It’s that time of year again; The “Music to Haunt By” review series has returned. For those new to the site, I’ll explain: “Music to Haunt By” is the collective banner under which I review spooky ambiance CDs. Traditionally, I focus on albums featuring spooky music, but you can often find tracks featuring sound effects on said albums as well. In fact, this year I’ll even be covering an album that has more sound effects than music! Don’t be surprised if I do “Music to Haunt By and Sounds to Scare By” next year. In addition to reviewing the overall quality of an album, I also provide suggestions on how individual tracks can be used for certain scenes and which albums are suitable for playing as a loop for those who wish to play music for trick-or-treaters. I should note how these suggestions are based on my particular opinions regarding haunted houses and Halloween decor and your mileage may vary. After all, my way certainly isn’t the only way to do things. Oh, and some of the albums covered here were not originally intended to be used to provide Halloween ambiance, so the artist’s vision takes precedence over any unintended purposes dreamed up by myself (or other haunters).
Here are the entries from my first “Music to Haunt By” review series:
Music to Haunt By: An Introduction
Music to Haunt By: Midnight Syndicate
Music to Haunt By: Nox Arcana
Music to Haunt By: Buzz Works
Music to Haunt By: Dronolan’s Tower
Music to Haunt By: Hollywood Haunts
Music to Haunt By: Michael Hedstrom
Music to Haunt By: House of Nightmares
You can hear selections from past (and future) articles in the series in the latest episode of our podcast. Although not official entries in the “Music to Haunt By” series, the albums mentioned in my Freaky Tiki Surf-ari reviews for Witches In Bikinis and Chaino (somewhat NSFW cover art) have some music that can be used for haunted houses and Halloween displays. Witches In Bikinis’ self-titled debut album features a creepy instrumental track called “Cave Fire” that’s suitable for just about any theme or setup. For those looking for a mix of silly and spooky will enjoy “Witches Theme” from the album A Scary Kind of Love. Between those two song and the introduction for the song “All Hallows Eve,” the Witches In Bikinis could give any of the above bands a serious run for their money if they ever decided to do a spooky atmosphere album. As for Chaino, just about any track from Eye of the Spectre would fit in a haunted trophy room, jungle or shrunken head scene.
If the tips given in the first installment of “Music to Haunt By” aren’t enough for you, both HauntAudio.com and the Google Books preview for Lesley Pratt Bannatyne’s A Halloween How-To have plenty of tips and tricks for using sounds (and music) in haunt displays.
For those of you who’ve read all of the previous installments, I have an extra special treat to make reading this worthwhile: more free downloads! In the tradition of the free sci-fi soundscape download I shared last year, here is James Kibbie’s rendition of the classic “Toccata and Fugue in D Minor,” which is suitable for just about any haunt (especially one with a phantom organist). Musopen.org’s rendition of “Night on Bald Mountain” is also available for free! As long as they’re being used noncommercially, such as in a Halloween display or home haunt, you can use them for free. Those seeking to use them in a commercial setting will most likely have to work out a licensing agreement, although that might not be the case with the Musopen track.
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