No Highs

No Highs

In an ambient-music landscape well-stocked with vague spiritualism and aural equivalents of palliative care, the tension in Tim Hecker’s productions has always stood out. It isn’t that the Montreal artist’s music is dark or confrontational per se, though he can be (“Anxiety”—good title); it’s that he uses beauty as a bridge to more emotionally indeterminate qualities and states. Just listen to the way the pulsing minimalism of “Lotus Light” wavers between meditative and threatening, or how the drones of “Living Spa Water” seem to rot in real time. More than 20 years out from the glitchy sound of his early albums and he’s still one of the most engrossing artists in his field.

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