We’re back, and we’re talking about everyone’s favourite eldritch curtain-twitcher, Erich Zann. Lovecraft’s short story, The Music of Erich Zann, is a highpoint of his early career. More importantly, it is a rare example of a work that all three of us agree about. The sanity-blasting revelations at the end of the story are nothing compared to such weirdness!


And almost as uncanny as finding a picture of Erich Zann in which he plays a viol, and not a violin!

This is the shortest Lovecraft story we’ve discussed so far, barely a tenth of the length of The Shadow Out of Time. This has allowed us to fit the entire discussion into a single episode, including the usual mentions of adaptations and ideas for stealing elements for our games.  Admittedly, the discussion on adaptations is brief; while The Music of Erich Zann has been adapted a number of times, it has largely birthed short films or somewhat freer musical interpretations, both of which are tricky to discuss for different reasons.

Screenshot 2016-03-29 at 18.17.09

Every time we tried to play an example, Paul’s study window revealed an endless vista of cosmic awfulness. Or Buckingham. I get confused.

And speaking of musical adaptations of Lovecraft, we make mention of the ongoing IndieGoGo crowdfunding campaign by The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets, raising money to record their fifth album, The Dukes of Alhazred. Hell, it’s worth giving them money for that title alone!


Also, those shoggoths won’t feed themselves. Or they will. That may be worse.


There is also some discussion of sloths, evisceration and tea, which needs to be illustrated with a photograph. We’re not sure if this makes things any clearer, but it certainly makes them weirder. This is usually the best we can hope for.


If people are willing to pay a premium for coffee beans that have passed through a civet cat, tea made from sloth urine must be a sure thing!

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6 comments on “The Music of Erich Zann

  1. Ethan C. Mar 29, 2016

    I got Cheers’d! Hurrah! Great episode, guys. The Music of Erich Zann is one of my very favorite HPL stories, yet somehow I always neglect it when I write lists of my top tales. I’ll have to be more cognizant in the future.

    Speaking of musical adaptations, about 12 years ago in my undergraduate college library I once found a CD that was simply a musical recitation of this story for solo voice, but employing strange experimental scales and leitmotifs. The liner notes explained that the composer had invented his own new scales, with no reference to the normal intervals in Western music. I was in the midst of developing a great appreciation for Lovecraft at the time, and I thought that this particular recording captured the mood of the story with incredible power.

    In years since, I’ve tried to find that recording again. And though I’m now a professional librarian, and quite a veteran researcher, I’ve never been able to track it down. In fact I’ve never found any record of it having ever existed.

    But I can vividly remember the tiny repetitive snatch of melody with which the singer always intoned the words “Rue d’Auseil”.

    How’s that for an uncanny little detail?

  2. Oh my, that’s quite a tale in itself. So when you were a student, you found a thing, and you’ve searched for it ever since, without success? Uncanny indeed!

  3. That sloth is awfully cute.

  4. Graham Apr 26, 2016

    According to Lovecraft Erich Zann was a Cellist, not a violin player, as that first illustration shows.

    • Cool image though! But you’re right of course – and we do discuss it being a cello (among other options) in the show.

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