Far West Music
  • All,

    I think it's pretty clear that music could play a big role in the Far West universe. Obviously there will be a couple of thematic tropes that will be common, and appropriate, but diversity will be key here, and there may be something obvious nobody's thought of, or something obscure that would be a perfect fit.

    With that in mind, I'd like to start a collection here of soundtracks, youtube links, Pandora Stations, Spotify URLs, or anything that could be used to lend some auditory immersion to the world.

    I'll start with a track that, for me, seems perfect for the setting: Yoshida Brothers, Storm (http://youtu.be/Z1fTbDJiyrM)

    Plus: Gau, Jack_Trader

  • And another (your mileage may vary, but I love this track): Juno Reactor, Pistolero (http://youtu.be/wZqNUo6y52Q)

    Plus: Gau, Yuutousei

  • I added to my Far West soundtrack a few songs by Jackie Chan -- but I don't have the soundtrack handy right now. Will be back to name them/link them.
  • GMSkarkaGMSkarka +1 -1 (+8 / -0 )
    One of my game industry colleagues suggested the soundtrack to the XBox game BASTION, which is a mix of eastern, western/country, and vaguely hip-hop electronica. I added the whole thing to my FAR WEST writing playlist:

  • Having just gotten back from hiking 9 miles in the desert with the Bastion soundtrack playing, I'll second that motion. Caelondia and Ura are going to have a definite impact on Far West at my table, if nowhere else.
  • Gau +1 -1 (+4 / -0 )
    Another vote here for the Bastion OST and Puma's suggestions.
    Also check out tracks 16-21 of the Gunstringer OST (Xbox game).....
    Track 20: Kite Dragon Battle

    Soundtrack is free at http://www.thegunstringer.com/ in the downloads section.
  • Thanks for that, Gau! Adding to my playlist....
  • Your welcome......its a fun game and has some great music.
  • So far as I know, two excellent songs for a grandly cinematic Far West soundtrack have not yet been done...specifically, Fleetwood Mac's Gold Dust Woman, minus the lyrics, performed on traditional Chinese instruments, and Jon Bon Jovi's Blaze of Glory given the same treatment...(a fellow backer, whose name I will not mention to defend his dignity, has provided me with a couple of MIDIs that are kind of in the ballpark, but I'm holding out for the real thing).

    I know somebody's done at least the first couple of bars of, say, AC/DC's Thunderstruck on shamisen (that'd be Monsters of Shamisen), but I have yet to find either of the first two.

    For something a bit less Western, there's always the Jade Empire OST for mood music. And now I have two more game soundtracks to hunt down! Much obliged, amigos.
  • Brother_Tusk -- the MIDI idea is a good one. I may have to see what I can come up with by plugging MIDI versions of those songs into my software studio and fiddling around with the instrument options. Of course, this would be done as a fan, and given away for free. :)
  • I can certainly nudge him and see if he'll post 'em here (he deserves the credit and/or blame).

    Another idea that comes to mind, now that I think about it--there's an album out there called Back Tuva Future, which features Tuvan throat singing along with some other artists. Some of this would make nice 'down-time' background for those soulful, introspective panning long-shots over the landscape.

    Like this song: Kongurei, which has Willie Nelson along for the ride.
  • xiaolung +1 -1 (+2 / -0 )
    Since we're commenting on Shamisen music, these guys are some of my faves. And this song in particular could be used in a Far West campaign (assuming of course you don't mind Japanese music in your western-wuxia campaign). This is entitled, "Rising":

    I also like their song "Storm":

  • Zakharov +1 -1 (+5 / -0 )
    This song is beautiful, and can definitely see it fitting in somewhere in the Far West world.

  • CoalhadaCoalhada +1 -1 (+3 / -0 )
    One traditional Chinese instrument that fits FAR WEST nicely is the 笙 sheng. Because it's a reed instrument, the sound is reminiscent of the harmonica and thus the spaghetti Western.

