while still large and epic-sounding, transition to emphasizing ensemble orchestral percussion over the taikos (which are still present). Neehowe is fully introduced at 2:19 as the family theme returns with triumphant brass and all five string sections soaring. We wanted to convey Neehowe's pride for her family, as well as a sense of tradition and devotion to the Republic, hence the rousing and uplifting nature of the segment.


Feeding off this positive energy, we once again perform a bit of overlap by introducing the final member of the family, Imoshi, by way of energetic flute harmonies at 2:33. Imoshi is described as flighty and hopeful, and the flutes play on the energy and positivity of the prior segment with their own sprightly performance. At 2:45, a Celtic whistle calls, ending the epic portion and bringing us into a softer segment with the addition of a recorder at 2:55. The whistle returns at 3:02 to add a bit of flight and whimsy to the more mellow-sounding recorder, and together the two woodwinds play a soft rendition of the familiar family theme that is meant to evoke a bit of Imoshi's hopeful nature. At 3:11, solo cello, choir, and strings appear playing a tranquil, contemplative passage meant to represent Imoshi's transition from a child of the streets to a sage of the Jedi Order; where her brash nature is giving way to a calmer, more introspective demeanor.


At 3:25, we begin to transition from the final family member into a final bow representing the entire family. For this, we wanted elements of each family member to make an appearance. Thus, from 3:25-3:35 we have the choir representing Pitagori, the return of the singing bowls and dark chanting for Suichi, and the shakuhachi and drums for Kontanbu, leading into a build from 3:36 that completes the family with triumphant brass and excitable flute trills for Neehowe and Imoshi respectively. Combined with dramatic strings and crashing cymbals, this last reprise of the family theme is meant to evoke the unity and strength of the family, as well as how each member fits into it in their own unique way. We wanted to give a sense of there being one spirit between all of them, despite the differences and difficulties they may face, hence the title of the song.


Overall, we hope we've balanced the individuality of the different characters' personalities with a unified family identity. It was certainly a challenge coming up with a way to speak to each member's traits yet maintain a cohesive and flowing quality, on top of merging the musical traditions of two very different cultures. But in the end, we feel we were able to rise to that challenge and provide a piece we're extremely proud of. We hope you enjoy it!



"The Roads Between Us" - Luxelen and Araxus Love Theme, GW2 - LICENSED (Stage Production)

Song Info:


The Roads Between Us (Araxus and Lux Love Theme)


 Patrons: Araxus/Lux


 Styles: Cinematic, Orchestral, Classical, Dramatic

 Signature: 3/4 and 4/4

 Tempo: Varies (110-180 bpm)


 Featured instruments: harp, cello, violin, soprano flute, clarinet, cor anglais, choir, piano, full orchestra


 Just like every character we do deserves a stand-out, unique theme, the same applies to our love themes. For every couple's love is unique. With this piece, we were dealing with characters who come from two completely different worlds and social classes and tackle their challenges in very different ways. Further, their duties take them far apart from each other for great lengths of time. I remembered Lux telling me (Llinos) that 'light and dark' features very heavily in their relationship - we wanted to protray that but as we got down the heart of it (I was scouring the journals like crazy) we realized it was another factor that sometimes contributed to the distance. Distance was a strong theme for these two. Despite everything that occured that ought to pull them apart and keep them apart, they are resolved to work to be together and stay at each others' side and face life's challenges as a team, two parts of one whole that work together beautifully.


 With this in mind, we wanted to incorporate that sense of distance and longing musically. The song begins with a very melancholy tone. We sort of envisioned a rainy day where Lux or Araxus might be looking out the window, thinking about the many roads between them and when one of those roads might bring them together again. So we have a thoughtful harp plucking in a soft, regular pattern like time slowly passing by. We gave the melody a very dark and sullen sound, carried by instruments such as a clarinet, cello, and violin, all lending their take. In particular, we chose the clarinet because it provided a feeling of the sluggish, mundane passing of the days; a very "gray" sound. The 'sparkly' effects were also a must because...mesmers. I remembered reading an entry about Lux perfecting her skills to be of better use to Araxus, perhaps this is how she's passing the time while keeping her thoughts on him?


 Incorporated into this dark beginning are elements of the struggles they have had to endure to be together, as well as between each other. 1:07 introduces some minor string trills, introducing a bit of that tension. 1:20 further develops that tension, even evolving into a bit of precariousness with the introduction of a mysterious viola harmony at 1:42. This whole movement is meant to personify the layers of personal struggles the two deal with; for her, it's trying to give Araxus a bright spot in his otherwise bleak world and keeping him from a dark path. For him, it's providing Lux a sense of reality in the ambiguous and cutthroat world around them as well as safety from it.


 However, at 1:50, the song pulls back the gray to reveal the first bit of sunshine, followed by a return to some of that darkness and ambiguity at 2:14 with the reintroduction of the cor anglais and new layers provided by low piano chords and tubular bells. The mentality is that their relationship is full of ups and downs; they do butt heads and conflict in their methods and points of view, and so the music reflects that dynamism and struggle for balance.


 It was important that this song carried that back-and-forth between warmth and coldness effectively but also fluidly, in order to reflect their ability to pull each other out of the darkness even though it always reappears in their lives down the road.


 Of course, in the end, their love is what ultimately triumphs, and at 2:30 the song climbs out of the darkness into the sun one last time. However, even though this is indeed a very warm and celebratory moment, we did something different than what we normally do: we lead with the low sections of the orchestra rather than the bright, high sections. In this way, even though the melody is very stirring and warm, there is nevertheless an inherent solemnity that we felt very fitting to see off a pairing made strong through struggle and sacrifice.


 It's always a challenge and an honor to create something so complex and emotional as the love between two characters, and we think this piece stands as one of our best works to date. We had a tremendous amount of fun weaving a dynamic tale of both struggle and triumph, and we hope you enjoy it!



