Tim Hecker – Ravedeath, 1972 (Kranky)

Tim Hecker's new album

These guys must really hate pianos.

Right off the bat Tim Hecker should get some major acknowledgment for having one of the coolest album titles and covers I’ve seen in a while. If you don’t know much about the Canadian electronic composer Tim Hecker’s work you might see that title and expect some especially harsh noise, but you’d be oh so wrong.

“Ravedeath, 1972” is filled with some of the finest ambient drone in recent memory. Its more than just beautiful soundscapes however, there are touches of harshness found throughout especially in some of the glitch elements Hecker incorporates. A great example of this is found in “The Piano Drop,” the opening track on the album. Beginning with hazy static  pulses the song subtly moves into a sharp focus before falling into an even greater state of degradation than when it began as it fades away; a perfect beginning.

Hecker has a great talent at arranging his albums.  His songs rarely climax, but when one thinks of his albums as something to be heard from start to finish you realize that he takes his listeners on a very dynamic journey. The way “Harmony in Ultraviolet” so gently set up the explosive second half is a testament to his vision, and Ravedeath is brilliantly sequenced. The 16 minute epic “In the Fog” (which shifts tremendously through its 3 sections) concludes as a powerful storm of glitchy drone, but is then followed by the achingly beautiful “No Drums,” the gentlest track on the album. As the album began with the three part “In The Fog” it ends with the three part “In the Air,” the final section of which is one of the undeniable highlights. The fog and the static disappears in Ravedeath’s final moments and allow a lone piano to slowly bring the album to a fading close.

Tim Hecker’s work is often given morbid titles, and that’s more true than ever here. A concept he describes as being about the death of rave with artwork showing the death of a piano, in an album containing songs with references to studio suicides and hatred of music. It is perhaps because of this that the beautiful “Ravedeath, 1972” is the most cathartic work of Tim Hecker’s career.

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~ by cheesedog22 on February 8, 2011.

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