Boomkat Product Review:
A legendary portal to Midsommer OST composer The Haxan Cloak’s post-industrial netherworld opens again on vinyl for the first time since 2011, via his Archaic Devices label - a big RIYL Andy Stott, Jesu, Kevin Martin
Etched in lore as The Haxan Cloak’s first readily available release, the 2010 tape, and 2011 vinyl pressing of ‘Observatory’ has long since sold-out and is hard to find 2nd hand, such is its classic status. Way back when, the EP manifested as a singular piece of the whole late ‘00s/early ‘10s cohort affiliated with the w*tch house sound and styles emerging from the blogosphere via likes of XXJFG; a rhizome of loosely linked artists who trampled on the deconsecrated grounds of industrial, synth-pop, drone, and experimental club musicks, encompassing everyone from Andy Stott to Evian Christ, Vessel, Fatima Al Qadiri and Prurient. Like many of that wave, Bobby Krlic aka The Haxan Cloak would scale his sound to global acclaim in various mediums, with Krlic notably finding success as a composer for cult TV and film soundtracks (Midsommar, Returnal, Beau is Afraid), leaving this early manifesto as a key crumb on his path to greatness.
OK, “crumb” is maybe underselling this almighty session, which was for years a staple on our decks, beloved for its eyes-in-back-of-skull effect and nuanced contrast between the thunderous kosmiche warmarch of ‘Observatory’, with its pummelling orchestral drum procession and face-freezing drone modulations, and the beautifully bleak underside of ‘Hounfour (Temple)’, a lushly absorbing whorl of subaquatic bass sonar and spiralling arps. Between the pair of them, it’s clear to hear Krlic establishing the parameters of a production style and artistic vision that would come to colour the contemporary imagination thru the likes of his modern classic soundtrack to ‘Midsommar’, and place his work among the most significant of his generation.