Tim Hecker - Ravedeath, 1972

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Tim Hecker
Ravedeath, 1972
Tim Hecker - Ravedeath, 1972 Review rating:
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A recent crop of experimental ambient artists has been strikingly prevalent and have had much acclaim since the late 1990s. The introduction of the homogeneous structures of Ben Frost within Theory of Machines, but a more of a disconnect has been shown in his recent album, the cinematic-esque concept in By The Throat; Fennesz’s use guitar layers along synths intertwine constantly, and lastly Max Richter’s classically driven album Infra, an imaginative discourse between the piano, silence, and static. Tim Hecker resides with this generation of ambient artists. The former were dominated by William Basinski, Biosphere, Robert Rich, and so on, but the exceptional difference between that generation and this is the amount of layered soundscapes that are pushed with masses of electronic. The effect manifested is pure brooding energy. Complete buildups of layers upon layers of electronic. While all these artists draw their own influences many of them work in that same way. Tim Hecker’s work (under his born name), since his release of Harmony In Ultraviolet has never strayed away from his style. And while the aforementioned artists within the modern experimental scene do this, none have taken it upon themselves to distort or manipulate those sounds as well as Hecker. That is probably why his work has resonated as a pulsating force that beckons feelings of euphoria within every wave of music. Absolutely, the common character of isolation, menacing tone is still within, but over time it is purely washed away. An Imaginary Country succeeds on that impression and with the latest release of Ravedeath, 1972 you immediately see how much of an impact Ben Frost has on Hecker's recent departure from his usual material.

Frost’s personal work, more recently within By The Throat then his debut Theory of Machines, has garnered mass dissonance with the structures of his songs. While Hecker’s work feels like a progression in experience, Frost’s could be argued to be of the opposite with its spastic style, which is why it feels so ominous, so looming, so purely frightening. By The Throat lunges towards you with wolves howling and violins in a purely chaotic nature - seething at moments notice, but his use of piano is far more striking with the general overall mood of the album. Ravedeath, 1972 is portrayed in the light of Frost’s latest work; a clear polar opposite of An Imaginary Country; the introduction of what would be Frost's more appropriate sound does so in a very different way for Hecker.

The opener, “The Piano Drop”, is in Hecker fashion – a throbbing electronic repetitive gash that is accompanied by rhythmic sound that comes in waves. It is his method by all means, but that same rhythm remains dormant in its pitch, only for lack of a better term becomes stagnate. Nowhere on Ravedeath, 1972 do you feel an overwhelming sensation of euphoria, those once highly formed, sensationalized movements within An Imaginary Country. Ravedeath, 1972 instead, is a darker, closely knit concept that relies on piano and the pipe organ far more then Hecker’s previous work – a clear influence from Frost. A direction is presented here – Hecker’s moves in with pulsating electronic arrangements and they become a catharsis of dormant sound that never tends to never cascade as his previous albums did so well. The general outcome is a far darker, traditional modern ambient mood then anything Hecker has made and is akin to the work of his contemporary.

Ravedeath, 1972 is a peculiar step forward in Hecker’s career. He succeeds on almost every level here; especially considering this seems to be exactly the sound he tried crafting years ago. “In The Fog I-III” builds up slowly, starting from silence, to shadowy screeches towards the repressed jumbled pulses that are significantly pulled down by the production. It is fantastic for two reasons. For one, the mood goes from standstill to a pure uprising in the material; secondly, that same repression that works so well for Frost does two-fold for Hecker. A far more gloomy tone originates because you sense the tempo wanting to move, wanting to break, but is always sustained in the darkest corners of the music. Even if, "In The Air I-III" achieves some type of leap from the cavern the album has made, it still brings in so much chaos it’s practically uprooted. You may not see it now, but Ravedeath, 1972 stands as An Imaginary Country’s introverted brother; where both the resonance of its music and its posture are ever consumed without any light. This is Hecker embracing the darker side of ambient then ever before.

1. The Piano Drop
2. In The Fog I
3. In The Fog II
4. In The Fog III
5. No Drums
6. Hatred of Music I
7. Hatred of Music II
8. Analog Paralysis, 1978
9. Studio Suicide 1980
10. In The Air I
11. In The Air II
12. In The Air III

Montreal producer <a href="http://www.last.fm/music/Tim+Hecker" class="bbcode_artist">Tim Hecker</a> made his initial breakthrough as <a href="http://www.last.fm/music/Jetone" class="bbcode_artist">Jetone</a>, but followed with some incredible <a href="http://www.last.fm/tag/ambient" class="bbcode_tag" rel="tag">ambient</a> work attributed to his born name. ... read more

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