Tim Hecker’s work as a composer and sound artist focuses on the creation of intermediary realms, soundscapes somewhere between real and imaginary, conscious and unconscious, cathedral and cave. Some critics approach his compositions according to theories of abstraction and collage. Stylus Magazine once called them “a fog cloud in the dead of night.” However one chooses to describe Hecker’s aesthetic, those who embark upon Nite Ride will not be immune to its immersive effects, which leave the listener in a mildly euphoric trance.
Commissioned specifically for Nite Ride, Hecker’s composition heightens the nighttime landscape of Gatineau with an evocative, at times vaguely Gothic soundtrack of found sounds, layered noise, and melodic phrases. Those familiar with his previous work will recognize a return to the album Harmony in Ultraviolet (Kranky, 2006), which he composed while living in Ottawa. Unfolding against a moving backdrop of silhouetted trees, houses, and highway businesses, Hecker’s composition merges with the flickering lights of passing cars and the ambient noise of the road surface and car engine, plunging the listener into a misty, ethereal shadow world in which contemporary and archaic sonic elements collide. Here the sounds of radio frequencies, tuning static, isolated guitar riffs, and industrial noise merge with organ notes and choir-like resonances. Best experienced in the blurry rain of a steam-streaked autumn night, Hecker’s work pays homage to Gothic motifs in which emblems of the natural world meld with the technological, subtly reminding us that the original concert experience was, according R. Murray Schafer, “a substitute for outdoor life.”
Tim Hecker is a Canadian-based musician and sound artist, born in Vancouver. Since 1996, he has produced a range of audio works for Kranky, Alien8, Mille Plateaux, Room40, Force Inc, Staalplaat, and Fat Cat. His works have been described as “structured ambient”, “tectonic color plates” and “cathedral electronic music”.
Exemplified in his latest album An Imaginary Country, released on March 10, 2009 by Kranky, Tim has focused on exploring the intersection of noise, dissonance and melody, fostering an approach to songcraft which is both physical and emotive. The New York Times has described his work as “foreboding, abstract pieces in which static and sub-bass rumbles open up around slow moving notes and chords, like fissures in the earth waiting to swallow them whole”. His Harmony in Ultraviolet (released on October 16, 2006 by Kranky) received critical acclaim, including being recognized by Pitchfork as a top recording of 2006. Radio Amor was also recognized as a key recording of 2003 by Wire magazine.
His work has also included commissions for contemporary dance, sound-art installations, minimal techno works under the name 'Jetone', as well as various writings. In his audio works, Tim manages significant masses of noise and synthesized sound and demonstrates a masterful ability to walk the line between noise-based experimentation, cinematic music and found radio frequencies.
He has presented his work in live settings around the world, including performances at Sonar (Barcelona), Mutek (Montreal), Primavera Sound (Barcelona), Victoriaville (Quebec), Vancouver New Music Festival (Vancouver), and Transmediale (Berlin).
Tim currently resides in Montreal, where he is completing a PhD in Communication Studies at McGill University.