'Creepy' ambient music

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Aphex twin's 'Selected ambient works' volume II is such a winner to me bcz, in short, its 'creepy' with all its echoes and rumbles it makes for an unsettling experience.

Today I listened to nuijiumu's 'Era of sad wings': this is a group made up of japanese musiciams who normally play psych music (I got this as part of a CDR deal) and I kept thinking of that aphex twin record. It isn't the same in terms of instrumentation but in the way its used: in the drones and the really 'charged' atmosphere and Keiji haino's vocals (that something in the air was actually, somehow, translated to record). The feelings it bought were similar.

I didn't get the aphex twin record out tho' and haven't heard it in ages but I just wanted to get this out of my system.

anyway: creepy ambient music makes ambient more interesting in the same way psychedelic rock does with rock maaan!

recommend now!

Julio Desouza (jdesouza), Saturday, 21 June 2003 20:52 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Thomas Koener to thread.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Saturday, 21 June 2003 20:58 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Without question, Lustmord is the king.

Michael Daddino (epicharmus), Saturday, 21 June 2003 21:30 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Or is that more 'dark' ambient than 'creepy' ambient?

Michael Daddino (epicharmus), Saturday, 21 June 2003 21:36 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

well I think 'dark' and 'creepy' are cousins so which lustmord should i start with?

Julio Desouza (jdesouza), Saturday, 21 June 2003 21:37 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Boards Of Canada surely, not every album track but lots qualify imo

stevem (blueski), Saturday, 21 June 2003 21:51 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Quite incongruously, snippets of Selected ambient works Volume II appear throughout "The Weather Underground," the new documentary about the radical splinter group of the Students for a Democratic Socity movement in the 1960's.

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Saturday, 21 June 2003 21:55 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

"geogaddi" is quite creepy. other records that are (in parts) "creepy ambient" = biosphere "substrata" and FSOL "lifeforms"...

weasel diesel (K1l14n), Saturday, 21 June 2003 22:10 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Coil - "Black Light District" among others.

fletrejet, Saturday, 21 June 2003 22:11 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Alot of Wolf Eyes is creepy ambience, tho i'm sure they'd say otherwise. search 'dead hills' (the song), the black dice collaboration, moments from the 'dread' lp, 'fuck pete larson' lp and the 'mugger' lp. the new black dice single 'creature' is definitely ambience and creepy as hell, it's up on slsk now and rocks. try 'after cease to exist' by throbbing gristle off the coum transmission film as well

ssean, Saturday, 21 June 2003 22:14 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Throbbing Gristle to thread!

Mike Taylor (mjt), Saturday, 21 June 2003 22:26 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Nurse With Wound - Homotopy to Marie and Soliloquy For Lilith for sure.

Also, I think the first two Kluster (with a K) albums kind of qualify; pretty active music, use of some rock instrumentation, but played late at night they can have you checking underneath the bed.

Mr. Diamond (diamond), Saturday, 21 June 2003 22:27 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

The sounds on Main's Firmament climb out of the speakers and sneak around the house, snickering in an extremely creepy fashion.

EC, Saturday, 21 June 2003 23:07 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

seefeel - succour

Johnny Badlees (crispssssss), Saturday, 21 June 2003 23:53 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

so which lustmord should i start with?

I wish I could tell you...I only had a bunch of MP3s that I discarded 'cause I couldn't sleep to them.

The sleepbot enviornmental broadcast is extraordinarily useful, no matter what your taste in ambience is.

Michael Daddino (epicharmus), Saturday, 21 June 2003 23:58 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Ambre : Enclave / Sfumato are pretty damn creepy. Soliloquy for Lilith seconded. But Lull : Moments is the most subtly terrifiying thing I've ever heard, ever.

Sommermute (Wintermute), Sunday, 22 June 2003 00:03 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

I'll second the Lull vote anyday. Cold Summer is a wonderfully disturbing way to go to sleep.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Sunday, 22 June 2003 00:18 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Piercing Music by Robert Henke is something that you definitely need to check out.

Mike Taylor (mjt), Sunday, 22 June 2003 01:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Thunderbirds Are Go!

the martian rock snakes scene (how many of us got our first taste then?)

Paul (scifisoul), Sunday, 22 June 2003 01:17 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

julio, if you buy me a plane ticket and pay me four dollars I will come over and mutter outside your window

Josh (Josh), Sunday, 22 June 2003 01:30 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

one of the creepiest pieces of music ever is on rancho relaxo live at the love parade,i think its track five or so,really eerie ambient music

robin (robin), Sunday, 22 June 2003 01:34 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Zoviet France to thread!

