Dystopic Jukebox: Top 10 Ominous Instrumental Albums

I listen to a lot of music. I have my headphones on for the daily commute into the office, all day at work, on the commute back home, when I’m working on my own projects in the evening and whenever I go for a run. I’m plugged in for a minimum of ten hours a day…

Jeez, that doesn’t sound very healthy now I’ve calculated it all together like that.

Thing is, I’m not particularly obsessive when it comes to music. I mainly use it to block out the chatter around me as I find it difficult to read or write if I can hear conversation. As I also find it difficult to concentrate if I listen to singing, the majority of what I play is instrumental.

My Spotify playlists are full of the heaviest, darkest and most foreboding instrumental pieces I have been able to find. They’re emotionally devastating, with screeching violins and deep, rumbling cellos. For some reason this style really inspires me and I find it oddly soothing (I think it says a lot about me and my weird fascination with dystopian literature).

If you’re collating a particularly gloomy playlist or would like a soundtrack to set the tone while reading your collection of depressing novels, here are my top 10 ominous instrumental albums:

1. There Will Be Blood soundtrack by Jonny Greenwood

2. Under the Skin soundtrack by Mica Levi

3. Excavation by the Haxan Cloak

4. Without Sinking by Hildur Guðnadóttir

5. Asperities by Julie Kent

6. Form Themselves Into Streams by Richard Skelton

7. The Childhood of a Leader Soundtrack by Scott Walker

8. Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima / Popcorn Superhet Receiver / Polymorphia / 48 Responses to Polymorphia by Krzysztof Penderecki and Jonny Greenwood

9. The Road soundtrack by Nick Cave & Warren Ellis

10. The Blue Notebooks by Max Richter




Emily created Dystopic in July 2012 after requiring an outlet for her love of dystopian and apocalyptic fiction. Her debut novel 'These Unnatural Men' was published in 2018.


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