Dance Of The Dead
By Gareth Averill
1. Supiria - Intro (Suspiria OST)
Kicking things off in style are the Italian devil-prog stalwarts, Goblin. This track, given much less attention than the much celebrated, 'Main Theme', features on the soundtrack to seminal Giallo classic, Suspiria, directed by Dario Argento, 1977.
2. Armando Sciascia - Circuito Chiuso (Impressions in Rhythm & Sound)
Italians do it better. This is a psychedelic horror-funk lost treasure from Armando Sciascia, better known for his violin-driven orchestral scores. This track broods along, with dark tones and if you were to remove all but the evil electric piano, you would end up with something straight from a horror movie. This comes all the way from 1970.
3. Espers - Widow's Weed (Espers II)
A cold, autumnal lament, with nods to dark English psych-folk from Philly band, Espers. Widow's weed takes you on a walk through a golden forest at dusk, searching for the seed that has grown the widow's weed. Things aren't quite all they seem to be.
4. Ennio Morricone - Magic & Ecstasy (The Exorcist II OST)
Ennio Morricone is a man who just will not stop. When wading through his vast catalogue, you occasionally take an unexpected turn, and this track is no exception. This track makes you feel like the dark forces that want your soul, are first going to take you out and show you the night of your life. Morricone and horror films make the perfect match.
5. Popol Vuh - Mantra 1 (Nosferatu OST)
A haunting track from Werner Herzog's take on the tale of Nosferatu. Klaus Kinksi is not the only terrifying aspect of this film, as the slow sitar-like instrument becomes the musical manifestation of the phantom der nacht.
6. Zombie Zombie - Driving This Road Until Death Sets You Free (A Land For Renegades)
This French duo are clearly alumni from the college of Carpenter. Whilst I feel that their efforts have been off-the-mark, this hits the nail on the head. Furthermore, the video, (a G.I Joe-style take on Carpenter's, 'The Thing') is a joy to behold. The shrieking modular wails become the howling dogs from the movie. Brilliant.
7. Goblin - Patrick (Patrick OST)
Goblin make a brief return here, with a short and sweet piece of music from Australian horror film, Patrick. Slowly oscillating cold synth stabs followed by a signature dark arpeggio makes this a classic Goblin number.
8. Mount Eerie - Over Dark Water (Clear Moon)
Making the first of two appearances on this mix, this is a track from the man who just keeps on giving. Releasing two albums back to back this year, Mount Eerie creates a fascinating blend of brutally dark intricate folk songs, whilst drawing on black metal influences to create something equally beautiful and disturbing. My favorite release of the year. There is also a strong notion of the element of water in these albums. The end of this track ends with a simple line, 'To the ocean', followed by a cascading black metal almost blast beat explosion. Chills up the spine, every time. That water is very, very dark indeed.
9. Lubos Fiser - The Sermon (Valerie and Her Week of Wonders)
A track from a recent gem by the good folks at Finders Keepers who dig so deep into those record crates, that you expect them to meet with the devil himself. Some of their resurrected discoveries sound like that could be the case. This track is a haunting minimal choral piece from Eastern European vampire flick, Valerie and Her Week of Wonders. Chilling stuff. Be sure to check out the many great releases on Finders Keepers for more musical gore and extravagance.
10. Forest - Graveyard (Full Circle)
'To a graveyard, I have been. A body, I have seen'. This may be masquerading as a simple English folk song, with the most beautiful chorus you could ask for, but what lies beneath is really quite sinister. Forest were a 3 piece prog/folk band in the vein of Fairport convention, but so often dealt with themes of mystery, nature and the occult, that the album make essential Halloween listening.
11. Wendy Carlos - The Rock Mountains (The Shining OST)
Whilst many of Wendy Carlos' compositions were rejected by Stanley Kubrick for the Shining score, this piece of one of my favorite pieces of music of all time. The rising and falling modular brass is devastatingly foreboding and delivers the shivers each and every time. All work and no play ..
