As an album review I have had some weird and wonderful (not to mention downright irrelevant) album titles to get my head around. Tim Hecker & Daniel Lopatin on the other hand, keep it simple by calling their album Instrumental Tourist, a nod to the creation of this album through a "designed a sound palette from the acoustic resonance of digitally-sourced "Instruments of the World" as their press statement informs us, whatever that actually means. When I heard about the creation of this album I was extremely excited to say the least. Both Hecker's Ravedeath, 1972 and Lopatin's Replica (under his recording name Oneohtrix Point Never) were favourites of mine when it came to 2011 releases and so the prospect of these two ambient giants combining forces was almost a dream come true.

Instrumental Tourist begins with the first track the duo has let the public get their ears around, 'Uptown Psychadelia'. The first thing that strikes me about the sounds on this album is just how drastically these worldly instruments have been digitally manipulated to the point that guessing which instrument produced which harsh synth tone or cavernous echo becomes half the fun. The trademark Oneohtrix Point Never skips, hiccups and judders are prevalent in 'Uptown Psychadelia' but these are all channelled through a Hecker-esqe lense of delicate compression and noise and a cinematic scope in the mixing; a heady cocktail of sound if ever there was one. Almost in direct contrast to that, the following song, 'Scene from a French Zoo', is extremely euphonious with its smooth, reverb smothered chords with the odd minor tone thrown in just to make you feel slightly uncomfortable on what is otherwise a fairly soothing track.

This marriage of Tim Hecker's abrasive mastering and Lopatin's knack for finding that segment of sample to repeat the hell out of or the synth with just the right timbre works wonderfully on many tracks like on the rollercoaster that is 'Intrusions' or the truly ominous 'Grey Geisha'. Other tracks such as 'Ritual for Consumption', 'Whole Earth Tascam' and 'Vacation (for Thomas Mann)' are anchored in vocal sounds rather than instrumental which is quite a drastic change for Hecker and Lopatin though Oneohtrix Point Never releases have often flirted with the use of vocal samples much in the way they are very fashionably being used by artists such as Holy Other.

Surprisingly for such an experimental record none of these tracks push the 6 minute mark. Call it personal preference but I enjoy my ambient and drone tunes at a minimum of an eight minute duration to give the sounds enough time to evolve gradually as the track progresses, a technique employed by bands such as Emeralds and a myriad of smaller drone producers, (browse through drone EPs on Bandcamp and you will see what I mean!) tracks like 'Vaccation no. 2' or 'Instrumental Tourist' which could benefit from such an epic and lengthy progression. I suppose the issue with these tracks is that they are too good for their length. I get to the end of them and just yearn for more so though it is a criticism it is a very good thing at the same time. With the exclusion of the Sega Mega Drive reminiscent 'GRM Blue II' every track on this release is extremely enjoyable and the merging of the two producers' styles works wonders sonically. Though to me it doesn't live up to records like Ravedeath, 1972 it is interesting to see this melting pot of tastes and styles from such prolific experimental artists and it sure makes for an interesting listen.