Tim Hecker
Radio Amor


4.0
excellent

Review

by Marko Polovina USER (90 Reviews)
January 27th, 2010 | 18 replies | 7,683 views


Release Date: 2003 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Tim Hecker breaks away from his previous marker in Haunt Me, Haunt Me Do It Again and uses states of progression and regression to create warm sensations within Radio Amor.

3 of 3 thought this review was well written

Hecker's reputation in the present is a dissonant, dark, and sometimes cold ambient figure since the release of Mirages in 2004. His debut album Haunt Me, Haunt Me Do It Again had a segmented, almost section by section approach within the album. Although the movement of his debut stagnated at points, it still showed immense potential within the structure of key songs. In 2003, Hecker released his sophomore effort Radio Amor, changing his previous arrangements in Haunt Me, Haunt Me Do It Again with a more inter-connected foundation with only one track under 4 minutes, Radio Amor seems rich within its confines of its abundantly layered electronic ambiance.

The use of musical pitches and hisses within Hecker's song compositions is what makes him so alluring. While this isn't anything new, his use of key components within Radio Amor allows him to trump his previous efforts in Haunt Me, Haunt Me Do It Again. Previously the gritty and randomized hisses felt something of a rejection within the construct of the song, but now these disowned irregular notes are enveloped within the piano keys that echo.

And these are the keys of Radio Amor - the keys of a piano. While minimalistic and repetitive, this approach fills the vacancy of the hiss and static nothingness within songs like "Songs of the Highwire Shrimper" and "7000 Miles" to obtain some heft and weight within itself. Despite its rhythmic feel, its minimalistic character adds a lot within the empty minutes some songs seem to have. Fortunately the piano isn't ever present within the entirety of Radio Amor, allowing his darkly tones and the fascinating, yet odd warmth taking precedence over the first track on "(They Call Me) Jimmy". The loopy and meditative two tones that move from low to sharp incorporates itself within the background voices and static nothingness is a satisfying break from Hecker's so-called silence (I'm speaking of the interplay between the static, dim whispers, and hiss that take over) allowing it to break through this wall, it captures the ear whenever it enters the track.

On the surface most of these songs seem a bit stagnate, if not consistent, but unseen previously is his use of building the whispers in an entirely different animal. Seemingly shifting from one-key or one-chord structures into calming waters of ambiance. By building upon this very minimal approach each song stands up on its own by adding rare chords or piano keys that sit atop the not-so random glitches and calming buzz. "I'm Transmitting Tonight" follows this, but in a backwards fashion. Starting from piano keys it slowly drops into the patented backdrops of silence.

Radio Amor feels connected for the main reason that Hecker chooses to skillfully employ his almost radio-transmitted pitch within all of these songs, as if something is always beckoning within the shadows. Quietly and almost unaware is it in "7000 Miles", but beyond the static oceanic waves that feel like they're washing over are the messages, the voices, but by songs end the buildup almost completely masks them into oblivion, only later to wash away its layers to show they're still there. Much like "7000 Miles", "Azure Azure" uses waves of static, but adds a 10 minute long expansion of glitches and lowly tones to broken chords that come in then drop immediately creating a sound that wants to break open. Halfway into the song its sound is in a state of regression only to be built up a barrier of noise to drop into more radio-transmitted voices.

Clearly Radio Amor is an understood album. It knows what it's doing, its aim, which is why it gets better on continued listens. Hecker translates his past work into a rhythmic, static warmth that welds itself into piano keys and single or two-tone movements allowing each buildup to be memorable. The glitchiness is still here as it was in Haunt Me, Haunt Me Do It Again, but it is far more suppressed, if not intertwined within the album's foundation. For something that should feel so cold and inattentive it warms itself frequently because there is no void of silence or emptiness to hear.



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user ratings (79)
Chart.
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excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Enotron
January 27th 2010



7695 Comments


Tim Hecker= Da bomb

Nice review, pos'd.

ECRbubs
January 27th 2010



687 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I agree. Haven't heard this but Hecker is one of the greatest ambient artists of our time.

joshuatree
Emeritus
January 27th 2010



3743 Comments


Hecker's pretty overrated. He's solid but he's not a Fennesz or even an Aidan Baker

MassiveAttack
January 27th 2010



2688 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I prefer Hecker over Fennesz. Fennesz's Black Sea trumps Endless Summer by leaps and bounds for me.

YouAreMySilence
January 28th 2010



3727 Comments


Been really into Fennesz so I figure I should give this a listen.


Shadow17
March 12th 2010



67 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Classic Hecker. One Heck of an album, haha. It's a grower and it's amazing.

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
June 27th 2011



14989 Comments


"i'm transmitting tonight" is extraordinary

mindleviticus
November 26th 2012



8168 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Yeah this is probably tied with Harmony for being the best Hecker.

Paracletus96
July 19th 2013



306 Comments


Best electronic album ever made agreed

TrueBlood
July 22nd 2013



1388 Comments


m/


Winesburgohio
August 13th 2013



1003 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

if this isn't the perfect foil to Haunt Me i don't know what is

goddamn Hecker

Digging: Wretched Excess - Away From This World

Motiv3
August 24th 2013



8920 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Does this guy ever release anything bad? Damn this album is excellent.

Digging: Opeth - Pale Communion

Havey
August 24th 2013



9617 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

hecker is the heckerest

Digging: Cecil Taylor - Dark to Themselves

treeqt.
August 24th 2013



9025 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

what the hecker -_____________-

Motiv3
September 7th 2013



8920 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Hecker is super consistently awesome.

mindleviticus
September 7th 2013



8168 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Hecker has been consistently amazing

ShitsofRain
November 16th 2013



5597 Comments


wow

Digging: Ben Sims - Fabric 73

Phlegm
June 25th 2014



3858 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

i'm transmitting tonight

Digging: Actress - Xoul



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