Wednesday, October 28, 2015

13 More of the Creepiest Pieces of Music Ever Recorded, Ever

Posted By on Wed, Oct 28, 2015 at 7:09 AM

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7) Throbbing Gristle: "Very Friendly"
Fright factor: 7


McGonigal declined to put Throbbing Gristle on his list, allegedly because that would cheapen their art. However, shock and confrontation were huge parts of TG's early work, and it doesn't trivialize their achievements to acknowledge it. Certainly, “Very Friendly” - an eighteen-minute evocation of one of the 1960s Moors Murders – is not meant as mere poetic commentary. (For that, you'll want the Smiths' “Suffer Little Children”). Over a primitive drum machine and minimal two-note melody, Genesis P-Orridge narrates the story of Ian Brady and Myra Hindley as they drug their mother, pick out their victim, bring him back to the house, execute him in a most gory manner and invite their neighbor to look at the carnage. In the end, the neighbor calls for help, unable to do anything besides stutter helplessly.



8) Lemon Kittens: "An Untimely End"
Fright Factor: 7


Danielle Dax and Karl Blake, the main Lemon Kittens, specialized in a cryptic brand of experimental post-punk. “An Untimely End” closes out their second and last album, 1982's (Those Who Bite The Hand That Feeds Them Sooner Or Later Must Meet )The Big Dentist. (That isn't even their most enigmatic album title – that would be We Buy A Hammer for Daddy.) Over a seasick synth riff, Blake mutters to himself like a sedated, half-conscious dying man struggling to form thoughts. When the track stops cold, It actually sounds and feels like the plug being pulled.



9) Patty Waters: "Black Is The Color of My True Love's Hair”
Fright factor: 7


McGonigal put this on his list, and it deserves recognition here as well. I've always thought of side one of Patty Waters Sings album as a suicide note, and side two – entirely dedicated to this track – as the actual suicide. Patty Waters goes from woozy, to despondent, to furious in an unpredictable and intimidating manner.



10) Rhoda with The Special A.K.A.: "The Boiler"
Fright Factor: 8

It's the Bodysnatchers' Rhoda Dakar backed by several members of the Specials, recounting a night out that turned into a date rape attempt. It becomes more and more harrowing as the track progresses. Ahead of its time then, all too relevant today.



11) Suicide: "Frankie Teardrop”
Fright Factor: 8

Here's the recording that set me off on this tear in the first place. McGonigal wrote that he'd heard this song live several times and found it to be “beautiful.” Clearly someone's never taken the Frankie Teardrop Challenge, which was a regular feature on The Best Show with Tom Scharpling in its WFMU days. The idea was to pick a spooky area – a dark street or highway at night, abandoned railroad tracks, caves, basically anyplace remote – and try to listen to all ten-plus minutes of “Frankie Teardrop.” Almost no one managed it. Yes, there's a certain horrible, majestic beauty in “Frankie Teardrop." That doesn't stop me from jumping at the scary parts, even though I know when and where where they're coming.



12) The Beatles: "Revolution 9"
Fright Factor: 9


This is the “Stairway to Heaven” or "Freebird" of scary recordings. It is perhaps the best-known example of a 1960s rock band experimenting with sound collage. (The Mothers of Invention, the Red Krayola and the Grateful Dead also used sound collage, but to milder effect.) Buried on side four of 1968's The Beatles (a.k.a. the White Album), "Revolution 9” is eight-plus minutes of jarring sound. We hear car crashes, tortured screams and cut-up, manipulated and reversed tapes pulled from the Abbey Road studio library. Far from a free-form freakout, "Revolution 9" sounds orchestrated and deliberate, ebbing and flowing as necessary. It was the eerily calm voices that threw me into a panic the first time I heard this in junior high school – the “number nine, number nine” narrator for sure, but also the strange recitations that John Lennon and George Harrison muttered under the mix. I used to have nightmares about this track. For added creepiness, consider that the next song on the White Album is “Good Night,” a gentle lullabye that, in this context, sounds like the world ending.



13) Jonestown FBI tape #Q594
Scare factor: 10+


He's Able is creepy enough once you know the back story, but it's hardly the most horrifying recording the Peoples Temple produced. It's well known that Jim Jones recorded most of his sermons and meetings, including the November 1978 mass suicide in Guyana. (We're not including that one. There is a difference between “scary” and “the sound of 900 men, women and children dying of cyanide poisoning in real time.” It's Googlable.) This website contains hundreds of hours of cassette recordings found during Jonestown cleanup operations, encompassing everything from news reports to agricultural planning sessions, to songs and skits, to the very worst of Jones' mind-control and manipulative tactics. In this clip, recorded about seven months before the November 1978 mass suicide, various Peoples Temple members describe, in graphic detail, their violent fantasies about torturing “defectors” and non-Temple relatives. What throws this awful audio-verite over the top is Jones' response: He laughs in a staccato, hyena-like titter. It is one of the most horrifying sounds I have ever heard. 


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