Tim Hecker

Muzyka elektroniczna Płyta: Tim Hecker - Harmony In Ultraviolet cover-ultramarin

Tim Hecker is a Montreal-based ambient artist and producer who has been steadily releasing music since 2000. A true visionary for abstract electronic music, Hecker has mastered the art of digitally crafting living, breathing sonic movements. He utilizes a multitude of instrumentation and field recordings, crushed, distorted and warped into writhing acoustic organisms. By nature of this surging density, the listener is pulled in every direction and simultaneously pinned down by weighty aural impact.

Under his better-known eponymous ambient side, Hecker has produced 8 quality LPs (my favourites being “Harmony in Ultraviolet”, “Radio Amor” and his debut, “Haunt Me, Haunt Me Do It Again”) and a host of supporting EPs. As a collaborator, he’s teamed with notable brethren such as noise/electronic producer Oneohtrix Point Never (also a talented individual), remixed the likes of Isis and Mogwai, and has been sought as a touring act with indie giants Sigur Rós and Godspeed You! Black Emperor. Via Jetone, his notable minimalist dancey side project, Hecker has released 3 elusive LPs, “Ultramarin” standing as the only one I’ve managed to attain. Update: the winter’s ice hath thawed into Spring, trickling through Tim Hecker’s subconscious as “Love Streams”. This LP finds him at his most frigid, raw and beautiful – a frantic, sometimes harrowing squall of fragmented, wandering voices curated with the help of talented Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson (try “Music of the Air” with trailing requiem “Bijie Dream”).

Favourite tracks:
Tim Hecker – Chimeras… constant change.
Jetone – Aerial Red… music for a club night after party’s after party.

Fennesz

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Christian Fennesz is an Austrian electronic, noise and ambient producer who has defined and transformed these genres for over 20 years. Revered as one of the most innovative and versatile electronic musicians of our time, he really is in a league of his own. Raised and still based in Vienna, Fennesz reports to have found great solace and inspiration from the wind that endlessly swept the valley of his home. Indeed, his music often embodies just that – layer upon layer of shape-shifting melody, beaten endlessly down by droning overlay and unpredictability. He is the sound of a sandstorm tossing blinded, desperate songbirds through the air, or of a drowned wind-up charm as it sinks slowly to the bottom of the sea. He at once embodies steadfast artistic consistency with unrelenting change, where every sound and texture was conjured uniquely by him, to be used for a specific musical moment alone, never to be heard again.

Offering probably the greatest solo live performance I’ll ever see, Fennesz demonstrated true mastery of his instruments, intensely  scanning his computer and studio-sized soundboard, generating and altering an immersive synthetic density while driving essential guitar-based accentuations through the fog. He rocked back and forth with a near-possessed look upon his face, like a zealot just moments away from enlightenment. Upon finishing his 1-hour non-stop set, the crowd sat in prolonged silence, seemingly for fear of cursing the molecular arrangement of the air. Fennesz sincerely apologized for his many “errors” during the set, to which one audience member simply returned, “Please, play more.”

Since 1995, Fennesz has amassed an amazing collection of work. Starting as a noise artist, he remained off the beaten path, steadily expanding his repertoire throughout the initial releases. Perhaps best known for his version of a pop record, 2001’s “Endless Summer”, this work secured his place in the music world and is an essential demonstration of his abilities. However, it’s in the 2004 follow-up “Venice” that I believe Fennesz found his masterpiece. With some of the greatest electronic songs to be heard, “Venice” is an absolute triumph of vision and execution. 2008’s “Black Sea” is perhaps less immediately accessible, but continues with his dedicated experimentation and innovation in engineering. 2014 broke a 6-year LP-hiatus with “Bécs”, a beautifully-wrought guitar-heavy return to his take on pop-influenced songwriting.

Furthering his versatility, Fennesz is a prolific collaborator with a large variety of musicians in studio and live performance – from the piano mastery of Ryuichi Sakamoto, to the raw and fragile croons of the late Sparklehorse, to the spasmodic insanity of Mike Patton, to the live soundtracking of a ballet performance (and literally dozens more), his diversity knows no bounds. Hacking covers and remixes into something wholly indistinguishable from the original, it never ceases to impress and perplex how it is Fennesz must approach and perceive music. Despite this, he offers incredibly simple, purist opinions when inquired, almost as though his music is the only thing that makes clear, logical sense. In a recent interview, Fennesz discussed how listeners sometimes state difficulty in finding the path connecting his interpretations, so he played an unreleased version of his 1998 originally-instrumental cover of The Beach Boys “Don’t Talk (Put Your Head On My Shoulder)”, featuring the magic of Brian Wilson’s vocals to guide the listeners’ ears. I have to say, I join much of his fan base in my inability to completely understand his soundscapes, but that hasn’t stopped him from becoming my very favourite electronic artist and a cherished, quintessential component of why I love music. Update: Enlisting frequent collaborator Jim O’Rourke, Fennesz recently released 2-track LP “It’s Hard For Me To Say I’m Sorry”. Again, perhaps with the ear of a music master I might be able to find hints of Chicago buried throughout, but to me it simply sounds like the usual intensity and elegance that emanates from Fennesz’s mind. You can listen on label Editions Mega’s YouTube.

Favourite tracks:
Venice – Rivers of Sand
Venice – Circassian
Seven Stars – Liminal
Endless Summer – Cecilia
Jensen Sportag Rain Code (Fennesz Remix) (free download)

Tourist

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Tourist is UK-based pianist-turned-electro artist William Phillips who came into the scene around 2012. He keeps a pretty low profile, releasing a precious few delicacies per year on small-scale labels and offering the rare remix. Tourist exists in the same esthetic arena as artists like Jacques Greene, Ifan Dafydd and Nosaj Thing, crafting brightly-coloured, beautifully-constructed dance music featuring chopped vocal samples, unassuming rhythms and ample drive to keep your blood surging. It’s like keeping your finger on the pulse of a purring mountain lion.

Tourist’s Soundcloud offers much of his array of works for your perusal, with a few free downloads (new single “Stay”, “Your Girl” and his excellent remix of Sharon Van Etten’s “We Are Fine”). I enjoy all his stuff, with my favourites being his “Patterns” EP (featuring a standout vocal performance by Will Heard on “I Can’t Keep Up“) and 2013’s “Tonight” EP. Update: After much ado, we’ve now been graced with Tourist’s debut LP; “U” is a 10-part dessert tray of frozen cream puffs and chocolate kisses (try single “Waves“).

Favourite track: Together… Yes we should.