Tim Hecker - An Imaginary Country 2xLP


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Label: Kranky

Our Review:

As demonstrated on numerous past recordings, Tim Hecker is a master sonic alchemist. With a handful of effects, a computer and a guitar and who knows what else, he is able to construct this time machine of sound. These recordings, while simply pleasing to the ear, are also transcendent. They soothe, they entrance, they mesmerize, they transport.

The sound of An Imaginary Country is heavier, and thicker, altogether more powerful. This is the sort of sound that performed live through a massive PA could summon angels, or perhaps demons. But for all this added sonic weight, nothing is lost. The sounds are not just loud, they are multihued. every note, every chord, every bit of sound is alive with energy. It's as if Hecker has created a living breathing sound sculpture, made of transparent spheres. From afar, it's a gorgeous assemblage, the spheres shifting and dancing, playing out some elaborate composition, but pick one sphere, get up close and look inside, and there is a whole 'nother constellation of smaller glass spheres, engaged in a similarly beautiful and elaborate dance.

A closer examination reveals the presence of thick warm whirring organs on such of the songs. Thus much of the record sounds choral as the music of some crumbling empty church, left to play blurred tones into eternity. Other tracks play out like watching some old filmstrip come to life, still surrounded by grit and hiss and buzz. There are a few moments of relative tranquility where the sounds are tamped down and held in check by an atmosphere of reverb and delay. In the end An Imaginary Country resolves as a blurry ballet of soft sound and of mysterious sonic events.