James McKeown has a knack for visceral sound worlds when releasing music as Hawksmoor. Albums like Methods Of Dreaming, On Prescription, and Concrete Island which he released in collaboration with The Heartwood Institute(all released via Spun Out Of Control) are sonic delicacies for the ears. Analog synths combined with electric bass and just an overwhelming feel of 70s Komische, Krautrock, and deep dive 70s album side excursions permeate Hawksmoor’s sound world.
Hawksmoor’s latest album is the slinky and shadowy Saturnalia, which drops on 2/4 for preorder via the great Library Of The Occult. If you’re familiar with the eerie vibes Tom McDowell has been offering up on his record label for the last year and a half then you know Hawksmoor is more than up to the task.
Saturnalia sounds like looking into a crystal ball and seeing your past, present, and future all splayed out for you to contemplate and get a little woozy over. McKeown creates a patchwork of dream sequences and woozy psychedelia that range from low key groove and floating-in-space cosmic horror. “Electronic folk horror” was how it was described to me, and I gotta say I can get on board with that description. But there’s much more happening here. Moments I’m reminded of Colin Stetson’s excellent Color Out Of Space score, while other times there’s a real Tangerine Dream vibe, ala their Legend soundtrack.
Title track “Saturnalia” is one of the more groove and rhythm heavy tracks here, locking into mysterious melodies, a low key electro funk, and just an all around sound that something is lurking in the shadows staring straight into your soul. This is primo Hawksmoor and James McKeown locking into the vibes of the universe and sending us circuital tomes of cosmic doom.
Library Of The Occult will be announcing ‘Saturnalia’ on 2/4, with preorders arriving that day. Listen to “Saturnalia” below, then hit up LOTO this Friday with all the important details.