Sure, some of you will throw on Joy Division at your upbeat Halloween dance party and call it a day. (May I also recommend screening The Crow
in the background? Classic.) But if you’re interested in exploring the actual dark side of All Hallow’s Eve, try some of these unexpected, underground, and completely drawer-soiling audio nightmares.
Swans, Holy Money
(1986) You could pick almost any Swans album from the early period when bandleader Michael Gira still seemed to genuinely hate his audience. The dark, plodding slowness of a track like “Coward” is undeniably horrific, but so is the unrestrained bile that Gira so effortlessly summons.
Ornette Coleman, Naked Lunch
(Score - 1992) For the most part, Ornette’s free jazz innovation gave musicians the chance to express torrents of unrestrained joy. Here (alongside Howard Shore and the London Philharmonic Orchestra), it sounds like a recording of spiders crawling underneath your skin.
Hector Berlioz, “March to the Scaffold”
(1830) I’m not much of a classical buff, but my friend Francis Drake cued me to this. Written 35 years after the end of France’s Reign of Terror, this short section of Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique
has a romantic revolutionary fervor battling with a mounting sense of dread and menace, before the bottom finally drops out with the suddenness of a trapdoor.