Posts Tagged ‘Tim Hecker’

Panurus Productions – 19th November 2018

The title connotes very little that’s immediately apparent. A mass of zombies in The Walking Dead? The blank faces milling around in Asda on a Saturday afternoon? More than anything, I’m inclined towards abstraction, which is precisely what dominates this unusual assemblage. It’s pithed as ‘an 8 track dreamlike journey through electronics, looped field recordings and sampled textures’. It’s a fair summary, although it fails to convey the subtlety and nuance that define Loser Herds, which explores some highly detailed sonic canvases and probes the corners of those spaces.

“This is a test. 1, 2, 3, 4, Error.” It’s a striking start. The voice is close to the mic, and it’s a dry sound, somehow amateur-sounding… It’s at odds with the soft interweaving chimes that slowly rise up in the mix and gradually form supple rhythms that ebb and flow organically. The tracks segue together, shimmering with delicate, subtle ripples cascading multifaceted sonic tapestries. The higher frequencies shine opalescent refractions of light, spinning radiant atmospheres. Welcome to the world of Chlorine, the musical vehicle of northeastern visual artist and musician, Graeme Hopper. Citing Susumu Yokota or Tim Hecker as reference points, Loser Herds is an immersive, layered collection of compositions – although it’s perhaps more accurate to describe it as a single piece in eight parts.

The album takes a strange and ugly turn halfway through, when following the soft glissandos of ‘A Westerly Wind’ and ‘Buskers Night’, a screed of gnarly electronic grinding more reminiscent of Merzbow or Whitehouse clanks in under the guide of ‘Spotify Are Bunch Of Fucking Criminals Who Need To Be Crushed’. It might not be speaker-shredding torture, but it’s likely to be pretty unpalatable to most, especially those seeking the comfort of semi-ambient sonic drifts, the likes of which occupy the rest of the album’s space.

In combining samples with electronics, acoustic instruments feature quite prominently at times, although not always in the most conventional ways. Bewildering and intersecting time signatures paired with warping notes abound on ‘The Distant Breach’, before the epic finale, ‘Forever is Not Long Enough’ draws together all of the aspects of the album to create an immense sound collage that begins gently, but builds incrementally with burrs of distortion and increasing density. Cracking, fizzing overload, woozy cyclical grooves and grating, churning extraneous noise congeal behind an obfuscating gauze of soft-focus fuzziness. It concludes an immersive experience with greater immersion, rounding of a wonderfully wide-ranging work.

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Loser Herds

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Kranky – 28th September 2018

Christopher Nosnibor

Total immersion. This is what I get from Tim Hecker, both recorded and live. Responding critically to such a sensation is a major challenge.

My first attempt to review Konoyo redefined ‘failure’, as I sat, vacant and staring for the duration without typing a word. Yes, other things happened around me: emails continued to ping into my inbox, text messages, Facebook notifications, and so on. So much peripheral shit. But while pushing all of this noise to the peripheries, I struggled – nay, found it impossible – to get a firm grasp on the drifting soundscapes of Hecker’s latest album. My second stab proved no different. I can no longer blame the distractions: I’m reminded of ‘seeing’ Hecker’s performance at the Belgrave Music Hall in Leeds a few years ag. Purple smoke filled the room. It was so dense I couldn’t see my friend standing next to me: I felt as if I was in an isolation tank or a sleeping bag. With my surroundings completely removed, I found myself alone with the music, and in an almost trance-like state, swaying on my feet, in my own world. When things like this happen, I immediately assume I must have drunk more than I should or that I’m tired or something. But music at its most potent is like a drug, and Hecker has the capacity to transform the mental state and one’s relationship with one’s surroundings. And this is certainly true of Konoyo.

Inspired by conversations with a recently-deceased friend about ‘negative space’ and the banal density of contemporary music, Konoyo was largely recorded in a temple on the outskirts of Tokyo with a view to creating something that has room to breathe, rather more cerebral than physical, drawing back from sonic force to invite a different kind of engagement.

The first composition, ‘This Life’ wails eerily, resonant low notes hanging ponderously beneath escalating layers of discord that bow and shriek, before oriental motifs chime a certain note of freshness and innocence… but the notes are bent, the underlying washes of sound begin to twist, scrapes of extraneous noise swell to shrieks of metallic feedback.

