Release Date: Apr 16, 2013
Record label: Tri Angle
Genre(s): Electronic, Pop/Rock
To say Excavation is a dark record would be an understatement. The sophomore record from multi-instrumentalist Bobby Kric as the Haxan Cloak takes the listener beyond death into a realm of the unknowable, in which he creates an oddly comforting experience — a sonic experiment analogous to the absurd horror that is non-existence. Kric's explorations in sound are outright hallucinogenic, blending extreme aggression with vastly spacious atmospheres.
Conceptually, Excavation follows directly on from the end of The Haxan Cloak’s eponymous album. Whist Bobby Krlic’s debut album concerned the last days and hours before death, Excavation explores what happens in the afterlife. Hopefully Krlic is way off the mark because frankly, if the post-death experience bears any resemblance to the way Excavation sounds, passing on shouldn’t concern us, but what happens afterwards most definitely should.
“Dark can be used to mean the same as warm, which some people think of as the opposite of bright. But when I say dark I mean the opposite of light rather than bright (but you might think the opposite of light is heavy). As far as I’m concerned the opposite of a bright sound is a warm sound, but you might well think of a warm sound as the opposite of a cold sound.
The Haxan CloakExcavation[Tri Angle; 2013]By Will Ryan; April 10, 2013Purchase at: Insound (Vinyl) | Amazon (MP3 & CD) | iTunes | MOGExcavation approaches fear and darkness a lot differently than its predecessor. Bobby Krlic's 2011 selt-tiled debut as The Haxan Cloak was all about externalizing its subjects, using a vast array of acoustic instrumentation--most prominently, cracked, droning strings (Krlic had the resources of the Britten-Pears Foundation at his disposal)--with some electronics to illustrate and outline something tangible and alive and "bound to earth" as Krlic himself put it in a recent interview. The record played like half-soundtrack to, half-sound collage of a festering, claustrophobic haunted house choked with ash and shadow.
Death isn't going to come easy for Bobby Krlic, the London-based producer who records as the Haxan Cloak. At least he has Excavation, a sort of multifaceted roadmap of the afterlife, to guide him. This record, his first for Tri Angle, is about the journey taken after death, making it a sequel to his eponymous 2011 debut, which was themed around someone approaching their final days on the planet.
"Creeping" and "funereal" aren't necessarily terms many artists would want associated with their music, but in the case of the Haxan Cloak (aka producer Bobby Krlic), they're not just accurate, they're complimentary. The Haxan Cloak's self-titled debut album traced the journey of a character who was dying, and there was a morbid beauty to its drooping strings, rattling percussion, and dragging tempos, all of which were shrouded in the subtlest electronic drones. On his first album for Tri Angle, Excavation, those electronics come to the fore as Krlic imagines what comes after death; while this overtly electronic approach is more in keeping with his new label's roster as well as other contemporaries like Demdike Stare, Krlic also makes it into a showcase for just how much he can do within his very specific range of moods.
Bobby Krlic's first album as The Haxan Cloak came out on Aurora Borealis, a metal-focused label that's also home to Justin Broadrick and KTL. He's since moved in a more electronic direction, bridging the gap between the noisy spasms of Cut Hands and the dignified doom of Raime. Excavation, his second full-length and first for Tri Angle, sits perfectly in the middle.Where Krlic's first album seemed consumed by a fear of death, Excavation is reportedly meant to survey the vastness of the afterlife.
Most people who listen to The Haxan Cloak’s second record will never hear it completely. Written into the album’s data are frequencies that can only be played on powerful equipment: deep, floor-shaking tones meant to be felt, not heard. Even through headphones, the record manipulates sound in a way that’s primally disturbing, preying on the instinct to jump at sudden noises, to mistrust silence.
When we die, we probably just die. No harp-wielding cherubs. No 72 virgins. No God that looks or sounds like Morgan Freeman. No God at all, in fact. This hasn’t stopped countless artists, writers and religious mumbo-jumboists from using their boundless imaginations to craft predictive ….
Bobby Krlic – a.k.a. The Haxan Cloak – has talked of how Excavation is, if not a concept record, certainly one with a unifying theme. It’s supposedly the sonic manifestation of a tale in which a man explores his own post-death existence, and though there’s no story to follow as such (mumbles, digitally altered howls and samples of what sound like distant screams abound, but there are no lyrics), you don’t get the impression he’s pulling your leg.
Listen to this album alone, in the dark. Challenge yourself. Go on. You must, to appreciate it all in full. This is a challenging record, a record that is beautiful and uncomfortable all at the same time. It’s got a unique energy that moves it way beyond any previous releases from The Haxan Cloak ….