For a long time now I didn’t touch steampunk, although it is one of my favourite topics in contemporary popular culture. In case you don’t know yet, what steampunk is, have a look here.
The question, whether steampunk is an own genre of music, or not, is still widely discussed. To avoid any complications I prefer the use of the term steampunk-themed music. Anyway, it is rather the atmosphere, which makes the music “steampunk”, not the musical style itself. steampunk has a certain feel: when you hear it, you know it. The following is a list of songs that became dear to me during the last years since I am dealing with steampunk – in no particular order.
Paul Roland – Dark Carnival
Paul Roland could easily be seen as the musical father of steampunk, as he was among the pioneers who evened the way for the musicians that consider themselves connected to the steampunk movement nowadays.
“As for Paul Roland, if anyone deserves credit for spearheading steampunk music, it is him. He was one of the inspirations I had in starting my project. He was writing songs about the first attempt at manned flight, and an Edwardian airship raid in the mid-80’s long before almost anyone else….” (Joshua Pfeiffer from Vernian Process).
Ghostfire – The Last Steampunk Waltz
The term “steampunk” allows for a wide range of different musical styles usage. And what could fit more to a Neo-Victorian movement than a waltz? Ghostfire invite for a dance with their “Last Steampunk Waltz”.
Life’s Decay – Gloria
Not much of a waltz you will find in the music of French band Life’s Decay. Heavy machine sounds are the underlying structure of their electronic music. I don’t exactly know if they see themselves connected to steampunk, but their soundscape definitely allows a comparison.
Mr. Strange – Life’s a Cabaret
I found Mr. Strange by coincidence on YouTube when searching for steampunk-themed music. “Life’s a Cabaret” is a crazy piece, which should not be missing in your steampunk collection.
The Unextraordinary Gentlemen – Ants Under Glass
Not only the name of these gentlemen is extraordinary. Heavy use of classical instruments fused with post-punk and synthpop, this is how the UXG forge their own style of music.
The Tenth Stage – Francois Martin
A rather macabre piece is “Francois Martin” by The Tenth Stage, a band, which was “formed from a common interest in the darker side of mainstream culture and music”. It is a story about a guy, who killed all of his wives. The video is in the style of the steampunk short film The Mysterious Explorations of Jasper Morello.
Victor Sierra – Blood in the Skies
Compared to the United States, there is not yet so much going on considering steampunk in Europe. The band which I would call the quintessence of European steampunk is Victor Sierra from France. Their music comes like a steam hammer. Just listen to the following song, it will surely take you away on a contra-factical journey with the airship Hydrogen Queen.
The Melting Clock – I Call You Alice
For quite a while I have been in contact with Ryan Genengels, the mastermind behind the project The Melting Clock. More than a year he has been working now on his début album One Tiny Gear and lets the listeners take part in the production of his music via Facebook and YouTube. One by one the songs were published. Now the 13 songs of the album are finished and we are impatiently awaiting the final release.
The music of The Melting Clock is not so easy to describe. In a way Genengels manages to forge his own unique sound by hybridisation of several different musical genres, like psychedelic rock, ambient and noise together with electronic effects.
Vernian Process – The Alchemist’s Vision
One of the most known steampunk bands is perhaps Vernian Process. The project around Josh Pfeiffer makes an interesting mix of darkwave and cabaret. The following song is from their album Behold the Machine and by drawing the perfect atmosphere to deliver you into a “time that never was” it perfectly showcases, what steampunk is about.
The Clockwork Quartet – The Doctor’s Wife
The Clockwork Quartet distribute their music for free on their homepage. Interestingly, although they exist for quite some time now, they released only three songs. But quality goes before quantity and all those three songs are outstanding. “The Doctor’s Wife” is maybe the most steampunk song that I know.
Escape The Clouds – One Bullet
Escape the Clouds is a musical journey on an airship. It is the one-man-project of Mark Rossmore, who “tells steampunk stories through music and words” and “combines them with modern songwriting and techniques”.
Abney Park – The Wrong Side
The figurehead of the steampunk movement is definitely the band Abney Park. There was no way around mentioning them in this list. From their outfit, over to the music and their videos, everything fits the steampunk mood. Their most known song is “Airship Pirates”, but my personal favourite is “The Wrong Side”.
|The world of steampunk is developing very actively, not least through music. What is your favourite dozen? Please, feel free to use the comments below!|