As is Hecker’s signature, Konoyo, is very much about shifting textures and juxtaposed tonalities, but more than anything, the incidentals, the way layers fade in and out, and extraneous knocks and clatters suddenly appear from nowhere, and then disappear just as quickly. There are murky pulsations and hazy echoes that resonate through spatial densities that range from the subaquatic to the zero-gravity. Hecker conjures space outside of space, spaces which transcend both time and space to exist in another realm entirely, suspending time in the process. It’s ambience with edge.

An abrupt halt in the soothe drones just 20 seconds into ‘Keyed Out’ provides the album’s first real indication of just how difficult Hecker can – and will – make this. Jolting discord and jarring dissonance rupture the smooth, vaporous backdrop as thigs become overtly challenging around three minutes into this ten-minute journey through dissonance and sonic difficulty, across which a lacey cloak of accessibility slowly settles. The fifteen-minute finale, ‘Across to Anoyo’ is a slow-evolving epic which mutates from quiet mellowness into a warped, woozy discord, which twists Japanese motifs into funnelling electronic abstractions.

Piano tones which should offer tranquillity and comfort are rendered with an edge of attack and amidst a metallic edge of reverb, and nothing is quite as it seems or should be on Konoyo. It bends the brain and pushes the listener to explore unexpected spatial experiences, challenging connections to concrete orientation. The physical world disappears, and time evaporates. Konoyo delivers a path to transcendence.

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Hecker

Tim Hecker shares the haunting new song ‘Keyed Out’ from his incoming, ninth full-length Konoyo, which is incoming via kranky on 28th September. Listen to it here:

Regarding ‘Keyed Out’, Hecker says: "The track "Keyed out" was written over several sessions and finished in a small temple on the outskirts of Tokyo, during one of our initial trips to record with Motonori. I wanted to resist the temptation to overload the music with layers and layers of hyper-edited texture, as if that would help the piece become more whole. The song is a lonely deteriorating synth line, refracted and isolated, played alongside a small court music ensemble on what was a crisp birdsong-filled November morning."

Tim Hecker announces more live dates including rare ensemble appearances in the US. Forthcoming performances for Konoyo will feature traditional Japanese Gagaku musicians on the shō, ryuteki and hichiriki in synergy with his own explorations of noise, dissonance, and melody, creating a hybrid of electronic abstraction and otherworldly minimalism, alternately heavy and gentle. Full dates below.

Tim Hecker + The Konoyo Ensemble

2018

October 2 – Tokyo, WWWX (Japan)

October 6 – London, Barbican Centre (UK)
October 4 – Lisbon, Culturgest (Portugal)

October 7 – Krakow, Unsound Festival (Poland)

October 9 – Berlin, Funkhaus (Germany)

JUST ANNOUNCED FOR 2019

February 18 – New York, National Sawdust

February 19 – New York, National Sawdust

February 22 – Los Angeles, Masonic Lodge at Hollywood Forever Cemetery

February 23 – Los Angeles, Masonic Lodge at Hollywood Forever Cemetery [http://tinyurl.com/ycas9n4l]

Konoyo ("the world over here") was largely recorded during several trips to Japan where he collaborated with members of the gagaku ensemble Tokyo Gakuso, in a temple on the outskirts of Tokyo. Inspired by conversations with a recently deceased friend about negative space and a sense of music’s increasingly banal density, Hecker found himself drawn towards restraint and elegance, while making music both collectively and alone.

As with the Icelandic choir he arranged on 2016’s Love Streams, the heights of Hecker’s talent emerge in his manipulation of source material, bending and burnishing it into fantastical new forms. Keening strings are stretched into surreal, pixelated mirages; woodwinds warble and dissipate as fractal whispers of spatial haze; sparse gestures of percussion are chopped, isolated, and eroded, like disembodied signals from the afterlife. Both in texture and intent, Konoyo conjures a somber, ceremonial mood, suffused with ritual and regret. Visions flutter and fade; dreams gleam and decay.

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Opa Loka Records – OL160096

Christopher Nosnibor

It begins with a long, low, ominous hum. The movement is so gradual as to be barely perceptible. Slowly, so slowly, it grows, swells, and turns, its density, depth and texture shifting, microtonal layers emerge and fade. Dolorous chimes ring and resonate in the sonic mist. The individual tracks are segued together to form an extended, evolutionary work. Brooding strings strike and organs waver on ‘Stone Ether’, and over the course of the album, Cut Worms stalls time to create space and distance, ethereal soundscapes drift, soft, sculpted, immersive.