"The Man and the Mirage" - Araxus's Theme, GW2 (gypsy/assassin/gunslinger theme)

Song Info:


The Man and the Mirage (Araxus's Theme)


 Patron: Araxux/Lux


 Styles: Cinematic, Orchestral, World

 Signature: 4/4

 Tempo: Varies (120-150 bpm)


 Featured instruments: various guitars, mandolin, harp, viola, cello, choir, string ensemble, gypsy percussion


 Araxus is a two-sided coin. He has two distinct personalities, and that dichotomy contributes a great deal to his character. We had done themes for multi-faceted characters before, usually devoting whole movements to represent different aspects of those characters. This time though, we wanted to do something different. Mathew developed the idea of keeping the song continuous, weaving the two sides together simultaneously. The "glue" that made this concept work was the concept of using traditional instruments as sound design, creating a soundscape reminiscent of a mirage. That mirage is always there, gently rising and falling, sort of providing this strangely calm yet unstable harmony behind the melody.


 Another thing we did differently, based as much on Araxus's dual personas as his assassin profession, was to quickly and almost constantly shift the rhythm. It's slow and mysterious, then it's on it's feet and moving, then it pulls back to reveal the tense strings and choir, then it's jumping again. This was also meant to convey the process of assassination; first waiting and patience, then a flurry of movement, and back to tranquility as if nothing had ever happened.


 Instrumentation-wise, this was probably the most fun we've ever had. Mathew felt like a kid in a candy store! Araxus is a guitar player, and specifically mentioned wanting a gypsy vibe, so we feature a baroque guitar played in a loose gypsy/Spanish manner. For the rhythmic parts, we utilized traditional European ethnic and gypsy instruments including hand drums, frame drums, tambourines, and shakers. Also very important was to incorporate a definite sense of religiousness to the proceedings, since Araxus's order, The Blade of Grenth, is religiously-based. We accomplished this with choir backed up by warm low strings, and based the harmonies from the Greek Phrygian mode to convey a mystical quality.


 In developing the chronological story of the piece, the first chords from 0:00 - 0:15 represent the old man (Araxus' mentor) fishing Araxus out of the water and Araxus' memories of him. The subsequent viola melody is meant to represent this not quite sad, not quite joyful, but nevertheless present emotionality behind Araxus's development of his Zaren persona. Noticeably present is the weaving in and out of a strumming mandolin, as well as these scratchy strings at 0:48 and 0:54 that provide a kind of uncomfortable feeling, which we hoped would sort of disrupt the calm and convey an illusory sense of being watched.


 Then the rhythm is established from 1:00, and builds into the action-y assassin quality of the song. The guitar is introduced at 1:26, and develops a new melody that we tried very hard to keep completely ambiguous. Not sinister, not benevolent, not warm, not cold; this concept carries on into the quiet choir portion at 1:52. For this "respite", we obviously wanted to convey the religious quality of the assassin's duty, as well as the intriguing calm that comes with it, but we also took the opportunity to play on the idea that Araxus can be a very emotional and violent man internally. So at the same time that you hear angelic choir, you also hear these really unstable, quavering cello notes that swell and fade and swell and fade, as if threatening to overtake the tranquility completely. This was especially important to the idea we decided to play on before - that the cold, emotionless Zaren has a little bit of the emotion and humanity of Araxus, just as much as Araxus can never completely shed Zaren. They are ingrained in each other like habits, sometimes repressed, sometimes not. But the two personas certainly affect each other in their own ways and it was fun to explore how to distinct personalities worked in sync with each other.


 At 2:17 the rhythm picks up again, as the "holy respite" is left behind and Araxus makes his move. In finding a way to portray the understated yet calculated actions of an assassin, we chose the understated sound of plucking a harp harmonically to provide a muted, almost clockwork quality to carry the melody. It seemed to convey the sense of precision, concentration and timing that an assassin would employ...plus it sounded really cool!


 The piece builds into the finale at 2:44 with the introduction of legato violins. The violins portamento, or slide, in an exaggerated manner to reinforce the direness of the execution and subsequent escape. The song crescendos at 3:09, and we are left once again with the tranquil choir to accentuate the eerie silence following the act. The guitar also makes a final appearance in the form of a lyrical improv, followed by one last bow from the ethereal strings to leave us wondering if it was all just a mirage.


 Yet again, we have another piece under our belts that provided us with a wealth of creative opportunities, moments to break new ground, and just plain fun. This is another one of those special pieces that represents the constant evolution of our work, and we couldn't be more proud. We hope you enjoy it!



"Moonlit Waltz" - Moonlight Lantern's Guild Theme, GW2 (whimsical, dark fantasy)


"With All My Heart" - Rysari and Phylok Love Theme, TOR (choir, epic-fantasy)

Song Info:


With All My Heart (Phylok and Rysari's Love Theme)


 Patron: Rysari


 Styles: Cinematic, Orchestral, Classical, Romance, Fantasy

 Signature: 4/4 and 3/4

 Tempo: 120-180 BPM


 Featured instruments: strings, harp, piano, flute, woodwinds, french horn, brass, orchestral percussion, full choir


 Taking on a love theme was a challenge not only because we had never done one before, but also because it required taking something very abstract and personal to other people and making it somewhat concrete with specific notes and rhythms. In addition, there needed to be parts that spoke about the two characters themselves.


 We ended up settling on an "romantic adventure" approach. It starts out with a sense of wonder and awe provided by the strings and choir, and then at 0:23 it becomes quite soft and introspective with a focus on the harp and later a trio of flutes (Rysari's instrument). This is meant to introduce Rysari's character, who is naive and full of wonder about the galaxy, but (at this point at least) ultimately alone.


 At 1:00, the tone changes into something very dashing and heroic. This is the introduction of Phylok. We took the idea that Phylock is an archaeologist/adventurer, so we created a sort of bombastic segment with lots of horns, percussion (Phylok's instruments), and acrobatic flute runs to convey his arrival into Rysari's life. Furthermore, the segment represents an optimistic, exciting new life as the two start having adventures together.


 At 1:24, we transition into the "heart" of the love theme. Smooth violins, followed by soft flute and sprightly staccato strings at 1:48 take us into a warm romantic waltz still tinged with the thrill of adventure.


 At 2:09, things shift gears quickly as we enter a dark, ominous movement. Disparate brass, brittle violas, and pounding drums getting closer and closer signal the approach of something sinister. This segment represents the doubt and disillusion that Phylok struggles with having seen his fair share of the Dark Side firsthand. We wanted to give the feeling of something "closing in", in that the Dark Side is like a psychological predator.


