HYPNOTICA – Composition For Theremin And Electronic Music Synthesizer, is the fourth album from Melbourne based duo The Night Terrors. 

Featuring the haunting theremin melodies of Miles Brown alongside Sarah Lim’s vintage horror synthesisers, The Night Terrors have earned a reputation as one of Australia’s most unique and original musical acts. They are also one of the only bands in the world to compose and release original music albums featuring theremin as a lead instrument. 

Following the success of their celebrated 2014 pipe organ record Pavor Nocturnus, the band went on hiatus, with Brown releasing two solo albums on legendary UK movie soundtrack label Death Waltz. Now, HYPNOTICA sees The Night Terrors return as an all-electronic duo, delivering a deeply cinematic album of haunting emotional electronics. 

HYPNOTICA spotlights the unique expressive capacities of the theremin, the world’s oldest and most mysterious electronic instrument. The result is a breakthrough album which establishes the theremin as a transcendent musical medium for the processing of universal heartbreak and the expression of contemporary existential terror. HYPNOTICA is Brown’s most compelling theremin work to date.

From Miles Brown: 
Hypnotica marks a stylistic and thematic shift from the previous Night Terrors output. After working with the pipe organ for our last album Pavor Nocturnus, we found ourselves suddenly playing in a lot of churches. The theremin and pipe organ combination was musically great, especially seeing that the beautiful acoustics and atmosphere in these ritual community spaces were so congruent to the soaring emotional capacity of the instrument. 

I started to think about the function of ritual music and how it facilitates the processing of (and passage through) big emotional life events. Participating in ritual music can act as a vessel for the expression and projections of tough feelings through singing, listening and being swept away by feelings in a special dedicated space. 

At the same time, we started to experience some resistance from some factions within these religious communities who were concerned that our music was somehow inappropriate for their instruments and spaces. There was even a suggestion that our music was somehow satanic in nature. This got me thinking about the ghostly voice of the theremin and how it has traditionally occupied a ‘difficult’ place in music, yet we were finding it seemed particularly at home expressing difficult feelings in a mystical spiritual context. 

Personally, the last few years has been a big emotional time, with many important people in my life passing on. There are so many complex emotions around grief – loss, sadness, heartbreak, the celebration of memory and the yearning of fond remembrance. All of which boil down to essential expressions of love. Gothic music has always involved a certain amount of morbid fascination, drama and romanticism. The idea of a musical Requiem started to materialise. 

To play the theremin well, one enters a semi meditative state. If you’re lucky you can meld with the instrument to a point where it feels like you’ve handed over control and someone else is playing with your hands. The magical ethereal interface of the theremin can be quite mysterious. This raises ideas of about musical mediumship, the channelling of musical ideas and the possessive qualities of entering a creative flow state. 

The Night Terrors is named after a sleep disorder and our previous album and song titles have often expanded on sleep-related themes. This time we started to think about ideas of hypnosis, the induced dream state, and how this practice is so often associated with attempts to communicate with dead loved ones / voices from the other side. Dreams can also be the place where we most often feel the presence of those who are no longer in our waking lives. The title Hypnotica is also the name for sleep-inducing downer drugs, which takes on additional significance in this context. 

The decision was made to move beyond the pipe organ and utilise theremin and synthesisers for this composition, so as to broaden its reception and avoid having our music misinterpreted by misguided factions within conservative music communities.” 

– Miles Brown

Release: November 3rd, 2023, Disdain Records