Post-apocalyptic Music (ideas anyone?)

I’m not sure what got me thinking about it, but this morning I was wondering what musical genre (or even just song) really defines post-apocalyptic cinema.  In the 1980s, when post-apocalyptic was synonymous with “bitchin’ nuclear mutant party”, New Wave was king.  It seemed like every apocalypse movie had some Devo knock-off (hell, or sometimes even Devo) on the soundtrack.  As a HUGE New Wave fan (and “heavy” New Wave musician in Volumen) really enjoyed that, but it didn’t feel authentic to me.  I mean, something tells me the end of the world (despite everything REM has told us) isn’t going to be fun.

So… if not New Wave, then what?  Maybe  late 80s/early 90s industrial?  There’s definitely something bleak and dark about industrial music.  Or.. maybe that’s because I’m not a huge fan.  I could just never get into Skinny Puppy and Einsturzende Neubauten.  Although, it’s been a long time, so I should give it another shot, I guess.  (NOTE: for some reason, I like to “discover” music after everyone else has moved on.  I never like it at the “right” time.)  The musical aesthetic of Industrial definitely fits… hmm… even the goofy fashion aspect of early 90s industrial makes sense.  We might be onto something here, but where are we going to get all the sequencers, drum machines and whatnot?

Hmm.. with that in mind, maybe the apocalypse would be better scored with Pierre Schaeffer’s Musique concrète?  That makes sense in many ways.  I mean, I guess we aren’t going to have a whole lot of instruments to work with.  Hell, we’ll be lucky if we have anything to record our jams onto.  I’m assuming that computers and hard drives will be fried from all the magnetic energy of the nuclear explosion (err… something like that anyway).  Back to analog, I guess.  I probably should go bury a reel-to-reel in my backyard, just to be safe.

Oh crap, I just followed this thread a little further and realized what we’re probably going to be dealing with, musically, in the post-apocalyptic age.  I’ll help you visualize it.  A bunch of dirty dudes in tattered filthy clothing, coming together around the bonfire to celebrate and connect with music.  They don’t have guitars, keytars or saxophones, but they do have empty trash cans, buckets, rocks and sticks.  So, they just let it all hang out and really get their jam on.  What does that sound like to you?  Yup, you guessed it.  Freaking drum circles.  Draaaaag.  Make sure and hide some hacky sacks in your post-apocalypse cache.

Future Kill

From the cover of Future Kill I didn’t know what to expect. Actually, the cover of the copy I got was made of lined paper. But the regular cover looks like a Giger painting. Anyway, I figured it would be aliens and junk. Instead, it was like a cross between Revenge of the Nerds and Road Warrior or something. I thought it was pretty bitchin. Here is my guess on the origins of the film.
It’s the 80’s, DEVO is huge. A couple of geeky kids from Athens want to make a movie. Not only that, but they want to get back at all the fraternity kids who’ve pushed them around. Why not put a bunch of new wavers in the film and have them kick the crap out of a bunch of jocks and preps? Sounds brilliant to me. This movie also had a little gratuitous nudity, which always helps. This movie also had new wave bands up the ass. I mean really good ones. I swear, one of the chicks was the chick from X.
Anyway, rent this movie. Splatter (the villain) is rad, and i think it’s pretty subtle in its ridicule of the Greek system. Of course, Smokey and the Bandit was too cerebral for me.
You know, this movie may or may not be post-apocalyptic… but it is in the future and people dress like new wavers and road warriors. Let’s say I just relax my standards and make it count…

Future-Kill (1985) Starring: Edwin Neal, Marilyn Burns Director: Ronald W. Moore
Future-Kill (1985) Starring: Edwin Neal, Marilyn Burns Director: Ronald W. Moore

Note: This original review was written sometime during 1996-1997, when I was a drunken, twenty-something nincompoop.  I am no longer that person.  Or, that is to say, I am in my thirties now. 😉