Tim Hecker Harmony in Ultraviolet

[Kranky; 2006]

Rating: 4/5

Styles: experimental ambient, glitch, minimalism
Others: Fennesz, Jetone, Gas, Bola

In 2002, Tim Hecker released a 25-minute EP for the Substractif label called
My Love Is Rotten to the Core
, in which he presents collages composed of Van
Halen samples. That album's a piece of the Hecker discography often ignored by
many fans and critics – folks who would never be caught dead watching a
sentimental movie or attending a Coldplay concert, but praise this Canadian
sound artist's celestial music in earnest, overblown terms that would make a
Romantic poet blush. So many of us approach cinematic, tonally rich ambient
compositions as Serious Music, and Hecker's flirtations with youth rock
stiff-arm that angle of attack – so why not just ignore them?

Well, you can't separate
from Hecker-the-man-whose-pieces-belong-in-art-galleries in the case of
Harmony in Ultraviolet
. This airtight set of 15 flow-together tracks recalls
the suggestive hues and stunning vistas of previous Hecker outings like Radio
, but the sounds are so massive and the shifts so dramatic that the
music becomes almost confrontational. Few albums I've heard have been so
inarguably sublime, wrapping listeners in innumerable layers of drone and
processed sound so that processing and analyzing become futile. Like M83 and
Jesu, Hecker wields drifting electronics like a sledgehammer. This music insists
on its listeners feeling something.

Harmony in Ultraviolet's true strength, however, comes from its
architecture. Look beyond the pyrotechnics and there's a strange logic to the
way sounds mutate into one another – imagine watching cells replicate in real
time, or traveling through a series of fractal images. Like the most epic of Van
Halen guitar solos, these songs speak a fascinating harmonic language that gives
us reason to listen long after our minds have been blown.

1. Rainbow Blood
2. Stags, Aircraft, Kings and Secretaries
3. Palimpsest I
4. Chimeras
5. Dungeoneering
6. Palimpsest II
7. Spring Heeled Jack Flies Tonight
8. Harmony in Blue I
9. Harmony in Blue II
10. Harmony in Blue III
11. Harmony in Blue IV
12. Radio Spiricom
13. Whitecaps of White Noise
14. Whitecaps of White Noise II
15. Blood Rainbow