- The Haxan Cloak soundtracks a Swedish horror film with a bold score.
- Ari Aster's Midsommar is a horror movie that takes place in broad daylight, outdoors. He wrote it while listening almost exclusively to the work of Bobby Krlic, AKA The Haxan Cloak, one of the decade's most talked-about experimental electronic artists and a budding film composer. Midsommar, which tells the story of a troubled couple who attend a rural Swedish pagan festival that turns gruesome, is not a typical horror film.
The same goes for the score, which isn't a typical Krlic affair. His distinct sense of pacing and tension is replaced by meditative droning, along with the typical moments of panic, shock and surprise we've come to expect from The Haxan Cloak. On its own terms, the Midsommar score is a sometimes brilliant but limited affair that showcases both Krlic's genius and how that genius suffers under the constraints of a film.
Most of the Midsommar score consists of strings that groan and screech. The soundtrack album mirrors the film's development, each cut more foreboding and deranged than the last. But through that descent, Krlic's work also highlights Midsommar's shifting extremes between beauty and brutality. This is most obvious on "Hälsingland," a pastoral classical piece that suddenly cuts into shrieking chaos.
Reprieves like the reassuring "The House That Hårga Built" are always contrasted with anxiety-inducing sounds. "Gassed," which soundtracks an early scene where the protagonist finds her entire family dead, has a queasy, world-turned-upside-down effect that wouldn't work without its more peaceful intro, "Prophesy." The same goes for the choral interludes "Chorus Of Sirens" and "A Language Of Sex," which soundtrack a scene of forced impregnation. This is one of the central conceits of the film: what appears wondrous on the surface has unimaginable horror lurking underneath.
"Ritual In Transfigured Time," one of the record's most powerful pieces, is the closest to Krlic's electroacoustic Haxan Cloak material. It sounds like a string section playing at the bottom of a well. The unnerving mood highlights how Krlic creates unease and fear with texture and atmosphere. He makes immersive music, different than the straightforward melodies or percussive eruptions of mainstream movie scores.
04. The House That Hårga Built
06. Ritual In Transfigured Time
07. Murder (Mystery)
08. The Blessing
09. Chorus Of Sirens
10. A Language Of Sex
11. Hårga, Collapsing
12. Fire Temple