Tri Angle Records
Imagine Lustmord and Mike Patton sharing horror-movie scoring tips and you have some idea of what to expect when going into this new album by The Haxan Cloak. The British dark ambient project is a low-frequency set of rumbles that has plenty to offer to fans of goth and ambient and industrial and minimalism – a sort of beat-less Aphex Twin-meets-Burial via Vessel’s Order of Noise.
Oh god this is good!
It’s really quite frightening and many will find this horrible if not horrifying (horrifying is a likely positive response, by the way) but I find a lot of beauty within the darkness and heaviness of this album – it takes its time to unfold, the two-part title track feels like a creepy art-installation/soundtrack, the shorter tracks like Mara feel like they might work better if Scott Walker stepped up to croon over them – but there is still something ominous and eerie and wonderful about it.
But it would be worth it for the closing track alone, the 12-minute synth ride that is The Drop, a kind of Trent Reznor demo-sketch that’s been crafted into the most beautiful, beguiling post-Burial moment of drawn-out, yearning, nearly yawning pop-song reverie.
Bobby Kric introduced a lot of magic and wonder on his first Haxan Cloak full-lengther but Excavation really ups the game. You could possibly drive yourself mad listening to this on headphones, or you might just experience an aural bliss that doesn’t even require an acid trip.
I love the terror of this record, the torment, I find something strangely uplifting about it. But I’m cautious to recommend it – I’m sure a lot of people just won’t hear anything in it. And I know what that’s like. I almost don’t consider this music – that’s how spellbound I am by it. It’s been the soundtrack for my room, late at night, writing, or first thing in the morning. It’s almost as if I didn’t press play, didn’t put any album on, this music just seeping into the walls, just occupying the space – allowing so much space too, within and around the big, low sounds. I’m hooked. You might not be. But give it a go if you like anything remotely in the fields of dark-ambient. It feels like the after-party chill-pill from a post-rock wig-out. It feels like the very best vortex. I’m happily lost in the sound of this record as it grumbles and swirls and so slowly unfurls. Every time feels like the first time. It’s that sort of experience.