Chris Barrus (Chris Barrus), Sunday, 22 June 2003 03:03 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Lustmord, start with Heresy or Paradise Disowned, though The Place Where the Black Stars Hang is pretty cool too. If we're calling Zoviet France to thread (and I'd certainly recommend Shadow Thief of the Sun if you can find a copy of it any more), let's also call up Hafler Trio....oh, say, Kill the King.

Sean Carruthers (SeanC), Sunday, 22 June 2003 03:09 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Oh, actually, the last two tracks of Techno Animal's Re-entry I *can* fall asleep to.

Michael Daddino (epicharmus), Sunday, 22 June 2003 04:31 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Pelican Daughters.

colin s barrow (colin s barrow), Sunday, 22 June 2003 07:29 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

wow! a thread of mine with more than 20 ans! *sheds a tear of happiness*

''julio, if you buy me a plane ticket and pay me four dollars I will come over and mutter outside your window''

josh 'wins'.

chris- which zoviet france?

thanks for all the recommendations.

Julio Desouza (jdesouza), Sunday, 22 June 2003 08:25 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Lawrence - s/t

Curt (cgould), Sunday, 22 June 2003 16:18 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

TS: Radiohead vs Burzum

dave q, Sunday, 22 June 2003 16:34 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

organum is good. re ZF monomishe my favourite

bob snoom, Sunday, 22 June 2003 16:38 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

"Mohnomishe" is the one that came between two bits of hardboard? That was a good one.

Dadaismus (Dada), Sunday, 22 June 2003 16:56 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Harold Budd "The White Arcades" (title track)

Joe (Joe), Sunday, 22 June 2003 16:56 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Fuck man, the lamest thing about The Weather Underground was having to hear those Aphex tracks over and over again, and I like Aphex!

Zoviet France - get Shouting at the Ground.

Also, Julio, seriously, get some Wolf Eyes.

hstencil, Sunday, 22 June 2003 17:05 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

For Zoviet France I would recomend "Collusion", which is a collection of compilation tracks, which are all very good and span their entire 80's career so you get a good idea of their different styles.

But other than a few tracks here and there (e.g. "They're eating the passengers"), I wouldn't call them creepy.

fletrejet, Sunday, 22 June 2003 17:12 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

ZF eostre also v.good.
only do first lp garista and the 12" that go w/ it if you like "industrial" chocolate monk type recordings. v.primitive but not ambient in any sense, really.
flock of rotations OK. misfits,freaks & lonney tunes OK. shouting at the ground OK. later stuff hmm. didn't buy it.
thomas koner zyklop dud. teimo / permafrost, daikan, & kaamos all winner w/ i reckon kaamos on top.

bob snoom, Sunday, 22 June 2003 18:12 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

er, thanks for that link dave. really 'useful'.

Julio Desouza (jdesouza), Sunday, 22 June 2003 18:17 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

anyone ever read the customer reviews of selected ambient works two at amazon?
i read them a few years ago,a third of them are by people who just don't get it,a third are people who think it is the most beautiful,relaxing,soothing music ever,and a third seem to find the album terrifies them to the very core of their being

robin (robin), Sunday, 22 June 2003 19:28 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

I never thought SAWII was scary, but I know a lot of people who do find it disturbing.

I do not know what that says about me... ;)

Mike Taylor (mjt), Sunday, 22 June 2003 21:25 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

SAWII is not nearly as creepy to me as certain moments on Eno-produced U2 albums

Millar (Millar), Sunday, 22 June 2003 23:03 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Pelican Daughters

you said that just to make me respond, didn't you colin? is any available still?

gaz (gaz), Sunday, 22 June 2003 23:11 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

I do not know what that says about me... ;)

It says many worthy things!

Ned Raggett (Ned), Sunday, 22 June 2003 23:16 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

There you are Gaz. Er, no, there isn't.

colin s barrow (colin s barrow), Sunday, 22 June 2003 23:50 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

i actually have a disc anyway :-). (btw, and off thread WKOSA...you have any recordings?)

gaz (gaz), Sunday, 22 June 2003 23:59 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Yes, I do! Bits and pieces on DAT all over the place. You want?

colin s barrow (colin s barrow), Monday, 23 June 2003 00:15 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

of course. email me?

gaz (gaz), Monday, 23 June 2003 00:28 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

All the ZF recommendations are good ones - I also wanna toss in the last one The Decriminalization Of Country Music

Chris Barrus (Chris Barrus), Monday, 23 June 2003 00:28 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

All this is ok, but the scariest thing on the market is by far In Slaughter Natives (and a lot of the stuff on their label).
Eat yr teddy bearz Zoviet France!

