I am looking out my window right now at one of the busiest intersections in the city. I see 12 cars in two left-hand turning lanes waiting for the light to flash green. I count only four with turn signals blinking in wait. Deep down, I think these non-signalers believe they are being a little rebellious in their driving. Can I be witnessing the start of a revolt against the rules of the road? Will this lead to a complete abolition of traffic restrictions, by-laws, and warnings and the beginning of a more humane relationship between drivers and pedestrians, where slowing down is natural and traveling by motor vehicle will require a new set of communication aides using eye contact, nods, gestures, and (seriously) kindness? Could traffic be our new target of "the war on...," like drugs or obesity or jealousy before it? Have I had too much coffee this morning?
History's political revolutionaries (and perhaps traffic pioneers too... I really don't know) are much more lauded than their musician equivalents. But sure enough, these freedom fighters exist and are carrying out their subversive missions right under our noses to little acclaim from society at large.
Canada's leading electronic hell-raiser Tim Hecker has quietly shown himself to be a realistic rebel with release after release of disorienting abstract and ambient sounds. They may not be the equal to those of grand radicals such as Moses, Robespierre, Jefferson, Bonaparte, Gandhi, Lenin, Tse-tung, Perro, and the like, nor are they like the cities of Ejby in Denmark, Ipswich in England, and Ostende in Belgium, which have implemented some of the "traffic calming" practices described above, but Hecker's efforts have effectively constructed change and spread basic truths throughout the musical word, and that's not something to scoff at.
It's small-scale stuff, but it's a hell of a lot more than the do-nothings do! Montréal label Alien8 Recordings is re-releasing Hecker's 2003 super-acclaimed-but-long-out-of-print set Radio Amor today. Growing stature and popular demand would dictate an expanded deluxe reissue, but Radio Amor will appear without any bells or whistles, buttons, or lick-me temporary tattoos. Nope, it is just the wonderful album now made more readily available for fans and friends to reacquaint themselves with and for new audiences to discover.
Hecker does perform live from time to time, but it is a rare treat. Rumor has it that there will be a show in April at Tonic in NYC featuring Hecker with fellow revolutionary forces Phill Niblock and Mario Diaz de León. Best keep your eyes peeled for details and date.
Radio Amor, again:
1. Song of the Highwire Shrimper
2. (They call me) Jimmy
4. I'm Transmitting Tonight
5. 7000 Miles
6. Shipyards of la Ceiba
7. Careless Whispers
8. The Star Compass
9. Azure Azure
10. Trade Winds, White Heat