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84 Days Till Halloween
8/8/2013
More from the Miscellaneous Music folder…

Jill Tracy - Diabolical Streak (1999)
I heard portions of this album on an old “Hearts of Space” Halloween program. Tracy’s music is kind of old-timey, very sophisticated, and darkly sexy. The songs like “Evil Night Together”, “The Fine Art of Poisoning”, and “You Leave Me Cold” sound like they could be coming from a cabaret club in the 20’s. There are few instruments (piano, drum, bass, an occasional cello). It walks a fine line between the beautiful and the profane. There isn’t much music out there like it – and probably none better.

Jill Tracy - The Bittersweet Constrain (2008)
Very similar to the first. Every bit as good. I like “Torture”, “Haunted by the Thought of You”, and “Room 19” a lot.

Jill Tracy & The Malcontent Orchestra - Into the Land of Phantoms (2002)
A different offering here from Jill Tracy. This was written as a musical soundtrack to the 1922 silent film “Nosferatu”. The ensemble is a bit larger – there is more percussion, marimba, more strings. The piano, cello, and trap set are still here. There are no vocals. I have not seen the movie with this score – I bet it would be pretty awesome. Standing alone, the score is good, but it is (at times) a little repetitive. The same motifs are present in several songs – which is what you want in a movie score (here’s the vampire music! Here’s the heroine’s music!) but just sitting and listening it doesn’t work quite as well.

Projekt Presents - Dark Cabaret (2005)
Might as well continue on the cabaret theme. In fact, this is so in-line with Jill Tracy’s music that one of her songs appears on this CD. It starts strong – “Coin Operated Boy” by the Dresden Dolls is brilliant. “Evil Night Together is too. Other songs stray a tiny bit from the Cabaret style, but not far.

Robbie Robison - Robbie The Werewolf At The Waleback (1964)
What a strange album. Sounds like it was actually recorded live at a bar somewhere (Santa Monica, CA, maybe?) … Robbie Robison is a folk-singer, and his songs are pretty funny. Turns out he’s a solid guitarist, too. It isn’t all Halloweenish, but it is an interesting album. I’ve listened to this before, but now that I’m actually listening to the lyrics, this stuff ain’t bad. “Inside Story of Flamenco” was damn funny.

Rosemary Brown and Peter Katin - A Musical Seance (1970)
According to Wikipedia, Rosemary Brown was a spiritualist who claimed that dead composers were dictating their music to her, and had done so since she was 7. This album features several of these compositions. So – mainly we have 17 tracks of classical solo piano in the mode of composers like Liszt and Chopin. Meh. But then there is one 6-minute track of commentary by Mrs. Brown explaining how the composers contact her, the composers’ personalities, how they describe their music to him, etc. THAT track is FASCINATING. I’ll be honest … I skipped the rest.

Steven Schramm & Jonas Kvarnstrom - Music for your Nightmare (1989)
This one is sort of a combination music / sound effects (sound atmospheres?) album. I don’t recognize the artists’ names. Musically, it isn’t any better or worse than any other sound-effects-with-music album I’ve heard. I kinda hate it when keyboards try to sound like trumpets or violins though. But at least the compositions are unique.

The Electrosoniks - Electronic Music (1957)
I know … there isn’t anything particularly Halloweeny about electronic music from the 50’s and 60’s OUTRIGHT. But I can make an argument for this album. Electronics during the 50’s and 60’s was very sci-fi, and sci-fi and horror are certainly related (many 50’s sci-fi movies were really horror movies). But this album is VERY closely connected to Halloween thanks to a couple of albums from 1963 … Boris Karloff’s “Tales of the Frightened”. Both Volumes 1 and 2 use this music in the background. It is sometimes slowed down to the point it is hard to recognize, but it is definitely there. Some tracks have well-defined verses, choruses, and melodies – others are more like experiments in sound.
 
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