Author: Chris Wickham
Tanaris is an ancient desert region located on the southeast coast of Kalimdor. Its population is sparsely distributed due to the region’s arid environment and frequent sand storms. The inhabitants mostly consist of goblins who have established the settlements of Steamwheedle Cartel and Gadgetzan, as well as several species of wild arachnids and other dangerous creatures. Following the cataclysm, the area was flooded, destroying most of Steamwheedle Port and disrupting the relative stability of the region.
The music of Tanaris features a polyphony of soaring ambient vocal melodies that are accompanied by expansive string and brass arrangements. The dynamics, though mostly soft and delicate, instantly create an impression of massiveness. The two textures combine flawlessly to emphasise the vast nature of the desert and ancient heritage of the land. In addition, there is a slight hint of sorrow but regular shifts to more optimistic tonality creates a feeling of hope after the cataclysm. As the piece progresses, a slight pentatonic influence is evident. This is a type of scale which is commonly associated with Eastern European countries, which gives the piece a subtle exotic flavour.
The Tanaris music creates an ambient soundscape designed to enhance the landscape itself rather than accompany the player on their journey. It is a common feature of David Arkenstone, once of the Cataclysm composers, who describes himself as a ‘painter of sounds’.