Xander Harris – The New Dark Age Of Love CD

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The past couple years have found Austin’s Xander Harris (aka Justin Sweatt) in a transfigurative state, revising his live rig, creating a soundtrack collection celebrating the 20th anniversary of Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash, touring outside Texas (from New Orleans to the Netherlands), and recalibrating his project’s compass. All of which seems to have seeped into the synthesizer soil of his second full-length, The New Dark Age Of Love. From the first shimmering hovercraft tones of “Night Fortress”, the growth is glaring; gone is the slasher camp of Urban Gothic, replaced by sleek cold-wave dystopias. A Ballardian mood of paranoia and technocratic elegance reigns, from icy, sci-fi night drives (“Tristitia,” “Vultures Of Tenderness”) to cyber-gothic doom symphonies (“Legacies,” “When Prophecy Fails”); even the few forays into overt VHS splatter-score worship (“I Still Look Young In The Dark,” “Bring Me Their Heads”) are executed with a similar sense of future-shocked metropolitan menace. Echoes abound of classic Chris & Cosey urban wasteland synth-pop, Umberto’s vintage evil, and Klaus Schulze at his most candlelit and Crowleyian (and if he’d come of age in the 80’s), but T.N.D.A.L. is Sweatt’s story, and it’s a tome. Recorded in Austin, Texas, 2011-2012. Mastered in Sweden by Ghost Sounds. 4-panel CD digipaks.

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