[sic] Magazine

The Haxan Cloak – Excavation

One does not simply listen to Excavation . You feel it. You sense it. UK producer Bobby Krlic opens the LP with the same note as closed his sinister debut, instantly taking his bleak narrative to a place beyond death. This is a plane of tense horror, processed percussion and powerful sub-bass. Evil growls and shudders eke out from his resonators, these chilling atmospherics breaking periodically into super-minimal beat palettes.

The ominous “Mara” uses deadened blows and creaking echoes to evoke the spirit of Ben Frost ‘s landmark statement in menace By The Throat . Part one of the title track threatens the portents of doom-techno, its Tesla-fired jerk of a counterpart a mechanised arrangement of some expansive vision.

Yet, much of Excavation is quiet, subtleties occurring around the near-conscious that whisper to no-one unless cranked up loud. Naturally, the thunderous bass drops are that much more impressive in comparison. Belying his recent tutelage with Tri Angle , Krlic deploys both on “Miste”, splicing extreme cut and paste samples with a sub-60 bpm lurch and what sounds like a spluttering diesel generator. Buried in the mix though is a delicate beauty, its resonant frequency set to trouble both the heart and brain.

Less an arena for Krlic’s trademark terror drone then, Excavation nevertheless harnesses its predecessor’s use of tortured strings – scraped cello playing its part alongside fizzing interference and alien tongues in “Dieu”, for example, and part two of “The Mirror Reflecting” starting life like one of Nick Cave and Warren Ellis ‘s sparse string soundtracks before rounding out into album’s busiest composition. Part one of the same track takes church bells and scrubs the recording with acid, somehow projecting the swinging rope and abject darkness of Krlic’s artwork deeper into the mind’s eye.

Krlic’s twelve-minute closer offers relative rays of sunshine after what could be equated with Dante ‘s trial through all ten circles of the underworld before it, yet slowly his inexorable bass overtake and ravage the landscape. His evocative narrative has left hell’s gate open and though its message is unclear – appearing to the unwary, perhaps, like some form of brutal interrogation aid – it invites fascinating interpretation like the best of high art.

~Excavation is out now on Tri Angle .~