[Album Review] Tim Hecker- Love Streams
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Release Date: April 8, 2016
Label: Paper Bag Records/4AD

When you hail from a post-rock mecca like Montreal then expectations are high when you put out an album of dark electronic ambience. They’re even higher if your name happens to be Tim Hecker. Undaunted, Hecker pounces on those expectations like a springboard, bounding over them with self-confident ease.

Even without the vocal embellishment, the tracks on ‘Love Streams’ are an amazing revelation. Electronic textures shift and evolve in unexpected ways. Nothing feels forced, however, as if pre-existing sounds are being unearthed rather than created. Hecker manages to extract passion and vitality from the most inorganic of sources, which is perhaps what lends the entire effort such an air of grave beauty.

But Hecker truly weaves some magic on this one when he works with the human voice. There is no singing per se; instead individual bites of vocal are captured and then strung together like notes on an instrument. The results are astonishing, as witnessed on tracks like “Music of the Air” and “Violet Monumental I”. It is powerfully evocative, which is somewhat surprising when you consider that this is not how you normally hear the human voice.

I’d agree that picking the best Tim Hecker album is much like choosing a favourite from amongst your children, but even when compared to stellar releases like ‘Ravdeath, 1972’ this latest album should be given serious consideration for its power and inventiveness. The other kids are just going to have to face a lifetime of therapy.