Saturday, October 30, 2010

Music for Halloween

In the rock world, people like to call October "Rocktober". It's a fun play on words, but, as much as I love rock music, I figure, I listen to it all year round. There's nothing, in my opinion, characteristic about October, of all the months of the year, that makes it particularly suited to listening to rock music. On the other hand, October is the Halloween month (I like to call it "Shocktober"), which is the perfect excuse to pull out some scary music to set the mood. I don't have a whole lot of music specifically reserved for listening to around Halloween (although I do have a lot that fits the bill), but there are a couple things I like to pull out every year, and that I think perfectly match the atmosphere of the holiday.

Tangerine Dream is known for their synthy atmospheric music, as well as their long line of soundtrack albums. In all honesty, I haven't heard a whole lot of their work (though I love their soundtrack to the film Legend so much that I think it makes the film), but I picked up their first few albums on a tip a few years back and I think those albums are just great. The music is very spacey, with a bit of a sinister flavor - listening to it kind of makes you feel like you're lost in space, you don't know how to get home, and you don't know what might be floating out there in that endless expanse that surrounds and engulfs you. It's a perfect mood setter to put on in the background while you're doing other Halloweeny stuff, or for listening to in the dark, if you have some time to kill. I recommend Nebulous Dawn, a collection of the band's first four albums (Electronic Meditation, Alpha Centauri, Zeit, and Atem, plus a few early singles) from the early '70s, which gives you a good 3+ hours of audio atmosphere without repetition.

If you're looking to go a bit harder, and tap into the violence of the holiday, I can't recommend Monolithe II enough. It's loud, crashing, metal music, but it's slow and plodding, not fast and frenzied like a lot of metal is. I don't have a doctorate in metal, but I've heard it being described as a "funeral doom" style. Even though my primary interest isn't in metal music, I love this disc - which consists of a single 50-minute long tour de force. Even the vocals, done in the growling style that I usually can't stand, fit in perfectly. If you want to set a more evil mood - evoking mental images of demons and devils and the walking undead - rather than the subtler atmosphere of Tangerine Dream, and if you want more volume and more power, give Monolithe II a try. Personally, I'll play TD up until Halloween to set the mood, then I'll blast Monolithe on the day of to really get into the holiday.

1 comment:

  1. I used to play 30 minute No Quarter on Halloween.

    That Tangerine Dream stuff I've caught intermittently has been super sick (in a good way). Sort of noisy and hardcore.

    Monolithe is a fantastic band. After my rather long and uncharacteristic metal phase, there are barely any metal bands that I still appreciate and identify with, and Monolithe is definitely one of them. Truth be known, I like to point at them and say "See? I still had good taste when I was a metalhead." I love metal, but like indie rock, noise, and rap, it has way more potential than is generally tapped.