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Chilling (Not Chillout) Music

Every once in a while, some publication comes up with a list of the Scariest Bands of All Time.  However, all the choices are shock rockers, i.e. people who wear clown makeup and shout a lot, all in the hope that it upsets their parents. That’s not the kind of music that I think is truly scary. The most frightening kind of music chills rather than shocks, getting under the skin and staying there.

Below is a list of the music that I find to be actually scary…

Aphex Twin

Aphex Twin (Richard D. James) demonstrates the difference between shocking and scary. His most famous song “Come to Daddy” provides some shocks, thanks in part to its horror movie-like video. But he has also produced ambient work which is genuinely eerie. His first ambient record was a dance music-inspired affair, but with volume two, things became slower, weirder, and darker. Most ambient music is suitable to help you sleep, but if you tried it with this album, you’d probably be awake all night, terrified. You might have heard some of these tracks in Chris Morris’s dark comedy series Jam.

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Wagner – The Original Neckbeard

A neckbeard, in literal terms, is hair covering the neck but not the face (see above). However, the term is often used to describe the kind of person who chooses to sport such a facial abomination. Neckbeards are self-satisfied nerds who wear fedoras and read the novels of Orson Scott Card. They can usually be found on message boards, complaining about immigration and “misandry”. Many people think that the Neckbeard phenomenon is a fairly recent one, perhaps dating back to no earlier than the invention of modem. However, I have discovered a much earlier specimen: Richard Wagner, the subject of the above painting.

Below are six reasons why Wagner was the original Neckbeard…

1)    He loved mythology

Wagner’s Ring Cycle is said to have been a huge influence on J.R.R. Tolkien, author of the Neckbeard’s favourite book, Lord of the Rings. Both works feature the fight for a ring of power that corrupts those who use it. This wasn’t Wagner’s only brush with mythology; Wagner’s first opera Die Feen has shades of Arwen and Aragorn, it being the story of a woman from the fairy world who marries a mortal king.

2)    He had a high opinion of himself

Okay, I suppose this one goes without saying. Anybody who writes a fifteen-hour-long opera cycle could hardly be called unpretentious. He believed that his works were so superior that they were a whole new form of expression, which referred to as “complete works of art”. This egomania led to a sense of entitlement: “The world owes me a living,” he claimed. And when he misbehaved (which did often), he didn’t believe he could be judged by the same standards of everybody else, because he was an artist.

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