The art of style

Computer Music - - Make Music Now / Darkwave / Goth -

The term “dark­wave” de­scribes not so much a genre, but a mood, a phi­los­o­phy, and a fash­ion sense. It en­com­passes ev­ery­thing from Soft Cell’s sleazy at­mo­spher­ics to the pseu­do­clas­si­cal stylings of In the Nurs­ery. The term is used to de­scribe ev­ery­thing from death rock out­fits like Kom­mu­nity FK and Chris­tian Death to unashamedl­y goth groups like Faith & The Muse.

As such, the in­stru­men­ta­tion used by dark­wave bands is var­ied. Drum ma­chines pre­vail, but live drum­mers are abun­dant, too. Gui­tars are some­times used in an ex­per­i­men­tal tex­ture, and melodies are of­ten pro­vided by the bass gui­tar.

Many bands draw upon synths and some acts rely wholly on elec­tronic in­stru­men­ta­tion. Synth styles range from sim­ple string pads and sam­pled choirs to thick, ana­logue tex­tures. Early groups re­lied on cheap monosynths (Korg’s MS-20 was a favourite) or cut-price poly­phonic key­boards.

His­tor­i­cally, dra­matic vo­cal styles de­fined a group’s style, from Daniel Ash’s hushed whis­per to the sepul­chral croons of Sis­ters of Mercy front­man An­drew Eldritch and Siglo XX’s Erik Dries.

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