Music creates emotions. Whether its a sense of love, hate, sadness, or happiness, all music gives us a sense of what the artist is trying to create. Some are able to prevail these emotions better than others, but when the writing process comes to life, there is a theme that’s involved. Rarely do listeners go out of their way to be frightened by music. I know I generally don’t treat music like a movie in the sense that sometimes I want to watch a horror film. Music doesn’t have that same connection with listeners. Now albums can have an eeriness to it, like The Glow Pt. 2 by The Microphones, or even the shock value of the three released Death Grips albums, but the newest musician who’s brought to life with embarking the journey of fear is by the name of The Haxan Cloak. Born as Bobby Krlic, The Haxan Cloak is an avant-garde project that has gathered some steam over that past weeks since the release of his second full length LP, Excavation.
Now Krlic does many other jobs within the music business. As a young composer from London, he’s created music for many events that hold some sort of prestige. A perfect example is that he’s even written a composition for the Victoria & Albert Museum as part of London Fashion Week. If we take a look at the pieces that he’s composed for his main project, The Haxan Cloak, There’s a huge difference in the sounds we hear. To state the obvious, the music is eerie, droning, and only some tracks off the new album, Excavation, have any defining change in sound to them. The tones are dark and lonely, so the appeal of this music will hit a smaller audience.
When I first decided to take the chance on Krlic’s newest work, I was thrown off because of what I read. Anthony Fantano of The Needle Drop called it frightening. Other publications called it “A horrible nightmare, but in a good way”. The way the music shifts from piece to piece on this nine song LP is so smooth, considering the album has a constant jaggedness to it. The opener, “Consumed”, sets the mood for the rest of the 51 minutes through the depths of hell. It builds and builds ever so slightly with a steady beat before devouring itself with distortion and reverb. The real nightmare begins when the second song, “Excavation Pt. 1”, drops. The entire LP transforms into a long post-rock-like album, but with no crescendo that can even compare to an artist like Explosions In The Sky. Krlic takes pride in missing all the chances to grow the tunes, and he relies heavily on suspense and atmosphere to create the mood it gives off.
Ironically, a reader titled this album as a “Dance & House” album. I had a little laugh to myself, because, well, it is far from that. The only comparison is the sound of the snare click, and even at that, it’s a very far connection. Excavation easily falls into the “avant-garde electronic” category if there is one. The tones produced in the background, and the wispy voices put the listener into the setting of a horror flick. I imagine myself crawling through the forest, with the snare beat being my heart or even the pounding head ache I’ve created for myself with fear. These songs are long, and they feel longer than their actual track-listing will say. That’s never a bad attribute with this album, because the adrenaline and suspense is such a rush.
I would comment on individual songs, but it’s hard to because the album acts like an entire piece. Much like a drone-metal album, It’s steady stream of sounds change and morph, but never create any major dynamic shift. The moody keys definitely add to what Krlic’s intentions are. I wish I knew what was going through this man’s brain when he created this album. Was he dancing to this horror? Was he crawled under the control room’s desk wondering if the listeners would do the same after hearing this? It’s hard to tell because I actually did both (No exaggeration). I mentioned that this album is the complete opposite of a dance album, but when I went to go for my cup of coffee that was just out of reach, I may of swayed slightly to the beat. True fact, and I’m not proud. It was like cheering at a funeral, but when the track, “Miste”, came on, I was humbled quickly. The first note is a shriek that paralyzes. Be warned, as it is the loudest pitch on the entire album (TURN DOWN YOUR HEADPHONES).
It’s hard to describe an album like Excavation. It runs so smoothly from track to track, but presents itself like a grande horror film. The suspense of the songs are touchable, and every beat of every piece feels like the monster pursuing us is near. The lone noose on the blackened portrait of the cover brings the entire piece of this album together. Fear is always upon us, but only do we get to decide how it effects us. Bobby Krlic places fear into our ears, and Excavation is one that attacks from all angles. It’s a difficult one to turn off after the adventure starts, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Here is a look at the new album with “The Mirror Reflecting Pt. 2”