12. Fabio Frizzi - Main Theme (Zombi 2)
This is an absolute essential addition to any Halloween mix. Fabio Frizzi ranks just behind John Carpenter and Goblin as a trailblazer in the world of horror synth scores. This track is versed with mellotron style voice synth, setting the dark tone, before hitting one of the greatest horror chord progressions you will ever hear. This shit is timeless. Uplifting and morbid in equal measures. This is one for the disco of the dead. Recently gloriously re-issued on Death Waltz records.
13. Tobe Hooper & Wayne Bell - Opening (Texas Chainsaw Massacre OST)
Brutal, dark and completely depraved soundtrack from the movie with the same descriptors, this is the opening 'music' from the grandaddy of them all, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The scratching piano wires and camera flash bulbs almost having you smelling the dead animal carcasses. Grim.
14. Spettro Family - 1978 La Fuga (Candelora)
No this is not from 1978, though it's lo-fi, degraded VHS aesthetic would suggest so, this is another Italian release from 2011. Capturing a total low-budget horror-score feeling, the album is a treat with a persistent eeriness and nods to pagan sentiments. Wonderful.
15. John Carpenter & Alan Howarth - Main Theme (Halloween III OST)
Stand aside, let the master through. This man needs no introduction. Featured here is the opening from the lesser-known(but still amazing film, even with the complete lack of Michael Myers), Halloween III: Season of the Witch. Carpenter's long-time collaborator and programmer Alan Howarth is along for the ride here too in this dark and cold piece of electronic doom. Also just reissued on Death Waltz records.
16. John Carpenter & Alan Howarth - The Bank Robbery (Escape from NY OST)
One more from the master. This time he is in horror-disco mode. This track is worth including as it is not only from the greatest horror/thriller of all time, but this is a lesser-known track from a deleted scene. The scene depicts Snake and carrying out THAT CRIME. Yep. This dark electronic number puts the tension through the roof as we see Plisken carry out a serious hit on a seemingly high-security bank or financial building. A+. This is the stuff that continues to inspire electronic musicians.
17. Mount Eerie - Instrumental (Ocean Roar)
A track from the latest Mt. Eerie release, Ocean Roar. This is as cold as it gets. Those synth waves, the guitar from the 7th level of hell, the ghost piano, that flute. Chilling and beautiful. If this is the sound of the apocalypse, lead me to the front of the queue.
18. Demdike Stare - Forest of Evil (Dawn)
Really the only way to experience Demdike Stare is to see it live. The illuminated darkness of this duo is a splendour to behold. Re-scoring esoteric and obscure collections of forgotten horror movies with expertly chosen samples and live analogue wizardry, few can bring the chills like Demdike Stare. Bring a friend. You will need them for the walk home.
19. Paul Giovanni - Sunset (The Wicker Man OST)
Beyond the creepy folk of Willow's song and Gently Johnny, lies the seriously dark horn piece on one of the best soundtracks of all time. The sun is setting. You can feel the dread. This is the end. And now for our more dreadful sacrifice ..
20. Roky Erickson - Night of the Vampire (Gremlins Have Pictures)
Eyes stare through the darkness, with no form .. Former 13th Floor Elevator and king of the macabre and occult, Roky Erickson delivers this ode to the vampire. This charged live version of the track I find particularly chilling, as it almost sounds like Roky IS the vampire and he is warning us all. Something evil is at play here. Sleeping with the lights on.
21. Vatican Shadow - Whitewashed Compound Stealth Helicopter Crash (Pakistan Military Academy)
This is the stuff nightmares are made of. I first heard this minimal industrial ambient track early in the year and it stopped me dead in my tracks. This is one of those tracks that lets the mind wander, creating all sorts of grim scenarios that this music could score. Even the title, with the artwork, creates an entire scenario that is itself chilling. There is something militaristic about it, echoed on the sleeve. It feels like this was built on the horrors of war and religion. To me, this is the sound following a disaster. Think Chernobyl. This is the sound of that dread and emptiness.
22. Umberto - End Credits (From The Grave)
Like Spettro Family, Umberto nod heavily to the great soundtracks of times past, but deliver it in a fresh way. This often becomes a personal soundtrack for the walk home through the leafy suburbs, or desolate city at night. Many times do you feel like looking back over your shoulder. With a new album on the horizon, this track, for an end credit sequence that will only exist in our minds, concludes the mix.