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The Haxan Cloak – The Haxan Cloak

Aurora Borealis

The Haxan Cloak - The Haxan Cloak





12th February 1923, Cefalù, Sicily – Evening.

Aleister – God I hate Mondays, they’re so dreary. Aud, why don’t you put something on the gramophone? Surely you must have brought some of the latest sounds with you from London?

Raoul – Yes, great master, I have with me a choice selection of discs. What can I tempt you with? Some Coil? Horse Rotavator perhaps?

Aleister – Oh Christ, not Coil again. I said I wanted the latest sounds. I’m fed up with all this old stuff, I want to hear what’s happening now!

Raoul – Oh, I see. Mmm… Well, in that case, this might find favour with you.

Aleister – (listening intently) Malleus Maleficarum!!!! This I like! What is it?

Raoul – The band are called The Haxan Cloak, as is the album.

Aleister – Is it new then?

Raoul – Yes, it’s only just come out. Bobby Klric, the young sound designer and composer behind the band, has issued a number of fairly limited edition self-recorded EPs, which have been very well received in London’s bohemian circles. But this is the first album proper.

Aleister – Klric? Is that like Cthulhu?

Raoul – No, great master. He composes for installations.

Aleister – This is wonderful stuff. You know, it almost reminds me of Univers Zero or something, Heresie “The darkest album ever recorded”. (laughs) You know, they call me “The wickedest man in the world?”

Betty – (under her breath) I still call you something you old bastard, but it’s not’s that…

Aleister – Ah, Sister Sibyline. Join us, please. What do you think of this?

Betty – Not that you care, but ‘one’ thinks that it’s an excellent album. ‘One’ loves the way it both mixes the warmth of acoustic instruments, the cello, percussion, violins, with a small dash of the intensity of modern electronics, and some live field recordings, and elides so many different genres – modernist classical, ritual folk, it even at times border on dark metal – yet it never once feels derivative, or trapped within those sometimes stale confines.

Aleister – Yes, so true. I can hear distant echoes, the crescendo waves of Godspeed You! Black Emperor (is that where they’re putting the exclamation mark these days, I can never keep up?) and the soft and pastoral landscape of Rachel’s. This track even reminds me of Ligeti.

Raoul – “Fall?” Yes, Mikhail Karikis contributes some extraordinary vocals to it.

Aleister – Is he an adept?

Raoul – No, he’s a London-based sound artist and performer.

Aleister – Blimey, this one’s rather spooky. And surprisingly heavy.

Raoul – Yes, it’s called “The Growing.” Noted grind-core supremo Liam Sparkes has taken time out from his well-regarded outfit Trencher to guest on this one.

Betty – Again, I like the way that the modern and electronic mixes with the traditional and acoustic. Sparkes gives it that edge of threatening modernity.

Aleister – Is he an adept?

Betty – No, he’s a tattooist.

Aleister – For Heaven’s sake, I can’t keep up with all this multi-disciplinary stuff. It was so much simpler when Jimmy Page just used to play the guitar and put backwards messages on albums. This is good though.

Raoul – Yes, a very welcome addition to occult musical canon.

Betty – And one that never tips over into the pretentious. (whispering) Unlike you.

Aleister – (shouting) Arrg! An evil spirit touches me.

Betty – No, that’s just Mischette the cat under the table, brushing past your foot.

Aleister – (embarrassed) Oh yes, of course. (whispering under the table). One day soon something nasty is going to happen to you…

Raoul – Haxan Cloak are touring at the moment apparently. Supporting Wild Palms.

Aleister – Are they playing Palermo? We should go.

Raoul – I fear not great master. I’m terribly thirsty, is there anything to drink?

Aleister – I warn you, don’t drink water here. Turn the volume up and I’ll nip into the kitchen and put the kettle on.

The telephone rings.

Aleister – (exasperated) What is it now?

Betty – It’s Kenneth Anger for you. He wants to know if Lucifer is rising.

Aleister – Not him again. Can’t you tell him I’m not in?

Betty – (smiling maliciously) He’ll be right with you.

Aleister – Oh Hell…

-David Solomons-

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