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Critical Role launches a record label to produce a fantasy ambiance soundtrack

Dragon-slaying tunes.

A group of heroes look over a picturesque landscape of mountains, cities and a massive golden tree. This is the artwork for Welcome to Tal'dorei, the first record from Critical Role's new record label Scanlan Shorthalt Music.
Image credit: Kent Davis

Tabletop juggernaut Critical Role announced that the company would launch a record label, Scanlan Shorthalt Music, in order to create and distribute official music for the popular Dungeons & Dragons actual play series.

The first soundtrack produced by the studio is a 17-song instrumental collection called Welcome to Tal’Dorei, which senior producer Maxwell James described in a press release as “an audio journey through Tal’Dorei, capturing the peaks and valleys of adventure.” James joined Critical Role’s creative director (and longtime player) Marisha Ray in spinning up the studio, as well as production on its inaugural record.

Each of the 17 tracks are meant to capture the feeling of various locations across Tal’dorei, one of fictional world Exandria’s many continents and the setting for most of Critical Role’s main campaigns, as well as side stories told through Exandria Unlimited - all of which narrate with plenty of improvisation as the large cast play a shared game of Dungeons & Dragons 5E. The full track list is below:

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  1. “Welcome to Tal’Dorei” Colm McGuinness
  2. “The Adventure Begins…” Colm McGuinness
  3. “Tea with the Pansophical” Sterling Maffe (Hexany Audio)
  4. “1000 Steps” Matthew Carl Earl (Hexany Audio)
  5. “Entering Zephrah” Robert Wolf (Hexany Audio)
  6. “The Caverns of Crystalfen” Robert Wolf (Hexany Audio)
  7. “Deathwalker’s Ward” Sterling Maffe (Hexany Audio)
  8. “The Grey Hunt” Omar Fadel
  9. “The Cinder King” Omar Fadel
  10. “Illusory Bonds” Sterling Maffe (Hexany Audio)
  11. “The Nymph’s Heart” Matthew Carl Earl (Hexany Audio)
  12. “Umbra Hills” Robert Wolf (Hexany Audio)
  13. “The Slayer’s Take” Omar Fadel
  14. “The Pools of Wittebak” Omar Fadel
  15. “Fields of Joy” Omar Fadel
  16. “The Whispered One” Steven Grove (Hexany Audio)
  17. “The Champion’s Goodbye” Matthew Carl Earl (Hexany Audio)

Composers on Welcome to Tal’Dorei include Colm McGuinness, Omar Fadel and four individuals at Hexany Audio - Matthew Carl Earl, Robert Wolf, Sterling Maffe and Steven Grove. The group was supervised by Laura Katz, and mastering was done by Chris Willmott. The cover artwork, which shows a group of adventurers silhouetted against a grand landscape of golden yellow and slate mountains, was illustrated by Kent Davis.

The name of the studio is derived from a character in Critical Role’s first series and member of Vox Machina, the bard Scanlan Shorthalt. That initial campaign was recently revitalised thanks to an animated adaptation produced by Amazon Studios and retold the events of the campaign the crew of voice actors and artists performed from 2012 through 2015. Meehan found the cartoon retelling paled in comparison to its source material in her review of its initial episode slate.

It’s not certain but highly likely Critical Role will continue releasing soundtracks focused on future campaigns, like the currently running season set on the continent of Marquet. “Being able to expand our world and tell stories through music is a dream come true… I hope this is only the beginning of Scanlan Shorthalt Music,” James said on the official website.

Welcome to Tal’Dorei is now available to stream or purchase on most major music platforms, including Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon and Tidal.

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