Somewhere, hazily floating in the ether, is where Videodrones lie. This synth duo encompass a musical world filled with supernatural dread, dark occult doom, undead creatures just over the horizon, and unseen forces lurking in your psyche. They create musical interludes for b-movies you never saw in the late 70s and early 80s. Don’t bother looking for titles like “Blood Brew”, “Helena Markos”, or “Stalker State” because no video store has those titles. These dark musical treats were cooked up inside the two minds behind Videodrones. But if you put your head to the speaker something in your brain will click. You’ll head back in time to the darkness of the family den, lit only by the console TV screen and the Betamax player sitting on top of the wooden box from where that screen glows. Visions of Fulci, Argento, Romero, and Carpenter dance across that old Zenith making your blood run cold as you swear you saw something move outside the window. Was it a zombie? A demon? A scantily clad Italian woman being chased by a zombie demon?
When I first heard Videodrones and their debut, 2016s Mondo Ferox, I was completely taken back to my childhood of rummaging through the local video store and searching for those classic horror films magazines like Fangoria, Gore Zone, and Slaughterhouse told me I should find. This Danish synth duo tapped into a very specific musical vein. The music is familiar yet completely new and alien. They create analog dread. It’s something I can listen to late at night with headphones and get lost into some imaginary film. Fabio Frizzi, Popol Vuh, and Tangerine Dream haunt the corners of Videodrones, but they’re working on an entirely unique musical chemistry.
Given that Videodrones Mondo Ferox was one of my favorite records of 2016, I wasn’t expecting another record from them to show up on my favorite list this year. As it happens these guys were busy the last few months because they are readying a new LP called Nattens Hævn and it’s amazing. They’ve released a song from it called “Maniac City” and it’s, you guessed it, amazing.
“Maniac City” gets in and out rather quickly, but like so many musical accompaniments to those classic sci fi/horror films they pull inspiration from that’s really the point. With a mix of Bobby Beausoleil, Fabio Frizzi, and even a touch of Popol Vuh, this track lays down the heavy vibes with a doomy choir and bubbly synth. There’s a real City Of The Living Dead(the copy I watched as a kid was called The Gates Of Hell) feel here. The song adds some drum programming and we head into Brad Fiedel territory(The Terminator S/T is highly underrated, guys.) It’s a perfect mix of improvisational glee and tension-building intent. Late night fever dream soundtrack.
I try not to let nostalgia get in the way of being an objective observer of art. I don’t want childhood memories clouding my judgement, but Videodrones have dialed in just the right creepy frequency for me. It’s the best of both worlds; imagined horror soundtrack and serious improvisational noise making. It doesn’t get much better than that.
Nattens Hævn arrives the end of July through El Paraiso Records. Preorder the album here.