Florian Hecker: Hecker, Höller, Tracks

Containing material Florian Hecker composed for works by visual artist Carsten Höller (the deluxe gatefold sleeve's cover artwork displays images from an amusement park series), Hecker, Höller, Tracks spreads eight untitled tracks (totaling approximately 48 minutes) across four 12-inch vinyl sides. At times, it's minimalism taken to the extreme: side A consists of a single, nine-minute track of incessant clicks or, as the accompanying info more elaborately though not inaccurately characterizes them, “intensively klickering hypnotic pulsars.” Designed primarily as a psycho-acoustic exercise, the skeletal presentation does achieve its intended effect, and minor additional interest is generated when the pulsars subtly shift tonally and temporally out of sync with one another but, on purely listening terms, it's also the least engaging side of the four. Side two's sonically richer piece pairs a percussive element with an almost cuckoo clock-like pattern that persists throughout the fifteen-minute duration. Multiple transformations do occur in this case—the percussive tear blossoms into an ever-expanding clapping clatter, rhythms lurch and convulse, and the tempo slows—and, consequently, listening interest doesn't flag. Side three presents a propulsive pattern of scratchy clicks that could pass for a stripped-down variant of minimal techno—at least until the rhythms break down and threaten to collapse altogether. Side four, a retread of the previous one, likewise offers a writhing, scratchy techno pattern that's machine-like in its single-minded relentlessness. Admittedly, playing the set (as instructed) at maximum volume via loudspeakers does enhance the material's disorientating potential. For the record, anyone scared off by some of Hecker's past releases should know that Hecker, Höller, Tracks isn't in any way abrasive, as he achieves the project's desired effect using other means.

February 2008