In a previous blog, I tried to make the case that dark ambient music was a variant on New Age music with a darker aesthetic. “Dark orchestral” is a sub-set of dark ambient, with more of a “classical” sound and sometimes semi-operatic vocals. What it shares in common with more typical New Age music is its complete lack of any standard song structure. The music is built up out of overlapping sound layers rather than beginning and ending according to a set order or melody.
I picked this particular dark orchestral piece to showcase this week because it is paired with a series of paintings by my favorite artist, the Polish surrealist Beksinski. Actually, I think the art world only describes Beksinski as a surrealist because they want to be able to fit him into a term they're already comfortable with. Beksinki's work isn't all that similar to real Surrealists like Dali or Magritte. There's nothing random about Beksinki's images. Instead, they look like nearly photo-realistic renditions of some alternate reality Beksinski has personally witnessed.
Beksinski never even gave titles to any of his paintings, preferring to number them instead rather than give the false impression of providing some clue to the “meaning” of the work by naming it. He always insisted that the paintings were simply literal illustrations of the things he saw in his own mind- a thought I find vaguely disturbing in much the same way as this beautiful piece of dark ambient music.