Before proceeding to the two concluding posts of this column, I thought I’d turn off the distortion for a day and present an assortment of haunting little tunes that really serve the season well.
I actually encountered a lot of trouble finding what I was looking for on youtube and had to settle for a few secondary options, but a few dismal video accompaniments aside, I think this turned out rather nicely.
Tenhi – Kielo
This Finnish track is a case in point. The only Tenhi album I’ve heard is their 1998 release, Kauan. Someone sent it to me a good ten years ago, and I’d have all but forgotten them save for this song. Unfortunately the album version, which features a much more morbid arrangement, was not available, but this piano rendition certainly has its merits.
Kiss the Anus of a Black Cat – Sevenfold
I love Kiss the Anus of a Black Cat for so many more reasons than their name alone. One of the few bands I know hailing from Belgium, Kiss the Anus released their first album, If The Sky Falls, We Shall Catch Larks, in 2005. It’s impressively dark. They’ve managed four more releases since, incorporating a variety of styles, but none of them struck me so much as their first. I had hoped to showcase the song Sevenfold, but at least my second favorite on the album was available. Enjoy, and check them out. They just put out a new album earlier this month.
And please excuse the video image. Neither I nor the band had any part in it. >_>
Death in June – Runes and Men
“Apocalyptic folk” has such a nice ring to it, though “neofolk” might be a bit more practical. Douglas Pearce met David Tibet in 1983. Both artists had formed their associated projects, Death in June and Current 93, by then, but it was when their complementary ideas mingled that the style really came into its own. Their mutual fascination in the arcane left a grand mark on music for decades.
Current 93 – Whilst the Night Rejoices Profound and Still
And on that note, here is a sample from the album that really got me into David Tibet’s music, 1998’s Soft Black Stars. This video replaces the last instrumental 30 seconds or so with a minute of silence, but it’s what I could find.
Current 93 – Anti-Christ and Barcodes
Though I may be deemed a bit uncreative for posting two consecutive songs by the same artist, off the same album no less, I think this intensely bleak, desperate number should serve as a fitting end to the first half of my list. From here I’ll be shifting focus a bit. Again, this song ends about 1 minute before the actual video does.
Steve Von Till – The Spider Song
Steve Von Till, better known as a member of Neurosis, has written some absolutely brilliant solo material, but not this song. The credit goes to Townes Van Zandt, a country/folk tragedy who died of a drug overdose in 1997. Where Van Zandt’s song was peculiarly upbeat for its moving lyrics, I think Steve Von Till really captured its true essence. He brings American folk alive in a way that just wouldn’t quite fit in anywhere else.
Of the Wand & the Moon – Raven Chant
This Danish band debuted in 1999 with Nighttime Nightrhymes and, after an impressive eleven releases over the next six years, stopped recording rather abruptly in 2005 and haven’t released anything since. I think Raven Chant, off their first album, is the highlight of their short history.
Matt Uelmen – Tristram
If I measured by last.fm play counts alone, this would be my all-time favorite song by a landslide. I never even played Diablo, but whatever spark of genius brought this to Matt Uelmen’s head is equally appreciable out of context. There’s not much I can say about it, but I’ve been known to leave it on repeat for hours and not get bored.
Burzum – Han Som Reiste
I read once that Varg Vikernes intended each of his albums to be a sort of spell, attempting to first invoke a trance-like state and then communicate to the listener subconsciously through music over the remainder of the album. I also read once that Varg Vikernes thinks Hitler is part of an enlightened alien race hiding out beneath Antarctica. But whatever you might say of the guy, Han Som Reiste, appearing in the middle of Det Som Engang Var, certainly left its mark on me, the first time I heard it and every time since.
Summoning – Menegroth
I think this song best captures what I had in mind today, if it breaks thoroughly with the criteria I started from.
Enjoy your Halloween week; I’ve still got two more posts to follow.