The forms and structures are as subtle, fleeting and inscrutable as the infiniteness of space and the existence of dark matter. Equally, the origins of the sounds which fill the album seem wholly removed from one another: Lumbar Fist is an electroacoustic work, created with live generated and processed sounds, without any prefabricated beats or loops, and as such, the process entails considerably more than the all-too-common mechanical laptop machinations of ambient works.

Richard Van Kruysdijk – the man who alone is Cut Worms (and what an evocative moniker that is… not that the album title’s far behind) has spent a long time honing his craft, and Lumbar Fist stands alongside artists like Tim Hecker, Oren Ambarchi, Glenn Branca, Stephan Mathieu, Will Guthrie and Jim O’Rourke not just as an exemplar, but an outstanding example of atmospheric, drone-orientated ambience.

 

Cut Worms - Lumbar Fist

Polyartists have always had a hard time: we exist in a culture obsessed with pigeonholing, of ascribing a single genre or a medium. Brion Gysin’s ultimate failing could be aligned to his unwillingness to commit to any one mode of creative output, and over 50 years on, creatives exploring multiple outlets seem to sink beneath the radar simply by virtue of their evasions of prescriptive categorisations like ‘musician’, ‘painter’, ‘writer’ or ‘sculptor’.

Casey Deming – born  in Owatonna, MN, USA, and resident of the Twin Cities (that’s also in Minnesota, and unrelated to any kind of Lord of the Rings-type fantasy world) – has spent a career straddling multiple outlets, ranging from collage to experimental music.

John Wisniewski recently pitched some questions to him about his work for Aural Aggravation.

JW: When did your career in music begin? Were you trained as a musician?

CD: I started making music about 10 years ago. I’ve never had any formal training. It started when I connected with the improv / experimental music scene in the Twin Cities after completing my undergrad degree at the University of MN. I began to collaborate with people involved with the Tuesday Series which was holding weekly concerts at cafe in my neighborhood. Primarily I was just doing small percussion stuff with whatever objects I had at hand. Later I bridged into bending circuits on tape players which was kind of hip at the time. Now I almost exclusively work with tape loops.

caseydemingcedarmarketing700

What inspires you to create new sounds?

Listening to everyday sounds. Sometimes simply taking a walk is enough to inspire me: church bells in the park, wind chimes on front porches, traffic. My baseboard heaters are making this great clicking sound as I write this. Both my visual and sound work are collage-based, there is so much content out there that I’d rather focus on selecting and organizing material as opposed to composing it.

Who are some composers who are influential to you?

Arvo Pärt, Henryk Górecki, Tim Hecker, Ben Frost (especially his album with Daníel Bjarnason), John Cage, John & Alice Coltrane, Miles Davis, Laurie Spiegel, Ekkehard Ehlers, C S Yeh, John Wiese, Ernst Reijseger, Harold Budd, Krzysztof Penderecki, Mica Levi, Angelo Badalamenti, Wendy Carlos, Giacinto Scelsi, Johnny Greenwood, Fennesz, La Monte Young, Fe-mail …

What is the response from the audience to your compositions?

Often curiosity. What am I hearing and why? It’s nice to elicit such responses, I find it kind of boring when musicians focus too much on portraying a certain aesthetic or identity. I try not to create work that’s veiled too much in my own ego. I think it’s important to challenge your audience, make them ask "is this music?".

Have you composed any film soundtracks?

Unfortunately no but it has often been alluded to in my work. The improv noise band I play in Squid Fist (with Bryce Beverlin II & Tim Glenn) has performed along with experimental 8mm & 16mm films but we have never purposely composed something for film. The tape collage project Visions of Christ (with John Jerry) lends itself more to scores because it’s not very interesting to watch us play. John and I have performed along with a light organ setup in the past and hope to employ more visual elements in the future like projecting found slides or pantone colors. Someone remarked that my CS release with Justin Meyers could stand in as an alternate soundtrack to Tarkovsky’s Stalker.

https://player.vimeo.com/video/5404328

Squid Fist Live at Organ Haus from brycebeverlinII on Vimeo.

Do you listen to alternative music or rock music all?

