Fast, Dramatic, Sinister music?
December 20, 2007 1:22 PM   Subscribe

In search of: dramatic, sinister, or fast music. Disastrous, villainous, swift and dexter melodies best set to chaos, tragedy, or discovery.

You know, the sort of music that sounds evil played on a church organ. Some of you may remember from a previous question that I have inexplicable reactions to certain music, and I'm trying to explore that by playlisting my music into the emotions they cause me to have. Once upon a time there was a program/community called Moodlogic that might have helped, but it's long since defunct. So, to better communicate what I mean by the three categories here:

Fast (beat or, preferably, note progression): Fast notes. Simple.

Sinister : Probably equal parts sinister and somber/sad, or--even better--songs that vacillate between bright moments and very ominous ones. Think Chopin's Raindrop Prelude. (Listen via Youtube here)

Dramatic : Harder to put into words, so I found as an example a remixed version of such a song that's legally available for download/listening. (Although I don't much care for the instrumentation here; it sounds much better on a church organ): Dancing Mad

I'd prefer suggestions sans lyrics, but of course rules are made to be broken. Extra points to more "classical" forms of music, a la piano or--pleasepleaseplease--church organ. Together we can build a writhing tempest of a playlist!
posted by Phyltre to Media & Arts (24 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
Hard acid techno. Check out D.A.V.E. the Drummer.
posted by infinityjinx at 1:39 PM on December 20, 2007

Carmina Burana by Carl Orff (give the video about 40 seconds for the music to begin).

and of course

Bach Toccata and Fugue in D Minor
posted by 4ster at 1:40 PM on December 20, 2007 [1 favorite]

Also, make sure you give Carmina Burana until 2:22. That's when all hell breaks loose.
posted by 4ster at 1:43 PM on December 20, 2007

Camille Saint-Saens - Danse Macabre

You probably couldn't go wrong checking out the Kronos Quartet. I don't know if they've ever used organ accompaniment, but their stuff usually falls quite nicely in the categories you outlined.
posted by Iridic at 1:47 PM on December 20, 2007

This CD is a personal favorite of mine, filed with the music you describe. Some of my personal faorites are Night On Bald Mountain, Peer Gynt Suite No. 1: In The Hall Of The Mountain King, The Planets: Mars - The Bringer Of War, and Mephisto Waltz.
posted by lekvar at 1:55 PM on December 20, 2007

Check out David Bowie's fabulously sinister Sense of Doubt. (youtube video; other live videos of the same song appear to show some of the actual note progression on the keyboard.) One of my favorite tracks off Heroes.
posted by scody at 2:04 PM on December 20, 2007

It's really overused and I can't recall the name of the track, but there's a technoish fast-paced track from The Matrix that has always seemed to me to be rather sinister. I imagine someone will read my comment and say, "Oh, that's ___________."
posted by WCityMike at 2:20 PM on December 20, 2007

Give "Godspeed You! Black Emperor" a try. It's hard to tell if it would be what you are looking for. Most of their songs start out very slow, simple, and beautifully then build (sometimes over the course of like 10 minutes) into very epic crescendos that usually are much faster and urgent sounding. I think they fit all of your criteria. For your particular requirements I'd recommend the (double) album "Lift your skinny fists like antennas to heaven"
posted by dujoducom at 2:23 PM on December 20, 2007

I finally found a suitable example for Godspeed You! Black Emperor

Ignore the video. This is somewhat typical, it starts a little faster than most other tracks. But I think it captures the mood and dramatic effects of many of their songs.
posted by dujoducom at 2:33 PM on December 20, 2007

Rachmaninoff's Moments Musicaux, Op. 16, No. 4
Fast, dramatic, and pretty sinister.

Chopin's Ballade No. 1 is right in line with the sombre/light moments, I think.

