Saturday, October 22, 2005

Never Enough Halloween Music Department

Halloween is coming. For people like me, Halloween is the greatest holiday in the world, surpassing Christmas handily. It's a day when weirdness is encouraged, when the spooky is embraced. And I relish the weirdness and spookiness of the day--or, I should say, night.

I've been collecting a number of albums which I play when I need to hear a darker atmosphere to get me out of my ruts. Coincidentally, many of these CDs are great soundtracks for an eerie Halloween:

  • James Plotkin / Mick Harris -- Collapse

    I can sleep contently with almost all my CDs playing. Not with this one. Plotkin and Harris started as metal musicians but both have become much more interested in avant-garde sonic explorations. On this album, the two wunderkinds have teamed up to combine natural sounds with processed sounds to create one of the few albums capable of creeping me out. One track has what sounds like demonic snarling low in the mix, just enough to make you wonder what's lurking outside your room. It's out of print, but aside from the used CD bins, you can find it on the iTunes Music Store.

  • Melek-Tha -- De Magia Naturali Daemoniaca

    I personally find this one a bit on the corny side of things, if only because the evil portrayed in comic books, pulp novels, bad horror movies, and black metal bands (ahem) is so banal and yet over-the-top. Real evil exists, but is almost always swathed in the raiments of goodness. (Hitler, after all, thought he was saving his kind from the "evils" of lesser beings, even as he brought abomination upon abomination upon the world.) But, since we speak of Halloween, this CD of material sampled from horror movies will put the chill on the neighbor's bones. Note: You may not want to play this one if your neighbors are overly religious, and you will definitely want to skip Track 1 so the kiddies don't hear a single dirty word. Melek-Tha's site has mp3s which I haven't checked out yet--but will. Use at your own risk.

  • Dissecting Table -- Life

    Dissecting Table is among the better-known Japanese electronic noise projects (along with Merzbow--more below) and all their music is intense and overwhelming, although the character of each piece is different. The track "Pure" on this album has moments which resemble death metal, if performed by insane poltergeists within a silo. And that's the most accessible song on the CD! You can find mp3 samples of other Dissecting Table songs here.

  • LAW -- Our Life Through Your Death

    The more adventurous of electronic musicians tend to go in one of two directions--ambient dronescapes, or harsh noise. LAW does both to horryfing effect. Even when the power electronics are not hammering at you, you can hear the whispers and scratches of immanent threats creaking through your ears. I'd use this one sparingly for maximum effectiveness. You can get mp3s through Mile 329.

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