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Friday, April 8, 2011

Tim Hecker - Ravedeath: 1972: B+

Maybe I just don’t get it. All I’ve read about Ravedeath, 1972 indicates that it’s an album that is supposed to soundtrack a dystopian wasteland, fraught with despair and forgotten sounds. However, when I listen to Ravedeath, 1972, rarely do I hear anything particularly negative. I find the songs cool, I ruminate over the washes of ambience that Hecker crafts for this fifty-minute product, but barely do I perceive the arrangements to resemble cacophony. “No Drums,” true to its name, is docile and unassuming. The three “In the Fog” tracks are swashes of major chords played through undecipherable instruments. “Analog Paralysis 1978” ends with vague guitar finickry and slight pitter-patter and “Studio Suicide 1978” begins with what sounds like the New York Philharmonic warming up from an echo-y broom closet adjacent to the amphitheater. While these sounds are fascinating, rarely are they vicious. At worst, they are ominous, as in the “In the Air” series that concludes the album, but, even then, the last of them ends on a solitary piano that drifts off into the distance, signaling to me not disintegration but a hope for a better future. Like I’ve said before, Ravedeath 1972 and most ambient works are what you perceive them to be. The album’s great fodder for pondering your life, and, based on your own proclivities, Hecker’s songs can either affirm or disavow it. The album forebodes at times, but that does not mean it has to be depressing.


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