RELEASED VIA KRANKY 14 OCTOBER 2013
Virgins was recorded during three periods in 2012, mostly in Reykjavik, Montreal and Seattle, using ensembles in live performance. The sound palette of this work is wider, almost ‘percussive’ and tighter sounding than previous works. While this album remains committed to a painterly form of musical abstraction, it is also a record of restrained composition recorded live primarily in intimate studio rooms. This record employs woodwinds, piano and synthesizers towards an effort at doing what digital music does not do naturally—making music that is out of time, out of tune and out of phase.
This follow-up to his Juno-awarded Ravedeath, 1972 album exchanges gristled distortion and cavernous sound in favour of a close, airy, more defined palette. At times it points to the theological aspirations of early minimalist music. But it is not ‘fake church music’ for a secular age, rather something like an attempt at the sound of frankincense in slow-motion, or of a pulsing, flickering fluorescence in the grotto. Some pieces go off the rails before forming into anything, others eschew crescendo compositional structures or bombastic density while going sideways instead.
It points to the ongoing development of Hecker’s work. It suggests illusory memories of drug-hazed jams or communal music performance that may have never been performed or been heard. These are mp3s that give confusing accounts either of sound’s glowing physicality or of its prismatic evasiveness. It is an offering of music into the void, a gift of digital filler between distractions. Yet hopefully it also stands as a document of the enduring faith in the narcotic, enigmatic function of music as long-form expression.
Mixed by Valgeir Sigurðsson and Tim Hecker. Additional assistance by Randall Dunn and Ben Frost. Mastered by Mandy Parnell at Black Saloon Studios in London, UK.
Virgins will be released on Kranky October 14 in the UK/EU.
2. Virginal I
4. Live Room
5. Live Room Out
6. Virginal II
7. Black Refraction
8. Incense at Abu Ghraib
9. Amps, Drugs, Harmonium
10. Stigmata I
11. Stigmata II
12. Stab Variation
PRESS QUOTES FOR RAVEDEATH, 1972:
ʻThe album has almost Wagnerian scope and immersive power, and at just over 50 minutes it’s well organised as a start-to-finish listen.” -WIRE
“Irresistibly beautiful.” – UNCUT 4 STAR REVIEW
“Very sad and very beautiful. When the last ton of obselte CDs is disposed of in a final acre of Euro landfill, this should be the soundtrack.” – MOJO 4 STAR REVIEW
“Hecker continues to prove himself a near-matchless master of modern electronic music.” – ROCK A ROLLA
“Sensual entropy.” – FACT
“Ravedeath, 1972 approaches transcendence, achieved through the overwhelmingly physical resonance of channeling the past through the present.” – QUIETUS
“The voice of God, indeed.” – DROWNED IN SOUND [9/10]
“Hecker’s latest seems to ultimately be about making peace with our mortality, and as such is his most powerful album yet.” – BBC
“Ravedeath 1972 is an immense and awe inspiring record…like a religious experience. It’s a subliminal noise, a wonderful ocean of music in which you can completely immerse yourself.” – THE LIMINAL
“Hecker’s finest quality…his ability to create entire worlds, lucid and compelling, out of sheer sound. His albums are deeply evocative, and despite this record’s more articulated quality, the sound is nothing if not rich with imagery. Such moments of definitive structure are masked with an unswerving patience for their evocation, hidden behind layers and layers of gradual, slow blossoming. As such, it’s perhaps Hecker’s most affecting record to date, and offers some profoundly beautiful moments of precision and subtlety.” – 405
“A tour de force of finely textured sound, flowing from cloistered, monastic tapestries of calm to skin-flaying, harsh electronic noise.” – NME