Fabrice (Fabfunk), Monday, 23 June 2003 06:51 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

How comes no one has mentioned ZF's Digilogue yet? It's their only really creepy album.

Sommermute (Wintermute), Monday, 23 June 2003 10:17 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

pre-folk Current 93(Dogs Blood Rising, In Menstrual night, etc.)
Byzantine Flowers by SPK

Stephen Boyle (SBoyle), Monday, 23 June 2003 16:36 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

i nominate 50% of coil's entire catalog to OWN this thread, particularly their work as the time machiens and musick to play in the dark.

Felcher (Felcher), Monday, 23 June 2003 17:43 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

i guess i might as well say "bernard gunther" here like you'd expect of me - julio you should get some Bernie. he's wild! bin listening to it a lot recently in an effort to CALM DOWN!!! grrr frickin stupid creepy noises!

bob snoom, Wednesday, 25 June 2003 15:37 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

No Eric, first you must say the list again - backwards.

the music mole (colin s barrow), Friday, 25 June 2004 05:32 (fourteen years ago) Permalink


sherm, Friday, 25 June 2004 05:47 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

omf eric

sweet dreams

harshaw (jube), Friday, 25 June 2004 06:53 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Robert Ashley "Automatic Writing"

sherm, Friday, 25 June 2004 06:57 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

If you want something that's fairly ambient, occasionally creepy, lushly ethereal, and thunderously apocalyptic, I might recommend the music of Elend. "The Umbersun" or "Les Ténèbres du Dehors" are both really good places to start. They have a newer album out but it has more of a darkwave orientation and is certainly less ambient- textured but more rigidly structured.

James Slone (Freon Trotsky), Friday, 25 June 2004 07:37 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Robert Rich - especially Stalker, A Troubled Resting Place and Below Zero.
Alio Die - Le Stanze Della Trascendenza and others
Oöphoi - Mare Vaporum

jeffery (jeffery), Friday, 25 June 2004 20:28 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

The Charlemagne Palestine & Panasonic colab on Mort Aux Vaches (if you can find it).

hexxyMancer, Friday, 25 June 2004 21:03 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

two years pass...

fies, Tuesday, 6 March 2007 21:16 (eleven years ago) Permalink

I'm surprised no mentioned Ambient Isolationism on this thread. I still listen to that a bunch.

Alex in SF, Tuesday, 6 March 2007 21:19 (eleven years ago) Permalink

o m g

Eric Michael Place is my nu-god!

well, 2-year-old god.

Tracer Hand, Tuesday, 6 March 2007 22:17 (eleven years ago) Permalink

the bands & albums i know from that list makes me want to check out the other stuff, but where to start argglgl%$&§!&%

fies, Tuesday, 6 March 2007 22:23 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Yeah, jesus. I wonder if Eric's still out there, could he give us an updated, perhaps pared down list??

Drooone, Tuesday, 6 March 2007 22:25 (eleven years ago) Permalink

I've heard maybe five things on Eric's list.

Alex in SF, Tuesday, 6 March 2007 22:33 (eleven years ago) Permalink

ive heard 57 (yes i counted them), but theres still TOO MUCH.

its hard to imagine a time when dark ambient (and reading the wire) was actually fashionable

fies, Tuesday, 6 March 2007 22:38 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Whoa way harsh dude.

Drooone, Tuesday, 6 March 2007 22:42 (eleven years ago) Permalink

check out GAS. creepy, bubbly and dark. i have it on soulseek. my user name is doom23. i have all their releases on the mille plateaux label, when they were good.

doom23, Wednesday, 7 March 2007 01:04 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Does GAS stand for anything?

Drooone, Wednesday, 7 March 2007 01:10 (eleven years ago) Permalink


the dude behind the band is wolfgang voigt, he has so many other aliases but under the name GAS he makes this really dark muted techno with beats that are soft and in the background. the overall feeling is of utter despair and bleakness.

doom23, Wednesday, 7 March 2007 01:19 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Sounds good to me.

Drooone, Wednesday, 7 March 2007 01:21 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Pop music albums as radical as the first album of Wolfgang Voigt's project GAS are scarce. Comparable extremes coming to mind are Napalm Death's "Scum", the self-proclaimed "end of music as we know it" by virtue of being the fastest music ever released on a commercial CD, or Earth's "Earth 2" for being the slowest.

