7/10 Clinton Staff review, 11 October 2013
Virgins? I wonder what virgins have to do with this sonic soup?
Hecker released an album a couple of years back called ‘Dropped Pianos’ - a phrase which kind of sums up the second track here, the spiralling-off-the-rails-maelstrom of ‘Virginal1’. It begins with the sound of a piano tumbling down a never-ending set of stairs before being joined by clarinet drones, staccato cellos and general chaos. It's an impressively dynamic piece, culminating in the lowest of low-end clarinet drones.
Elsewhere, ‘Live Room’ matches strings-of-a-piano clatterings with low-end piano notes, squeaks and tape loops. Occasionally a huge clatter will appear from nowhere. There are some huge, distorted bass drones which intermittently take over the mix. This reliance on distorted tomfoolery betrays the prettiness of the original piece and is extremely disconcerting.
The album continues off and on in this vein, it's generally what I’d describe as ‘chaotic ambience’. On ‘Virginal 2’ there is an outbreak of fuzzing synths. Everything is syncopated and the noises seem to phase in and out of the mix. I guess as a general ballpark, start with Philip Glass then introduce an element of noise such as Main then basically throw the whole lot of it down the waste disposal unit. It takes until track 7 ‘Black Refraction’ for a quieter piece to appear. It's both much needed as an ear cleanser and quite lovely.
Hecker can’t quite resist faffing and I’m sure that certain tracks would benefit from a cleaner, simpler sound as the chaos can get a bit wearing. Still music is not always meant to be ‘nice’ and there's a fidgety restlessness to Hecker’s work here which makes for a very exciting album.
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- Virgins by Tim Hecker
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