Tuesday 15 October 2013

Tim Hecker - Virgins

Album review by tatjana@thesoundofconfusion.co.uk

I'm new to Tim Hecker. I say that as it's not unlike walking into an art gallery and admitting you know bugger all about what you’re about to see and therefore wondering if your opinion is valid. But why exactly? That experience is raw, out of context and unsanitised. Authentic art appreciation. But then the analogy also extends to seeing a few scribbles on a canvas and being the annoying punter who says "Yeah I could have done that". Sure, with no discernible tune and an instant understanding that this isn't even close to mass-market success you might think that you too could engineer a bunch of sounds together on a laptop and call it genius. Wrong.

The eerie cover image of brand new full-length release 'Virgins' says it best - an unknown entity shrouded in white, suspended in mid-air. You are never sure of what darkness is cloaked underneath and nor do you desire to. 'Prism' is shards of glass falling at varying speeds and landing in a sonic mess, with 'Virginal I' and 'Radiance' hinting at a beautifully brutal danger. It's the childish clangings on a piano interspersed with an unsettling fuzz that gives 'Live Room' stand-out brilliance. It's an art-deco hall, full of neglected instruments that do appear to come to life in the fading darkness. Live electrical wires of sound thrash around your consciousness and threaten to give way to something truly terrifying.

'Black Refraction' is a soft melody caught in a trance, while 'Amps, Drugs, Harmonium' isn't as cool as the name suggests, slightly irritating in a fractured pan-flute, Jethro Tull-record-stuck-on-a-groove kinda way. But 'Stigmata I' and thereafter gets back to exciting and paralysing the senses. The radio frequency is caught in that unnerving white noise again, but you hang on desperately to hear what station Hecker has in store for you. For a supposedly glass-half-full kinda guy in real life, Tim Hecker offers a powerful soundtrack to your inner turmoil. From genuine grief to the banalities of a Sunday afternoon at the supermarket; like the closing track 'Stab Variation', 'Virgins' leaves you hanging in that dusty twilight.

Tim Hecker's website

Buy the album

Catch him live:

Sat, Nov 16, Walker Art Center w/ Oneohtrix Point Never, Minneapolis, MN

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