I first began listening to electronic musician Tim Hecker in 2003, through a general appreciation of all things Montreal. The city has a well documented avant garde music scene, bands like Fly Pan Am, Set Fire to Flames, and Shalabi Effect deconstructing various forms of song aesthetic and reprocessing the conveyance of meaning and mood- and ambient recording in particular has an even great potential for evoking these intangible feelings, for being transportative.

Hecker is known for his consistently interesting recordings, and the way in which repeated listens to these nuanced soundscapes will present new rewards, hidden levels of intricacy and affliction- but if 2009's An Imaginary Country was a pastoral evocation, a thing of rich beauty- then Ravedeath, 1972 is a taut return to the dark, claustrophobic sounds which permeated his earlier work. That said, a lot of what's been laid out here is more precise, more insistent than anything he's produced before.

The album was recorded with Hecker's longtime friend and composer Ben Frost, in an Rekjavik church. Arrangements here were recorded live- and that sense of place, of time, is infused through every moment of building sound. The album utilises an organ as a frequent `common denominator, lending a grandiose foreboding as well as offering a clearer path through the sound than Hecker may have previously offered a listener. Similarly, on the album's stunning centrepiece 'Hatred of Music' parts one and two, chord changes and a wailing piano are set against hazy, manipulated vocals in a manner which suggests a genuine measure of structure and composition. When a bass guitar thuds into momentary rhythm, it's a moment that recalls the groove-inflicted prog of the early Pink Floyd, tracks like Careful With That Axe Eugene offering similar sonics, if not subtlety. Ultimately, it's transitory- a glimpse. As soon as the moment is grasped, it dissipates- melodies build and give way, but there's definite structure here, harmonies and, dare I say it, "music".

Which is not to say that the album belies what is arguably Hecker's finest quality, namely his ability to create entire worlds, lucid and compelling, out of sheer sound. His albums are deeply evocative, and despite this record's more articulated quality, the sound is nothing if not rich with imagery. Such moments of definitive structure are masked with an unswerving patience for their evocation, hidden behind layers and layers of gradual, slow blossoming. As such, it's perhaps Hecker's most affecting record to date, and offers some profoundly beautiful moments of precision and subtlety.

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