A Journal Of The Dark Arts
That’s all the information i have been able to dig up on this short, 2 track EP.
For the past month, i’ve been especially obsessed with all things haunted and spectral. I’ve been desperately seeking out music that evokes the feeling of a haunted house, that perhaps might even make yr own home haunted, in the listening. Most of what i found were cheesy (although still sweet) Haunted House sound FX CDs for Halloween. Useful for filler, perhaps, or to manipulate into yr own ghostly musique concrete or noise, but not that aesthetically useful, otherwise.
Of course, Dark Ambient came to the rescue, but even then, most dark ambient music evokes vast, empty landscapes, with nary a door or portcullis in sight. There’s the music of Atrium Carceri, whose music definitely reflects a form of twisted infinity, but he was drawing inspiration specifically from haunted institutions, like prisons and hospitals. It’s a different kind of damnation. Look at how widely different the two seasons of American Horror Story were.
I was quite excited to stumble upon this project, probably on SoundCloud or the dimly lit corridors of Slseek. After wading through 45 minutes of novelty rockabilly numbers and disco remixes, i finally found something called Haunted Houses that was actually good, that actually lived up to the name.
This is a brand new project, and whoever s/he may be, they are coming out swinging. Started in 2013, HH has released 3 short EPs, and a 7-track digital album, all available for free download, via Bandcamp. The covers have all been sourced from old Weird Tales magazines, and the lo-fi, public domain photoshop chop job gives the proceedings a gritty black metal mood, that suits the music well. As does the lack of a public persona. These sound like actual haunted places, like EVP recordings, caputred in the dead of night.
There’s 2 tracks on A Fate Worse Than Death (finally, an album short enough that i can actually write about the songs!), the titular track, and ‘Into Nothingness’ (typical dark ambient cheerful nihilism). The tracks are mostly interchangeable (part of the reason why i don’t even bother describing individual songs, oftentimes); both tracks are 8:40, are held together by looping groans and digital mist, slight industrial rhythms rolling by like a locomotive, bathed in steam, in slow motion. It’s like a ghost train ride, through an actual house of horrors. These spirits sound like the idiotic dead, zombie-like, ghoulish, vacant eye sockets staring, while hanging jaws issue a wordless incessant moan, reaching for things they can no longer even remember.
‘Into Nothingness’ is the slightly brighter of the two, the digital murk given an opalescent sheen. Perhaps dawn is breaking, and the gloom is separating. I prefer the first track, personally, only because i like the grayscale fog, think that it suits this kind of music.
Finding this record, and leaving it on repeat on a Friday night, around the house, has surprisingly rejuvenated me, and my sense of purpose, as far as writing goes. My thoughts and words gaining a new crystal clarity. Think about something, long and hard, then forget about it, and wait for results.
The conclusion that i’ve reached, this particular night, is that i got into this game to write about music that i was listening to, to chronicle my life and perhaps turn some people onto new sounds. ‘Yr job is to describe shit,’ Lily said, and it stopped me in its simplicity. For the moment, my job is to describe shit, and i am looking for ways to pay attention, to hear what the music has to say, what visions it evokes, and to try and pass that along to the curious. I cannot perform this function when i am stressed about practicalities and finance, so i end up nocturnal, stealing an hour away from the dictates of the modern world to do what the fuck i want, and the world can kindly leave me alone.
Which is pretty much the premise of this haunted exploration; a prolonged and continual derangement of the sense, as Rimbaud would say. Focusing on the irrational, the unsane, the illogical. Looking for things that aren’t there, thinking empty thoughts, begging the air to let loose its treasures. It’s like looking at the world cross-eyed, and it doesn’t change overnight. These dark, noisy records, and horrible traumatizing films are my macabre meditation, a meditation on death perhaps. I cannot say why i became morbid (and the police told me i was morbid, once, so it must be true). All i know is that i have a really hard time, fitting in with society, and keeping up with a normal person’s responsibilities. All i care about is this thinking, this reading and writing, this listening, then spilling. But the funny thing of it is, is it’s come full circle. This cheap murky fucked up recordings now demand that i become a real person, that i shit or get off the pot. That i finally figure out what the fuck i am trying to say, and how to say. To hear and speak and think, for real, and not just twitter my life away.
Haunted Houses makes for some lovely, creepy at home listening, perhaps when yr by yrself, or if you have weird friends. It is psychedelic, in a gauzy hazy kind of way, i can practically see skeletal faces, emerging out of the swirling smoke. Haunted Houses clearly have a vision, are driven. It’s kind of magnificent that they’re just giving it away, and that deserves some praise and attention.
This could be excellent theme music for yr own haunted house, or yr next drunken dark ambient bedrest, or a dark-themed role playing game.
A Fate Worse Than Death also reminded me of another purpose i had, starting this blog, which was to listen to more dark ambient music, for it to have a presence on Forestpunk. Dark Ambient, like Noise, is a very prolific genre that can sound a lot alike, to the untrained ear, so it is my public service to mine the veins and find the richest ore to lay upon you, and report upon the process.
if anybody out there has any information behind this project, i’d love to find out more.