Mixtape Alert: The Vanishing House


I’m delighted to announce the release of The Vanishing House, a two-hour collection of dark ambient and experimental offerings.

This release marks a long-overdue revival of a beloved annual ritual: the Halloween mixtape. I’ve been too busy with original music projects these last few years to produce a mixtape as well, but this year I made sure to find the time. My first three Halloween mixtapes were Dead Punks (2007), a tribute to early goth; You’ve Been Sick (2009), a love letter to asylum horror; and Pray For Death (2010), dedicated to religious horror and possessions.

The theme this time around is ghosts and haunted houses.

I’ve discovered a great deal of fantastic new dark ambient and experimental music since my last Halloween mixtape, and in that time I’ve also found that I’ve developed a strong taste for ghost ambient, an ethereal offshoot of dark ambient. This dovetails wonderfully with the haunted house theme.

I’ve also found that I’m no longer interested in layering multiple songs and movie samples together, those complex mash-ups that dominated my earlier mixes. While I did rely on a single movie sample for the intro track, this time around I decided to let each song speak for itself, in its own context. This allows for a chillier, sparser landscape, perfect for headphone listening or listening in a quiet room. (Exceptions to this rule are tracks with “(overlay)” in their titles, in which I layered together a handful of songs from the same album.)

Finally, I included a few orchestral and chamber music pieces from my library that lent themselves nicely to the theme, giving the mix a lovely organic quality notably lacking from previous collections.

Haunted house movies employ surprisingly dynamic audio landscapes, swaying wildly from whispers and creaks to distorted spells of screaming and wailing. I’ve tried to capture both ends of this spectrum in The Vanishing House, as well as cover a fair amount of ground in between. For example the opening track, a ghost’s pensive soliloquy, dissolves among the mournful, distant cries of Nurse With Wound’s The Grave and Beautiful Name of Sadness. Then Akt. One from the The Memory Surface, Nurse’s quietly devastating collaboration with Andrew Liles, continues the softer theme: scratched records, a muted harp, singing heard from another room.

But soon we enter Araphel’s terrifying screamer Evocation of the Wicked, plucked from one of the most unnerving albums I’ve come across in years. Then we’re back to more scratchy old records, distant atmospherics, and pensive orchestral jitters, the mix falling almost completely silent for moments at a time. And then on to more confrontational pieces, and so on. Back and forth.

It’s every DJ’s prerogative to slip a few of his own tracks into his mixtapes, and this DJ is no exception. It’s obvious now that I’ve been producing ghost ambient music this whole time without fully realizing it, so it felt natural to toss in a few songs of my own (more of which are available here). I’m also delighted to feature three tracks by their teeth to points, an indie outfit fronted by a freakishly interesting man with whom I’ve been lucky enough to cross paths a few times. And of course it wouldn’t be a Halloween mixtape without Nurse With Wound and Andrew Liles, probably my favorite collaborative duo ever.

This is the longest mixtape I’ve ever done, clocking in at almost 135 minutes. (Nine years of collecting new music has a way of catching up with you!) The final mix fell together much faster than I had anticipated, and I’m still surprised at how well these songs compliment and challenge each other. I couldn’t be happier with the final result. I hope you enjoy it!

Track list:

  1. Ruth Wilson – I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House (000:00)
  2. Nurse With Wound – The Grave and Beautiful Name of Sadness (Lumb Mix) (002:59)
  3. Nurse With Wound – Akt. One (009:09)
  4. Jason Herrboldt – Lady Willowthorn and Professor Lemon Vanish into Thin Air as Santa Claus Hides in the Phonograph (016:30)
  5. Vladimir Ussachevsky – Line of Apogee (Part 1) (019:24)
  6. Araphel – Evocation of the Wicked (023:30)
  7. Krzysztof Penderecki & London Symphony Orchestra – Capriccio for Violin and Orchestra (029:26)
  8. their teeth to points – markov chain 7 (035:24)
  9. Jason Herrboldt – Regera Dowdy’s Ghost at the Balustrade Overlooking the Empyrean Diamond Ballroom (037:05)
  10. Nurse With Wound – Akt. Two (041:19)
  11. Lustmord – Heresy Part II (048:15)
  12. Andrew Liles – The Ether Reel (055:47)
  13. Nurse With Wound – Untitled (Soliloquy for Lilith Part 2) (058:30)
  14. Jonny Greenwood – There Will Be Blood (Overlay) (066:13)
  15. Melek-Tha & Corona Barathri – Mystical Doctrine (069:05)
  16. Jason Herrboldt – The Levitating Innkeeper’s Misanthropy (Dead Children on the Radio Mix) (077:36)
  17. Andrew Liles – An Un World (086:19)
  18. Climax Golden Twins – Untitled (Track 6 of Dream Cut Short in the Mysterious Clouds) (090:23)
  19. Berliner Philharmoniker feat. conductor Jonathan Nott – Apparitions: II. Agitato (091:35)
  20. Jake Freeman – Attic (093:55)
  21. Jake Freeman – The House (96:21)
  22. Cyclobe – Genuis Loki (096:48)
  23. Coil – Untitled (CD 2, track 2 of ANS) (100:28)
  24. Jason Herrboldt – Regera Dowdy’s Ghost in the Arboretum in the Creeping Moonless Night (105:08)
  25. irr. app. (ext.) – Annihilation Operator (107:58)
  26. their teeth to points – they learned how to make tools out of bone and waited (112:48)
  27. Mica Levi – Under the Skin (Overlay) (118:13)
  28. Ray Harman – A Dark Song (Overlay) (123:20)
  29. their teeth to points – his head is turning to yarn (127:12)
  30. Andrew Liles – Dissolved (Te Whare Ao Aitu) (131:33)

~ ~ ~

A very special thanks to the sound crew that worked on I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House (2016). I used Ruth Wilson’s opening monologue for the mixtape introduction, and it sets the mood beautifully.

As always, thank you dafont.com for the cover art font, and TwistedWave for the fantastic audio editing tools.

Happy Halloween 2019! 🎃

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