Tim Hecker
No Highs


4.5
superb

Review

by InfernalDeity CONTRIBUTOR (38 Reviews)
April 12th, 2023 | 13 replies


Release Date: 04/07/2023 | Tracklist

Review Summary: I know you are there, but I don't know what you are.

A composition about life with death as its conductor: these two realities are intellectually intangible but sardonically certain. Tim Hecker's music is foreign but recognizable, novel but familiar. It is the word at the tip of your tongue that never arrives. It is the faded memory of a loved one's features, but the memory of their love is there to soften the blow. Tim's music is nearly impossible to describe if you haven't heard it before. It is an abstract question proposed by a stranger, and while you attempt to contemplate its qualities, a burning recognition within compels you to agree. You don't need to understand the query. You simply know that the answer is yes. I do not see the rhyme or reason of the static and beeps that dance from the left channel to the right, but I know that I agree with them. It's as if Mr. Hecker puts life, the essence of existence, into sound. To call it music feels like a misnomer, but to call it anything else feels like sacrilege.

That is the distinctive quality of ambient music, isn't it? If I were to play Metallica, the crunch of the riff would make my mind conjure a mosh pit or some daft testosterone-binged activity. If I were to play R&B, I would envision a more seductive, lounge-like setting. When I play ambient its like someone blowing the powdery dust off a chalkboard – here I am, empty in the dark. No Highs is Tim Hecker's eleventh release and his most experimental to date. The pervasive static of Harmony In Ultraviolet and Ravedeath, 1972, are traded in for a more reserved and contemplative synth that ebbs and flows between a myriad of identifiable and unidentifiable sounds. This is perhaps his most accessible offering as it seems comparable to some of oneohtrixpoint never's earlier work, yet unequivocally remains a Tim Hecker production.

Hecker has long been recognized as one of ambient's premier composers, which can largely be attributed to his masterful restraint. The first track, Monotony, is anything but. While the use of piano key loops is prevalent throughout, an expanse of sound creates a magnitude of depth where you are grateful for having those keys as an anchor while you explore the deep. These soundscapes are always tightly controlled but never to the degree of suffocation unless that is the emotion he is attempting to convey.

Tim's music has always been evocative, but I have never seen such a palpable display of sadness from him. The song Lotus Light is despondent. A persistent and percussive riff permeates throughout the first third of the track until the weeping sounds of strings and ethereal synths swallow it whole. This birth-and-death quality of sound permeates throughout the record. It is a recognizable Tim Hecker staple. Yet, this record feels altogether separate from his discography. It is saying something more, or perhaps I'm just ready to listen. The intentions of this record are readily ascertainable. Tracks 8, 9, & 10 are titled Pulse Depression, Anxiety, and Sense Suppression, respectively. No Highs isn't meditative drone; it's a love letter telling you that you aren't alone.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
BitterJalapenoJr
Contributing Reviewer
April 12th 2023


1029 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Sweet rev as always. I will check tomorrow and report back.

Ryus
April 12th 2023


36865 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

awyeahhhh aoty

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
April 12th 2023


60476 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Gonna check An Imaginary Country / Ravedeath / Virgins before this



but should i 5 it just to kick Fall Out Boy off BNM?

normaloctagon
Contributing Reviewer
April 12th 2023


3967 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"aoty"



uhhh



"Gonna check An Imaginary Country"



get 2 the chopper wth johnny



~~~anyways lovely review infernal deity! nice n short and a delightful read

Ryus
April 12th 2023


36865 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

dont fight it tim has done it again

normaloctagon
Contributing Reviewer
April 12th 2023


3967 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

ryusistance is futile

InfernalDeity
Contributing Reviewer
April 13th 2023


598 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

@JohnnyoftheWell uhhhh yeah

FadedSun
April 13th 2023


3196 Comments


Seeing this dude live in May.

MoM
April 13th 2023


5994 Comments


No highs, nothing but growls

This is death metal!

Purpl3Spartan
April 13th 2023


8619 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

very good album

Sharenge
April 13th 2023


5175 Comments


haven't checked a Heck in a while so will check this Heck

Winesburgohio
Staff Reviewer
April 13th 2023


3972 Comments


I like the smaller songs / vignettes more than the longer ones, which kinda aim for territory I'm not interested in. Total Garbage and In Your Mind are great, the latter charting unusual, haunting caretakeresque. Don't wholly *agree* with the review but enjoy it's composition very much.

FurtherDown
April 13th 2023


397 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I'm probably a little fanboish (I checked it and even Love Streams have 5 from me lol), but everything Tim does is just special. After several listens I feel that this doesn't flow as smoothly as his other records, there are less memorable moments and some of the longer tracks don't seem to go anywhere, but when this thing hits, it hits hard.

Also, I'm seeing him live for the first time tommorrow. Can't be hyped more.



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