 But in the end, love triumphs all, and at 2:49, a drum roll and crashing cymbal introduce us to a triumphant finale with full brass, choir, and strings reprising Rysari's theme from the beginning. This not only brings the song full circle, but also weaves Phylok's instrumentation into Rysari's melody (a symbolic device signifying their ultimate victory and everlasting love together). Finally, at 3:24 the piece concludes warmly and peacefully with soft flautando strings, delicate harp, and hushed choir.


 This song is our biggest orchestral work to date, and features some of our most complex arranging. It was a lot of fun getting to create something to represent the passion and dynamism of two characters' love for each other, and we are very proud of how it came out. We hope you like it!



"Heart and Hearth" - Kitty Sparkle's Theme, GW2 (Dickensian, warm orchestral)

Song Info:


Heart And Hearth (Kitty Sparkle's Theme)


 Patron: Kitty Sparkle


 Styles: Classical, Orchestral, Victorian, Dickensian, Cinematic

 Signature: 4/4

 Tempo: 120 BPM


 Featured instruments: celesta, timpani, orchestral percussion, strings section, cello, flute, clarinet, brass section, horns, trumpets


 When we read Kitty's interview with TCTalk, we really got a strong feeling of warmth and spirit from her character. This is not only a testament to her great writing, but also the inherent dynamic of Kitty's character. She was made fun of when she was young, but rather than become bitter or withdrawn, she's turned her energies towards making others feel welcome and appreciated. She's the sort that offers the warmth of her home to wary travelers, always with an equally warm smile and a steaming kettle. And so, Llinos came up with the song title (fun fact, she's come up with everyone's song title except 'Animals Get Put Down') when she thought about how Kitty tends to open up both her heart and home to people, or her 'heart and hearth.'


 The beginning of the song introduces a wintry celesta and fluttery violin trills. Though rather than turn into a melancholy reflection, we tried to give it a measure of hope and whimsy, leading into some plucky pizzicatos and a harp glissando that propels the piece towards a youthful, slightly mischievous, but overall good-natured flute solo at 0:57. This was directly inspired by Kitty's occupation working with the cubs of the fahrar.


 At 1:12, we get introduced to the bombastic brass that characterizes Kitty's triumph of spirit and optimism. We wanted people to feel like they're in the presence of the lively, sometimes raucous personality that is Kitty. Being a Charr as well, we wanted to incorporate a bit of that proud warrior's dignity with thundering timpani drums and hefty low brass.


 1:28 consists of a transition that shows a bit more of Kitty's lighthearted, flirty side. The flowing solo cello bit at 1:37 was intended to represent her feminity. At 1:44, we delve right back into that triumphant brass, because with Kitty, she's always right back to the topic at hand before you can catch her on flirting!


 2:00 reintroduces the soft celesta and twinkling strings, this time introducing a lone clarinet at 2:24. A first for us, writing for clarinet that is, we felt it's sound best captured a combination of loneliness mixed with hope and strength, if that makes sense. we wanted to iterate that although she carries memories of hard times - childhood, mates long gone, comrades lost - her strength comes not from ignoring the past, but accepting it and truly moving on. The clarinet had this "so long, thanks for the memories, I'm stronger for them" type feeling, which was great for setting up the build into the finale.


 2:43 begins said build with rising violin trills, soaring string runs, twinkling chromatic percussion, enthusiastic mid string staccatos, and of course, the elated return of the booming brass and timpani drums. Besides serving the purpose of ending the song on a jubilant high note, which is how we picture any conversation with Kitty goes, we also wanted to feel clever in that we incorporated church bells (since Kitty loves to attend and cater weddings!) We wanted to end with the feeling that the listener has this huge feast spread out in front of them; that besides good company and a warm fire, they also have a full belly of Kitty's home cooking to enjoy it all!


 We try to challenge ourselves with every song, and this was certainly no different! Besides being our largest orchestral piece, it was also the first time we featured strong appearances from all sections of the orchestra.


 It was a true joy working on this song, and we hope you enjoy it too!



"Blackened Sky" - Renswerth's Shanty, GW2 (sea shanty, vocals at the end!) - LICENSED (Stage Production)

Song Info:


Patron: Renswerth


 Styles: Shanty, Cinematic

 Signature: 4/4

 Tempo: 96 BPM


 Featured instruments: harp, mandolin, cello, viola da gamba, choir, frame drum


 This project was admittedly a bit of a guilty pleasure, as we've always wanted to do a shanty (c'mon, who doesn't like pirate songs?) Of course, the challenge was that we had to stay true to the character, and Ren is not a pirate nor a sailor. That being said, coming from Lion's Arch, some of that must have rubbed off during his upbringing. Also, he has a keen interest in the Risen, who began arriving from the sea.


 We found that these maritime influences could combine into a sort of dark shanty that Ren may have heard the sailors and soldiers in Lion's Arch singing at the docks or taverns. To tie it more personally with Ren, we focused on the tragic story of Ren's brother Fearghal. Seeing his own brother burned, and bearing not only the psychological but physical scars, was a powerful image that we musicians could not ignore!


 For our shanty then, we wanted a song that would chill someone to the bone, especially Ren. At the same time, we wanted certain parts of it to have a soothing, ethereal quality. Our other challenge then was to create a melody that at once could be gritty and sinister, and then quickly transitioned into something soft and solemn.


 Before we get into the shanty proper, however, we spend some time introducing Ren himself. From Ren's journals, he has a lot on his mind, and he's a dedicated thinker.


 The song opens up with a choir, which starts things off with an appropriately contemplative mood. The harp that comes in shortly after represents the astute, studious side of Ren. Together, the harp and choir sounded like poring over books by candelight, and the mandolin strumming combined with the introduction of the low bass strings at 0:35 seemed to accent nicely. It also came to represent his dark thoughts that he was having in his friend's infirmary; all those questions floating about.


 The main shanty melody is introduced at 2:07. Playing the melody is a cello being performed "sul ponticello". This technique is produced by bowing very close to the bridge of the instrument, creating a scratchy, gritty sound with lots of harmonics. The goal here was to create something as intense and terrifying as what Ren experienced on the beach.


