Florian Hecker has put a strong, subtly individual stamp on this compelling set of compositions from Editions Mego. Side A starts innocuously, with a rather goofy swing beat, gurgling swells, and other appointments, breaking down into some rhythmic filtered modular squelches and squeals. Hecker then takes the unusual step of placing a silent locked groove midway through the side, which functions as an integral part of the listening experience. Without careful inspection, it’s not clear what the silence means, and I waited for a few minutes before I examined the record and figured out what was happening. This trick is typical of Hecker’s highly attuned conceptual sense, forcing the listener to interact with the record as an object and examine it visually as well as inducing an unusual sort of listening.
After the reset, Hecker introduces minimal, more hypnotic synth patterns over what could be a metronome click, radically removing the deep pulse of this electronic piece. He’s picking and choosing here, reworking rhythmic electronic composition without familiar backbones in place. The piece eventually incorporates increasingly complete slices of the beat from the first piece—an effect that smartly unifies the side.
Side B produces a faintly harsh digital squall juxtaposed with horns and strings suspended in thick tension. The effect is carefully calculated, with intriguing timbral matching, microtones weaving in and out, and note clusters forming in a vibrant update of Ligety’s best-known innovations. Eventually, the digital tones take over, forming ominous cosmic masses that constantly fold in on themselves until the dissonant crescendo. This is a very lively piece, roiling with energy and ambitious in scope, with Hecker holding the reins with just enough slack to keep it going.
One of Hecker’s strengths here seems to be in using relatively well-known sounds and patterns in very imaginative contexts, and in repurposing integral elements of electronic music. The Editions Mego website claims that this results in “some of [his] most accessible work to date,” and the strengths are subtle here—it’s definitely not as harsh as some of his work. The clear conceptual stamps and energy of the pieces here certainly merit this claim of accessibility, which ultimately makes the record a significant one. 7/10 -- Travis Bird (18 August, 2010)