Tim Hecker — No Highs

2 mins read

Tim Hecker is a musician considered by the public as a member of the so-called major league of the ambient scene. His works are always filled with conscious conceptualism. This time too, the artist presented an album that seems to go against the trendy, pop-oriented “mistakenly positive” ambient. A work that points to severity, suffering and evokes a spectrum of emotions simply called shocks. No Highs already from the first minutes gives the impression of massiveness, thanks to its clear, adjusted pads, and thick basslines.

There’s a certain emotional tear to the Glissalia track which loosens things up and adds the sentimentality after a harsh start. Hecker masterfully juggles the moods, freely drawing his barely tangible, abstract shapes. Another second and they seem to vanish and disappear from view forever, so the listener needs to be as careful as possible not to lose sight of them.  

Total Garbage is a real self-irony on the part of the musician. The looped low tones and string part, gives reason to smile happily at the modesty of the artist, generously giving his musical ideas to the audience. The only flaw of the track is too short length, which, however, is more than compensated by Lotus Light – the track that starts with pulsating bass which reminds one of Ladytron synth-pop tracks. But here again real ambient wilderness awaits us – mystery, impenetrability and tangible brutality, which sharply sinks into the heart with symphonic parts, melting it. 

Winter Cop unobtrusively showcases the cold season with all its landscape and spirituality. 

The golden word balance was the key to the success of this record, there is absolutely no monotony here (despite the titles of the two compositions with the same name), on the contrary, Hecker’s sound instruments alternate with each other in a systematic, organic way.

Judging by the basslines, there is some synthwave influence in the composition In Your Mind, but the mood of the record is by no means nostalgic, it flies smoothly between the times, forming its own, canonized dimension. 

If you think that this is the end of Tim’s rich palette of sounds, I have to dissuade you, because in Monotony II there is a place for the real instrument on this already quite “real album”, namely the sax, which fascinatingly weaves an intricate web in an expressive sound composition with another portion of the already familiar self-irony.

The tug of No Highs is somewhat reminiscent of Harmony in Ultraviolet and at the same time it is obvious how much the musician has grown professionally, conducting careful work on himself as a creative unit in this boundless musical world. It is interesting to note that this release seems to symbolize the outward hardness and ruggedness of the man, behind which hides a finely sensitive, gentle soul.

The album is definitely worth turning on and listening to. It can safely be the first in the order of listening, because this quintessence of sounds gives out almost the full overview of the musician’s creativity.


Author: Ilya Kudrin

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