 The return to a contemplative sound at 2:43 was inspired by the incident at Lion's Arch with the Charr. Ren has to make a quick decision whether or not to accept the temptation of the dark arts, which he ultimately does. Thus, the brief contemplative moment represents his internal focus before he makes his decision, and then the segment ends with a rising, uncomfortable cello riff that leads into the finale.


 The song comes to and end with Llinos putting haunting words to the shanty. When doing research and performing the piece, we couldn't help but come up with some partial lyrics to imagine what was haunting Ren; we wanted words that might mean something to him as well as everyone else who might have heard of it. After we had lyrics, it was too tempting to resist singing them - so I (Llinos) started imagining how to have my character make a cameo in this piece in a small way (yet still add a little something to the song). Other artists sometimes get to do little cameos, so why not me?


 Anyway, Ren's RPer had written a great piece on their character's experience of the attack on Lion's Arch by Scarlet and her crew. My character was there during the attack as well and even remained to treat the wounded. Visually, we imagined Llinos softly singing this tune as she treated the injured soldiers in the aftermath of the fall of Lion's Arch. Perhaps one of the dying and wounded asked her to sing a shanty, and this one was the only one she knew? We imagined that in a small moment,


 Ren might have briefly heard Llinos sing the shanty as he passed by. We felt it added an appropriately dark touch, and that it would be a fun surprise! I know I had fun getting into it.


 We truly enjoyed researching and working on this piece, and we feel it's one of our most unique compositions so far. We hope you like it too!


 Fun fact: We got to use some of our more obscure library samples for this which made us happy - such as the anvil and the beating on a viola de gamba for percussion. Fun times.



"Lingering Whisper" - Eleanora Smith's Theme, GW2 (soft, meditative, asian-influence)

Song Info:


Lingering Whisper


 Patron: Eleanora


 Styles: Cinematic, Orchestral

 Signature: 4/4

 Tempo: 115 BPM


 This was one of those rare moments where I dove into this song with a very clear idea and the first minute of the song came to me quickly........and then........we had to think some more. We wanted to go with a very Memoir's of a Geisha feel (think Sayuri's theme) with a bit of Tina Guo's cello work from the game Journey. So we focused a lot on solos to really get that quiet, understated and complex feeling.


 Oh yes, and sparkly percussion. <3 So fun.


 We added a lot of fluttering strings to kind of add to that very whispery sound....and, well, here's the official description:


 Featured instruments: cello, bass flute, soprano flute, celesta, concert harp, orchestral percussion, strings ensemble


 When we thought about Eleanora's theme, we thought of a clash between inner emotion and outward stoicism. But "clashing" sounds together doesn't work very well in cinematic music, if not thought out carefully. In the interest of having a song that didn't sound "clashy", we decided to characterize Eleanora's disparate sides with different instruments, working together in harmony. The song begins with strings and a harp which maintain a soft, regular pattern, symbolizing her genteel, yet "at-arms-length" side. The cello comes in with the melody and represents a somewhat somber, yet strong internal undercurrent. We wanted it to sound sort of lonely; trying to reach out and connect with someone. At 0:55, there are distinctive violin minor trills that further hint of a more emotional side wanting to come out.


 Arriving at the middle of the song, a bass flute and soprano flute explore the melody further with contemplative legato lines. The bass flute, with its lower register and more subdued articulations, is meant to evoke a contemplative, thoughtful Eleanora. However, when the soprano flute takes over, we once again get a glimpse of the Eleanora underneath. Also, it is here that the celesta makes its appearance. It has a very structured rhythm, which we liked for Eleanora, plus it just sounded so haunting underneath the flute lines, so it ended up working pretty well!


 Naturally, the song builds into a finale, but we kept the cello up front to maintain that internalization. The strings swell, but it never gets too big or triumphant. Booming percussion is introduced, but it's distant and very slow. We wanted this part to maintain a sense of foreboding as the cello reaches the height of its emotion. Eleanora struck us as someone who is always calm and collected on the outside, but there is so much going on underneath just to maintain that balance. We wanted to show the struggle at its height here.


 The strings die down rather quickly, denoting Eleanora's self-control. Just as quickly, the strings rise again as if in one last push to drive her emotion out into the world, but she once musters her self-control as the music ebbs into a soft, soothing outro: a lingering whisper. For better or worse, Eleanora has managed to push all her emotions back inside.


 We really enjoyed this song because we didn't tell ourselves: "she's a thief, so let's put in a thievy action part". We chose to focus entirely on an internal struggle, and we think that made for a more interesting and personal character exploration. We enjoyed showing a bit of duality with the different registers and made sure to pause between the two because even the silence speaks for Eleanora's thoughts. The title is a play on the character's Tumblr page but also a nod to the Order of Whispers...aren't I so clever? ;p


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  • 3 weeks later...

Updated the list on the first post for who's pieces get done when and in what order for those wanting to know - also, added the note that we're finishing up a deadline on a project, so we will be free to work on the commissions after April 8th (here's to hoping there's no delays). Also, slots are still open and wil remain open until we just can't.

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  • 1 month later...

And TOR Wemrys' song is finished, just in time for his birthday! Next up will be Shay's and featuring live violin performance!


Ah, this was an experience. Mat and I have delved into a new style for our orchestral pieces, sticking to a cohesive sound rather than having the song change up mid-piece. We've improved on our writing for the music, a lot more complex techniques to make the most out of a more intimate sound. We didn't use a full orchestra - that is, we used strings, percussion, woodwinds and the like but for the brass? Only one. French horn. This is done to kind of make it into an inner voice or feeling for the character and to give a sense of loneliness, longing, nobility...


The song was for the character I originally met Wem's RPer on, his Star Wars version of Wemrys. And as such I wanted the song to sound very Star Warsy. Here's an excerpt from my Enjin wall explaining that process:


This song has been a long time coming. This was the first character I ran into this RPer on by chance in the Promanade. My character was rescued by Book but Book got herself captured in the process and so Llinos went out to find help...the first person she runs into (by happy accident) was her former padawan, Wemrys. What were the odds? It's great when stories start out like that. I got to know this character and as RPers we got to develop our characters in ways we might never have. It's great when you find writers who just get your writing style and want to develop with you.