    Here are a couple of examples:

  • CoalhadaCoalhada +1 -1 (+2 / -0 )
    For something a little more unusual, try the shawm - known as the 唢呐 suona, laba and...er, a third name that I've forgotten.
    The shawm is a double reed instrument like the oboe or bassoon, and is particularly common in Gansu and Shanxi. It's a prominent feature of of traditional funerals - the cortege proceeds something like a jazz funeral in New Orleans, accompanied by mourners and musicians - as well as weddings and other festivities. In a FAR WEST context, the suona might be the instrument of the poorer everyday folks - farmers, railroad workers, miners and so on, which the PCs will hear as they pass through villages and encampments.

    A shawm player could be a good FAR WEST character. Even today in China they are often somewhat itinerant, going where the funerals and weddings are - and a good shawm player is in high demand because they're rare, so the money is pretty good.
    Shawm players also smoke like chimneys. There's a kind of rivalry about who can chain smoke the most relentlessly, even to the point of informal contests about who can smoke the most cigarettes simultaneously, and even in the midst of gigs (which, remember are often funerals), these guys will keep chaining cigarettes between breaths.

    Plus: rexroad33, Ben

  • It's only western, but this is the soundtrack from my last Weird West game.
    As you might have guessed, it's called Hell Out of Dodge. Mostly traditional sounds, with Pine Hill Haints and White Stripes.
  • I'm partial to the Trigun anime soundtracks. Check out this track,


    or this one,


  • GMSkarkaGMSkarka +1 -1 (+8 / -0 )
    While we're on the subject of music, now's as good a time as any to mention that there will be some official FAR WEST music coming your way in the next month or so.

    A musician approached me a few months back, asking if we were looking for anybody to score the forthcoming webseries yet. Rather than just have him produce some spec audition pieces, I told him that if he put together an EP of 3 to 5 tracks using FAR WEST as his inspiration, not only would that serve as his try-out for the scoring gig, but we'd also release the EP!

    He already provided the main theme, which I'm really pleased with. We spoke again last night, and the rest of the material should be coming in over the next few weeks.

    The musician is Sam Billen. His personal site (with his more singer/songwritery work) is http://sambillen.com/ His pro work in scoring films, television and commercials can be found here: http://fourbigwatts.com/

    Although, aside from general indicators of talent, the samples there give you no idea of what to expect from his FAR WEST work -- it sounds like nothing he's done before. A perfect mix of Spaghetti Western themes, asian instrumentation and more. Can't wait for you to hear it!
  • Thank you everyone for sharing. Both the score tracks and source tracks are proving important. Right now, I am listening to "Heads Will Roll" by the Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs via Rhapsody/Verizon. It is an exclusive/bonus track on the "It's Blitz!" album.

  • This is terrific news. I look forward to hearing the result of Sam Billen's efforts.

    In the meantime, these have all been excellent suggestions, some of which I have to admit, I will be stealing for use in our current campaign set in another well known Oriental setting. Thank you, and please do keep them coming.
  • Gau +1 -1 (+2 / -0 )

    I cant believe I didn't think of this earlier....

    The Firefly soundtrack.
  • To continue banging on about Chinese classical music... the guqin 古琴。 Not to be confused with the similar guzheng, performances of which can be rather frenetic and overblown, to show off the talent of the player.
    The guqin tends to be a more laid-back instrument.
    And if this doesn't sound like music for the lonely, expansive landscape of the Far West, I don't know what does:

  • Steve Sechi had a few pieces on his Talislanta Score that would fit right in, though I no longer have a copy.
  • Gau +1 -1 (+1 / -0 )
    Oh yeah....Beats Antique also....

    Plus: MrSitouh

  • Hey Gang! I have another source track suggestion to mix in among these many score tracks. "Four Rusted Horses" by Marilyn Manson from the album "The High End of Low". It is mellow, heavy, and very influential to my screenplay writing.

