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Tim Hecker: Ravedeath, 1972

The second track on Ravedeath, 1972 by Montreal sound-sculpter Tim Hecker begins with the chug of an idling garbage truck. Two songs later, it appears again, barely audible, at the tail end of “In The Fog III.” Where previous albums by this “structured ambient” artist conjured up images of stark, wintry environments, Ravedeath trudges out into the cluttered but similarly hostile terrain of the landfill, where nearly infrasonic pipe-organ grumbles fill the gaps in a prised-apart synthesizer before the whole mess is blanketed and muffled by another layer of processed acoustic noise. This stratified approach is no accident: After recording a day’s worth of pipe-organ in a Reykjavik church, Hecker returned to his studio, where, with the help of Iceland-based producer Ben Frost, he began piling those sounds with looped fret-board chatter, the wheeze of a respiratory machine, and trumpet blasts that hang eerily in the air before being crushed into the dirt by the next layer of digital dross. Complex and rewarding in a way that the telescoping salvia trip of An Imaginary Country never was, and tougher and more fibrous than the excellent Haunt Me Haunt Me, Do It Again, Ravedeath, 1972 somehow manages to soothe even as it disorients.


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