Along with the lovely chaps here at Both Bars On, the Brainwashed Radio Podcast has been a fantastic source of new music for me. My tastes could be said to have calcified in recent years, but a lot of the plaque has been shaken loose by this podcast. While I was riding the Transbay from Oakland to San Francisco every day, it was a regular accompaniment, and now that I’m taking the E12 from Al Reef via Yas Island, it’s back in rotation.
The format is pretty straightforward. The excellent host Jon Whitney gives just enough information about each piece of music, with a little bit of chat, but never enough to make me switch off (and believe me, it doesn’t take much). He will churn out a bunch of episodes in quick succession, then go quiet for months. But the episodes are about an hour long, often have great replay value, and the archives are quite extensive, with over 300 episodes so far. Plenty to dig into.
Some of the artists that have appeared on the podcast are; Klara Lewis, Steve Hauschildt (new album coming soon – watch this space for review), Suicide, The Legendary Pink Dots, Broadcast, The Haxan Cloak, Factory Floor, the list goes on-‘n-on-‘n-on-‘n-on-‘n-on-‘n-on-‘n-on.
This is bloody brilliant. Or to put it in considerably more pretentious prose…
During the opening eight minutes of The Haxan Cloak’s latest, the computer screen, the keyboard and the sampler step up to replace the polished obsidian of old as a gilded host of celestial angels are scryed forth. Their post-Enochian communication seems intent on smothering and undermining any sense of rationality and reason you might hold and cherish. As this heavenly chorus gives way to the earthy and terrestrial rhythms of ritual drums, the voodoo priest, the shamanic traveller of worlds or some other representative of the occluded arts materialises.
Of course, the meaning of the Haxan Cloak’s message here is as opaque as that delivered by any milky-eyed bedraggled oracle. Yet as the peels of post-rave chimes engulf the work and that sound emerges – that incredible sound that leads to that ending – the uncertainty of meaning is only one of this album’s pleasures and delights.
This is sound engineering and invention of the highest order. Offer yourself to The Haxan Cloak here.
Is it cold out? Do the nights still feel long and dark? Are you troubled by a sense of foreboding?
I missed this very fine album when it was released last year, and only really decided to hunt it down after the Quietus made it their #4 record of 2011. Bobby Krlic’s extraordinarily atmospheric record weaves together droning, rumbling strings, rattling percussion and the occasional haunting piece of choral singing (‘The Fall’, for example). There’s also lots of silence, the space in which the sounds happen.
The name, and the general feel and look of the record, have occult resonances, and you might expect something a bit more metal from the label (Aurora Borealis) – the first track is called ‘Raven’s Lament’, and the third is ‘Burning Torches of Despair’. Whatever you call it, this is an experimental record that sounds cold, scary and bewitching.
This music is chilling. Ben Frost, without the growling. Play loud, and listen carefully.
‘An Archaic Device’ – The Haxan Cloak – The Haxan Cloak
Buy from the label here