Making this song was...at first difficult. When I thought of Wemrys, I thought of Star Warsy things. It HAD to sound Star Wars. This RPer helped encourage me to get into the lore and when we first RPed we did a lot of Jedi related stuff - our two characters had their own views on the Code and the Force and bonded over their equal conviction to their cause. Binary Sunset keeps playing in my head when I think about those past RPs of Llinos asking Wemrys for advice on what a Jedi Knight does when they feel hesitation, when it becomes hard to 'know what's best' when everyone has their own ideas and experiences. The character revealed himself to be akin in philosophy to Qui-Gon, and so of course that theme, Qui-Gon's Funeral, from Episode One (which has a FANTASTIC soundtrack) lingers too. As does the Dantooine theme from KOTOR, because that's where the character is from. Jedi Steps, Finn's Confession...ugh. I had, at first, just wanted to make a medley of sorts and weave these themes.


So we bought the sheet music for The Force Awakens. For weeks we arranged our orchestral template so we might be able to improve our efficiency and structure our sound to have more of that 'classic Hollywood feel.' To make it Star Wars. We then followed the sheet music, learning how John Williams layers his lines of music, how he leaves certain parts bare for intimate woodwind solos or for celesta or piano. We performed the Jedi Steps with the intention of layering other themes over it later. It taught us sooooo much about how to write like John Williams. But then we finished and we thought....


It got away from us. The point of Wemrys Quintus. Wemrys wasn't a medley of moments in Star Wars nor was he this big and grandiose thing. We scraped it. Well, we kept the recording we made (because it was awesome) but we opened up a new project to start over, reading over the material he sent us again. All of the entries and Wemrys stories are small, personal moments where he masks the raw thoughts that might bubble to the surface without that control. He's a lone sentinel, but he doesn't crave that loneliness, he yearns to know what it is he's fighting for.


But the Jedi Steps project we worked on helped us to change our style, make our style more complex yet intimate (we really, really do improve with every song), and it did help us find our ideal orchestral template so future projects will go smoother. It helped us find that good blend of John Williams-ish sound while melding it with our own. So it is Star Wars but it is also Wemrys Quintus. And KeKo.


That was when posting the WIP, which you can hear right here: https://app.box.com/s/adg7j9p9ykleqgv0mttmuckmp11mjkky


But here's the full, complete deal and a detailed analysis of the process/thoughts/inspirations.


Happy birthday, Wem!


Only Hope (Wemrys's Theme, SWTOR)

Patron: Wemrys

Styles: Orchestral

Featured instruments: french horn, flute, clarinet, strings, glockenspiel, celeste



'Only Hope' is a title we chose to represent a recurring theme of Wemrys' story (as well as give a nice little nod to that famous quote 'Help me, Obi-Wan...' for that final Star Wars touch). Wemrys is a multi-faceted character whose been on many harrowing adventures that have shaped and changed him. It was hard at first to pick just one aspect to focus on that really encompassed the experience of RPing with the character because of how much I've seen of his story (how much he's let me have a hand in it). He's gone through dark times and moments of self-discovery and coming to his own as knight and as a person. While peeling back the layers of his personality and life lessons, I'd say a constant in Wemrys is that idealism that first made him an eager young knight and then later kept him going when the galaxy plunged further into turmoil. Idealism or hope helped him become a strong and devoted knight, but it also helped him find acceptance and peace outside of duty. The source of his hopes have changed through his experiences, teaching him greater meaning in what he does.


We sought to paint the picture of a young knight who starts off as all young heroes of their story do, yearning and hoping he does good someday...and then as the song progresses we explore where that goes. We delve into the duality of his feelings - duality caused by a clash of training and experience - of both wanting to extend his reach, but also having fond memories of his home; of feeling doubt and panic, then determination; of seeking solitude, then companionship, and of feeling robotic, then human. The character treads the middle path, seldom falling into one extreme or the other as taught to him by his training, but the things Wemrys feels are very raw and sincere, perhaps because he keeps them so close to the chest. To establish this, the orchestra is kept small and intimate with many moments where at times only a few instruments may play as if uttering their thoughts only to themselves. To each somber or dark moment, though, there is that hope, leading him out with bright, warm intimate strings. It keeps him seeking out that growth and discovery, to learn what it is he's fighting for. Hope always moves him forward, hope that comes from his own self-determination as well as given to him from others.


So to introduce the character first, Wemrys is a character who is at once isolated and connected to others. With that in mind, Mat chose the french horn to represent Wemrys as noble yet lonely. You'll notice that the french horn is a constant that returns repeatedly throughout the song. It has a sort of solidarity and dependability, yet it's soloistic nature is always rather brief as it blends into other elements of his character.


One notable instance of this at 1:32. The french horn's nobility is quickly replaced by sinister low strings, only to return to a sort of suspended, contemplative "middle ground" at 1:48. This was done to signify the questioning and conflicted nature of Wemrys, a Jedi who has not only seen the dark side but been subjected to it and survived it, but not unscathed. In fact, much of the song was deliberately constructed around the idea of a "pivot", settling into harmonies that can quickly transition to dark or warm and back again while remaining continuous and flowing; without sounding disjointed or like a completely different song. The aforementioned "dark" segment is an example of such a pivot.


The song then returns to a suspended state of "soft conflict", for lack of a better phrase; a limbo of questioning and ambiguity that personifies not so much a confusion in Wemrys, as his convictions are strong, but the tenuous doubt he has for the Jedi's methods and capability in times of war and the struggle he encounters with his emotional development in the face of duty. A young Knight like Wemrys, although staunch in his sense of duty, often struggles with what that duty means. He knows how to fight, but he's yet to learn the true meaning of what he's fighting for. As stated before, there are times the character expresses feeling almost robotic in his sense of duty, stifled in emotion, particularly after certain incidents that left him reliant on cybernetics. And yet there is yearning to be more than that, to understand better, to know just like every youth yearns for that full understanding. His is just a much as story of a youthful journey as it is that of Jedi. He is disciplined, but the emotions he represses are still very raw and new. His emotional connections to his home and how that's affected his view of things, to the people he meets become something he begins to let fill the gaps and show him the meaning of his fight for peace, but also how to have hope when all else fails.


