Tim Hecker: Harmony in Ultraviolet

Harmony in Ultraviolet won't disappoint devotees enraptured by Tim Hecker's previous full-lengths. If anything, the latest 15-piece collection finds the Montreal-based artist perfecting his style even more and, if anything, downplaying cranium-shattering extremes for an oft-accessible and noticeably melodic warmth (consider the gentle ebb and flow of “Chimeras” as one example). To his credit, Hecker seems less interested in generating abrasive noise (only “Radio Spiricom” comes close) than in shaping his material into towering yet inviting structures. Like a Black Hole, his music ingests its source material and then regurgitates it into writhing masses. A title like “Spring Heeled Jack Flies Tonight” certainly suggests what its originating material might be but it's unlikely anyone will identify any component within the violently congealing mass that is the piece's final form. Needless to say, extra-musical descriptors amount to little more than Rorschach-styled projections, though there's no denying Hecker's sheets of static are evocative, no matter how abstract they ultimately remain. The album's most beautiful moments emerge in the two-part “Whitecaps of White Noise,” where magnificent flourishes of organ tones morph into dive-bombing grime in the first part and then slow to an anguished dirge in the even more haunting second, and the galaxial closer “Blood Rainbow.” Harmony in Ultraviolet shows Hecker once again demonstrating a masterful ability to weave abstract sounds into mesmerizing monoliths.

November 2006