Soundtrack for a Dark Enlightenment: A Numinous YouTube Playlist
Thomas Ligotti once spoke of having been subject to a “craving for enlightenment in darkness” that never worked out in real life, but that he channeled into various aspects of his horror stories.
If you, like me, happen to be someone who has shared this craving with Tom, and if by chance you’re searching for some aural accompaniment to take you deeper into the shadowy and mournful soulspace of that dark awakening, then please know that the following playlist is for you. It knits together over two and a half hours of music that has been profoundly meaningful to me personally over a span of years, and that has been involved in various ways with my own authorial and existential explorations of the dark and gloomy route to transcendence. I hope it may prove meaningful to you as well.
N.B., you should wear headphones or earbuds as you listen to these tracks, or else use a speaker system with plenty of bass capability, since that’s the range where much of the texture of this particular music comes through. I put a lot of thought into the order and progression of the different tracks with their specific themes, tones, and moods, the better to create a subtly structured progression through different chambers and modes of unfolding awakening to the inward reality of the mysterium tremendum and the silent, staring void.
Because we engage with this reality from the particular conditioned state of consciousness that we call “the human point of view,” it necessarily and alternately strikes us as threatening, fearsome, exquisitely beautiful, starkly horrifying, unutterably sad, and numinously mesmerizing. Those shadings and more are all represented in this music.
- “The Host of Seraphim” by Dead Can Dance (6:19)
- “Abraham’s Theme” by Vangelis, from the soundtrack for Chariots of Fire (3:18)
- “Migrations” by Jocelyn Pook (3:45)
- “The Rocket Builder (Io Pan!)” by Jóhann Jóhannsson (6:29)
- “Heaven in a Wildflower” by Bill Douglas (4:37)
- “Trent Makes the Map” by John Carpenter and Jim Lang, from the soundtrack for In the Mouth of Madness (2:15)
- “Blood for Dracula” by Claudio Gizzi, from the soundtrack for Blood for Dracula/Andy Warhol’s Dracula
- “Masked Ball” by Jocelyn Pook (6:14)
- “Bibo No Aozora” by Ryuichi Sakamoto (7:24)
- “Broken Vows / A Prayer Of Kala Rupa / An Daorach Bheag”" by Michael Stearns, from the soundtrack for Baraka (4:43)
- “The Cave” by Damon Albarn and Michael Nyman, from the soundtrack for Ravenous (8:00)
- “Towards the Within” by Dead Can Dance (7:08)
- “Untitled #6 (a.k.a. ‘E-Bow’)” by Sigur Rós (8:50)
- “Libera Me” by Elliot Goldenthal, from the soundtrack for Interview with the Vampire (2:52)
- “In Doubt” and “A Different Drum” by Peter Gabriel, from Passion: Music for The Last Temptation of Christ (6:14)
- “Children” by David Darling (5:53)
- “Opium” by Dead Can Dance (5:45)
- “Back to the Rivers of Belief: Way to Eternity / Hallelujah / Rivers of Belief” by Enigma (10:33)
- “Saveoursoulissa” by Damon Albarn and Michael Nyman, from the soundtrack for Ravenous (8:42)
- “The Great God Pan Is Dead” by Jóhann Jóhannsson (4:47)
- “Elysium / Honor Him / Now We Are Free” by Hans Zimmer, Lisa Gerrard, and Klaus Badelt, from the soundtrack for Gladiator (8:16)
- “Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten” by Arvo Pärt (5:09)
- “Twilight Twilight Nihil Nihil” by Current93 (8:23)
- “Across the Waters” by Byron Metcalf and Mark Seelig with Steve Roach (10:38)
- “Patripassian” by Current93, featuring Nick Cave (5:52)