Week 77: “Violente Valse” by Caravan Palace

Decorations. Costumes. Candy.

Halloween is a day that’s usually all about the sights and the tastes. But I find that some of the sounds of October 31st are what bring back some of my strongest childhood Halloween memories.

The sound of leaves crackling under your feet as you approach the next house…the creak of an old screen door opening…the lovely rustling sound your hand makes as it swims through a bag of individually-wrapped goodies.

And of course, in the grown-up world, every serious Halloween party host knows that getting the right spooky atmosphere requires the right spooky music. So if you’re putting together a spooky playlist for tonight, make room between “Thriller” and “Ghostbusters” for this one by French electro-jazz innovators Caravan Palace.

What makes this a beautiful/spooky song:

1. It’s a waltz . I’m not sure why, but waltzes in a minor key always seem eerie and beautiful to me. If the cast of “The Nightmare Before Christmas” invited the cast of “Amelie” to a haunted ball, this is the kind of song they’d play.

2. The slow downward slide on the upright bass at 0:55. Imagine a guillotine in slow-motion.

3. The Theremin solo at 2:20. If you’re not familiar with it, the Theremin was invented in 1920 by Leon Theremin, a Russian physicist. His initial intention was to do research into devices that would sense proximity between two objects, but at some point he must have decided it was more fun to make devices that would scare the crap out of people.  The result is one of the spookiest, weirdest instruments ever created, and possibly the only instrument you can play without touching it at all.

Recommended listening activity:

Sitting on the porch pretending to be a scarecrow.

Buy it here.