Tim Hecker - Dropped Pianos LP


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Label: Kranky

Our Review:

Canadian ambient deconstructionist Tim Hecker has tapped into a unique sound that manages to evoke feelings of loss and memory, of some otherworld, of some other time. His music is modern and experimental, but still classic and timeless, deftly casting ambient music as something so much more than simple ambience. Lush and textural. Haunting and emotional. Dropped Pianos is yet another remarkable feat, offering a glimpse into the process Hecker goes through to create his record, in the form of this series of sketches.

As the title suggests, the focus here is on the piano. The sound is minimal and spare by Hecker's standards, trading the often think gristly walls of buzz and crumbling thrum, for something much more stately, sparse, washed out and delicate. But even so, this is not a collection of raw piano recordings. The sounds are already blurred and bleary, sun dappled and crystalline. It seems impossible these could be untouched original recordings. But even with Heckers's minimal amount of processing, the tracks here have already been transformed, gauzy soft focus squalls of haunted funereal ballads. There are what appear to be solo piano pieces, though closer listening reveals all manner of subtle sonic weirdness just below the surface. Often, those strange subtleties taking over completely, swallowing the piano whole, while other times the notes seem to bleed into one another, blurring into dramatic swirls of sound, tense and dark and very cinematic. Most of the pieces here are brief, all of them could have been stretched out to fill up the whole record. Thankfully, Dropped Pianos does not sound fragmented. The various sketches are woven into an album in its own right, fused into something darkly divine.