Release Date: Mar 10, 2009
Record label: Kranky
Tim Hecker's elegantly inventive way around sound art moved into a full decade of released work with An Imaginary Country, one of his most serene and, from its striking start "100 Years Ago" forward, uplifting albums. The power of feedback as exultant swell has had many iterations over the years and it would be understandable to call its use here shoegaze or something similar -- combined with the electronics on the appropriately named "Sea of Pulses" or "Where Shadows Make Shadows," the striking penultimate track, any number of superficial connections could be drawn to artists such as Fennesz and Ulrich Schnauss. But each of those performers has his own approaches, as does Hecker himself, and the breathless extended surge of the album as a whole takes the slow-rising-dawn power of such work down his chosen road, perhaps best summed up by the song title "Currents of Electrostasy," with piano and feedback turned into a blissful but still mournful whole.
In one sense, we know entirely what we’re getting into when we pick up a new Tim Hecker album. It’s a heady experience he’s been spooning over us ever since he left his Jetone alias in a clicks-n-cuts sarcophagus. The needling, high-pitched keyboards, the gnarled electric guitars, the frayed melodies from unidentifiable sources conglomerating into a monolithic mass.
The first thing that comes to mind when considering Tim Hecker's work is his sense of scale. The Montreal-based drone composer has, over the course of the decade, built oceans of ambient noise capable of submerging his listener. His last album, 2006's Harmony in Ultraviolet, took this large-canvas technique to its logical end, so for his latest project, Hecker focuses instead on shorter individual pieces-- albeit with the same deliberateness and meticulous detail we've come to expect from him.
Artist: http://www.sunblind.net Label: http://www.kranky.net Audio: http://www.myspace.com/rainbowbloodx Review by Mike Wood.
If you’ve only been keeping up with Canadian electronic artist Tim Hecker via his full-lengths you might be surprised by the transition he’s made on his newest album, An Imaginary Country. On previous albums such as 2006’s outstanding Harmony in Ultraviolet and 2004’s Mirages he concocted a violent mix of electronically treated guitar noise and half-hidden melodies submerged amidst the chaos. “100 Years Ago” starts off his latest effort with gorgeous blurts of mellotron and static but if anything has been made clear it’s that Hecker is making a conscious decision to ease back on the heavier, noisier aspects of his work in favor of overtly melodic passages like the ones found here.
As Eno’s perfect pop songs slowly dissolved from Another Green World to Discreet Music and eventually to 1978’s Ambient 1: Music for Airports, ambient music as a genre wasn’t necessarily created but was certainly popularized during this era of increasing experimentation within the music industry. And Eno was just man for the job. His immaculate productions set the style’s apposite characteristics: rich textures, saturated tones, and most importantly, subtle drama.