"GAS" is also excessively slow; simply put, it's drone music. In the first track, all your ear can latch on to is a few heavily down-tuned, backwards-played samples of Disco guitar. But actually it took me a backwards playback at 75 rpm to discover that. The resulting texture is so smooth, soothing, subdued, it can almost be felt as a physical presence in the room. And contrary to New Age musics that try to achieve that effect through big production and effects claptrap, "GAS" shines with a very moderate production, the worst thing about this being the frequent clicks as artifacts of sample editing, the best being that it will sound great on any system, at any volume, at any time of the day.

It's interesting to look at the development of GAS' sound. The debut EP on Profan contained four tracks that were very different from each other (more on that to come in a seperate review). The self-titled album takes up where the EP ended, with a very plastic-y and synthetic sound: track 1 is an enlengthened, reduced version of the EP's track 4; track 2 is basically track 1 with a beat added; etc... the whole album basically is a handful ideas stretched out to a whopping (actually, soothing) 77 minutes. All Later GAS albums (I followed through until 2000's "Pop") sounded very different from it, mostly deploying samples from classical music like Schoenberg and Wagner, so "GAS" remains unique and unchallenged to this day.

The album is usually put into the "ambient" drawer. I don't know... Okay, the term "ambient" itself has become pretty vague by today, but the synthetic, monotonous "GAS" is the complete opposite of the sountrack-ish and, well, ambient quality of classics like Eno's "Music For Airports". It's far more abstract (not structurally, but as in "the contrary of concrete, recognizable, image-evoking sound material") and, forgive me, musical than that. When I last read an interview with Wolfgang Voigt in 1999, he insisted that all of his music would be seen simply as pop, and as strange and radical as "GAS" may appear, Voigt's claim makes sense.

doom23, Wednesday, 7 March 2007 01:24 (eleven years ago) Permalink

those Gas albums on MP are truly amazing. such a shame that label is out of print.

sleeve, Wednesday, 7 March 2007 01:26 (eleven years ago) Permalink

yes, indeed. i have them all on mp. i even bought the first one, the ugly looking one, used here in toronto. the stuff just stood out. the same with vladislav delay.

doom23, Wednesday, 7 March 2007 01:28 (eleven years ago) Permalink


tor lundvall, too.

GOTT PUNCH II HAWKWINDZ, Wednesday, 7 March 2007 06:18 (eleven years ago) Permalink

nine months pass...

eric michael place's list does not contain NECROPOLIS, whose re-issued 'NECROSPHERE' i have just bought. terrifying stuff. i don't think it's been mentioned on ILX before. some dude from Irkutsk playing drones over field recordings from disused missile shafts.

Just got offed, Wednesday, 19 December 2007 18:54 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Nothing, Cordell Klier, Veil of Secrecy, Veiled Illusions, Tribes of Neurot, Toy Bizarre, Bad Sector, Northaunt, Tidal, Bardoseneticcube, Kammarheit, Caul, Bestia Centauri, Heath Yonaites, Amongst Myselves, Amon, Never Known, No Festival of Light, Where, Voice Transmissions With The Deceased, Asmorod, Seth Nehil, Chris Hutton, Negative Thought, Atom Infant Incubator, Ex.Order, Aeolian String

am0n, Wednesday, 19 December 2007 19:00 (eleven years ago) Permalink

actually it really has to be said: that list is probably the most crushingly unfathomable I've ever seen on ILM

Just got offed, Wednesday, 19 December 2007 19:09 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Maybe ten or twenty of us can divvy up that list and do research?

I want to add the Super Metroid OST Soundtrack. Lots of great 16-bit creepy ambiance there.

I want to hear that Lull record...

Nate Carson, Thursday, 20 December 2007 01:36 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Excellent call on Super Metroid, that's some awesome shit! Someone should put that out.

myopic_void, Thursday, 20 December 2007 16:06 (eleven years ago) Permalink

And the Eraserhead soundtrack.

And Small Cruel Party!

Michael Dudikoff presents Action Adventure Theatre, Thursday, 20 December 2007 16:56 (eleven years ago) Permalink

More good stuff:

. Rapoon (former :Zoviet France: member)
. Terra Sancta - "Aeon" (barren industrial soundscapes, from Australia)
. Rod Modell's "Waveform Transmission", recorded live and allegedly containing sounds of paranormal origin.

no-nonsense, Thursday, 20 December 2007 17:07 (eleven years ago) Permalink

"Excellent call on Super Metroid, that's some awesome shit! Someone should put that out."