His connection to his parents and their hope for his future, as a Jedi, motivated him to start on the path, then his own hope in the Jedi's work, and later the hope of others, namely a reassigned Jedi who called herself Llinos (heyyy). As composers we debated whether or not Llinos' presence in the song was necessary - after all, for my part, I always feel awkward inserting myself into other people's themes. But considering how long I'd RPed with the character, there was no getting around NOT doing so.


Wemrys grew to respect Llinos' own determination and conviction and formed a deep appreciation for the solace she gave him for his thoughts as she too struggled with the same complexities of being young and a Jedi in wartime. His feelings for her (and her feelings for him) grew into something deeper. While that, at times, added some tension and question as to where their paths ought to lead, the pair aided each other as reminders of the importance of hope when all seemed hopeless and remained unwavering in their duty. That is, until Llinos stopped being stubborn and acknowledged the Force's hand in constantly bringing them together and vowed to see where the Force was taking them. All the more important when the Zakuul attacked and the Jedi were scattered (and all before they could approach the Council!). It would be their equal and constant belief in the Force and each other that would bring them together again and on a new path to continue their duty to restore peace in the Order's absence. The Force's path isn't always clear, but the Force seemed to deem it one they would walk together. After all that, I think adding a hint of Llinos' presence was warranted.


So that aforementioned inner struggle, which begins at 1:48 as a contemplative, almost meditative passage, comes to a peak at 2:51, where Wemrys's feelings for his loved ones breaks through at last. Specifically, his feelings for Llinos are personified by the sentimentality of the celeste, an music-box quality surrounded by softly strained violins (this feeling of hope differentiated from the rest). Warmth is introduced by a pastoral-sounding clarinet and low strings at 3:07, bearing Wemrys's Dantooine home and family in mind (a sound of the familiar, where his hope began), and the "warm" pivot is complete. Wemrys joins his family as the french horn is reintroduced, only to stand alone once more at 3:22. After the horn fades, there is a moment of silence where perhaps we're not sure what this means. But when the horn returns at 3:24, it is strong and triumphant, though not without a touch of melancholy. As the strings return one last time, and the celeste thoughtfully evokes Wemrys's melody, the tone returns once more to the suspended, contemplative middle ground as we leave Wemrys's story with a touch of mystery and uncertainty; perhaps a bit of questioning that forbids us ultimate closure.


Hope is a journey, not a destination, something one cultivates and works on continuously. Wemrys may face yet more trials ahead, but he has what he needs to face it and grow more from it.





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This is awesome. I don't know how I missed the initial post or didn't see this, but I am insanely interested. It might be awhile, and I might miss the window for commissions this time, but I am certainly going to be saving up for something and I really appreciate you doing this for the community. Instead of searching for a theme to fit your character of Free Company, you can have the theme MADE to fit your character or Free Company. Just awesome.

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  • 1 month later...

Our first anime-styled commission!


Eeee!  I've been excited about THIS commission for a while.  Book commissioned us for a few songs, but two of them presented us with a genre we've been wanting to dip our feet into for a while --- 90's Anime!


The commission was for a theme for a Sailor Moon themed guild.  I've only recently gotten my husband into anime over the last few years but one thing that always drew him in was the vastly different style of music not just in their pop and rock genres but even their classical style of arrangement.  There's something very whimsical and emotional in each and we wanted to see if we could capture some of that with both a retro anime and modern pop anime sound.


We used a few synthy instruments (synth choir, for instance), piano percussion and even a Victorian music box on top of some weaving of classical and pop-style violin bowing.  Mat describes it best in his description below - feel free to give it a read for a peak behind our process!


For those curious, a few inspirations for the piece were definitely watching Evangelion, Re:Zero, Madoka, to name just a few...






Starlight Scherzo (Constellation Senshi Theme)


Patron: Book


Styles: Pop, Anime, Orchestral-Rock, Electronic

Featured instruments: violin, piano, electric guitar, music box, drum kit, synths


We've been wanting to do an anime-style track for as long as we can remember, so to start things off I'd like to say this was a real treat! There's something about the unique fusion of posh, almost classical-style piano and violin with pumping pop and dance beats that the folks overseas have perfected.


As this piece was commissioned by a role-play group drawing from Sailor Moon, this was a perfect time to put notes down in this long-sought genre. In particular, the piece was to convey an event where the Constellation Sensi were mounting a dire rescue mission with operatives split into two directives: a distraction group and an extraction group. The antagonist to our heroes is someone dark and twisted, yet his intelligence and wit suggests something almost elegant and refined.


What came to mind was a piece that would be dark, dire, and full of intrigue and danger, yet also with a lot of energy, brightness, and even a bit of "sparkle" to represent our celestial heroes. We wanted to see if we could pull off mixing brightness and whimsy with the dark and deranged.


In the beginning (0:00 - 0:36), we start off with the hope and energy surrounding the heroes and their mission. Bright piano, sweet violin, and a tittering beat kick things off to an optimistic start, but things quickly take a turn for the dire and from 0:36 - 1:09 we are slammed with dark piano chords, sinister electric guitar, and a militaristic beat that is meant to evoke the infiltration and subsequent battle.


Then, from 1:09 - 2:28 were a plunged into a transitional atmospheric soundscape of twinkling piano, music box, synth plucks, and strings meant to capture the uncertainty and mystery of the dark, claustraphobic tunnels that the extraction group must traverse.


The ambiguity and questioning nature finally breaks down to a single lone violin note at 2:28, where the strength of our heroes starts to shine again, bit by bit. The bright piano returns, along with the ticking rhythm, as the violin gains body and confidence, finally barreling into a reprise of the original "hero motif" at 2:49.


Then, things are kicked into overdrive as the violin charges into a key change at 3:05, sweetly taking us into a triumphant and kick-ass fiddling climax as the heroes win the day.


As our first foray into anime-style music, we're really happy with how everything came together to both convey a complex event as well as represent a group as diverse and powerful as the Constellation Senshi. We had a lot of fun with this one, and we hope you enjoy listening to it!


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I wish I could throw money at you right now, because that 'Trudy's Fire' song! WOW! 

I love it! Raeje is such a steam punk that I know you guys could compose something for her, but unfortunately with my stupidly low income right now, all I can throw is small change...REALLY small change. *Cries a river, because, WOW!*

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  • 2 months later...

