American writer Edgar Allan Poe died 160 years ago, and yet his stories are still in print. He is often credited as the inventor of the detective story, and can certainly be counted as one of the first horror writers. We might even call him the patron saint of Goth. His work continues to inspire new adaptations: apparently Sylvester Stallone is working on a Poe biopic due out in 2011 (I can hardly wait).
And now we have Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque: a Tribute to Edgar Allan Poe on German netlabel Notariqon. This collection features 15 tracks ranging from neofolk to dark ambient, power electronics to noise. Art Abscons opens proceedings with ‘A Dream Within a Dream’, which features his trademark sonorous vocals and crystalline acoustic guitar, with Darklily guesting on backing vox. ‘The House of Usher’ is a beautiful slice of cinematic ambience, with deep synth strings, echoing percussion and sampled voices from German duo Phalanx feat the White Rabbit. This segues seamlessly into ‘Murders in the Rue Morgue’ where Iris Traumann adds a thumping house beat and ethereal vocals to take this atmospheric piece into club-friendly territory. ‘King Pest’s by Hong 8 is like Nick Cave backed by Throbbing Gristle – an attractive or alarming proposition, depending upon your point of view. And speaking of aural confrontation, the final two tracks by Ezcaton and Vulgar Disease represent a sonic equivalent of ‘Storms of Fate’ – turn the volume down before you play these two, or you’ll blow your speakers.
Available for free download from Notariqon here.