Friday, March 6, 2009

Tim Hecker - An Imaginary Country

Tim Hecker
An Imaginary Country
(03.2009, Kranky)
RIYL = Fennesz, Belong, Axolotl

Tim Hecker is among the forefathers of the second generation ambient tug, and with good reason. The back catalog under his own name and as Jetone is pretty much spotless. I know I didn’t necessarily gush over his 2008 album with Aidan Baker, but you have to understand that Mr. Hecker’s works have to stand up to a much higher standard than most artists of his ilk. And even with that self created standard, Fantasma Parastasie was still good. On An Imaginary Country, Hecker recaptures that slightly loftier grandeur that was missing from Fanatasma. In fact, I think it is heaps better. It is weird, I have already read a couple reviews on this album and people seem to be taking the exact opposite approach on these two releases, lauding the Aidan Baker collaboration and calling An Imaginary Country just ‘pretty good.’ Naw man, this thing absolutely kills it! Sure, Harmony in Ultraviolet is still his current high point, but this new album hits on something pretty close. The glacial heft isn’t quite so hefty, but there is an incredible pop presence here that makes An Imaginary Country perhaps more listenable than anything in his back catalog, and that is a very, very good thing. And in terms of comparison with other granular-ambient elder statesmen, I am liking this much more than Fennesz’s album last year. So much for meaningful reviews huh? “I just like it.” Right… But seriously, I don’t know quite what else to say about the album. It’s all classic Tim Hecker, anchored with a frosty electronic pulse and built with swaths and swaths of warm feedback. One thing to note that I don’t think I have consciously appreciated in his past releases is the thick, muted bass tones that permeate An Imaginary Country. I mean, if you can’t hear the same indefinable spiritual/emotional weight with An Imaginary Country (which you should) you can at least feel that aural weight. Simply put, An Imaginary Country is super solid and endlessly replayable. If you have any inclination towards textured ambient/experimental music, this is a must.

-Lil' Thistle

Tim Hecker - "200 Years Ago"


Jonathan Paul Doerr said...

An Imaginary Country is such a wonderful album. It's odd to think of Tim Hecker as having a pop presence, but when I first listened to it I remember being shocked at the semblance of rhythm and how it worked so well. Great review!

Justin Snow said...

I'm glad to find someone giving this high praise. All I've read was a bunch of "meh" reviews. I haven't heard it yet but this pushes me to grab a copy sooner rather than later.

jonathanbrisby said...

Funny you mention it Thistle, I also like this album far better than Fennesz' Black Sea! Excellent. One of the year's finest.