Review Summary: It's all too beautiful.Konoyo
, in a way, looks just like its cover. Surrounding a falling electric piano and many objects and fire strewn about in a cluster, the image that one sees is much like the sound of the album it houses. It suggests at something confrontational, perhaps something lurking beneath the exterior and just waiting to burst out; and yet it hints at something oddly violent, but with an admirable restraint behind it. The sound of Konoyo
reflects more or less on the heavy Gagaku (Japanese classical music) influence, as well as the great usage of electroacoustic elements within the album's sonic palette. I won't claim to be an expert nor a massive fan of Tim Hecker's works; I've only been somewhat of a fan for a short time, and even in the extended period of time I've had to reconcile the ideas and the shift in tone from his last record Love Streams
, there's something wildly impenetrable in these solemn and ponderous soundscapes. There's a certain spirituality in this album that very much lends itself to the augmentation of sparse strings and gliding electronics, ranging from mere introspection to something very existential, whether it is being left out for all to see or to be hidden beneath a mass of mutated, glacial sounds.
doesn't open itself to others quite easily nor was it meant to be. But in such difficult and abstract works, the effort to piece together an idea of the artist's intentions and thoughts is all the more satisfying than being given the answer on first glance -- "This Life," for how slow of an introduction it is, sets the mood marvelously for Hecker's most reflective music yet, but doesn't do as much as allow one to be eased into the lonesome world of Konoyo.
Nor would one listen do a listener any good. The value in returning to Konoyo
lies not in its accessibility (or the lack of) but in the beautiful ways it transports one to a different place, whether it be frightening or melancholic to this person. Konoyo
is a heavy album, emotionally speaking, in a way that is difficult to explain, yet can be expressed in a way that only someone like Tim Hecker would know. By destroying, contorting and reconfiguring these sounds, Hecker draws out the most visceral emotions in himself via soundwaves -- his music being his therapy, and us, the audience, being his witness to his solemn excursion into his very soul. It's all too beautiful.