There was another sold out show at the Western Front for the highly anticipated return of Tim Hecker, who last played Vancouver seven years ago. Hecker was in town 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.
Local labelmate Scott Morgan (a.k.a. Loscil) opened the evening in good form 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 swells of low-end intonation. However, the bass was often overbearing, drowning out a lot of the finer textures in Morgan’s music. A finely plucked table-top guitar nearly saved the set, but the heavy handed bass reared its head once more before giving way to an unrestrained use of piano sampling. Loscil’s albums have always shown a patience and cleverness for composition, but 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. 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. Especially so when considering the multifaceted anatomy of Hecker’s music. It was sad to not see an encore, but it was a highly evocative and emotionally satisfying set nonetheless.