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Dark Sun Music time!

Lately my D&D music hobby has been to start building a Dark Sun soundtrack for when the campaign setting comes out in August! It's been pretty exciting for our group, as no one except me really knows anything about Dark Sun other than a) it's a desert setting, and b) there are thri-kreen!! I am really looking forward to bringing the harsh brutality of Athas to life for them and shocking them at how strange and foreign a land it really is.

Finding Dark Sun music has been quite the thematic change for me. Instead of the usual courageous and heroic stuff, I've been selecting dark, ominous and unsettling music, with a large dose of tribal drums, chanting and eerie melodies rounding out the mood.

I've avoided anything with triumphant horns, regal trumpets, anything like that. No fanfare here...except for the sorcerer-kings. I've been quietly putting aside some evilly majestic tunes for when they make appearances.

There is a great thread for this exact purpose on the Wizards forums:
Let's Rock this Desert - Musical Background for a DS campaign.

So far I've gone through the soundtracks for Dune, Conan, Borderlands, Quake, Prince of Persia and Gladiator, and picked out some great songs. I've also come across some unusual choices I would never have heard of if not for that forum thread, such as E.S. Posthumus and Dead Can Dance. I also found a terrific song by Sepultura called Ratamahatta which is incredibly awesome, wild and dark. It's going to be my campaign "theme song" that I plan on playing at the start of every night to tell everyone it's time to get down to business.

Besides the great but typical desert background songs, I've also decided to go with a heavy metal theme for anything related to the gladiatorial arenas (which the party will undoubtedly find themselves in, eventually.) I think it properly captures the grim and violent nature of such a place, with the crowds cheering, the brutal fights for survival, etc.

Dark Sun Theme Song

Source: Ratamahatta - Sepultura

The Arena

Source: Gravity Well - Sonic Mayhem