Thanks so much to the kind responses we got!  Sorry it took me a while to get to updating this.


I'm really excited to share this one, our first commissioned piece using LIVE violin!  We finally have an example to show those that are interested in going with this route. xD 


It took a while, between getting ourselves familiar with how to write for a live string instrument and then our violinist had to relocate from Vietnam back to Europe and then in-between all that, too, he also won a composing award and had to travel to California...


But it was such an amazing opportunity to hear what our music sounds like with live instruments and we really have to thank Shay for that awesome opportunity.


This song was commissioned for a SWTOR character, the next one will be Final Fantasy and will utilize live violin again AND live cello and we're already in the process of mixing it and it's amaaaazing.


Here's what the song sounds like without the live violin and just our mock-up:




And here it is with the live violin!






Cadence (Shay's Theme)


Patron: Shay


Styles: Orchestral, Symphonic, Cinematic, Violin Concerto

Featured instruments: solo violin, piano, string section, solo bass flute, small glass/metal percussion


"Emotion, yet peace." - The original Jedi Code.


This tenet, whereupon the later modification of a few words would drastically change it's meaning from then on, is the crux, lens, and paint brush by which we paint the world of Shay.


Even being who she is, which is much more than just a Green Jedi, there is a recurrent dichotomy that we noticed in exploring her backstory. At the same time, there is a steady line that never wavers: she is a compassionate soul, no matter what she does (or is required to do).


So when we set out to create her theme, we wanted to personify the facets of that dichotomy but not fall into the trap of jumping wildly between "dark" and "light", risking a confused and "stitched-together" experience. We wanted to maintain the tonal aspect throughout: a very deep, emotional richness, yet slightly tug the song in particular ways to show the aspects of her life affecting her.


The beginning of the song views Shay in the way of something like a "cold read". We latched onto the idea that, through her work as a "master of lies", there are few who truly get to know her for who she is. So as someone coming in from the "outside", the listener is introduced to a frigid-sounding piano solo. At 0:19, a solo violin and echoing glass joins the piano to fortify the cold, distant, and mysterious atmosphere. The fact that all of these instruments are playing in their respective high registers - there are literally no bass or tenor qualities at all - helps to deliver that sense of distance. However, towards the end of the violin's passage, at 0:37, the violin does indeed dip ever so briefly onto it's lowest string - a string known for it's depth and body - giving the briefest hint of something else beneath the surface of Shay's facades.


At 0:39, the orchestra comes in as well as a bass flute (you'll recognize this noble fellow if you've heard the "Journey" soundtrack, alongside the cello), providing a first glimpse of warmth. The introduction of this section is designed to hit you in the gut: not in an explosive sort of way, but in the way that emotion sort of creeps in on you and overtakes you. This is the first personification of "emotion, yet peace", where the emotion hits strongly yet it's not unwelcome; it's peaceful, almost therapeutic, with the bass flute providing an organic layer representing the Living Force. I suppose this is the first time we wanted listeners to literally feel what a character feels when they experience something. And in this case, it's the desire to sink in and let go, yet not lose yourself in the process. This, in turn, is represented by the violin not just returning at 1:05, but continuing the melody from the strings, signifying Shay's connection and understanding of the Force (note again how the violin begins in it's high register, yet ends very low, once again reinforcing that "hidden depth").


At 1:15, the tone shifts slightly into something more contemplative; the warm string chords have slowly dissolved and are replaced with brittle, cold notes (brought on by the players playing harmonics), the piano comes in high as well, thoughfully "plink"-ing, and the violin takes on a somber melody. This section represents the loss and loneliness that Shay is forced to deal with in a life that affords few true connections and many personal losses, as well as the guilt she maintains for those she has lost. Again, it was important for us to maintain consistency throughout the sections, so the instruments never switch all at once (nor do their techniques), but flow naturally and progressively.


The passage fades out between 1:30 and 1:35 in a manner that has the listener questioning where she'll go. Will she continue to sink into the dark of loneliness and guilt? Will she become fearful, angry, and lash out?


At 1:35, we have our answer as the violin and piano reintroduce themselves in a stirring, rhythmic interpretation of determination and action. One of the key features of Shay is her resolve and resilience: she can endure through an extreme amount of personal pain. At 1:44, the violin ostinatos coalesce into the introduction of Shay's melody: the true expression of her self, which we believe is appropriately defined by a strong, resilient sound. The violin is in full bloom, and urges to present the most complex picture of dichotomies yet: jubilant, yet not gleeful - triumphant, yet with a tinge of tragedy - resolution, yet with a tint of uncertainty. You'll notice once again that the violin acrobatically flourishes through it's full range of highs and lows, painting the full picture at last. This last point is particularly stressed as energetic string staccatos rise up with the solo violin and peak at 2:19, leaving the violin to sing strongly, yet waveringly on it's final high note as the bass flute reappears to echo the violin in a lower register, almost as if in a consoling sort of way.


It's the calling of the Force once again, urging Shay to remain strong amidst that uncertainty. And here we travel into the deepest and truest characterization of Shay.


The movement from 2:31 to 3:05 has a distinctly wanting or searching quality as it repeatedly shifts from deep and warm to high and fragile.  We hear hints of Shay's melody in the bass flute and solo violin, though they are being pulled into the context of these shifts. This reflects the strongest personification of the dichotomous quality we wanted to capture: that she is someone seeking peace and belonging, yet her work as an infiltrator combined with her own deep mistrust prevents her from finding them. She is one constantly caught between her true self and her personas, from true compassion to mimicked apathy, from resolve to guilt, from the deep connections with those she loves to the loneliness she lives with. Yet through it all, she remains true underneath.


Thus, we have the following sections which not only alternate, but progress the conflict, where the fragile violin solo melody engages in a dialog with the rich, lower strings:


From 2:31 to 2:48: deep, mournful, sinking

From 2:48 to 2:56: high, aching, seeking

From 2:56 to 3:05: deep again, steady, furtively reassuring


At 3:05, there is a soft shift in mood as contemplative strings and the thoughtful "plink"-ing of the piano appear. This is meant to herald a turning point or critical mass with regard to the previous back-and-forth; a final resolution to the war within herself.