My tastes are pretty eclectic although not that obscure. I listened to a lot of classic rock growing up but have mostly left that behind, besides an occasional nostalgic trip with the Stones. Bob Dylan is maybe the most important musician in my life, rarely a day goes by without me spinning something of his. Most "rock" music that I prefer skews weird, however I hold a lot of old americana and soul in high regards. Early Staple Singes records are in heavy rotation. I’m currently obsessed with Gene Clark’s No Other and also love his records with Doug Dillard. A lot of Townes Van Zandt these days too. Besides Dylan there are some great Minnesota artists like Michael Yonkers and Spider John Koerner. In many ways I’m indebted to my good friends Clint Simonson (De Stijl Recs) and Chris Berry (Soft Abuse) for exposing me to so much gold over the years. Without them I would have not discovered Peter Jefferies, Ed Askew, Mad Nana, Michael Chapman, Bobby Charles, Charlie Tweddle, Black to Comm, King Darves, Mayo Thompson, Neil Michael Hagerty, and Steve Gunn. I was lucky enough to see Wolf Eyes play last night; they’ve always been inspirational to me. I dig their respective side projects as well: Henry Hazel Slaughter, Regression and Stare Case. They’re so wonderfully evocative of such greats like Throbbing Gristle, The Velvet Underground, and Suicide.

Which of the arts is most important in your creations?

They all play their key roles. I’m reading Leonard Shlain’s book Art & Physics: Parallel Visions in Space, Time & Light and it keeps giving me ideas for sound and visual projects. I probably expose myself the least to theatre and dance though they have both affected me profoundly in the past. Perhaps it’s a lack of exposure. I have definitely engaged with literature the most in my life and am forever blown away by people like John Berger, César Aira, Joan Didion, Susan Sontag, Denis Johnson, and Cormac McCarthy. I’m currently tackling Ta-Nehisi Coates’s memoirs and am loving them.

Will you be playing any live dates?

I recently completed a commission at the Cedar Cultural Center that was funded by the Jerome Foundation. It was a collaboration with John Jerry, Davu Seru, and Jonathan Kaiser for tape loops, percussion, and cello. Justin Meyers and I played a couple weeks ago and hope to make another recording together in the near future. I have another tape and synth project with John Marks and we self-released a CS a few months ago. I am trying to refocus my energies on visual work, getting ready to be part of a collage show at Chicago’s Lula Cafe in May and apply to grants in hopes of funding the purchase of a risograph printer. Jugging all these things has become an art form in itself.

Casey Deming Online

Gizeh Records – 12th February 2016

Christopher Nosnibor

Æmaeth is the project of Owen Pegg (A-Sun Amissa / Hundred Year Old Man), and he’s already scored a number of films. Independent flick The Roman is a silent work which to which ten segments of improvisational drone-based passages played on guitar and piano were composed by way of an accompaniment.

Since the film premiered in May 2014, its soundtrack has been evolving, developing, accruing layers and details, until finally, the ten pieces came together to form a fluid, brooding sequence that stands as a whole, and as a powerful sonic journey. It’s fitting for a film which is no gung-ho Hollywood take on history based on a succession of cast off-thousand battle scenes. Simon Rawson’s movie, shot in Yorkshire, is outlined as a story of two men, lost, who are ‘challenged and tested by nature, each other and the inner most conflicting primordial affiliations with man’s body and mind’.

Pegg’s soundtrack conveys so much, its dark, tense tones resonate as they connote psychological drama. The battles fought within the mind, the conflict and the uncertainty. The barren, unforgiving landscapes, shadowy woodlands and bleak moors. These are the scenes portrayed within the compositions, which are spacious, often sparse. Delicate piano notes drift airily but ponderously, gradually eclipsed by deep, dark, thunderous rolling drones, stormy and threatening. At times, the sheer weight and density of the ominous tones are oppressive, the sounds so large as to create a sensation of a pressure being applied to the skull.

That isn’t to say the soundtrack lacks subtlety: far from it. There are passages of quiet, so hushed as to compel the listener to strain their ears listening for some faint sound – and invariably, there is something, something small, soft, indistinct. Or there are layers of sound, often in the upper frequencies, needling the senses, tugging at the peripheries of the psyche, somewhere in the background or half-hidden, off to one side. These, like the brief moments of light which occasionally present themselves, are integral to the soundtrack’s dynamics, and the power of its effect.

There is torment, there is discomfort. There is also an ever-present sense of danger, sometimes distant, sometimes heart-stoppingly close.

The final passage, the nine-minute ‘Neptune’ is vast, built on a slowly turning vortex of sound. A rumbling rhythm lingers as it pulses just beneath the surface of its soft tonality and offers a hint of redemptive relief at the conclusion of a journey which is most worthy of the term ‘epic’.

Æmaeth - Roman

 

Æmaeth – The Roman at Gizeh