Artlist Mood of the Month: Dark

Artlist mood of the month dark

Highlights

This month we’re deep-diving into our favorite dark tracks and the different ways they can be used to explore various emotions
Whether it’s love, hate, sensuality or loneliness, darkness is a widespread theme within music for videos
From punk and hardcore to indie and RnB, let your inner demons take over with these stand-out tracks
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It’s been a challenging month for many people around the world, so we’re exploring the theme of darkness and the ways in which music can enhance this mood. Darkness is a well-loved theme within art and always has been. Classical composers were constantly referencing death and the afterlife, while writers like Edgar Allen Poe and Bram Stoker made their names by navigating the dark sides of humanity. Darkness has always been a popular theme in films, too – think The ShiningBlack SwanOldboy. Darkness remains a prominent mood within the arts today, especially in light of the events of the last 2 years. Our catalog of artists is also drawn to dark themes, so here are some of their top dark tracks…

Sensual

OMW by Jane & The Boy

There’s a dark side to sensuality – just look at Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless MindThe LobsterDonnie Darko. They all explore the sinister side of love and have become cult classics. “OMW” is a powerful song by Jane & The Boy that will make the perfect soundtrack to a scene or project that aims to evoke high drama, romantic tension and a ton of sensuality.

In this video, British influencer and model Olivia Attwood promotes her latest fashion collaboration with high street brand I Saw It First. In the video, Olivia models her clothes in a range of locations – a golf course, a hairdresser, a tennis court. All the while, she evokes confidence, femininity and sensuality, enhanced by the thumping electro-pop track.

Technology

Punk’d by Out of Flux

If you’re yet to experience the dark side of technology, just grab some popcorn and watch Fifth ElementI, Robot or Blade Runner. For decades, film directors have made bleak predictions that technology will take over the world, leaving humans in its wake. And if you’d like to follow suit, cinematic/electronic track “Punk’d” by Out of Flux is a fantastic way to bring tension and atmosphere into your technology-themed film or project.

Technology YouTube channel Unbox Therapy used “Punk’d” in a vlog covering a collaboration between ASUS and Alan Walker. The track adds a sense of thrill and tension, emphasizing themes of progression and potential.

Mysterious

Defiance by DELNOVA

What’s more exhilarating than an unsolved problem? If you’d like to harness a sense of mystery in your film, check out “Defiance” by DELNOVA. The duo uses acoustic drums, percussion, and synths to build tension and create a perfect track for any movie’s dramatic climax.

“Defiance” was used to promote DJI’s Mavic 3, a drone designed to break creative barriers and raise the bar for drone photography. Accompanied by a voice-over, the track adds suspense to high-energy demonstrations of the drone in action as it follows a motorcyclist at break-neck speed. The result doesn’t just promote the high-performance level of the drone but makes the viewer want in on the action.

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Hardcore

Boxes” by Wes Harris

This is a powerful, tense track seemingly tailor-made to depict the most hardcore scenes in a movie, from fight sequences to car chases to dramatic altercations. A mixture of hip-hop, rock and indie, this track is ideal for any creator who wants to add a touch of vitality and bravado to their production.

The North Face clearly agree. They used Harris’ track in a video titled VERSATILE, which depicts the way athletes move in the mountains. The track accompanies snowboarders, skiers and free-jumpers as they scale crevasses, glide down slopes, clamber up ice walls and paraglide over the world’s most jaw-dropping landscapes.

Elegant

Bold by Faith Richards

There’s a dark side to elegance too – just look at Kill BillJames Bond or Molly’s Game. In her track “Bold,” Artlist favorite Faith Richards showcases the sinister side of elegance, with deep basslines that enhance the dark, sexy side of the mood. This track is perfect for highly-charged scenes in the bedroom or the dance floor.

Nespresso Korea used the track in an Instagram advert for their latest coffee machine, Vertuo. They channeled the energy and elegance of Richards’ track by displaying the smooth technology of the machine alongside the sleek, silky coffee. It’s not the first time Nespresso used this theme to showcase their coffee. Their adverts with co-owner George Clooney were elegance personified.

Nightlife

Noche de Berlin by Alejandro Molinari

This is the ultimate track to soundtrack the underbelly of cosmopolitan nightlife and the fascinating, hidden world of club culture. The dark disco production is full of synths, snares and hi-hats that create a thumping, meditative track with robotic vocals to build a sense of hedonism and depravity.

The track was used in A City Repurposed – Berlin: Changemakers to depict the energy of Berlin nightlife in the 90s, just as the wall fell down and the city became reunified. Molinari’s track helps showcase the lawlessness and freedom of that time, especially within club culture. It is used alongside footage of wild, strobe-lit nights that have gone down in history as one of the most energizing times in nightlife culture.

Intense

Chaos at the Spaceship by Out of Flux

Intensity is a theme that prevails in all sorts of genres, including rom-com, action films, thrillers and horror movies. Music tends to glue these scenes together, often without the audience even realizing it. “Chaos at the Spaceship” by Out of Flux is one of those tracks – it builds tension and creates an atmosphere without dominating, meaning the viewer can get swept away by the music while not losing focus on the action within a scene.

Gran Turismo 7 included the track in their Playstation Showcase trailer in 2021. The video uses a combination of animated and real-life cars speeding around race tracks, sometimes from the driver’s viewpoint and sometimes from the spectator. The track adds energy and pace to the video, contributing to the sense of action and immersing the viewer in the experience.

Wrap up

There’s a dark side to almost every work of art, whether it’s video, dance, theatre or music. It can be challenging to depict a dark mood within a scene, but these tracks are designed to draw emotion out of visuals and immerse the viewer in elegance, intensity, mystery and mysticism. Whether it’s hip hop, trance, hardcore or RnB, darkness can be depicted with any genre. And Artlist’s broad range of music means you’ll have no trouble finding the perfect track.

Find music even faster by filtering out unwanted moods with our ‘Exclude’ feature. Read this article to learn more.

Looking for more inspiration? Then check out last month’s Mood of the Month: Love.

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Alice Austin is a freelance writer from London. She writes for Mixmag, Beatportal, Huck, Dummy, Electronic Beats, Red Bulletin and more. She likes to explore youth and sub-culture through the lens of music, a vocation that has led her around the world. You can contact and/or follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

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