A Journal Of The Dark Arts
Free jazz. Free fall. Aurora Borealis oscillators; sterling drones. Black matter. Black mass. Tribal epiphany. Drum machines. Vibes. Lonesome. Haunted. Floating.
Welcome to another edition of Horrorscores, where we transform yr waking thoughts into living nightmares.
Horrorscores traces the trajectory of music from horror movies themselves, music inspired by horror films, and music that gives the vibe of being inside a horror film. Mike Simonetti’s latest edition of his “At The Juncture Of Dark And Light” mixtape series is firmly in the latter camp.
Of course, for the true devotee, saying yr into Horror is like saying yr into literature. Or food. There’s a million flavors – shades, hues, and variations. There’s something for everybody, and everybody has their favorite. So to say this enigmatic transmission from the nightside makes you feel like yr in a horror movie raises the question: what kind?
If At The Juncture Of Dark And Light Vol. 3 were a horror film, it would be firmly in the late ’70s and early ’80s. The action would start on Earth, but would quickly depart for deep space, astral realms – a portal would be opened. I was filled with visions reminiscent of Lamberto Bava‘s Demons, with hellish activity threatening to break and spread, where the heroes have to race against the sunset in a sleek silver Delorean.
At The Juncture Of Dark And Light is a 10-hour mix series, spread across a bevy of obscure tape labels, documenting the diaspora of Space Music – “whether it be traditional Krautrock, psych, cosmic, loner synth, drone, new age, noise or anything that catches the moment.” The Italians Do It Better boss is definitely mining the ore of ’80s sci-fi horror, ’70s synth newage records, and far-flung free jazz freakout records, making a kind of primer for, for lack of a better name, driving music and the outrun kids. It’s rather interesting to note how close in nature and spirit this mix is to a certain percentage of Demdike Stare’s library psych seances, but minus the knocking, haunted, dank creakiness.
Instead, Simonetti’s mix is futurist and sci-fi. This illustrates nicely the hyperpop phenomenon i’m gradually developing. Basically, in 2014, it is possible to live in whatever worldview you choose – to find exactly what you like, and surround yrself in it. The downside to this is, of course, the explosive joy of new discovery, the compelling curiosity of what lies over the next hill, beyond the horizon. Hyperpop must be tempered with other philosophies, to be ultimately effective, but it can explain why someone like Belle & Sebastian are better than a lot of the ’60s pop that they idolize and emulate.
I was only able to isolate and identify one song, Ash Ra Tempel‘s “Interplay Of Forces”, at the top of side B, with its back and forth Teutonic and American voices, like a meditation tape. There’s an insane drum-and-oscillator freakout, track 2 side A, that is out-of-this-world, and immediately after, an Ennio Morricone in deep space lonely oscillator whistle, that brings to mind Mark Snow’s theme for the X-Files. There are beastly Carpenter-synths, and ominous second chords. A horror ambiance definitely penetrates, from time to time, as does a cold, disaffected minimal vibe, dusted drum machines and tinny keyboards. Song identification software was baffled and flummoxed. Anyone else know or recognize any of these tracks?
Simonetti reminds us that, in many ways, Italians do it better. If you have a slick, streamlined, polished chrome vision of the future; Italian drone records, like the kinds pumped out by MB, or the wormhole rush of Cosmic Disco will take you there, and keep you there.
All told, Simonetti reflects the library music, psych rock, sci-fi sequenced analog disco industrial field recording drone side of Forestpunk. It’s just minus the magickal realism. A strong ally – a powerful blast of imagination.
This came out on Opal Tapes, so it’s being broadcast to the masses. Good for him, good for them. The tape’s gone at the source, but you can listen to it here! Blast off!
As an added bonus, i discovered that At The Juncture Of Light And Dark vol. 1 is up at Simonetti’s soundcloud, also available as a high quality download. Hours of speculative enjoyment.
Highly, highly very much recommended!