It is now officially October, which as we all know, means that it is now officially Halloween. Goblins and ghouls stalk the night, among all other sorts of horrific beasts, terrifying monsters, and that will scare the average WKNC blog reader to the point that I will not discuss them.
All this, however, is missing the most important of the season: spooky music recommendations.
“Bandit!” by Turkey
Turkey consists of William Sipos and Fletcher Shears, better known as one half of the Garden. If you know that band, you know their love of the Halloween spirit, and it is exactly as prevalent here.
This song opens and closes with a sample about a gargoyle in the infamous Denver National Airport, setting the tone for many haunted delights. The rest of it carries through, of course – the lo-fi production and old-school breakbeats makes a song that feels like you should’ve found it as an obscure YouTube upload of something from the 90’s. Perhaps a ghost of electronic past…?
“Don’t Look in the Closet” by VHS Head
Continuing on the retro theme, “Don’t Look in the Closet” goes all-in.
VHS Head makes his music out of old VHS tapes, and while not exactly leaning in to the more hauntological parts of that premise, the titular sample does more than enough to conjure your childhood fears of what could be lurking after a long night of trick or treating and subsequently eating way too much candy. He also also doesn’t hide the fact that this was made out of VHS tapes, adding a viewing of your choice of campy 80’s horror movie into that childhood memory.
To keep it simple, this song is on the more fun side of the Halloween spectrum, and exceeds at doing that.
“Break Yourself (You Can’t Defeat Me) by DJ Rozwell
Combining the Satanic Panic, those shows about the supernatural that were on Discovery Channel for some reason, and swords & sorcery fantasy with instrumental hip hop is something that I think only DJ Rozwell can do.
This track feels like it could easily be a soundtrack to some old roguelike, which is perhaps the highest acclaim I could possibly give it – the album it’s from, “None of This is Real,” is intended to be played on shuffle as a roguelike album. “Break Yourself (You Can’t Defeat Me)” invites you to venture into terrifying crypts to face its lurking creatures… if you dare.
“Blood Magic” by Machine Girl
For me, it’s not a Halloween playlist without Machine Girl. To be completely honest, my own personal bias may be seeping into this specific pick in terms of my favorite albums, but it’s okay because I am statistically the biggest Machine Girl fan at WKNC.
That aside, the influence of horror movies on Machine Girl’s music is always extremely blatant, and that’s just as true here. The lyrics are about as gory as you’d expect from a song from them titled “Blood Magic,” and if any song in this article is the one that’s a straight-up horror movie, it’s this one.
“Epidermis” by Venetian Snares
Time for a throwback to 2003. Breakcore is a term that gets thrown around a lot these days, but this is arguably it in its purest – and most sinister – form. It starts with a simple yet menacing bass synth and sample before the breaks kick in and from then on out, there’s no stopping.
As for the horror, the way Venetian Snares makes sure to emphasize the word “skin” in the most repeated sample along with the iconic “throw your corpse into a pit of vipers” sample makes the song feel like being on the run from a particularly messed up serial killer.
I hope I have given you at least one new song to add to your Halloween party or perhaps trick or treating porch playlist this October.
There’s plenty out there that summons the forces of evil in audio form, and to me, these are some of the best and spookiest. If you wish to save these dark forces, below is a Spotify playlist of these five songs. Thanks for reading!