Last night I listened to an interesting new ambient music CD called Tonight of the Living Dead by 400 Lonely Things. Described in their one-sheet as “a collage of treated audio” from George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead, Tonight of the Living Dead is an eerie and moody meditation on the original film.
I am not a big consumer of ambient or experimental music, so I’ll describe what I heard on the CD in the plainest terms possible. Tonight of the Living Dead is quiet, scary music–a little like the score to a horror film. There are some samples from the film, but mostly the album seemed to be strings and keyboard effects. Now and then the music swells to something edging toward the climax of a horror-film, but other times it crests so low and subtle that you almost forget it’s there. The overall effect can be quite enjoyable and scary, if you’re patient with it.
As I listened to Tonight of the Living Dead, I was reminded of the scary sequences in David Lynch’s Inland Empire where Laura Dern is walking around dark hallways by herself for like half an hour. Yet unlike in Inland Empire–in which Lynch resorts to several cheap, jump-out-and-scare-you tricks–the mood evoked in Tonight of the Living Dead remains consistent throughout. (There are no loud, sudden orchestra-hits calculated to make you jump. Instead, Tonight of the Living Dead seeks to lull you into a pervading, quiet terror.)
I also want to note that the CD booklet contains some really cool zombie (or zombie-like) images. They may be stills from the film that have been digitally manipulated, or they may be entirely original artwork. (I can’t tell.) The point is, they’re pretty cool.
So, if you like ambient music and zombies, then Tonight of the Living Dead is probably a must-own. I’m not an ambient music fan, but I thought it was pretty neat. You can buy your own copy here.