Tim Hecker Konoyo Review For Northern Transmissions

Kranky Records

7.5/10

Tim Hecker

Konoyo

Though his music is often testing and intensely long, Tim Hecker creates space in his music that transports you away from your own reality. For Konoyo, Hecker takes simple song ideas and runs them until they become a totally new experience. Though Hecker ends up repeating himself at times on this album, there’s something mystifying to his sense of sound.

As the sirens start to transform on “This Life” you can see the worlds of sound that Hecker hopes to create in this latest record. Abrasive and uncertain world continuously expand into new feelings with deeper grandeur as the song moves along. Each piece of noise is expanded upon into something that blurs the line between song and thought-piece until you’re caught up in a swirl of sound so visceral you have to keep listening. While it’s certainly more mood-based than melodic, these songs hit you on a different level.

With this in mind it’s interesting to hear the way electronics actually play with the idea of both drone and dance-floor music on “In Death Valley.” Though the song has a similar undercurrent to its drive, there’s a feeling that an EDM song is being actively suppressed throughout the recording. Even as it disintegrates similarly to the rest of the record, this track has an otherworldly quality that stands tall. This contrasts the pure tonal mystery of something like “Is A Rose Petal Of The Dying Crimson Light” where the more improvisational tone and sparse production resembles a score more than anything else. Given this does make for a less engaging experience, Hecker will take you for a ride if you give him your patience.

Even at its extended runtime, “Keyed Out” actually does evolve and push into new directions much more consistently and repeatedly than a good half of the record. With harsh new melodies and synth washes crawling out throughout the song, there’s a sense of unease that blooms in its Blade Runner-esque background and the more dangerous industrial screeches behind it.

As Hecker pulls back to more inherent melodic currents on “In Mother Earth” there’s a much more palpable momentum to his writing. As thumping electronics give way, we’re introduced to flourishing new conversations in the music and strong counter-points between low-end and high end.

It’s almost bizarre how his much shorter creations seem the most loosely focused but it can make for truly dreamy experiences on songs like “A Sodium Codec Haze.” Though just as you start to feel the song moving in different directions, Hecker’s style of ebbing and flowing intensity can actually feel somewhat predictable in this track.

Now it goes without saying that “Across To Anoyo” is undoubtedly excessive and indulgent as a track, but in this you’ll also find some of the most emotive work that Hecker has crafted in some time. With hooks so pained they sound like they’re crying out, there’s a real space on this song that is magical to hear.

Words by Owen Maxwell