  • Wow, I go to work for a day and come back to find some great music!
  • Now playing on my Verizon/Rhapsody: "Ants Under Glass" by Unextraordinary Gentlemen from the album "5 Tales From God-Only-Knows (EP)"

  • CoalhadaCoalhada +1 -1 (+2 / -0 )
    I have bitten the bullet and created a Far West playlist on my YouTube account, incorporating the examples above and some related tracks, as well as a few bits from the Straight To Hell soundtrack, Ry Cooder and elsewhere. I'll post any significant updates to this thread as before.

  • To back up Gau, here's the Firefly soundtrack (just let it play, it'll go through all the songs listed)

  • Xiexie, Coalhada! I'mma bookmarking that.

    And I have to second Gau on Beats Antique, particularly Caterpillar (Track 7 on their album Collide).
  • It's more Western than Wuxia as it's rockabilly (gothabilly), but Ghoultown is awesome:

  • How about a bit of Calexico?

  • Simon_WSimon_W +1 -1 (+3 / -0 )
    Actually, this is better

    But there are plenty of others
  • MrSitouh +1 -1 (+2 / -0 )
    Rodrigo y Gabriela's acoustic heavy metal meets Spanish guitar style seems very Far West-y to me, especially for the Mariachis.

    I could totally see the two of them as the Heart and the Blade, personally.
  • GMSkarkaGMSkarka +1 -1 (+1 / -0 )
    This track was used in the soundtrack to "Last Rites of Ransom Pride", and so I picked up the album it's from (it's the title track):

    Plus: rexroad33

  • I am loving being introduced to all sorts of new music. Thanks, everyone.
  • Gau +1 -1 (+1 / -0 )
    Yeah...thanks guys....thanks a lot........my wallet hates you all....


    (some really good stuff here...truly thanks)

    Plus: Yuutousei

  • When I took my kids to see Puss in Boots, I thought the score was decent, but several songs really stood out as "Mariachi / Thousand Mesas" in my mind. Turns out they were Rodrigo y Gabriela's "Tamacun" & "Diablo Rojo".
  • Some great new tracks on here. Personally I was thinking pretty traditionally and alternating between my Classic Sergio Leon Spaghetti Western Soundtrack and the Ondekoza
  • In the Far West, every horizon is a new direction. -- Jackalope Busker
  • "The Lonely Shepherd" by James Last & Gheorghe Zamfir is good for any wandering-in-the-wilderness scene.
    "Apache" by The Shadows has great energy for whenever the PCs are doing some fast traveling.
    "I Shall Be Free" is the perfect theme tune for a Preacher who specializes in unarmed combat.

    Finally, the entire "Rome" album by Danger Mouse & Daniele Luppi is full of spaghetti western goodness.
  • Thanks for the suggestion of "Rome", jehosephat. I'd missed that one.
  • Simon_WSimon_W +1 -1 (+1 / -0 )
    Just because it saves you looking for more:

    Plus: rexroad33

  • Most of the stuff off this album would work:

  • A bit of Ry Cooder:

  • rexroad33rexroad33 +1 -1 (+2 / -0 )
    Somebody posted this at Facebook. HEY Majordomo! You should book these folks at the Beckoning Puma.

    I know it is unusual, but listen.

    Plus: Ben, Doc

  • Found this remix of a fine classic.

  • @Simon_W Awsome! Thanks for turning these guys out onto the forum. I found a bunch of thier songs on Rhapsody/Verizon.

  • rexroad33rexroad33 +1 -1 (+1 / -0 )
    From one great bar fight scene in Shanghai Noon...

    Check the trailer I posted in Inspirography. :)

    Really. From my midwest days to my southwest living, I will always be a fan of that Lil' Ol' Band from Texas.

    Plus: JadeScorpion

  • POW! Just tripped over this one. I am a strong believer in a mix of both source and score tracks when it comes to music. When I am working on story ideas, I try linking the sounds to scenes. This one, definitely combat.

  • GMSkarka said:

    Thanks for the suggestion of "Rome", jehosephat. I'd missed that one.

    Yeah, it kind of slipped under the radar.
    I only came across it when I was browsing in my local music store.

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