According to philosophers, there is a natural link between music and the night. Nietzsche believed that the reason for this relationship can be found at the dawn of humanity. For it was in the wild night, without the use of sight to spot danger, that hearing would have been developed. Therefore, if listening is by nature nocturnal, the same could be said to be true for the art of sound. Deleuze and Guattari said that when a frightened child sings something in the night to reassure herself, music is born. Jankélévitch also states that music is brought to life by this ‘privileged moment when forms and images sink into the indistinction of chaos’.
Yet, like her sister, colour, darkness is not one but multiple. Strange and sensual, morbid and metaphysical, she possesses an infinity of reflections, opacities and shimmers. And each gives us a perspective on chaos. There are many types of electronic music that embody the different guises adopted by darkness. Darkness has always haunted electronic music. Just listen to Varèse’s use of an ondes Martenot for his piece “Dans la nuit” (1959) for all the proof you need! Or, have you ever been to free parties? The music deserves to be listened to in this kind of end-of-the-world atmosphere, typical of the deep night.
It is a unique and valuable aesthetic experience. These tracks are not here to exorcise our fears or to conjure up vertigo, but rather to up the strangeness particular to the world at night. The magic of music lies in its ability to elevate our innermost selves and to make it bearable... This is why listening to sad music always consoles us. It is the same with darkness: through the music of dark inspiration we are able to probe into our own shadowyness, and even to find it pleasurable.
Motionless in a dark room, wandering through deserted streets, or driving on an unknown road, let yourself be frozen by Andy Stott’s macabre anthem; feel how dark energies dance to the uneven rhythms of Burial and Air Max ‘97, and the more exotic ones of Joy Orbison, Shackleton and Muslimgauze. The night is sometimes charged with anarchic and dangerous emanations (Autechre, Blawan, Rrose). Sometimes it remains empty and icy as death (Demdike Stare, Alessandro Cortini). The sorrows that cannot appear in daylight finally call out to us, beautiful, and as true as ghosts (James Blake, Abul Mogard).
After midnight, time becomes misunderstood and fantasised pasts create in us a sort of delirious nostalgia (Boards of Canada, Pye Corner Audio...). Sometimes these memories are so obscure, so distant that they resonate badly, as if the sounds themselves had been eaten away by time (Actress, Huerco S.). The house we’re in becomes ghostly (AL-90). Emanations from the future hypnotise us, gently refracted (the vapowave of 2814 and Nmesh), or thrown into sharp relief (Arpanet, Proteus).
Then comes the moment of catharsis with the majestic earthy techno of Jon Hopkins. But we must resolve to close our eyes before the daylight creeps up on us...The ambient project How to Disappear Completely’s gentle intention is to help our souls forget themselves. Their music, so sweet, so angelic, is specifically designed to help us find sleep.