Sunday 19 January 2014

Campaign Divergence: the House Harkonnen soundtrack

Yesterday Matt, Tom, Dave and I got together for a day of fast-paced 1000 points games (results: two wins to Matt, one to me) and as usual we had some music on in the background. Hans Zimmer's Gladiator soundtrack is a perennial favourite, ditto Howard Shore's The Lord Of The Rings and The Hobbit soundtracks.

Then it was Tom's turn to fight Matt and he had an idea: alternating soundtracks turn by turn. He was playing Matt so in Matt's turns the soundtrack was Hans Zimmer's Gladiator and Tom pulled up Youtube and started playing the soundtrack from the game Emperor: Battle ForDune.

The section we're interested in (though I do like the opening Atriedes tracks) are the Harkonnen campaign tracks by David Arkenstone starting at 1:11:30. For those not familiar with the franchise Dune is a planet where a future empire mines the most precious substance in the universe. One of the noble families doing the mining are the Harkonnens who are all various shades of evil: the duke is a sex criminal, his son is a maniac, his nephew is a sadist and their planet is an industrial hell of slavery and gladiatorial combat between healthy nobles and malnourished, untrained slaves.

And they have a bitchin' soundtrack.

Tom has been using it as painting music whilst working on his Nuln army. A heavy industrial sound dominates most of the tracks which works for the forge of the Empire. For me the harsh sounds, especially the inhuman wailing in the background of Tribute To Evil, made me think about resurrecting my Dark Elves. Other highlights include The Machine which has a baseline that makes me think of heavily armoured elite troops stamping down a street in occupied territory.

In spite of being a MIDI-heavy electronic soundtrack it's quite atmospheric and perfectly captures the character of the House Harkonnen and well worth a look if you want inspiration music for a project concerning very nasty people.

Though it has to be mentioned that my game against Tom which involved farcical miscasts on both sides, a close-to-mutual tabling and my Necromancer army chasing his around the board would have been quite atmospherically accompanied by Yakety Sax

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