Welcome to another edition of Horrorscores, where we transform yr waking dreams into living nightmares.
For today’s installment, we travel back to the heyday of music blogs and hauntological meanderings, via this compilation from 2007 from the Cottage Of Electric Hell blog.
Children Of The Drones is a wonderful illustration of why i write about music, and what got me into it in the first place. It’s a wyrd collection of acid-fried psych, horror movie soundtracks (mainly ’60s/’70s British horror), pure hauntology (read: Ghost Box), and spooky folk, with a confusing array of layered samples and abstract post-processing. What is sampled? What is original? What is going on?
I came upon Children Of The Drones on a random hard drive. The track titles and artist information were all unknown, the album labelled only by an anonymous date and time (8.20.07). The music sounded vaguely familiar, but I couldn’t place it. Googling only led me to a battery of articles on the horrors of unmanned aircraft.
Obsessive digging finally led to the Cottage Of Electric Hell, where i am a frequent visitor. Their blend of custom soundtracks, tasty mixes, and tasteful design is an example of the kind of art that have spurred me beyond random, bullshit blogging, merely posting hyperbole and the same links as everybody else. This level of care and deep knowledge of obscure subjects is what makes me want to GO FURTHER, try harder, to do something meaningful with the knowledge that swarms around us.
Because you can be a leading authority on whatever slice of culture that floats yr boat. Due to a series of random happenstance, perhaps even genetic disposition, i just so happened to end up as a lifelong fanatic of horror and the occult. That’s my PERSONAL preference, it’s my angle, the lens through which i view the world. But you can apply the same thoroughness and fervor to any subject, and along the way, you begin to know yrself, yr own particular soul and Holy Guardian Angel, through the sounds and images that we gravitate towards.
As i was unearthing the origins of this special spectral mix, it led me down a wormhole of some of yesteryear’s finest blogs, Weird Brother and The Active Listener, whom i have started writing for since they initially posted a link. Not only is the music contained a weird collection spanning decades and multiple genres, but when you take into account the people talking about and sharing this mix, it expands even further. Bizarro Radiophonic records rub shoulders with gritty blues field recordings, and the most cutting-edge avant garde electronic music. When taken as a whole, Children Of The Drones is an electron microscope to view the hauntological continuum, it’s roots and scintillating atomization.
This compilation is like listening to the past 7 years of my life, condensed into an hour. The artists and songs have gone past being friends and acquaintances, to become more like family and trusted confidants, so wholly have i been effected by this school of art/thought. It’s guided my listening, reading, viewing and ultimately my thinking. These 28 songs have become part of my DNA, as i have gone further and further into the Netherworld, in search of Wyrd Britannia. I am both delighted and ashamed to acknowledge that i can now identify Acanthus’ “Les Frissons De Vampire” and samples from Black Christmas immediately, and can spot The Spirit Of Dark And Lonely Water and Power Station PSAs from 100 yards. I recognized the themes to Tomb Of The Blind Dead and Guardians Of The Abyss without looking up. I have sampled at least 3 of these songs, and written about probably half-a-dozen of the featured artists.
Children Of The Drones just goes to show that hauntology isn’t dead, it has just gone underground and mutated. Artificial soundtracks, horror re-issues, and music that either references, samples, or replicates aged horrorscores abound. In addition, interest in old psych/library music and vintage electronics has never been higher.
Let this serve as a battlecry, to know thyself, to investigate yr obsession to their fullest. Make the past work FOR and WITH you, rather than oppress you. Let’s build a future we want to live in, beginning with a better past.
Download: Children Of The Drones