Another sold out show at the Western Front on Friday night. This time it was for the highly anticipated return of Tim Hecker, whose last Vancouver performance dates back seven years. Hecker is appearing as a panelist for the 2010 Sound Thinking Symposium taking place at the Surrey Art gallery. Luckily, the Front was able to snatch him up for a performance beforehand.
Label mate, and Vancouver local, Scott Morgan (aka Loscil) opened the evening in good suit with his personalized blend of beat sustained minimalism. The non-existent lighting complemented the mood of Morgan's slow burning crescendos, which stemmed from heavily effected (and effective) swells of low-end intonation. However, the bass was often overbearing, effectively drowning a lot of the finer textures in Morgan's music. The diaphanous emissions of a finely plucked table-top guitar nearly saved the set, but the heavy handed bass reared its head once more, eventually giving way to an unrestrained use of piano sampling. Loscil's albums have always shown a patience and intellect to composition, and although the set had its moments, the intricacies of his craft were lost on this particular night.
It is difficult to unwrap the enigma that is Tim Hecker's music. Equal parts instrumental, noise, ambient, and electronic, Hecker smears the boundaries of these genres with a soft focus brush, then aptly blurs his movements into pixelated streams of kaleidoscopic texture. Essentially, he is able to create a music he can call his own. In good form on this night, Hecker strung together album tracks that weighed heavily towards his stellar 2006 release, Harmony in Ultraviolet . As the set rolled on it was clear that the audience was getting a lesson in transition, as the majority of the movements flowed into one another with impressive ease. Impressive when considering the multifaceted anatomy of Hecker's music. Sad to not see an encore, but it was an highly evocative and emotionally satisfying set nonetheless.