Review Summary: Tim Hecker's first album illustrates a cold, deserted landscape as beauty and discordance collide.
Despite its grandeur, winter always brings with it a multitude of tribulations. There are the uncompromisingly frigid temperatures, the strident winds, and, of course, the innate aura of seclusion. As an open-minded artist, Tim Hecker manages to encapsulate all of the best and worst facets of this season in a vast and sprawling piece of ambient music. Of course, Hecker puts his own spin on an already intriguing musical sub-genre. Haunt Me, Haunt Me, Do It Again
is the finished product of that spin.
Digesting any of Tim Hecker's creations is a daunting task in and of itself. Haunt Me, Haunt Me, Do It Again
blurs the line between congruity and maelstrom. One moment Hecker's sounds will conjure up images of deserted streets and minutes later evoke delicate images of grace amongst disarray, such as a lone flower growing in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. The way Hecker plays with these different illustrations is nothing short of astonishing. Furthermore, the album's cold mood comes not only from a few of the self-evident song titles, but also from the extremely sparse sounds that emerge throughout the album. Perpetual drones serve as the album's constants, painting pictures of these wintry landscapes and frosty skylines.
Haunt Me, Haunt Me, Do It Again
contains minimal contact with humanity. The majority of Hecker's opus resembles a journey through the thick clouds that decorate the afternoon skies. There are moments of sheer turbulence and others of unperturbed repose. As the album grows organically, these differing sides are often at odds, building up a hair-raising environment in which they collide. However, Hecker does occasionally bring his sound down to an earthly realm, as we can faintly hear the passing voices of long-lost souls on tracks like "Arctic Lover's Rock, Pt. 2" as well as the easily recognizable voice of Regis Philbin on the set of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" on the tracks "October, Pt. 2" and "Ghost Writing, Pts. 1 and 2" Despite these unexpected moments of clarity, Hecker keeps the listener distanced from civilization. Hazy noises and distorted progressions keep the album feeling alien, while these immeasurable barriers of austerity surround his music.
Since the album flows like one, continuous entity, separating some of the tracks on here is difficult. The tracks are practically incomprehensible unless they are absorbed en masse. However, what could be called this album's standout tracks are basically riveting shifts in Hecker's sonic arrangements, enchanting moments that set the stage for what is to come subsequently. "Boreal Kiss, Pt. 1", for example, introduces a looser and more precious alteration in sound as Hecker turns to a more lush impression of the engrossing air. "The Work of Art In the Age of Cultural Overproduction", in contrast, is colossal and more mechanical, welcoming an impactful rush of cacophony with open arms. In addition, each segment of the "City In Flames" suite offers a slightly different depiction of the world Hecker has constructed while still acting as a unit. Clearly, as both a musician and a producer, Tim Hecker adheres to no boundaries.
The album passes through without creating too much of a ruckus. In fact, despite its intermittent whirlwinds of dissonance, it often sounds more dormant than it actually is. However, as the nuances slowly become more noticeable, Haunt Me, Haunt Me, Do It Again
becomes more imposing as a moving force of significant weight. This is not the most spectacular ambient evolution, but it is nonetheless intricate. In the end, patience is the key to unlocking this album's richness.
Boreal Kiss, Pt. 1
The Work of Art In the Age of Cultural Overproduction
City In Flames (In 3 Parts), Pt. 3
Border Lines, Pt. 1
October, Pt. 1
Arctic Lover's Rock, Pt. 2
Boreal Kiss, Pt. 3