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Boomkat Product Review:
Tim Hecker's score for BBC/AMC show "The North Water" is as chilly and menacing the drama's Arctic premise. Scraping orchestral drones echo over the faintest whispers of Hecker's early warbling power ambience >> deep, dark and serious.
It's hardly surprising that Canadian granular ambient don Hecker has shifted so seamlessly into prestige TV scoring. 'The North Water' began airing in the USA this summer, an adaptation of Ian McGuirand's popular novel that follows a whaling expedition to the Arctic in the 1850s. Cue some personal dread then, and who better to inform that voyage into the heart of darkness than Tim Hecker? His 2016 collaboration with Jóhann Jóhannsson "Love Streams" feels like it's informed "The North Water" most forcefully, and Jóhannsson's pointed subtlety hangs in the atmosphere of each evocative cue.
It isn't pretty music, but not without hope. Hecker paints a pitch-black backdrop with familiar elements, but his sonic signature is never far behind. The finest moments are when he breaks free - the levitated post-eno ambient haze of 'It's A Mistake To Think Too Much' for example - but there are plenty of winks to camera as he abstracts serious TV canned bleakness with dub echo slapback. Undoubtedly there's plenty here for devotees of the dark ambient movie soundtrack canon: Lustmord, Deaf Center and the Miasmah catalog.