Tim Hecker - Love Streams

On Love Streams, Canadian producer Tim Hecker’s eighth solo outing (and first for revered indie label 4AD), he eschews anything close to conventional song structure. Or conventional anything for that matter; sounds appear at seemingly random intervals in cascading arpeggios, fragmented melodies and huge slabs of distorted yet captivatingly beautiful noise.

The overall tone is not dissimilar to that of his previous album (the sublime Virgins from 2013), albeit broader in scope and with a more overtly melodic and lyrical approach. The sonic worlds that Hecker creates here are as densely layered as anything in his back catalogue, and are for the most part imbued with a feeling of profound melancholia. None more so than in the two-part track 'Violet Monumental', which forms the emotive centrepiece of the narrative. Here, and throughout the album, Kara-Lis Coverdale’s keyboards and the pulsating woodwind arrangements by Grímur Helgason are blended with heavily processed vocal elements (including choral contributions by Icelandic film composer Johan Johansson) to mesmerising effect. Opening track 'Obsidian Counterpoint' is perhaps the most straight-forwardly rhythmic track; all gently rippling synths and sudden bursts of tuned percussion. What’s immediately impressive is how it melds seemingly disparate elements into such a cohesive and compelling whole. If there is a downside, some tracks do somewhat blend into one another, and the more purely drone based cuts such as 'Music of The Air' may test the patience of some.

The album rewards multiple listens, and indeed requires several before its many intricacies are made apparent. The tired cliché ‘wall of sound’ has rarely been a more appropriate description and with Love Streams, Hecker has made another album of boldly experimental yet moving electronic music which feels truly human.

Overall

Beautiful and utterly unique

8

out of 10

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