Ashot Danielyan – “Warm Night in Cold Moscow”

If you’re craving splendid pedal effects and tranquil chords, look no further. The style is almost (but not quite) New Age, except that the texture enjoys shifting around in a more free-form way and allows a little room for mystery and shadows. Songs like this charmer make me especially happy that ambient piano is still alive and well in all corners of the world.

Prabu Lazuardi – “Tempo of Dawn”

This contemplative piano solo develops some kick as it progresses, including a driving rhythm and some daring chords (I suspect that this was an improvised song, but it is nonetheless coherent). If you need a song in a minor key that isn’t actually depressing, try this one on for size.

Jeremy Soule – “Fear Not This Night” and variations {Free Song Download}

I adore variations. The worthy ones invite repeat visits and are supremely useful when you’re in a pensive, desperate-to-focus mood because they eventually fade into the background and become part of your thinking rhythm rather than extra noise on the pile. The following seemed like a good candidate.

Guild Wars 2, a vibrant fantasy MMORPG, saw a vast and impressive soundtrack (and a supremely rare one, too, since Jeremy Soule was clever enough to keep tight copyright and distribution rules on most of it). Some of the most startling moments came from “Fear Not This Night,” the end credits theme. While the original vocal version is something to behold, it isn’t until you’ve also heard quiet piano incarnations that the weight of the theme really hits you sideways. With that in mind, I present three tracks in one post (because one version just isn’t enough):

If these don’t do anything for you, you’re trying too hard.

Happily, these are free to download (legally) straight from ArenaNet’s official SoundCloud page, along with a judicious pile of excellent non-Soule tracks also worth considering.