Things that sound like bad drugs, dirty hallucinogens: welcome to my summer. It’s been a season of sonic nightmares, beats that hypnotize and swarm, jams conjuring sex and psychosis and so much lava-blood pouring down the walls—and listen, I’m barely even referencing Witch House here.
Some seriously intense sound designers have been working in the creepshow realm too, combining minimal and horror, ambient with gore, and the whole thing comes off subtle and dangerous, like quiet satanism. Acid without the acid, you know, or with the acid if you need authenticity. But some of these jams are so circular and maddening, I’m not sure you will.
ANBB – Ret Marut Handshake
Neubauten’s Blixa Bargeld collaborates with sound manipulator Carsten Nicolai (a.k.a. Alva Noto) on a project that feels destined for a padded room. The rest of the Ret Marut Handshake EP isn’t quite this insane—skip the cover of “One” altogether—but it’s worth it for the screaming, bent-saw backing vocals alone.
Demdike Stare – Dawn
Tibetan spiritualism. Forest covens. Ouija boards. Demdike Stare combines all manner of creepy touch-points into albums that sprawl and come at you, like hell bubbling up from beneath the earth. This one’s from Forest of Evil, the first album in their 2010 trilogy; second installment Liberation Through Hearing drops next week, and it’s even more intense.
Fairmont – Puppet With Glass Eyes
Fairmont’s a subtle one. This B-side to the All Dreams Are Nightmares single pulses with this restrained, trance-inducing texture—sort of schizophrenic in all its weird background warbling—but it takes awhile to get at you. Listen to it in a dark room, alone, on repeat.
Jeremy P. Caulfield – Hush
Everything hollow and echoing, snares like crunching bones; Caulfield hasn’t been this simple in years, and “Hush”—from Dumb Unit’s 10 Year Tango compilation EP—is a thousand times better for it. Such a dark, sexy murder of a song.
Ben Frost - The Carpathians
Ambient composer Frost creates a languorous, terrifying track (from recent pseudo-masterpiece By The Throat) that sometimes feels like a lost interlude from The Fragile—except even more gorgeous, expansive and nightmarish. Sorry, Trent.