As I sit in a Lincoln Center Starbucks nauseous from the fact that I’m about to sit down with Claire Denis and haven’t been this nervous in quite a while, it’s been a welcome delight that this morning’s soundtrack has been getting better by the minute. First off, NPR is now streaming the new album Virgins from brilliant experimental electronic composer of fantastically haunting soundscapes Tim Hecker. And as expected, it sinks into your skin and freezes your veins, transporting you in a decaying ballroom filled with winter light and the ghost of horrific silences—or something.
And to top it off, there really aren’t many things that excite me more than reading the words “unreleased Burial track” on a grey Monday morning, so I was thrilled to hear that Kieran Hebden, aka Four Tet, DJed on Britain’s Rinse FM this weekend and played a never heard before collaboration between he and the enigmatic smoke-fueled perfection that is Burial. There’s no title or information about when it was recored, but you should do yourself a favor and take a listen below. Enjoy.
There are moments in life that require you to simply “put your ear down close to your soul and listen hard.” It’s often hard to understand just what the heart wants and to know what language your soul is speaking, but when you’re overcome with a sense of ineffable emotion, that’s always a place worth exploring. Whether it’s lying somewhere between nostalgic longing and the throws of heartbreak or melancholic ennui and the craving for absolute joy, what hangs in the balance of those emotions has a sonic rhythm and sound that speaks when the words just won’t come.
And when it comes to artists that personify that very feeling, it’s the music of Tim Hecker that gives weight to what’s lying just between. His droning ambient soundscapes like decaying cities of the soul are filled with a teeming an static ring that echoes into the chambers of the heart and is always an absolutely meditative pleasure to fill your brain waves. And today, he’s announced the release of Virgins, the new follow-up album to 2011’s stunning Ravendeath 1972. Set to premiere this fall, the album will be released via Kranky and is said to be “almost percussive…airy, more defined’ that “at times points to the theological aspirations of early minimalist music." Well there you go.
So in the meantime, let’s take this boiling hot and emotionally heavy day to chill out with some of the best of Tim Hecker.
I know, I know, we’d all prefer to see the sun at least once every fortnight, but the fog blanketing New York today is pretty cool, so just enjoy these foggy-sounding fog songs. (Note: definitely includes John Carpenter’s main theme from beloved horror flick The Fog.)
Imagine you’re walking down a desolate street on the fringe of a city on a cloudy day in January at around 4:45pm in 33 degree weather—everything has a kind of gray tinge to it, but slightly starting to turn blue with nightfall. Now, imagine you’ve recently had your heart broken but you’ve moved past the endless sobbing—still raw on the inside but transitioned into neither explicit sorrow or anger, more ambivalence towards the word, in which you realize that life is essentially shit but what can you do, right? Still melancholic but covered in a block of ice. Now that, generally, is what Tim Hecker’s music feels like. At least to me.
The Canadian electronic musician whose droning ambient soundscapes feel like the soundtrack to decaying cities, has just released a remix he did of Holy Other’s “Held.” The Manchester-based producer released his debut LP earlier this year with "Held"—reminiscent of Burial’s vocal distortion and pulsating beats like listening to R&B through the walls of a submarine—as the title track. Hecker’s remix takes the song and covers it in a layer of static and smoke, simultaneously slowing down your pulse and exciting your nerve-endings.
Go find yourself a quiet place in the dark to listen.
The annual Pitchfork Music Festival is always a doozy, full of bands you probably want to see before they blow up even bigger. This year’s event takes place at Chicago’s Union Park from July 13-15, as it usually does. Pitchfork has also announced the initial lineup: Among others to come, Vampire Weekend, Feist, Hot Chip, Grimes, Cloud Nothing, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Kendrick Lamar, Tim Hecker, AraabMUZIK, A$AP Rocky, The Field, Liturgy and Willis Earl Beal will appear over three days. As is typical by now for the six-years-old festival, it’s a nice blend of artists who got big in the last year, respectable indie veterans, experimental acts, and big tent headliner types.
Tickets go on sale March 9, costing you $45 a day or $110 for the whole weekend. Be ready with that credit card; the festival typically sells out quickly, so move fast lest you be stuck attending your local bluegrass festival (although it will probably have better food so whatever, do what you want, everything is great). There are more than 30 acts left to be announced over the next few weeks, but why wait to commit?