Saturday, October 25, 2008

A Graveyard Smash

Scientist's dub album ... Rids the World of the Evil Curse of the Vampires (reviewed below) is an ideal Halloween party album, and here's why: Dub, as a genre, already behaves like a grinning Frankenstein's monster.

Recording engineers stitch these creations together from parts of existing songs. A (usually lone) technological wizard, treating the recording studio as a laboratory, chops and severs a reggae tune. The reassembled bits are reanimated and often enhanced with sound effects that have little or nothing to do with the original work, yet make sense once the new construction breaks free from its restraints.

Obvious thematic elements aside, the self-consciously spooky Curse of the Vampires matches up nicely to the rest of the stuff any reasonable Halloween party playlist will include -- in fact, it's an ideal party closer.

After Bach's "Toccata and Fugue in D minor," the Bauhuas hits, Screamings both Jay Hawkins and Lord Sutch, Birthday Party, Nick Cave, the various garage rock nuggets, Burt Bacharach's dancefloor-filling theme from The Blob and whatever else you're spinning, cool down the drunks and please the heads by dropping the needle on Curse of the Vampires.

The low beats-per-minute and soul-soothing one-drop rhythms will gently release your guests into the night without bringing them down. And they'll call you November 1st to ask you what that record was you played right before they shuffled off to the bus stop.

Or if you're staying in on Halloween to watch movies, Curse works as an alternative soundtrack to some horror films that don't require a lot of attention from the viewer in terms of dialogue.

The album is short -- nearly 38 minutes -- so it gives the viewer enough time to watch the film as intended and establish the essential conflict. Keep an eye on the time and you can watch the remainder of the average 80 to 90 minute low-grade shocker while Scientist's top-shelf second-wave dub enhances the visuals.

The Typing Monkey recommends the living-dead melodrama White Zombie, a tale of lust and Haitian voodoo starring Bela Lugosi.