The Haxan Cloak: Excavation (Tri Angle)
Tri Angle presents 9 new awesomely dark excursions from Bobby Krlic. It’s his first for the label and certainly his relatively recent signing makes him among their darkest acts. Supposedly the concept of this album is the journey of the soul after death — and rest assured, Krlic is not talking pearly gates, angels and harps. This is one sordid set of pitch black tracks. The transition from Aurora Borealis to Tri Angle makes sense by virtue of how much more rhythmically focused this set of tracks is; while cello and strings still appear here and there, they are not the focus of the music at all. Compared to his self-titled debut, this feels more overtly electronic and has more of a low-end pulse to it, but it’s a far cry from dance music, with a heavy emphasis on doom. Opening prologue “Consumed” sets the tone with a thunderous low-end letting you know this is pretty intense stuff. From there it really is hard to speak to specifics of the album, as it flows so well as a complete idea. Krlic splits the aesthetic pretty deftly between the dense doom of his debut and more spacious electronic sound, as heard on both halves of “Excavation” or “Dieu.” But he truly strikes gold with “Drop,” the thirteen minute finale. Its melodic synth is a breath of fresh air after so many dense drones and low end exclamations, but the piece has a whole trajectory of its own, shifting focus from melody to something more sinister and rhythmic before it ends. At just over 50 minutes, it’s perhaps the ideal length — long enough to feel significant but not so long as to be overbearingly intense in how dark it persists. One of the finest albums of the year, hands down.