Tag Archives: Locrian

11 Creepy Horror Soundtracks for All Hallows’ Eve and Beyond

HorrorSoundtracks_Crop-Revised

Illustration by George Wylesol

We’re currently experiencing something of a golden age for horror soundtracks. Reissue labels like Mondo/Death Waltz, Waxworks, and One Way Static are returning classic horror scores to record racks with elegant artwork and beautified sound, and newer scores for films like It Follows and The Void manage to be both forward-thinking and ambitious, while tipping their caps toward the classic sound of slasher scores of yore.

As a musician in The Holy Circle and Locrian, I’m attuned to the atmospheric, and every year, I compile a horror soundtrack radio show called Dead Air; this year, it will broadcast on Baltimore’s WLOY on Halloween night. Surely, some of the creepy, fascinating, well-composed soundtracks below will be included. So turn out the lights, get out the snacks, and dig in.

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Artists Influenced by Dystopic Novelist J. G. Ballard

Locrian

Locrian by Jimmy Hubbard.

Once in a while, an author infiltrates popular culture to the extent that they’re recognized by their last name alone. In the case of J. G. Ballard, his writing remains unchallenged in the depth and deviance of its imagination. Since the English novelist passed away in 2009 after a battle with prostate cancer, we now live in a Ballardian world, surrounded by profoundly disquieting and eerily prescient themes he once warned us about—audacious visions of urban decay, exotic technologies, sexual pathology, and environmental collapse.

It is hard to equate the person of Ballard—the widowed father who raised three children in the quiet London suburb of Shepperton, and touched nothing stronger than malt whisky—with the often depraved content of his novels. For his part, Ballard denied his work was driven by doom or negativity; they were, as he put it, “extreme metaphors,” a warning of what might lie just around the next bend.

Ballard hit on a rich seam of inspiration in the mid-to-late ‘70s, turning out novels like Crash, Concrete Island, and High-Rise which would exert a powerful influence on the emerging language of punk, post-punk, and new wave. Groups like The Human League, The Comsat Angels, and Ultravox were all Ballard disciples, and many quoted him explicitly. Joy Division cribbed the song title “Atrocity Exhibition” from Ballard’s 1970 experimental fiction collection, while Daniel Miller, CEO of Mute Records, began his music career as The Normal with a song, “Warm Leatherette,” based on Ballard’s 1973 novel Crash, a self-described “psychopathic hymn” to the erotic potential of the car crash.

Ballard’s influence endured beyond punk. Luke Steele’s psychedelic pop group Empire Of The Sun took their name from Ballard’s most famous book, a demi-autobiographical novel that used his childhood in wartime Shanghai, while Klaxons’ Myths Of The Near Future took their album title from a Ballard short story collection. Meanwhile, the Ballardian influence also leaked into dance music, too—particularly into early dubstep, which took the skippy rhythms of U.K. garage and smothered them in urban dread.

Why have Ballard’s visions proved so enduring? Elizabeth Bernholz, aka Brighton electronica artist Gazelle Twin, believes the author had something to tell us about the world to come. “Ballard predicted the threat and consequences of ultra-conservatism within a fully capitalized society,” she says. “His commentary on English class tribalism, in particular, has felt relevant for at least 40 years. These are the survival handbooks of the near-future.”

Here are some of the best J. G. Ballard-influenced artists on Bandcamp.

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What’s Your Day Job?: Locrian

Terence Hannum
Terence Hannum performing with Locrian.

To call Terence Hannum “prolific” or a “polymath” is like calling a hurricane “windy.” Although best known as a founder of the acclaimed avant black metal band Locrian, Terence has released several well-received albums of soundscapes under his own name, and is also a member of the newly-minted synth outfit The Holy Circle.

An accomplished visual artist, his work has been displayed in galleries around the world in both solo exhibitions and group shows. On top of that, Terence’s zines and art books reside in the permanent collections of multiple universities and other institutions. Recently, he’s made strides into the literary world with the publication of his first work of fiction, a novella titled “Beneath The Remains,” released to acclaim.

Staying consistent within a body of work such as this would be a tremendous undertaking for anyone, let alone a happily married father of two with a full-time job. For the better part of two decades, Terence has been working as a college professor of art, first in Chicago and, for the past few years, outside of Baltimore. As daunting as it must be to balance such a wealthy creative life with the responsibilities of work and family, Terence seems to hold it together with unparalleled elegance and grace. Like only the most disciplined individuals can, he makes what would send most of us into an anxiety-riddled state of shock look easy.

We caught up with Terence to talk about life, music, art, and how he holds it all together.

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