A mix for Halloween: Analogue Spectres

Presenting the eleventh Halloween playlist, and another mix of my own. Previous mixes have been wide-ranging and not a little nerve-jangling so this year the focus has been narrowed to a synth-only mix. The theme is the analogue synthesizer music of the 1970s, particularly the style popularised by Tangerine Dream on Phaedra, Rubycon, Ricochet and Stratosfear.

The “fear” element of the latter title is significant in this context. Tangerine Dream from their earliest days produced timbres and atmospheres that tended towards the sinister and the doom-laden. This quality continued when they moved to Virgin Records in 1974, using new synthesizers and sequencers to develop their sound. In part the doomy atmosphere was a result of limitations, a combination of organ-led chord sequences and the difficulties of using primitive electronics for anything other than unnatural atmospheres. The earliest albums by Klaus Schulze are equally sombre but Schulze lost this tendency as his playing improved. Tangerine Dream, meanwhile, seemed to enter a Gothic phase with the move to Virgin: their track titles became darker—Mysterious Semblance At The Strand Of Nightmares, The Big Sleep In Search Of Hades, Stratosfear—and they swapped concert halls for the cavernous spaces of European cathedrals. William Friedkin in his sleeve note for the Sorcerer soundtrack album expressed disappointment that he hadn’t heard the group soon enough for them to provide music for The Exorcist.

Tangerine Dream are only represented here with two tracks—one of them from the Sorcerer soundtrack—but their influential Virgin years provide the template for several other pieces. Two of the groups, Redshift and Node, are British ensembles who take Tangerine Dream’s albums of the 1970s as their sole template. In the case of Redshift this has yielded a number of albums that are flawless in their imitation (and extension) of the Rubycon/Ricochet template, and the group are highly recommended to anyone who enjoys those albums. Redshift have also continued with the doom-laden atmospheres which is why this mix contains so many of their pieces.

The other axis here is the early scores by John Carpenter which have often seemed as influential as his films: imitated, sampled, and inspiring the sinister, throbbing electronica of Pye Corner Audio and others. Carpenter has frequently mentioned Tangerine Dream in lists of favourite electronic musicians; no surprise there but it feels satisfying to have things join up.

As before, Mixcloud no longer allows the posting of a tracklist so this is the running order:

Tangerine DreamSorcerer (Main Title) (1977)
Pye Corner AudioProwler (2015)
RedshiftLeave The Light On (2004)
John CarpenterThe Fog Enters The Town (1980)
Ian BoddyThere’s Something In Your Attic (1999)
NodeDark Beneath The Earth (2014)
Tangerine DreamDesert Dream (1977)
RedshiftWraith (2002)
RedshiftNightshift (2007)
RedshiftDown Time (2001)
Pye Corner AudioStars Shine Like Eyes (2015)

Previously on { feuilleton }
A mix for Halloween: Teatro Grottesco
A mix for Halloween: Unheimlich Manoeuvres
A mix for Halloween: Ectoplasm Forming
A playlist for Halloween: Hauntology
A playlist for Halloween: Orchestral and electro-acoustic
A playlist for Halloween: Drones and atmospheres
A playlist for Halloween: Voodoo!
Dead on the Dancefloor
Another playlist for Halloween
A playlist for Halloween

Weekend links 236

carvalho.jpg

The Three Witches (2014) by Lorena Carvalho.

Immersion, a new album by Grey Frequency, “…is a recording of the broken signals, wraiths in the ether from lost futures and utopias which were once promised…”. Box Of Secrets (1999) is an album of electronica by Ian Boddy that’s a free download until the end of December.

• “Hothouse flowers, Egyptian statuary, jewels, Nubian servants, crystal balls, cocaine, opium and champagne were just some of the things she spent her money on…” Lucy Davies explores the riotous world of Marchesa Luisa Casati.

• “London is a network of complete nexuses, coincidences, overlaps, references…” Stephanie Boland talks to Iain Sinclair about his new book 70×70: Unlicensed Preaching: A Life Unpacked in 70 Films.

My Women’s Studies professors would say: “You don’t know how hard we fought for you.” And yet, when they told me my sexuality was not correct, I felt embarrassed. I knew I had longings that didn’t line up with the politics, but I refused to repress them, particularly in my writing. I fought to unravel a political correctness that was censoring desire.

Screenwriter Erin Cressida Wilson on sex, cinema and secrets

Cthulhu, Fiction and Real Magic, a lecture by Ian ‘Cat’ Vincent at Treadwell’s, London, on December 3rd. For those who can’t attend, Erik Davis has just posted his essay about Lovecraft and contemporary occultism.

• “John Gielgud was obsessed with trousers, loved corduroy and leather. And so he wrote a film set in a menswear shop.” Gielgud’s unfilmed screenplay for gay porn director Peter de Rome may now be filmed.

• “The stories are even more fantastic and full of marvels than those in the Arabian Nights.” Robert Irwin on the newly-translated Tales of the Marvellous.

• Mixes of the week: The Advisory Circle present Winter From Out Here; Fall by The Ephemeral Man; Secret Thirteen Mix 136 by Cosmin TRG.

Danny Cooke‘s drone views of Pripyat, Chernobyl. Related: Into the Zone: Gasworks Park (Seattle, WA) by Christina Scholz.

• Watch Dragnet’s 1967 LSD episode. More psychedelics: “Magic mushrooms change brain connections“.

• Earth Magic: Peter Bebergal on photography of witches at play and at ritual.

• Düsseldorf 1970: The crucible of Krautrock by those who were there.

• It’s Alright Ma, It’s Only Witchcraft (1968) by Fairport Convention | Witch’s Will (1973) by Wilburn Burchette | Witches’ Multiplication Table (1982) by Holger Czukay