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tim hecker - An Imaginary Country
By now, the promise of a new Tim Hecker album has become something of an 'event' as far as electronic music goes. The Canadian composer has well and truly established himself as one of the foremost computer musicians around, having released post-clicks'n'cuts classics like Radio Amor and Harmony In Ultraviolet under his own name whilst busying himself with his Jetone side project and a recently founded collaborative venture with Aidan Baker (check out the excellent Fantasma Parastasie album from a few months back). An Imaginary Country is another marvellous playlist of swirling textures and elusive auditory otherness. The key to Hecker's unique sound is his uncanny knack for pushing sound mixes to breaking point without ever quite launching into all out distortion. Instead there's an uneasy equilibrium established on the divide between chaos and serenity - part noise album, part ambient exercise. Even in the most ferocious moments of An Imaginary Country ('Where Shadows Make Shadows' and '200 Years Ago would be prime candidates for that accolade) there's always an underlying beauty and emotional pull guiding your ears through the typhoon of overtones and feedback signals. Pieces like 'Borderlands' offer a subdued clarity, permitting a certain amount of melodically-engaged calm between the more effervescent compositions:'A Stop At The Chord Cascades' is majestic and imposing, while elsewhere'The Inner Shore' and 'Paragon Point' overspill with harmonically entangled activity. A fine way to start the new year, An Imaginary Country finds Hecker building on the momentum established by prior releases, continuing to forge a path that's all his own.