Monday, August 5, 2013

Artist of the Day: The Haxan Cloak

On the ball as ever, today's Artist of the Day is a producer who's been plugged for some time, yet one I've only recently discovered for myself. The alias of Yorkshire-born, London-bred Bobby Krilc, The Haxan Cloak has thus far released two engrossing and electrifying full-lengths, and it's the latter of that pair, this year's Excavation, which has piqued my interest. Thoroughly befitting the grim, noose-themed artwork (and indeed the sinister press shot to the left of your screen), its 51-minute runtime unfolds like the score of a particularly bleak avant garde film - the difference being that this piece hardly requires visual aids to leave its mark. Each and every cold, industrial sound is engineered to dense, creepy perfection, so much so that it often feels like the sonic accompaniment to a blind journey into a vast, foreboding cave, with low-lying bass and abrasive bursts just as likely to echo from the walls as they are pounce from nowhere and reduce you to a cowering wreck.

In this age of verbose, hyperbolic online journalism, adjectives like "scary" and "chilling" are thrown around with a regularity that's both tiresome and detrimental, yet this is one of the few occasions where I can genuinely say I've felt on edge whilst absorbing an item of music. I don't pretend to be a genre expert, but many I've confined with have blurted out exclamations such as "now this is dark ambient," as though implying all else which falls under that umbrella has suddenly been rendered lightweight and redundant. One small word of advice; if you're planning on listening to it during daytime or with the lights on, you might as well not bother. The music on Excavation inhabits a landscape of total darkness, and you'd be a fool not to conform to its conditions.

Headphones are advisable.


Excavation is out now.

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