RSS feed RSS Twitter Twitter Facebook Facebook 15 Questions 15 Questions

Tim Hecker: Ravedeath 1972

img  Tobias Fischer

Ever since the release of Harmony in Ultraviolet, the organ – or at least its sound – has been important element in the oeuvre of Tim Hecker. Never before, however, has he paid homage to the instrument as deeply as on Ravedeath 1972. Making use of recordings realised on the organ of the Frikirkjan church in Reykjavik, Iceland, as well as additional timbres culled from computer, synths, piano, microphone as well as feedback from a guitar amplifier, the result decidedly expands the organ's influence beyond its use as a mere chromatic source. On this occasion, it has instead turned into the very foundation of one of the most fluent Tim Hecker albums of all time.

The kind of conscious musical ruptures, which had become a trademark of Hecker's approach and which clearly set him apart from many musicians outwardly operating in similar realms, are no longer taking place between individual tracks on Ravedeath 1972. Instead, these confrontational collisions of compositional identities, which still left an indelible mark on predecessor An Imaginary Country, have been replaced by a gentle flow perfectly mirrored by the colour scheme of the work's old white / grayish-brown cover: Grated, corroded, close to decay, even when, as on „In the Air i-iii“, the organ is attaining majestic force.

And yet, this newly-found homogeneity never once leads to boredom. Almost every single piece here is marked by a sense of fragility, with Hecker wilfully tearing its sound layers apart, disrupting its dynamics or weaving parasitic noises into the sonic texture; there is an element of conceptuality at work in these processes, an unspoken message encompassing the entire album and  expressing itself through track titles hinting at a kind of protest and musical love-hate („Hatred of Music i-iii“, „Studio Suicide 1980“). Or at least, it does so in one's imagination.

To me, Ravedeath 1972 ranks among Tim Hecker's finest – nestling in comfortably in between all-time favourites like Haunt me haunt me do it again and Presents Radio Amor.

By Hellmut Neidhardt

Homepage: Tim Hecker
Homepage: Kranky Recordings

Related articles

Chihei Hatakeyama: "Ghostly Garden"; "A Long Journey"
A romantic Descartes: Twisted deja-vues ...
Fjordne: "The Setting Sun"
Nightly inspirations: Chamber music moving ...
CD Feature/ Maju: "Maju-5"
Soaked in constant movement: A ...
CD Feature/ Fennesz: "Black Sea"
Triumphant in a tender way: ...

Partner sites