Halloween Soundscape

Halloween SoundscapeHalloween Soundscape is available from online music stores:   iTunes  (US, Mexico, Canada, UK, EU, Australia/NZ and Japan), Myspace Music, Amazon mp3, and Rhapsody. Released digitally September 13, 2007. CD Release: February 29, 2008.

Some individual tracks released September 13, 2007, October 1, 2006, October 23, 2005, & October 1, 2004

Back in the ’80s I went to a Halloween party which had Brian Eno’s Music For Films playing in the background. The experience of hearing that music at that Halloween party many years ago inspired me to try my hand at an ambient Halloween piece in 2003. I wanted to create something that could be background music for a Halloween party, a haunted house, or piped out on the porch to spook trick-or-treaters. From there I branched out into less traditional Halloween themes with “The Martian Invasion”, which is in some ways more creepy and disturbing than the more traditionally spooky pieces.

I composed one or two new pieces every year (2003-2008), adjusting the track running order along the way to incorporate the new pieces in a way that created the best flow. The tracks on the CD are mixed to create a seamless flow from track to track, with the exception of last track which is separated by a few seconds. Set the CD to loop and create the perfect atmosphere for a Halloween party or pipe it outside to thrill trick-or-treaters.

  1. Graveyard Ghosts This was my first stab at doing an ambient Halloween piece for background music back in 2003, though it wasn’t released until the following year because I was dissatisfied with it. The track, titled “Halloween ’03 (Ghost Mix)” was made available to newsletter subscribers in September 2004. That original rough mix was the basis for “The Witching Time”. The two tracks share a number of musical elements, making them natural companion pieces. (See below) This version, officially released for the first time in 2005, corrects problems that annoyed me in the original mix, while preserving the sound, feel and flow of the original mix as much as possible. It was the positive response I got to the early version that made me decide to fix a few things and release it without making any drastic changes to the overall piece. (Halloween 2003, rough mix 2004, remixed 2005)
  2. The Witching Time Based on the original rough mix of “Graveyard Ghosts” (above) I tackled the idea afresh in 2004 by deleting some tracks and developing additional tracks which produced much better, darker, results. The title and concept come from Hamlet: “‘Tis now the very witching time of night, when churchyards yawn and hell itself breathes out contagion to this world.” (Halloween 2004)
  3. A Disquieting Darkness My goal in 2006 was to make some music that would be good background music to listen to while reading a scary book. I wanted something that was ominous, without incorporating elements tied to specific concepts as in my previous soundscapes. So, this piece has no ghosts, witches, monsters or Martians, but the creeping unease of something unknown and nameless lurking nearby in the dark. Memories from childhood of the mounting dread, fueled by imagination, when darkness would catch me away from home hurrying along an unlit overgrown path. This piece is about that fear of the dark—or rather the fear of some terrible thing distilled from the darkness catching up with me. (Halloween 2006)
  4. Journey To Castle Dracula If you’ve only seen movie versions of Dracula and never read the book, then you haven’t yet experienced Dracula. The book has a depth and complexity filmmakers have yet to capture. I conceived of the piece as a sort of unsettling dream Jonathan Harker might have had while staying in Castle Dracula, incorporating impressions of his journey to Castle Dracula, with the “children of the night” (wolves) and other less defined elements representing some of the strange events recorded in his journal. (Halloween 2007)
  5. Loup-Garou (2008) This track was composed specifically for the CD release of the album. “Loup-Garou” is another word for werewolf and this piece incorporates the wolves we first encountered in the preceding track. I envisioned a dark damp forest, thick with brambles and inhabited by strange creatures you can hear moving in the underbrush, howling and giving ominous yet anguished cries in the distance.
  6. The Monster Lives After doing “The Martian Invasion” in 2004, I wanted to return to more traditional spooky soundscapes. I’d had the idea to tackle the Frankenstein myth for some time, but after some experimentation decided that the electrical bits of sound didn’t serve the purpose (and reminded me too much of the Martians), so I returned to my original mix which features a creepy mixture of modified beats over a sinister soundscape. This has more recognizably musical elements in it than the ambient Halloween pieces I’d done up to this point, but fits in well with the other “non-Martian” pieces. (Halloween 2005)
  7. The Martian Invasion The Martian Invasion This dark ominous ambient piece is loosely based on The War Of The Worlds. The original story, though set in England, made a successful and spectacular leap across the pond to become something uniquely American when Orson Wells scared American half to death with a radio adaptation as a Halloween prank last century. A movie was subsequently made, also set in America. The images from the 1953 movie and panic from Well’s broadcast figured largely in my imagination as I composed this piece. Think of “The Martian Invasion” as a mini-soundtrack. If you have not read the original novel by H.G. Wells, I highly recommend it. Substantial changes were made to the story when it made the jump across the pond. (Halloween 2004)

Halloween Soundscape is available from online music stores:  iTunes  (US, Mexico, Canada, UK, EU, Australia/NZ and Japan), Myspace Music, Amazon mp3, and Rhapsody.  Released digitally September 13, 2007. CD Release: February 29, 2008.