Tim Hecker – An Imaginary Country
How did I miss this? Well, to be honest, the CD was stuck at the bottom of my review pile and I didn’t realise I had it… Anyway, enough excuses, Tim Hecker releases are always diverting, and this one is (in my humble opinion) his best for a long while. The reproduction of the drawing of the Montreal Crater at Vimy Ridge, (scene of the Canadian forces’ most memorable action in the First World War) may have subconsciously given this LP a determined vibe. Maybe the Debussy quote (which apparently inspired Hecker and duly became the title of this LP) is part of some grander sonic plan.
Certainly it’s a lot more up-front than his last release. The usual swathes of beautifully manipulated feedback and samples are here for all to enjoy. But this is such an accessible record; you could almost call it his pop release. The opening track, 100 Years Ago, sounds like an early New Order-style synth run, preserved in aspic; evolving into a High Church take on T-Dream’s Atem. It’s a brilliant opening and one which seamlessly (in true Hecker style) moves into the arid sonic landscape of The Inner Shore. This is where Tim Hecker excels, piecing together subtly different mood pieces, ensuring that the music never becomes stale, overly repetitive or too academic.
Tracks like Borderlands are reminiscent of the stuff coming from the E’G label in the 1980s, the stuff Harold Budd Lanois or Eno did: warm, attractive, melancholy and deceptively simple. It could be the Cocteau’s Moon and the Melodies at times... Paragon Point is another low-key marvel, sounding for all the world like a sluggish spaceship, the track floats around in an aura of beautiful, carefully gradated white noise.
A brilliant piece of work, and one for sublime, peaceful evenings.
Words: Richard Foster