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the haxan cloak - The Haxan Cloak
Beguiling, unsettling and deeply mysterious, The Haxan Cloak's eponymous debut album is a riveting experience. In case Demdike Stare hadn't inspired you to read up on the pre-1900 occult, the term "Häxan" is an old German word for witchcraft, a theme shared by the two artists. But for that, and the monotone artwork aside, The Haxan Cloak takes a very different approach to his craft, one rooted in his studies in sound art and more concerned with "the very real potential and power of the actual physical properties of sound" he can elicit from treated strings and primal percussion, and the space between them. His processes summon an immersive spectrum of drones and often shocking sounds, from the nerve-jangling, near-infrasonic subbass fluctuations of 'Fall', to the stereo-dynamic fata morgana of 'The Growing'. This astonishing track is a work of pure black magic, transporting us through a digital wormhole into hallucinatory electro-acoustics and heart-quaking subs to a climax of percussion recalling both Zoviet*France and Scorn. When focussed on strings the effect is also arresting, like the petrified drones of 'In Memoriam' or the sustained dissonance of 'Parting Chant'. The finely rendered mixing and dynamics create an illusory space all of their own, much akin to Raime's breathtaking gothic architectures, but probably more connected with the likes of KTL and Sunn 0))) overlord, Stephen O'Malley...