The writings of horror master H.P. Lovecraft are a frequent inspiration for musicians seeking to explore the realm of spooky music. Armed with a bevy of electronics and an adept creativity, Xcross have generated an enthralling glimpse into this realm.
XCROSS: Kadath: the Dream Quest (CD on Ek Balam Records)
This release from 2007 offers 54 minutes of haunted electronic music.
Xcross is: Chris Wikman and Al Baldwin. Ramfis Diaz provides the spooky voice intro.
Dreamy textures provide a haunting backdrop for a melodic electronic presence that serves to superbly evoke the somnambulant subject matter of this music. Auxiliary instruments (albeit synthesized) flesh out the sound with strings and percussives.
Astral keyboards establish harmonies that drift with pacific demeanor. Piano lends a point of human stability in one tune, for the rest of the sounds strive to separate the listener from the real world with atmospheric lures and quasi-orchestral temptations.
Sepulchral bells and footsteps lead the audience deeper into this fantasy world where ominous trappings shuffle close in the dark. The majority of the uneasiness, however, is masterfully crafted with eerie electronics that capitalize on humanity's aversion to the unconventional. Tonalities rumble with portentous mien, while more demonstrative electronics flourish with forbidding resonance.
Percussion is present, but used sparingly and mainly to produce an additional sense of dread.
While instrumental in nature, this music utilizes vocals in a few instances: initially in an spoken word intro to the album, and then in ghostly laments buried in the mix of a few tracks. The horrific mood is adequately accomplished through musical means that are so dire that verbal elucidation is unnecessary.
Some tracks adopt a more energetic disposition with livelier melodies punctuated with mysterious rhythms and urgent electronics.
The overall tone, though, is a spooky one. The tunes excellently provide portals to otherworldly vistas wrought with unfathomable anomalies that persist in tantalizing human curiosity.
All literary associations aside, these compositions luxuriate with soothing harmonies laced with creepy sentiments. Not enough to scare the audience, but certainly enough to set the neck hairs tingling with trepidation. The melodies are somber, moody, dark with a promise of salvation. This balance of anxiety and equanimity is expertly handled, creating an emotional motif that is well-rounded and quite satisfying. The message is that, no matter how dire the plight, potential deliverance lies within us all, for all experiences are simply a product of our own minds.
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