Somafm.com has streamed an inventive radio channel pioneered by Rusty Hodge and DJ Lucretia featuring, as they called it “Dark industrial/ambient music for tortured souls.” The service was discontinued in 2017 until October Halloween season, which to the Gothic-Ambient-Industrial music crowd signifies the end of an era. Following is a sample of sounds from the dark side.
Industrial, Gothic, Darkwave: Sounds for the Doomed Crowd
Dark wave or darkwave music crawled from the 1970s shadows of punk’s violence and rock-n-roll’s commercialism, coinciding with the popularity of New Wave and Post-Punk. Technologically transfigured instrumentation mixed with an undercurrent of death-rock, created a new sound that appealed to the assumedly-depressed set demanding long, ambient or apocalyptic instrumentation and sorrow-infused lyrical introspection. Bela Lugosi supposedly would have approved, but he was already dead.
Phragments – Earth Shall Not Cover Their Blood – 2008
Bauhaus – She’s In Parties – “Burning from the Inside” – 1983
This fervent 1980s subculture of black-wearing and looking (almost) dead developed in Europe alongside dark wave music, whose members were called “wavers” or “dark wavers,” or in the US they were also called “doomers.” In Germany, the rich history of Krautrock evolved into something darker, more mesmerizing, which was just called Goth or Gothic.
Psy 231 – Fear to Faith – A collaboration between Psyclones (Brian Ladd & Julie Frith) and Pacific 231 (Pierre Jolivet) – 1990
During the ’90s, the goth rock genre began to cross-pollinate with synth pop and dream pop, producing the hybrid style of darkwave. Much more somber and ethereal than goth rock’s other offshoot, industrial dance, darkwave was originally defined by bands like Clan of Xymox and Psyche. A second wave of artists would inject other influences, with Dead Can Dance and In the Nursery favoring classical song structures or medieval instrumentation, while Die Form and Lycia brought along sounds that were more avant-garde and ambient.
Joy Division – Eternal – formed in 1976 in Salford, Greater Manchester, England. Originally named Warsaw, the band consisted of singer Ian Curtis, guitarist and keyboardist Bernard Sumner, bass player Peter Hook, and drummer Stephen Morris.
The late ’90s would see a rise in darkwave’s popularity thanks to the success of Switchblade Symphony plus Sam Rosenthal‘s group Black Tape for a Blue Girl. While labels like Metropolis and Cleopatra could be classified as mostly industrial imprints that flirted with the style, darkwave became the primary focus of Rosenthal’s @Projekt label. @Projekt acts like Love Spirals Downwards, Unto Ashes, and Voltaire helped usher the darkwave style into the 21st century.
Communion Sss – Eternal Betrayal – She Silenced Seraphim – 2011
… through fragmentary dreams colliding with each other in fluid motion and perpetual entanglement, untouched by limitations of reason and translucid reality, and in pure images and remembrance of archaic past and arcane origins brought forth by sleep and spontaneously ephemeral aberration, I view her alien world — she that silenced seraphim…
dance your dirge
Archon Satani – Heavenly Inoculation – “Beyond All Three Sickness” – 1992
Founded in 1997, Unto Ashes are among the foremost purveyors of “blood-lit” music, by which they seek to explore the beautiful and terrible currents that weave themselves through our lives. Their highly original music is informed by Medieval dirges, Apocalyptic Folk, Black Metal, Spinning and Harvest chants, and German Romantic sensibilities. Epic and exalted; claustrophobic and suffocating; vital and menacing; glorious and impenetrable: Unto Ashes is all – and none – of these.
Unto Ashes – Ah, Sunflower!
strom.ec – Helvetin Esikartano – “Divine Legions Beyond Psyche” – 2008
Check out our recent Spotify re-creation of some of doomed’s finest artists. Stay below, keep the faith…