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Artisan Spotlight Cadabra Records

Featuring Cadabra Records

In 2016, Jonathan Dennison followed a dream and created Cadabra Records, a spoken word LP company that specializes in high-quality productions of classic horror and weird fiction tales. Five years later, Cadabra Records has grown into an impressive production house that creates consistently exceptional work, and they are an indie record business you should definitely get to know. Dark Matter Magazine was lucky enough to ask Dennison a few questions regarding his brooding brainchild and how it’s quickly taking the vinyl collecting world by storm.

DARK MATTER: No one’s reading this piece to learn what we have to say about your awesome record company, so let’s just jump right into the questions. Why spoken word?

JONATHAN DENNISON: A while back, I got into collecting spoken word LPs of the horror genre and quickly realized there wasn’t much out there. At the same time, I was collecting some of the early Death Waltz[1] soundtrack re-issues and thought I could do the same kind of golden treatment to the spoken arts in a way that hadn’t been done before. I’ve always been a fan of weird fiction, so I thought this was also a way to blend my love for music and art with some of the creepiest and weirdest stories out there.

DM: Very cool. But with so many great horror and weird fiction stories out there, how do you choose which works to adapt?

JD: I choose stories that I love, and that are rich in mood and character. And I believe that the strongest fiction is often autobiographical. The hardships of life from yesterday in a world barely recognizable to the people of today gave us some of the world’s greatest literature.

Pictured left to right: The Call of Cthulhu LP (album art by Karmazid), The Bungalow House LP (album art by Jason Barnett), The Picture in the House LP (album art by Jeremy Hush)

DM: What’s the secret to mixing and scoring an epically dark album?

JD: The trick is to make the listening experience something as thought-provoking as it is entertaining. Andrew Leman and Anima Morte’s work on The Call of Cthulhu is an example of perfection, in my opinion.

DM: Bonus question! If you were forced to score your productions with only a single instrument, what instrument would you choose, and why?

JD: That’s a tough one. I’m torn between an acoustic guitar and synthesizer, but I’d probably have to go with a synthesizer for its versatility in sound.

DM: What’s your favorite Cadabra Records production to date?

JD: My top favorites are:

The Picture in the House by H.P. Lovecraft. This was my first collaboration with composer Fabio Frizzi. As a long time fan of his work, it’s an honor to work with the maestro on so many incredible releases.

Dagon by H.P. Lovecraft. This is my first collaboration with Anima More who really upped the game on what could be done with the medium.

The Bungalow House by Thomas Ligotti. This is my first collaboration with composer Chris Bozzone who I work very closely with now. Ligotti is easily my favorite writer, right along with Lovecraft; to bring his works to life was just incredible.

Pictured left to right: The Yellow Sign LP—Gatefold, The Yellow Sign LP (album art by Karmazid), Dagon, The Cats of Ulthar, and the Music of Eric Zahn LP
(album art by Karmazid)

DM: Are there any stories out there that you would love to adapt, but just haven’t been able to yet?

JD: There are many stories that I haven’t touched because of their length, such as The Conspiracy Against the Human Race by Thomas Ligotti, and The Case of Charles Dexter Ward by H.P. Lovecraft.

DM: What’s next for Cadabra Records? Is there anything you’re especially excited about?

JD: There’s a bunch, for sure. I’m making moves to keep the label fresh and innovative with some unpredictable releases in the near future. A couple upcoming titles I’m excited about are a 4xLP set of The Shadow over Innsmouth by H.P. Lovecraft, and a brand new record by Fabio Frizzi called Dark Chamber, which is an acoustic version of his Frizzi 2 Fulci live set.

DM: Four records-worth of The Shadow over Innsmouth? Sign us up.

[1] Death Waltz Recording Co.

To learn more about Cadabra Records, or to purchase merchandise from their shop, including the LPs featured here, visit: cadabrarecords.com

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