The Year’s Most Celestial

Tim Hecker’s Ravedeath, 1972 is not the most technically accomplished output of 2011, but it just may be the most thought provoking. Yeah, that’s a pretty heavy compliment. Hecker’s album is deserving of the praise. In a year where a transition to synth-based ambient music has reigned supreme in the blog-induced hipster mainstream, no album has stripped away concepts as simple as melody and rhythm as seamlessly as Ravedeath. Indie favorites high on the use of sound obstruction – a term I use to attempt to describe the drone inflected sounds happening everywhere from the hip-hop scene to pop – have not approached the level of complete spaciness, freeness, drone, that Hecker achieves. This may sound bland, but what Hecker provides is a template for thought. He captures a sound that is only comparable to minimalist composers such as Steve Reich and John Cage. Following in the trend of these modernist pioneers, he has helped to deconstruct pre-conceived notions of what music can be. Does it have to have melody or a sense of rhythm? Isn’t that what defines music? Not according to Hecker. One listen to any of his songs will tell you that Hecker is a musician, but not in the stereotyped or preconceived sense. Hecker pushes boundaries with music that sounds at first listen like anything but controversial. When it comes down to it, he portrays a mood. His compositions are portraits, or canvases if you will. Like a painter, he approaches the canvas and subtly creates something sublime. The best part – this creation acts as a canvas itself for the listener,  an album that lends itself perfectly to thought and dream.

About ctrimis

I am a student at the University of Washington, majoring in Percussion Performance and Music Education. View all posts by ctrimis

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