Tim Hecker
Harmony in Ultraviolet


4.5
superb

Review

by Alex Robertson STAFF
January 10th, 2011 | 45 replies


Release Date: 2006 | Tracklist


What’s that on the cover of Harmony in Ultraviolet? Some sort of memorial wall, or something; ostensibly a sort of “unspecific” image cropped or otherwise edited to become specific. That is, who knows how long that wall goes on or how many pictures are on there? Zoom the image out and it becomes a mosaic of dead soldiers that forms a blue (or, if you wish, ultraviolet) blob; the kind that this album emanates throughout. Zoom back in and there are these faces, these ghosts. This album is not Sputnik user MichaelJordan’s ideal of the electronic album, “utterly removed from the human”. It is both the blue fuzz and the faces. This is an album that has all the recognizable traits of an electronic album “removed from the human”--laptop-birthed fuzz and drone, a lack of vocals, a masked sense of melody--but is also movingly human. The spirit of the faces on that blue mosaic-fuzz wall hang over this album.

The album’s most stunning moment is unsurprisingly the one that indulges in the most primitive of human emotions. For about 16 minutes (from opener “Blood Rainbow” through “Palimpsest II”) the album goes through a complex sort of build, with various peaks and gorges, creating a six-track tension more effective than most artists can manage in one. Then, on “Spring Heeled Jack Flies Tonight,” Hecker lets it rip. Though the album is less than halfway done by that time, “Spring Heeled Jack” is what can be called the climax; where the human emotions and the “inhuman” buzz and whirr converge and mesh together until they are unrecognizable and then shoot into the stratosphere; in an abstract way, the most accurate way I can describe it is that it’s like the magical scene in Peter Pan where Peter and the children fly around London, sped up and amplified a thousand times over. It’s a stimulating three minutes not only in a cerebral way (as MJ’s archetype of electronic music would have it), but, perhaps more importantly, in a deeply personal way. “Spring Heeled Jack” demonstrates what Harmony in Ultraviolet exceeds at: it paradoxically both zooms in on and zooms out on the wall of faces, showing the infinite expanse of this gorgeously nebulous canvas but also revealing each individual face, millions of which are miraculously and poignantly in harmony; this harmony in ultraviolet.



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4.2
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Comments:Add a Comment 
robertsona
Staff Reviewer
January 10th 2011


15036 Comments


felt like my reviews might be slightly too long. maybe this review will make sense when you listen to the album. is that how incentive works?

Enotron
January 10th 2011


7695 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

like the shit yr writing on ambient music, good job

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
January 10th 2011


15036 Comments


i dont know how it would

edit: @hst

Idnuf
January 10th 2011


1491 Comments


Well it def makes me want to listen to this album. Just enough description for me to get a feeling of what it would be like along with the connection to the cover art, but also enough ambiguity to make me interested in finding about specifically what it sounds like.

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
January 10th 2011


15036 Comments


i was actually referring to the iraq war thing


like idk how this album could convey that, interested in what you think

kanecooper
January 10th 2011


630 Comments


sometimes this is just the best album but then other times it is the worst

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
January 10th 2011


15036 Comments


how is it ever the worst D:

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
January 10th 2011


15036 Comments


woah haha never thought of that

Bitchfork
January 10th 2011


7584 Comments


"whirr"
you're such a poet that you're not even using real words anymore c:

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
January 10th 2011


15036 Comments


http://www.thefreedictionary.com/whirr

Your'e Gay

Bitchfork
January 10th 2011


7584 Comments


"Your'e"
there you are again
but honestly i have never seen the second r in that word

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
January 10th 2011


15036 Comments


the your'e was a joke but yeah

i mean idk it looks cooler than "whir" and

Ponton
Emeritus
January 10th 2011


5793 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

oh god i love you

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
January 10th 2011


17920 Comments


referencing a sputnik user in your review instant credibility loss

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
January 10th 2011


15036 Comments


eh i mean it's more his concept that i used; i'm sure i could find someone else saying the same thing with different words somewhere else

altho i mean you were probably being slightly facetious anyways i guess or



Bitchfork
January 10th 2011


7584 Comments


well observer's ok computer review referenced everyone under the sun. does he have no credibility?

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
January 10th 2011


17920 Comments


observer is fine but this is robertsona we're talking about

Bitchfork
January 10th 2011


7584 Comments


did he have any credibility to begin with?

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
January 10th 2011


15036 Comments


never

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
January 10th 2011


17920 Comments


good point



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