|Posted on Thursday, February 24, 2005 - 02:12 am: |
What supplements, complements the horror mood for you vis a vis music?
This is what I wrote in my 'Tentacles Across The Atlantic' column in DEATHREALM #25 (1995):
"With due respect - and I may be wrong here since I'm often wrong - I imagine many of you enjoy rock music in its various forms and I'm sorry if this assumption on my part also typecasts you into being fans of gothic bands or of techno or of Alice Cooper, Ozzie Osborne, Rolling Stones &C! Indeed, I enjoy much of this music and am myself the proud owner of a Napalm Death compact disc. Also, I brought myself up on The Beatles in the heady days of the Sixties.
Therefore, the music (that I have presumed you enjoy, based on the only fact I know about you, i.e., you're a reader of DEATHREALM) is fine, carrying, as such music does, mind-stretching horror images, eeriness, nightmare, alternative religiosity (even quiet contemplation): especially when you're in the right frame of mind to bring ordinary music-listening towards your spiritual antennae.
Well, so far so good. But if you want more, if you want something different, why don't you try modern orchestral 'serious' music? I know a number of people denigrate what they call avant garde music such as Stockhausen, Boulez, Cage, &C. - saying it's a load of pretentious noise. Well, yes, some of it is. You're right. But there are some composers whose music I cannot live without. The secret, for me, is to listen to pieces time and time again until they settle down, where the unpredictable sounds and apparently tuneless passages begin to match the rhythms of your self-induced waking dreams. I think it is the orchestra that helps the process, with far more 'colour' available to them than a rock band; with the harmonising influence of blowing, scraping and bashing 'humanity', too, a factor which is not true of electronic music.
There was one piece of music that originally stirred me into the outlands of taste, turning me from the more 'normal' ways of my beloved parents who only ever listened to melodic music and watched television. That music, accidently heard, was The Rite of Spring by Stravinsky. So, yes, you can blame that Russian composer for D.F. Lewis, as an only child, having an artistic Road-to-Damascus and becoming pretentious!
The composers I recommend are mainly British: Hugh Wood, Nicholas Maw, Colin Matthews, Robert Saxton, Peter Maxwell Davies &C. Another Russian composer, Alexander Scriabin - who lived in an even earlier period than Stravinsky - summons up this evocative modernity of 'horror', too, with his own form of aural mysticism. I also enjoy American composers such as Ives and Sessions, together with the Dane, Poul Ruders."
In fact I love Classical Music in general and this is a greater passion with me than writing/reading/publishing/editing fiction.
This is a non-technical interest as I know nothing about playing music or its mechanics of composition.
Google 'Weirdmonger' and 'Nemonymous' separately.
|Posted on Thursday, February 24, 2005 - 12:02 pm: |
Des, as you know, I have pretty wide-ranging tastes and am a follower of a lot of "avant-garde" classical, much of which can be considered "horrific". My favorites, in this sub-realm of classical music, would be:
Arvo Paart (his earliest pieces are best)
George Crumb (I just purchased "Voices of Whales" - which is much more horrific than it sounds. And, of course, "Black Angels" was sampled for the Exorcist soundtrack)
Ligetti - just about anything from his orchestral pieces fits the bill
Terry Riley - a tiny bit less horrific than the rest, but very strange, compelling stuff, indeed
Penderecki - "Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima" is a modern horrific masterpiece
Kronos Quartet - not a composer, but a performance group. Though they've performed some lighter pieces, most of their work is dark and introspective.
There are many, many others, but these are the ones I listen to the most while writing darker fictions.
|Posted on Thursday, February 24, 2005 - 12:19 pm: |
I've found very little rock music that complements horror. Perhaps "working to creating a sense of fear" is what I don't find often in rock. Some metal bands would work well with slasher or gore movies, but they don't give a sense of dread. Rob Zombie's style of horror rock has too much camp and too little creep to work for me.
In things I consider pure rock, Devil Doll's kind of bipolar orchestral gothic works if I'm looking for horror caused by insanity.
I find moving away from rock helps. A post-rock band like Godspeed You Black Emperor has some moments that work for horror. Dead Can Dance has some eerie parts that also work. A dark ambient band like Raison D'etre can be really creepy.
But classical and film scores do the most for me. Ulver's two scores (Lyckantropen and Svidd Neger) put me on edge. Howard Shore's serial killer/mass murderer scores have been effective (Silence of the Lambs, Seven). George Crumb can really affect me. Penderecki too.
|Posted on Thursday, February 24, 2005 - 02:27 pm: |
Penderecki's 'Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima' is indeed extremely nightmarish.
Agree with Crumb, Forrest. That was on that sample CD you kindly sent me, Robert, about a year ago, wasn't it?
There's a defunct site on Horror Film music here:
|Posted on Thursday, February 24, 2005 - 06:10 pm: |
Yeah, there was a Crumb song on that CD. I've found some of his other work too unsettling to listen to (particularly Black Angels).
I'm still disappointed my friend's horror short never got finished, I enjoyed my brief work on the score.
Dan the man
|Posted on Saturday, March 12, 2005 - 05:54 pm: |
I agree with mr Devereux that moving away from rock and metal helps alot to achive a true horror feeling. However there are some rock bands that have managed to produce really scary tunes IMO. For example Celtic Frost (especially Danse Macabre from the Morbid Tales album) and Casket Casey (from which i've only heard one song, but it's a pretty atmospheric and gloomy song. Check it out at www.casketcasey.com)
But my personal preference when it comes to horror music is the soundtrack to Luico Fulci's The Beyond.
|Posted on Sunday, March 13, 2005 - 08:55 am: |
I have some Symphonies by Giya Kancheli on CD and the label actually gives a serious warning about not turning the volume up too high as there are vast sonic discrepancies...
It starts quietly then explodes ... frightening the life out of you!
(I played it once when my Mother-in-Law was visiting!)
Music, like life itself, is inconceivable without romanticism. Romanticism is a high dream of the past, present, and future--a force of invincible beauty which towers above, and conquers, the forces of ignorance, bigotry, violence, and evil.
Carrie Blood and Guts Records
|Posted on Sunday, March 27, 2005 - 01:37 pm: |
This is Carrie from Blood and Guts Records. We are a label that specializes in Horror Themed music. It is true that many bands that attempt the horror feel come off as campy and that is i times their charm for certain musical tastes. Casket Casey is a fine example of of a band that has crossed the boundary from your typical horror rock band to an eerie horror experience that is 100% unique. We are proud to have them with us and you can hear more of their music on the upcoming Coffin' up Bones EP and the next Horror Compilation. check it out at
I think that you might be impressed to hear The Vladimirs as well they aren't the same style that Casket Casey is but they break out of the mold as far as horror bands go.