Xander Harris biography
Austin, Texan Justin Sweatt’s decision to choose Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s second best friend as a recording moniker reveals something rare about the inspirations behind his horror-fied, post-industrial synthesizer music: a sense of humor. In a time of so much exceedingly dour electronic music, Xander Harris’s sinister-yet-celebratory stance stands out. His well-received debut, Urban Gothic, even landed in FACT’s Best 50 Of 2011 list, who described the LP as “perfectly balancing tenebrous atmospherics with moments of high italo camp.”
This unique tonal commingling of the playful and paranoid is more deeply explored and expressed on Sweatt’s impressive sophomore full-length, The New Dark Age Of Love. Recorded meticulously across 16 months at his Austin home studio, the new album abandons most of the slasher score touchstones of his previous work in favor of a sleek, streamlined, cold-wave/dystopian sound, which makes sense given his obsession with “crumbling urban landscapes” during the making of the record. “I’d walk around my neighborhood and see so many places just falling apart while next to them were huge million dollar condos, glistening with neon and judgement.”
From icy, sci-fi night-drives (“Tristitia,” “Vultures Of Tenderness”) to sweeping cyber-gothic dread symphonies (“Legacies,” “When Prophecy Fails,”) as well as a few forays into overt VHS splatter-soundtrack worship (“I Still Look Young In The Dark,” “Bring Me Their Heads”), the album bristles with his vision of future-shocked metropolitan menace. Echoes abound of classic Chris & Cosey skyscraper 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 unquestionably Sweatt’s story to tell, and it’s a tome.”
The New Dark Age Of Love is out now.