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Dark cabaret

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Dark cabaret

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Dark cabaret is a music genre that has influences from German cabaret, burlesque, vaudeville, folk, punk, deathrock, gothic rock and darkwave music styles, as well as Film noir.

Dark cabaret is characterized by driving piano and by deep female or male vocals influenced by the style of Kurt Weill, Marlene Dietrich, Alexander Vertinsky, Cole Porter, Danny Elfman, Nina Hagen, PJ Harvey, Tom Waits, Tom Lehrer, Nick Cave, and even Roxy Music/Brian Eno. Alternatively, the music may center around another instrument such as the cello or accordion, or even the voice.



Perhaps the earliest stage of the modern dark cabaret genre dates back to 1974, when Nico released her album, The End. Her songs, "You Forgot To Answer" and "Secret Side" were much ahead of the Dark Cabaret sound which was to come. Marc Almond also was an early contributor to this direction. The Virgin Prunes bordered the sound at times, and Nina Hagen's punk opera style closed in on it further; but it was Rozz Williams, the former lead singer of Christian Death, who took the style in a more fully cabaret and darker direction a decade later. His release with Gitane Demone, Dream Home Heartache in 1995 on Triple X Records (an allusion to a song by Roxy Music) was perhaps the foundation for a new sound in the goth movement. The songs "Christian Circus Joe" and the jazzier "Psychic Sarah" also appeared by the Sex Gang Children in 1997, demonstrating the cabaret-style infusion into a slowly evolving post-punk art goth sound. Lydia Lunch also regularly produces work which falls into this category, most notably on her 1980 album, Queen of Siam.

San Francisco-based chanteuse Jill Tracy released Diabolical Streak in 1999 which quickly garnered two California Music Award nominations, as well as the SIBL international Grand Prize for songwriting. Diabolical Streak was hailed by Canada's Shift Magazine as one of the "Top 10 Neo-Cabaret albums of all time."

Also San Francisco-formed band Rosin Coven create their own style of theatrical cabaret with macabre tunes of goth-appeal atmosphere and make bizarre performances with Jill Tracy and other musicians on Edwardian Ball - show in memory of Edward Gorey.

Nicki Jaine (album "Of Pigeons and Other Curiosities" and single Revue Noir, her collaboration with chief of Projekt label, Sam Rosenthal) and Amoree Lovell (especialy demo songs "Dark Town Sally" and "High Maintenance/Low Tolerance") are also striking examples of the genre. Katzenjammer Kabarett once referred to themselves as "deathrock cabaret", to which Two Ton Boa might also belong, but have recently changed their self-description to "post-punk cabaret" in recognition of their wideley varying incorporations.

Danny Elfman's dark cabaret influence is especially noted in his scores and character voices in the films The Nightmare Before Christmas, Chicago, and Tim Burton's Corpse Bride.

London cabaret act, the Tiger Lillies, have implemented dark themes and imagery, but do not typically convey a dark sound. Nonetheless, A Gorey End, their 2003 release featuring the Kronos Quartet and posthumous lyrical contributions from Edward Gorey, helped to create a greater awareness of the uprising genre by earning a Grammy nomination.

The most recent act to surface and solidify this style are The Dresden Dolls. In September 2005, Projekt Records released a compilation called A Dark Cabaret [1] featuring 'Coin-Operated Boy' by The Dresden Dolls, 'Evil Night Together' by Jill Tracy and 'Flowers' by the late Rozz Williams.


(including artists from related genres (Punk cabaret, Punk opera, Neo-burlesque, Gothic Ragtime, Vaudeville, Apocalyptic folk, Neo-folk, Psych folk) and influential predecessors)

Abby Travis
Alexander Vertinsky
Marc Almond
Amoree Lovell
Antony and the Johnsons
Beat Circus
Belladonna 9ch
Charming Hostess
Cinema Strange
Circus Contraption
Clara Engel
Clare Fader
Danny Elfman
Das Ich (2006: Cabaret (LP) era)
Death In October
Devendra Banhart
The Dresden Dolls
Eastside Sinfonietta
Faun Fables
Gitane Demone
Gogol Bordello
Hannah Fury
Jason Webley
Jill Tracy
Katzenjammer Kabarett
Kitten On The Keys
Klaus Nomi
Kurt Weill
Lily's Puff
Lydia Lunch
Man Man
Marilyn Manson (The Golden Age of Grotesque era)
Marlene Dietrich
Morgan Grace
Natassja Noctis
Nicki Jane
Nina Hagen
Novy Svet
PJ Harvey
Reverend Glasseye
Revue Noir
Rosin Coven
Rozz Williams
Sex Gang Children
Sopor Aeternus & The Ensemble of Shadows
The Deadfly Ensemble
The Hellblinki Sextet
The Slow Poisoners
The Tiger Lillies
The Virgin Prunes
The World//Inferno Friendship Society
Tom Lehrer
Tin Hat Trio
Two Ton Boa
Ute Lemper
Voltaire (musician)
Xyra & Verborgen

Record labels

  • Projekt Records

External links

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Music Sound, v. 2.0, by MultiMedia

This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.

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