What suspenseful music can I find?
February 20, 2011 11:17 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for instrumental, soundtrack-type (but not necessarily a soundtrack), and suspenseful/eerie/dark music. I'm interested in music that sounds something like Clint Mansell's Lux Aeterna and The Inception Dream is Collapsing, but in more of a suspenseful, even creepy tone. Think of Alfred Hitchcock-- that kind of drawn-out, building tension.

I've been exploring things like Tchaikovsky and Stravinsky, but I'm ultimately leaning towards more modern music. Instrumental, yes; orchestral, no.

Any ideas?
posted by lockstitch to Media & Arts (21 answers total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
The soundtrack to Farscape.
posted by Brocktoon at 11:51 PM on February 20, 2011

Pretty much anything by Max Richter will fit your bill.
posted by item at 11:53 PM on February 20, 2011

That Inception piece reminds me a lot of "In the House, In a Heartbeat" from 28 Days Later. And if you like Mansell, you should try the jangling track "Southern Hospitality," which was also from Requiem for a Dream. It might be a bit more aggressive than what you're looking for, though.

For more atmospheric fare, there's Ligeti's incredibly creepy "Lux Aeterna," used to great effect in 2001. In a more subdued vein, the soundtrack for Portal was very moody and dark, with electric undertones. I've got an old comment here that links to some sample tracks on YouTube.
posted by Rhaomi at 12:00 AM on February 21, 2011

The Dark Knight score has some tracks that might fit the bill. For something more aggressive, there's "Like a Dog Chasing Cars"; for something more suspenseful, there's the bank scene music, and for dark and morose, there's "Watch the World Burn."
posted by spiderskull at 12:00 AM on February 21, 2011

The soundtrack for V for Vendetta has a pretty good build-up song called Evey Reborn, although it's not as dark.
posted by spiderskull at 12:03 AM on February 21, 2011

Have you heard Mansell's soundtrack for Moon (2009)? I get a similar vibe from parts of that -- it's cleaner and more piano-based, but still quite creepy and suspenseful. Listen to the main theme and see what you think. Great movie, too, best sci-fi film I've seen in ages!
posted by vorfeed at 12:05 AM on February 21, 2011 [2 favorites]

Philip Glass is an obvious place to look -- you'll find a lot of similarities with Mansell and Zimmer -- and there's a free sampler on Amazon with a good few tracks that fit the bill.

Glass writes for Hollywood, so he often has moments of suspense in mind; Steve Reich's film work has been more experimental, but that minimalist, repetitive form proceeds from him.

(Jon Brion's score for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind has a few moments like that too.)
posted by holgate at 12:08 AM on February 21, 2011

Brian Eno - The Lost Day
posted by amb at 12:12 AM on February 21, 2011

Other soundtracks by Clint Mansell would seem to fit the bill. I'm especially partial to the soundtrack of The Fountain, to the point that I wrote a rather esoteric review of it.
posted by Zarkonnen at 12:16 AM on February 21, 2011 [1 favorite]

Stars of the Lid - Fucked Up (3:57 AM)
posted by amb at 12:35 AM on February 21, 2011

Seconding the Moon soundtrack, and adding Cliff Martinez's score for Solaris

posted by New England Cultist at 12:35 AM on February 21, 2011

Brian Eno: In Dark Trees, Tal Coat, Lantern Marsh, Alternative 3, There Is Nobody, Patrolling Wire Borders

Stars of the Lid: Central Texas

Shinjuku Thief: Prelude - In the Wake of Walpurga's Ashes, Shadow Path

Michael Fahres: Sevan

Troum: Sigqan Pt 1
posted by The Mouthchew at 1:00 AM on February 21, 2011

Soundtrack for Atlas Dei and other things by Robert Rich. (Like this . . .)
posted by Crotalus at 1:54 AM on February 21, 2011

I'm a huge fan of Silence - Cellule [track 1 on this album] and the Halloween Theme.
posted by robtoo at 3:52 AM on February 21, 2011

How about some Lisa Gerrard? (I know she's singing, but she uses her voice as more of an instrument than as a word-delivery-machine, so I count it as instrumental.)

Two more.
posted by esmerelda_jenkins at 6:11 AM on February 21, 2011

The soundtrack from One Hour Photo.
posted by infinitewindow at 6:57 AM on February 21, 2011

The entire score to The Shining. Dvorak, Penderecki, Bartok, most of them rearranged with synth by the master of electronic film scores, Wendy Carlos. Pino Donaggio's score for Carrie.
posted by therewolf at 8:52 AM on February 21, 2011

Goblin/Simonette, Morante, Pignatelli/Libra and lots of similar vaguely prog-y stuff from giallo movies and their ilk might work, though it's slightly out of bounds of what you describe. And for modern and creepy there's lots of picks from Kubrick, particularly the Eyes Wide Shut Ligeti stuff though you probably already know about it given what you've mentioned. Oh, and John Carpenter's soundtrack to Halloween III is pretty damn awesome.
posted by ifjuly at 11:45 AM on February 21, 2011

Plenty of things on the Twin Peaks soundtrack would fit your bill.
posted by SisterHavana at 1:13 PM on February 21, 2011

Godspeed You! Black Emperor would be about perfect, I reckon.

Earth, too.

Some of Mogwai (part 2) would suit you fine.
posted by dudekiller at 5:44 AM on February 22, 2011

I was going to come back and say that if you want foreboding and instrumental without any kind of orchestral feel -- because the question was a bit vague about that -- then GY!BE and Mogwai have a lot to offer. (Also: Set Fire To Flames, which was a kind of GY!BE side project.)
posted by holgate at 2:59 PM on February 22, 2011

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