Blood Beats: Casting a Deadly Spell with Harglow
Blood Beats is a new series examining the intersection of music and horror. Different authors take a closer look at artists, albums, and songs taking inspiration from the genre we celebrate, and at movies deeply influenced by music. We hope to give some additional exposure to these films and bands – and to give you some new favorites for your playlist.
Late last year, I received an email from one of my favorite record labels describing a few of their upcoming releases. Nestled among the marketing info and lust-eliciting pictures of limited-edition vinyl LPs was something that immediately grabbed my attention and refused to let go. The description said:
The songs contained on this record were originally discovered on two 1/4” tape reels with a single word written on them: “Harglow.” These tapes were initially discovered during the estate liquidation of an affluent, yet eccentric gentleman believed to be highly involved in the occult.
Based on additional material found along with the tapes, the sounds collected on this record appear to have been used as a soundtrack for the man’s grotesque rituals; the original musicians are unknown. Notebooks and additional articles were also found that could point to connections to a larger occult involvement. This has yet to be confirmed.
As soon as this mysterious record went on sale, I ordered a copy. Then, the wait began. Between the time I ordered the LP and its arrival, I quickly consumed Shudder’s series Deadwax, which concerns the search for a one-of-a-kind and supposedly cursed record referred to as “the Lytton lacquer,” as well as their podcast Video Palace, which tells the tale of a dimly-remembered video store, and the strange and sinister “white tapes” connected to it.
My mind ran away with the possibilities. Was the Harglow LP somehow related to the Lytton lacquer? Was some sort of eldritch horror forcing its way into analog media in our workaday world? Was I taking my sanity, or even my life, into my own hands?
When the album arrived and I dropped the needle, I was instantly taken by the dark, throbbing electronic pulse of the record. Thankfully, I survived…
Fast-forward a few months and a good friend and I were on a road trip, heading from Austin to Dallas for Texas Frightmare Weekend. I was playing DJ while my friend drove, and in addition to Anton Maiovvi’s incredible soundtrack to Can Evrenol’s Housewife, I played the Harglow album. As the songs progressed, dark and menacing clouds drifted our way in wave after wave. The sky took on an unearthly green tint, and my friend turned to me with a slightly worried look in his eyes. “Did you plan it this way?” he asked.
I hadn’t planned any of it…
Later that night, after we’d safely arrived at the hotel where the convention was held, my friend and I were hanging around outside, catching up with friends both old and new. From across the patio, something caught my eye. Someone I’d never met before was holding a copy of the Harglow record. I tapped my buddy on the shoulder, bringing his attention to this strange coincidence.
My curiosity getting the better of my natural introversion, I made my way over to this stranger and struck up a conversation. To my surprise, not only was he familiar with Harglow–he was part of the band.
While the rest of the weekend passed in a blur, we did exchange information so that we could follow up with a conversation. I had to know more…
What follows on the next page is my interview with Eric Gorman, Colin Nance, and Ryne Bratcher, the dark masterminds behind the haunting sounds of Harglow…