Whether or not this fits the bill (I think it could, though it's not as knock-your-head-off dramatic/sinister as In The Hall of the Mountain King builds to for example), everyone should listen to the Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 3 at least once because it is amazing.
Part 2 of 1st Movement
2nd Movement
3rd Movement Part 1 + Part 2
posted by dorothy humbird at 2:44 PM on December 20, 2007

I believe the Matrix song WCMike is referring to is "Clubbed to Death," but I might be wrong.
posted by dorothy humbird at 2:46 PM on December 20, 2007

It may be too recognizable for your use, but many pieces by Hans Zimmer would seem to fit the bill. There are some pieces from the recent Pirates soundtrack that use organ and are quite aggressive and bombastic, with martial undertones.

I'd second Danse Macabre, too.
posted by Kadin2048 at 3:03 PM on December 20, 2007

A lot of music that would qualify for this has fast sections but isn't necessarily entirely fast. Part of what makes it dramatic or sinister is the build-up- starting off slow and sparse while hinting at larger horrors beneath, then building in pitch and intensity until it brakes out into all-out chaos. A lot of music by Midnight Syndicate is like this.

If I had to recommend one album for this it would be Red Sparowes - Every Red Heart Shines Toward the Red Sun.
posted by baphomet at 3:48 PM on December 20, 2007

The "Am I Not Merciful" track from Gladiator might trigger a reaction in you. Does me.
posted by trinity8-director at 3:55 PM on December 20, 2007

The opening scene from Blade and the Don abandons Alice theme from 28 days later for sinister.

For dramatic and bombastic, all of Muse's Absolution tracks are available as instrumentals only on their official site. Apocalypse Please might fit the bill.
posted by gemmy at 4:12 PM on December 20, 2007

posted by The Straightener at 6:03 PM on December 20, 2007

Franz Liszt's - Totentanz (Dance of the Dead) could be up your alley.
posted by ersatz at 6:14 PM on December 20, 2007

Rachmaninov - Suite No. 2 for 2 pianos - 4th movement (Tarantella)
posted by umlaut at 6:30 PM on December 20, 2007

Phantom of the Opera!

posted by divabat at 7:22 PM on December 20, 2007

anecdote: When I was in Music class in school, we were messing with the keyboards and found that Hard Rock + Church Organ = ominous rockin' music of the kind you describe, though possibly harder. We dubbed it the "Phantom Preset" and found it funny to play classical traditional Malay music with that setting.

I know there's a section in Fur Elise where the music goes crazy and sounds like an evil genius took over the piano. It always sounds dramatic when my friends play it on the piano and I'd imagine it'd sound particularly dramatic on a church organ.
posted by divabat at 7:25 PM on December 20, 2007

dj shadow's "stem". and the cops and robbers remix of that same track adds some nice vocal samples, not going to tell you what and ruin it for you. on the same cd is "organ donor" which while not fast or dramatic, is a dope organ track. the cd is endtroducing, basically an instant classic since the day it came out.
posted by fumbducker at 7:41 PM on December 20, 2007

dorothy humbird: I believe the Matrix song WCMike is referring to is "Clubbed to Death," but I might be wrong.

That's it. Thanks, Dorothy.
posted by WCityMike at 8:31 PM on December 20, 2007

Requiem for Dream has some fabulous dramatic music. I don't own the soundtrack CD so cant speak to the quality of it but the main theme has stayed with me as a piece that makes me squirm. Still not sure if thats because of the content of the film (very dark) or the quality of the music. It certainly gets re-used alot in TV/trailers where dramatic tension is required.
posted by Ness at 2:04 AM on December 21, 2007

Oh, and although it too may be too well-known for your uses, the "wolf music" from Prokofiev's 'Peter and the Wolf' is perhaps the musical definition of sinister.

I just thought of it because it's used as the theme music for the bully in 'A Christmas Story' which is running on cable TV pretty much continuously around Christmas.
posted by Kadin2048 at 6:03 PM on December 24, 2007

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