According to legend, inspiration came when Spoq was hiking alone deep in the woods of the High Tatra Mountains in Slovakia, looking for some fresh air and rest from the permanent insanity in the smoky basement studio. When the weather turned abruptly into a heavy rainstorm as it does there especially often at this time in autumn, he found refuge in an old, abandoned shed. Waiting for the storm to be over he ate some berries and mushrooms he collected earlier. However, the rain clouds wouldn't move and it was also getting dark, so he decided to stay overnight and lit a fire. As the inside of the shed became illuminated he noticed that on the back wall towards the mountain, behind a bunch of old, half rotten wooden beams the entrance to a cave was hidden. Being nosy and with no internet connection on his phone to post selfies on Instagram he decided to check it out. The wooden beams were heavy and old, but with some effort he could remove just enough to have a small opening, big enough for a person to climb through.
Spoq was excited! He felt like an explorer in a cheesy Hollywood movie. So he turned on his mobile to use as a flash light, but thought that it wouldn't really fit the style of the situation and instead made a torch out of a branch. When he held the torch into the cave entrance a soft and cold wind blew the flames around. A sound like a distant, haunting voice resonated in his eardrums. Sure! That's so cliche! Of course it's just the wind blowing through cracks in the rock. Outside heavy lightning flashed and thunder sent vibration through everything around him, while the storm shook the trees without mercy. Spoq entered the cave.
The ceiling was so low, he couldn't even stand up. Thinking he was lucky not to suffer from claustro- and / or arachnophobia and especially not being superstitious at all, he still felt a little uncomfortable and creeped out.
Was that some sort of primal fear? Bah! There's nothing supernatural in a stupid, abandoned cave somewhere in the woods. Worst thing he could find there was a bunch of unhappy badgers.
After a few steps, rather crawling than walking and being completely he was completely covered in dust and cobwebs. The cave opened up into a room the size of a little chapel. It smelled really badly like mold and rotten organic material. Spoq held up the torch to see better, but a sudden wind gush blew it out. Frustrated, he dropped it on the floor and reached for his mobile, but suddenly realized a faint, pulsating turquoise glow on the floor in the center of the little room. Outside the storm was raging, wind and thunder almost felt like an earthquake. Water was dripping from the ceiling, drip...drip...dripping into a small man made pool, carved into the rock in the ground. This is where the faint glow came from. What the...?
Spoq crouched down to have a closer look and as he peaked over the edge of the pool, he realized it was a swarm of glowing fish. Some kind of bio luminescence? Never seen or heard anything like that. The fish were swimming around nervously, back and forth, when Spoq all of a sudden heard a strange scratching noise next to him...actually way too unpleasant and close to be good news. He jumped up, turned on the flashlight of his phone and looked around. The source of the noise stared right at him, showing a row of sharp teeth, hissed and then ran away towards the soft glimming of the fire still burning outside of the cave. Well, there's that stupid badger! Spoq turned the light to the pool, but the fish could not be seen anymore. What is this place? He looked around and to his surprise the cave was furnished with a desk, a shelf full of books, some kitchen utensils a little fire pit with a chimney. So that's how the wind got in here! Everything looked like it had been here for at least a hundred years. It was all in a really bad condition, moldy, rotten, partly eaten by worms. He grabbed a book from the shelf, but it immediately fell apart. He could only read a few letters, but didn't speak Slovakian very well. As he opened the drawer to the desk he found a bunch of old letters or notes. Again he cursed himself for being ignorant and not having learned the language. He was just a stupid tourist, not an explorer. Well at least be a good tourist and don't destroy any historical artifacts. Who knows what this place is? One page contained a faint drawing of some weird cylindrical device with a few evil looking symbols drawn next to it. Cliché- Evil- Dead- Style, you know! That's what he thought to himself, not to give in to the creepiness of the whole situation. Spoq was not superstitious as I said...well, not yet.
Loud thunder! Night had completely fallen outside and the storm was not slowing down. In the distance outside he heard wolves howling. Wolves! Yeah right! More clichés! Well actually, that's also not unusual at this time of the year. Nosy as he was, he carefully looked through all the cabinets until he finally discovered a small but quite heavy chest. It was locked, but apparently the lock got so rusty from all the humidity in the cave, that it basically just broke without him even touching it. Spoq slowly opened the chest. Inside he found a surprisingly well kept small version of a device that looked like Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville's Phonautograph. He immediately recognized it from the drawing on the page in the desk drawer. So this is one of the fist record players in history! Wow! It had to be at least 130 years old. He saw something like it in a museum in Paris before, so he knew all he had to do is turn the crank handle in order to make the funnel transmit the frequencies and hear the recording and if it works like it looks...
