Agitated Atmosphere: Tim Hecker – Dropped Pianos

As major labels continue to exist behind the times, artists and labels with little capital and lesser reputations are producing some of the most innovative, interesting, and inspiring music. Whether it’s creating a new niche in digital technology or looking to once obsolete formats, Agitated Atmosphere hopes to pull back the curtain on a wealth of sights and sound from luminaries such as Tim Hecker.

A mere 9 months ago, this column oozed joy all over Ravedeath, 1972. The album, by Tim Hecker, was a grand combination of old world technology and new world discovery. Combining church organ compositions with modern production techniques, Hecker delivered a brilliantly stunning album that seemed as heaven sent and hell bound as its contents.

So we stand today in front of Dropped Pianos. Full up of sketches, the mini-album (EP, if you prefer) pulls back the curtain on the wizard. Yet as one would assume, with a fully-realized album comes a fully-realized plan of action. As pithy as they may be, the sketches of Dropped Pianos also hint that Hecker is not just a man who relies on spontaneous inspiration from which to create (though it sure changes the complex of his work). Stripped of superfluous, Dropped Pianos displays Hecker’s gentle touch. As grandiose and atmospheric as its predecessor, it also retains the rawness of experimentation; the feeling out process artists in any medium must enter into before settling on a path. This path is not one covered in gravel before a smooth sheen of level blacktop is placed upon it for easy navigation — Dropped Pianos is in fact a sturdy and equal smooth road of bricks without a seam to cause a bumpy ride.

Listen to “Sketch One”:

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It’s rare that two sides of one’s personality can co-exist in the same orbit but Dropped Pianos proves that Hecker’s inclinations will always lead to a state of bliss. Music this beautiful and unpretentious is a rare commodity. There is no fuss or no filler; Tim Hecker is a man that will always deliver the unexpected through the expected.

Justin Spicer is a freelance journalist whose work can be viewed at his website. He also pens Deserted for the KEXP Blog. You may follow him on Twitter.

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