Tim Hecker – Ravedeath, 1972 & Dropped Pianos

For the last months I unfolded a passion for a music genre that I’d like to call abstract music. Most people tend to define this genre as ambient / drone / whatever, but I prefer to rely on my own definitions of music instead of blindly following trends and assuming new tags on last.fm as my own, for instance.

Montreal based musician and producer Tim Hecker suits the definition of abstract music very well. He’s been the first artist who introduced me to the ambient / drone genre apart from Southern Lord’s finest; Sunn o))).

I remember the time I first listened to his album “Harmony In Ultraviolet” and I was stunned, in a pleasant way. Never had I heard something like that before and it was a thrilling experience to me.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QUpA8R01d50?rel=0]

Ravedeath, 1972 follows his “classical” songwriting, if this can be called so. Multilayered soundscapes chased through all possible effects giving enough room to the listener to sink in an imaginary dream world and cancel contact with the here and now. Hecker lifts the sound of conventional instruments to a whole new level and to me he is one of the big players in the ambient league. Pianos, organs, guitars; all mixed and modified to a pleasant yet challenging listening experience; where you do not know if it is a violin or perhaps a saxophone you’re hearing. And you just couldn’t care less, because you’re already sucked into the whirl of this work of art. And that’s what makes this album so special. The songs can wrap you like a warm veil and in another instant hit you on the forehead and make you feel miserably for what you are.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2K33Ka4yauQ?rel=0]

Dropped Pianos is the complete opposite of Ravedeath, 1972. I could interpret this album as an homage to the piano, but it’s more. There’s more to it than just a few chords randomly hitten with a lot of hall. It’s the saddening, melancholic undertone of the so called “sketches” which makes this album worth listening to. The ethereal acoustic of the piano gives this album a more organic note, a more conventional approach to “ordinary” music than Ravedeath does, so I can fully recommend Dropped Pianos to all the people who have never heard of ambient / drone music before. It’s easier to digest but at the same time a challenge, because Dropped Pianos could also be described as the soundtrack of the apocalypse. Burning bridges and the metal twisting towards the fiery skyline, people desperately running for shelter and looking for their beloved ones; everything’s held with the eye of a voyeuristic camera in slow-motion. Dropped Pianos is a slow paced listening experience in unsurpassable intimate beauty.

In a society in which musical trends wither within the blink of an eye, new bands having a raison d’ĂȘtre for their hip moment and old bands losing credibility for not evolving during their careers, Tim Hecker is some sort of hero to me. His music does not follow any conventions and is the antithesis to trends and hipsterism.

Who needs arpeggio-laden synths, time signatures, people with fancy Hitler hairdos and trend whores when there’s one man with a laptop who unleashes the fury with minimalism as a big fuck you to the (trends) establishment?

Conclusion: The soundtrack for this autumn, most definitely! Thank you for everything Tim.