There’s nothing in the world I love more than music. Since my earliest memories, I have been obsessed with music and the feelings that my favorite songs cause me to experience. The effect certain works have on me, the feeling of being carried away into a whole other world on the backs of the notes themselves has always amazed me. Having listened to music for so long, I have delved into both the common knowledge genres and the deep underbellies of musical creation. From lowercase to noise music, I’ve listened to it all.
However, this story is not about me, or my love for music. Rather, this is about something I found while exploring through the world of sound.
I was scrolling through Spotify after a long day of work, in search of something new to listen to. I had been in a bit of a musical rut around that time, and found myself listening to the same handful of songs over and over. I don’t remember exactly what I had searched or what rabbit hole had led me to find this, but soon I came across an album entitled “Songs For Him," by an artist named Night Ring.
Skimming through the first few tracks revealed that it was some kind of soundscape/experimental project. There were eight tracks in total, ranging in song length from less than a minute to around nine minutes. A quick search for them on RateYourMusic came up with nothing, along with Discogs and even a simple Google search. This didn’t strike me as too odd, however, as a fair amount of heavily obscure artists put their works on Spotify in hopes of gaining some traction. What was a little off putting, though, was the album cover: A grainy picture of a young boy, probably around seven or eight, sleeping in what I assume to be his bed in a dark, barely lit room. No text, no artist or album name, just the photograph.
Curious as to what this album was, as well as being desperate for something new to listen to, I grabbed my headphones, laid down on my bed, and listened to the album front to back.
Track one, titled “Broadcast," was a one minute thirty second collage of news broadcasts, chopped up and stitched back together to form incoherent sentences. Some snippets included rather unsettling descriptions, such as “arms dismembered” and “missing her jaw."
Track two, titled “Harrow," consisted of a low buzzing noise, accompanied by infrequent tapping sounds. These sounds would range from slightly audible to loud and aggressive as the song progressed, creating a sense of dread for whenever these sounds would return.
Track three, titled “Youth," was a two minute recording of what sounded to be a bunch of children playing at a playground, although rather distant, with the occasional sound of a car driving by every so often.
Track four, titled “Memory," was a mess of different voices and sounds lasting about five minutes. From the tone of the voices, it was safe to assume they might have come from some kind of children’s programming. As for the other sounds, I couldn’t tell you.
Track five, titled “Parley," was a one minute clip of three different male persons conversing with one another. Their voices were heavily modified and edited, making them low and almost swaying, and most importantly impossible to understand.
Track six, titled “Fall," contained a nine minute piano piece. A nice change of pace from the rest of the album, it was rather peaceful and elegant, although there were some obvious wrong notes in the performance. The keys struck softly against the mostly silent background, the only other audio being the quiet sound of two people, male and female respectfully, talking with one another. Being rather hushed compared to the piano, it couldn’t be made out what they were talking about, but their voices sounded distressed and melancholic.
Track seven, titled “Near," was thirty seconds of a car driving, presumably at night due to the lack of sound outside of the roaring engine
Track eight, titled “Here," was the big finale of the album. The first two minutes consisted of someone walking down a dirt path, with the sounds of leaves crunching and twigs snapping under the person’s feet accompanying the nighttime ambiance. After this, the next two minutes encompassed the person reaching a house, climbing up the stairs, and attempting to open the door. After finding that the door was locked, the person then took a moment to lock pick it, successfully doing so and entering the home. The last three minutes was of the intruder quietly walking around the silent house, eventually reaching a door and opening it. The sound of a young boy softly snoring became present, and the intruder’s breath began to slowly get louder and louder until the song ended.
At the time, I didn’t think much of the album. Sure, it was creepy at times and certainly had an unsettling atmosphere, but it wasn’t much of a stretch from some of the other things I’ve listened to, like Stalaggh or Gnaw Their Tongues. Besides, it was just music; just a concept that someone came up with and put together to express their ideas. In short, I unsaved the album, shut off Spotify, and went to bed.
The next day was another uneventful day, until midway through work. While I was in the kitchen cooking up some mozzarella sticks and french fries, I overheard my coworkers talking to each other about something that they had seen on the news that morning. Due to it being rush hour, I wasn’t able to understand everything that had been discussed, but what I did understand was that a boy had been abducted from his home to the knowledge of his parents. Even though child abduction wasn’t anything out of the ordinary, as sick as that is, the fact that his parents had known about it and done nothing piqued my interest.
During my break, I searched up on what had happened and found an article detailing everything. Apparently, the kid’s parents had been basically stalked and harassed by a group of people until they broke and decided to give those people what they wanted: their child. Around night time a few days ago, one of the people in the group broke into their house and took the boy, much to the knowledge of his parents. When asked by police to give names and descriptions of the people in the group, they denied to do so in fear of their lives. The parents were charged with accessory to child abduction and their court hearing was scheduled in the coming days.
In the article was a picture of the victim in question. Seeing him sent off many red flags for me, as he had a striking resemblance to the boy I had seen in the album cover just yesterday. I instantly went on Spotify to see if my suspicions were correct, only to find that the album had been removed.