But there is no such resolution without a certainty of strife, and at 3:24 the final struggle begins. Strong low piano octaves are peppered with rapid high notes and a busy, roiling repeating violin arpeggio before the section centers on the strongest statement of Shay's theme at 3:42, with the piano playing deep and resonant single notes, soaring sordino strings providing a bouquet of emotion, and the solo violin taking on the melody. Of note is that the roles are switched: the first time we heard Shay's melody earlier in the song, the violin was playing high while the strings played low. Now, the violin is playing in it's deepest register, while the strings are allowed to shine and soar. Besides providing a textural difference, this switch personifies the moment of Shay finally exposing her true self in the hopes of finding peace and ending the conflict.


At 3:58, the high strings fade away, leaving the solo violin to finish Shay's melody exposed atop a bed of fragile strings. At 4:11, the solo violin fades away and we are left with simply the warmth from the low strings that nonetheless still has an ambiguous nature, repeating a two-chord sequence twice as if expecting an answer that may or may not come. Then, at last, the answer comes at 4:22 in the form of a fully resolute and warm C major chord, signifying that Shay will come to find the peace she desires.


In the end, our depiction of Shay and her many facets and dimensions is at the same time quite complex yet maintains a sort of elemental purity and simplicity in execution. We developed it organically, focusing on the quality of the storytelling and making sure we told the story we wanted to tell fully.  We hope you enjoy it!


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Next, we have our next commission with live instruments, this one featuring cello and violin and I looooove that we got to work with cello, it's one of my favorite instruments!  This theme is for the FFXIV character Rosalin Menoly.


The theme was meant to explore her story.  When the Calamity took her life, her family, her home, that should have been that.  But it wasn't.  Shards that pierced her, embedded in her, pulsed with energy, awakening her...and this is the aftermath and after.


The cello pulses erratically, simulating the unstable energies bringing her back to life, the violin is the devastation of realizing that everything she knew and loved is gone and she's alone.  Rosalin Menoly moves about as if not part of the realm, she's a ghost, lingering when she feels she shouldn't be.  The theme goes on to explore her trying to discover what her second chance means, the slow and steady appreciation that there is still beauty left, and the shame and guilt of feeling she doesn't deserve it.  The song resolves when she finally determines she is not a ghost, but a guardian and if she must go on it will be for selfless purposes, protecting what beauty and life is left after the Calamity.  We wanted to convey a melancholy and haunted feeling in the sound yet keep elements of refinement and grace.  Rosalin comes from a distinguished background and even though it's gone, that pride in her past lingers in her bearing, how she gracefully shoulders on despite how difficult it can be when she barely feels human or connected to the world around her.  But there's warmth there, in what connections and beauty she finds.





Rose from the Ashes (Rosalin's Theme)


Patron: Rosalin


Styles: Cinematic, Symphonic, Orchestral

Featured instruments: solo cello, solo violin, solo flute, full orchestra, bespoke instruments


The overall approach for Rosalin's theme was to establish the feeling of someone detached; an observer, a ghost, and then gradually introduce the idea that she wants to be more, and finally, that she does become more. This simple framework was then chiseled with the details of character; specifically, the unique circumstances of her current existence and the effects those circumstances have had on her life.


We begin with a harmonizing of two sounds that are special right off the bat: a solo cello playing "sul ponticello" (where the cellist bows on the bridge of the instrument, producing a scratchy, unstable pitch with lots of harmonic overtones) along with a unique string section playing "super sul tasto" (playing on the fingerboard, producing a soft and whispy tone). The strings introduce a cold, mysterious melody at 0:11 while the solo cello's unstable, powerful depth surges from 0:27 to 0:31 before darkly reprising the melody. This is meant to evoke the burning sensation of the aether that she must have felt when she first awoke to her new life.


At 0:50, the cello and low strings recede to reveal a fragile and questioning violin tremolo, followed by the first appearance of Rosalin's melody, played by the solo violin at 0:54. The melody repeats at 1:05, accompanied by an emotional string swell and the reappearance of the solo cello, which harmonizes with the violin. This section of the song establishes Rosalin's overwhelming guilt at being the only survivor from the Calamity after everyone she knew and loved died. The rush at which the solo violin sweeps over the listener is meant to evoke that sickening feeling you get when a sudden surge of uncontrollable tears overtakes you, as realization of what happened first hits Rosalin.


From 1:22 - 1:50, the song travels into an area of uncertainty and detachment with chords evoking questioning and doubt. This is a reflection of Rosalin as a ghost; watching the world move on, lingering, unsure of where she fits into the bigger picture.


But at 1:50, we are introduced to a rather sudden key change; the two-chord progression pivots between one of tension and uncertainty (1:50 and 2:02) and one of wonder and warmth (1:56 and 2:08). This is a turning point that ultimately resolves toward the warmth, as we arrive at Rosalin's current state at 2:14. The solo flute is imbued with a certain curiosity while the backing instruments provide the context of someone who is rediscovering the world for the first time with new eyes: companionship with others, short moments of happiness and humor, and perhaps even a bit of romance.


At 2:37, however, that same solo flute stealthily slips back into an ambiguous, if not hope-sapping line of thinking as cold strings join in to reinforce the fact that the ghosts of her past are not so easily forgotten.


At 3:06, we hear Rosalin's melody once again, but alone and surrounded by the tension provided from the strings. It is a crucial moment, pitting Rosalin's desire to be more than just a ghost against the crushing guilt she still cannot escape.


At 3:12, we are preparing for a resolution, one way or the other. Tense tremolo strings appear, we collectively hold our breath, and at first the descending progression seems to hint that Rosalin will not succeed.


But then, at 3:20, powerful strings arise to accompany the violin's soaring re-statement of Rosalin's melody, with triumphant brass appearing at 3:31 to signify that Rosalin has not only transcended her existence as a ghost, but become more than what she was before: a guardian for the ones she now calls friends.


The song finishes at 3:55 with a warm closing chord signifying Rosalin having found her purpose at last.


It was an extreme pleasure to work on a character theme that not only provided a wealth of emotional depth, but also the unique aspect of one who by nature is set at a distance and must find a way to reconnect with the world and become something more in the process. And as always, it was fun attempting to evoke all of those aspects in a musical way using various techniques and colors.


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