I ordered mine from Japan. So I can't read the liner notes.

It includes 5 orchestrally arranged versions of Super Metroid tunes, then the entire game soundtracks from the first two games. Also a short sound fx library.

The mastering on the old NES songs (my favorites) is not so great.

I guess it's way out of print now so I'm glad I sprung for it back when I did.

Nate Carson, Thursday, 20 December 2007 22:01 (eleven years ago) Permalink

eight years pass...

That massive block of band names from Eric Michael Place brings me to this thread via searches pretty much all the time. Delving into Lustmord and Jeff Grienke lately, The Word As Power and Cities in Fog 1 and 2. Must be the weather (just kidding, it's still like 96 degrees here)

erry red flag (f. hazel), Sunday, 25 September 2016 05:41 (two years ago) Permalink

no mention of the caretaker or the stranger (both are james leyland kirby) but he's/they're pretty essential to the genre of *creepy* ambient imo

davey, Sunday, 25 September 2016 20:28 (two years ago) Permalink

greinke's cities in fog is stunning; hard to believe it's from the mid 80s.

clouds, Sunday, 25 September 2016 20:32 (two years ago) Permalink


Wes Brodicus, Sunday, 25 September 2016 21:16 (two years ago) Permalink

Creepy ambient >>>>>> emo ambient

brimstead, Sunday, 25 September 2016 22:14 (two years ago) Permalink

Nice timing. GAS BOX, 10 LP retrospective from Kompakt, will be released next month. :)

Allen (etaeoe), Sunday, 25 September 2016 22:17 (two years ago) Permalink


tylerw, Sunday, 25 September 2016 22:28 (two years ago) Permalink

hyped for that gas box, holy shit

clouds, Monday, 26 September 2016 00:42 (two years ago) Permalink

i feel like i post this everywhere, but no kevin drumm mentioned itt?

imperial distortion, imperial horizon, tannenbaum

i'll have to look for i mean slsk cities in fog

savvinesslessness (map), Monday, 26 September 2016 00:51 (two years ago) Permalink

you'll dig it, it's up yr alley

v murky and churning and gauzy

clouds, Monday, 26 September 2016 01:44 (two years ago) Permalink

woah, love it.

savvinesslessness (map), Monday, 26 September 2016 02:34 (two years ago) Permalink

tangerine dream 4 lurking clowns

savvinesslessness (map), Monday, 26 September 2016 02:36 (two years ago) Permalink

haha, post apocalyptic mutant clowns maybe

clouds, Monday, 26 September 2016 16:04 (two years ago) Permalink


Released in 1981, recorded in 1978 (incredibly)

3×5, Monday, 26 September 2016 18:27 (two years ago) Permalink

It starts getting ambient at about 9:15.

3×5, Monday, 26 September 2016 18:28 (two years ago) Permalink

Robert Ashley "Automatic Writing"
― sherm, Thursday, June 24, 2004 11:57 PM (twelve years ago)

Is this the earliest example?

sarahell, Monday, 26 September 2016 19:10 (two years ago) Permalink

creepiest music for me: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u1V4VN6pp5I

dan selzer, Monday, 26 September 2016 19:14 (two years ago) Permalink

one year passes...

Some of the creepiest stuff I've heard is Tertium Non Data's first album, 'The Third is Not Given.' A couple of others (Dark Ambient and some not so):[...]

― Eric Michael Place, Friday, June 25, 2004 12:45 AM (fourteen years ago)

man idk, I listened to that Tertium Non Data album and it sounds like one of those video game soundtracks that gamers hype up as "sOmE oF tHe GrEaTeSt AmBiEnT oF aLl TiMe", but when you actually listen to it turns out to be a bunch of cheap dungeon synth jump scares, so you shrug and write it off as a "you had to be there" thing. ilx user ☆ seems to feel the same way, so I feel vindicated. Apophasis by Caul (ex TND member) was also underwhelming. I guess I should spend the next 20-30 years digging deeper into Eric's list?

two recent-ish dark ambient albums that deliver on their promise are Isobel Ccircle's The House in Harbour Park and Thomas P. Heckmann's Ghosts

the yolk sustains us, we eat whites for days (unregistered), Tuesday, 10 July 2018 17:17 (seven months ago) Permalink

Things were different in 2004. Hell was further away.

com rad erry red flag (f. hazel), Tuesday, 10 July 2018 19:01 (seven months ago) Permalink

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