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Tim Hecker - Radio Amor [Kranky Records - 2018]

Tim Hecker’s 2nd full-length, Radio Amor, gets the reissue treatment on Chicago’s Kranky Records. Originally released back in 2003 on Mille Plateaux (and again in 2007 on Alien8), it is available once again (with a new remaster by Matt Colton) on CD, 2xLP, and digital formats.

Tim Hecker should be a household name in the realm of experimental music by now, with a recording career than spans nearly 2 decades. With a penchant for exploring the recesses of small sounds, Radio Amor may be the record that best exemplifies his aesthetic.

Radio Amor offers up ten tracks of sonic minimalism. Imagine if you will, some really basic keyboard noodling on a hand me down Casio, but degraded through, what sounds like, the surface noise of vinyl records with some transistor radio undercurrents. A murky stew of ambient and melodic tones playing through a sea of audio detritus. There’s a stubborn, yet soothing familiarity with the repetitious notes being played. Each track travels through a similar sonic corridor, with only some minimal variances to distinguish some tracks apart. At one point listening to the record, I thought to myself, “did I listen to this track already?”

Despite the familiarness that permeates Radio Amor, there’s a meditative payoff to the patient ear. This is the audio equivalent to lounging on the beach on a lazy day. You melt into the sun, the haze, the sea mist along the shore and just zone out. Even the outlier in the mix, “Azure, Azure” which incorporates some well placed guitar feedback only feels like a short diversion when considered as a whole.

All in all, these are some finely focused minimalist sounds. A nice mixture of ambient, drone, noise, and melody, that’s crusty around the edges, but bound to provoke some blissed out listening sessions

Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5

Hal Harmon
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