30 Oct, 2013

Tim Hecker – “Virgins”

Tim Hecker’s latest creation is nothing short of masterful. The new album, Virgins, released on October 14 is as artful as an ambient soundscape can ever hope to be. It is more ethereal and organic than any of his previous work. Instead of his traditional style of pure studio production, he enlisted the help of Bedroom Community affiliated orchestral musicians.  The Icelandic record label and music collective is well known for sporting such artists as Ben Frost, Paul Corley, and Sam Amidon. What results is a dualistic clash between the organic and the mechanical, the light at the end and the darkness that surrounds the hope and the fear ever pressing in the backs of our minds.

Throughout the album, a sense of urgency grates at the edges of an inevitability forthcoming. Dissonant strings and surly bass lines intertwine then unravel. The beginning track “Prism” eerily guides us up the superior vena cava into the right atrium of the album. “Radiance” offers a moment of peace and solitude before the eclectic “Live Room” takes our expectations and tears them apart as if they weren’t even there to begin with. “Virginal II” returns to the beginning theme and offers the listener a sense of a destination in the distance unfolding. The last half of the album provides ethereal relief to the disorientation of the beginning, but there remains the suspicion that something lurks in the darkness. The end track “Stab Variation” leaves the journeyman wondering if there was ever could be an end to his passage through the void. Can the duality of the mechanical and the organic ever be resolved? The listener is left without answers, but somehow the lack of resolve brings with it an enchantment of childlike wonder and the prodigious beauty of the complexity of life.


Reviewed by Summer Wollin

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