Spoq hesitated. This room and everything in it had undeniable historic value. I shouldn't touch anything! I should take some photos, take the GPS data and contact the local museum or something. But wait...maybe I'm the first person to hear this recording after a really long time! That's way too exciting! Maybe I can sample it and make some Kontakt (software sampler, f.y.i.) sound set out of it to use in a new track. I can't leave here without having listened to this. He put the device on the desk and sat on the chair in front of it. He fixed the mobile phone on the tabletop and started carefully turning the crank handle. At first only the mechanical sounds of the rusty joints were sounding awful. Then the cylinder started to vibrate, emitting the sound waves of the recording to spread in the room, being reflected on the walls of the cave and resonating Spoq's eardrums in a way he never experienced before. At first it was the muffled, distorted sound of a man mumbling a few words in an unknown language. Sounded like "Erff! Tron! Burftum!" Then more voices tuned in! They spoke, they screamed, they sang all at once in a truly horrifying cacophony. At some point he thought he even heard wolves howling. It seemed to get louder and louder. He wanted it to end, but he couldn't stop playing it. It was like he had a cold force touching his mind and using it to remote control his hands to keep turning. Thunder was rumbling and shaking the ground, wolves were howling, people were screaming and then he started to scream too, turning the handle faster and faster, which made the pitch higher, the sounds louder. All of a sudden he felt a cold wind and a gush of water blowing at his back. He looked around slowly, still being unable to stop screaming or turning. He didn't believe his eyes! The light in the pool was glowing and pulsating really bright and slowly a mean looking Wolf came climbing out of the water. What the hell? How did that animal get in there? What is happening!? I'm dead! The wolf stared at him. Water dripped out of its fur. It exposed its fangs, truly threatening him, but not coming closer, giving him a message that could not be misunderstood: Yes, Spoq, you're dead!
But it wouldn't end there. Another wolf climbed out of the pool, and another one, and another one, and another one...and another one...and another one...the pack gathered around Spoq. Ready to attack! Both the voices of Spoq and of the phonautograph were to a pitch of shrieking frequencies. The loudness and tension were unbearable. Spoq stared into the seven pairs of green glowing eyes around him, he saw the first wolf's muscles tense up and then everything happened too fast to comprehend. The last thing he saw was long, sharp bloody teeth digging into his face.
The flashlight went off, because the battery of mobile phone was empty. Spoq jumped up! It was dead silent and completely dark. What happened? His whole body was trembling, his breathing heavy. He felt absolutely exhausted, cold. It took him a while before he could move again. He looked around, but couldn't see anything. Not even the glowing fish in the pool were there. He tried to navigate through the room and finally found the exit to the shed. Bumping his head a bunch of times on the low ceiling he slowly moved towards the last glowing ashes of the fire he made earlier. The storm was over so he stepped outside and while he saw the first signs of dawn at the horizon his body gave in and he passed out on the wet moss.
Something was pulling his arm. Spoq opened his eyes slowly, blinded by bright sunshine. Again he felt something pulling his arm. He turned around still like in a dream and looked into the pointy eyes of the badger. Oh no, not you again! He grabbed a pine cone and threw it at the animal. The badger hissed and ran away into the cave entrance and disappeared. Spoq stared after him for a while. Was I tripping? Was it the berries, the mushrooms or maybe some swamp gas inside that cave? A sound like a distant, haunting voice resonated in his eardrums, like the wind blowing through the cave.
No! He got up as fast as he could, packed all he had into his backpack and hiked away as fast as he could. How he got back out of the High Tatra mountains he can barely remember. The train took him home slowly for almost two days, but it seemed like a blink to him. Until he got back to the studio the only thing he could think about is the haunting, disturbing experience he had in the cave. He never told anyone about where it is, or about what he found and what he saw as he doesn't want anybody to become nosy and start looking for it. He never found out who lived there, whose recording this was, what happened there and what it all means. On one hand he wishes to forget, on the other he can not rest his spirit over this experience. The wolves and the voices are still haunting him every day.
"Wolf Pack" was inspired by these events. The album is available here on Bandcamp exclusively.
released January 13, 2013
(c) Wolfram Gruss, all right reserved. May not be distributed or copied unless explicitly granted! Do not use this music in your video production without permission!