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Hecker - Acid in the Style of David Tudor

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Artist: Hecker

Album: Acid in the Style of David Tudor

Label: Editions Mego

Review date: May. 11, 2009

The title of Florian Heckerís latest is a reference to the work Portrait of V.I. Lenin with Cap, in the Style of Jackson Pollock by conceptual art collective (and Red Krayola collaborators) Art & Language, which sought to explode the concept of the artistís identity through the creation of second-order chimeras. In Heckerís work, the title is more joke than conceptual core Ė a way of grabbing onto the most apt referent in a music that doesnít sound all that much like anything. Its closest ties to Ďacidí are in its exploitation of aged analog hardware. In this sense, time passed is an important component of an abstracted approach. Like sampling in hip-hop or acidís 303 bass, technology sees its greatest musical deployment when its users are freed from the restraints of its stated purpose, an objective eased by temporal distance. Still, Hecker seeks further deviation Ė and thatís where the indeterminacy of Tudor comes into play. If this is Ďacidí at all, its acid removed from the club, removed from its cultural context, removed Ė to the extent that itís possible Ė from human interference whatsoever.

The record is divided into two distinct sets that find their meeting point in the finale, "Ten.Ē The bulk of its content is comprised in the six tracks titled "Acid in the Style of David Tudor,Ē which distinguish themselves through a wild, looping motion. These are bursts of sound that repeat unpredictably but seem trapped or limited like a fluttering lightning bug caught in a jar, or a dying cat flailing on the floor. They swerve, squirm, accelerate and often burst open into low-end rips or banshee wails.

Edited like a slow moving film, Hecker has spliced together the scenes of his experiments. Punctuating these movements are three tracks that share the title "Asa.Ē High-pitched and hard-panned, these short and hyper-repetitive tracks offer the listener a greater chance to zoom in on the blistering sounds. Itís a dizzying proposition.

One consequence of its process: Every sound on Acid in the Style ofÖ has a shadow. Feedback variants follow each squawk, blast or rumble wherever they go, often ending in collision. The blistering feedback coats everything, like some sticky, electronic residue. But at the suggested high volume listening, these complementary forces open up into more detailed strata, each perceivable pattern of sounds revealing smaller and smaller sub-sets of noise.

Thatís definitely the recordís most curious trait. By simply turning the volume up or down, one can wake or destroy all sorts of afferent ghosts. The rub: By the time one discovers the discís quietest illusions, thereís no escaping the range of its roar.

By Sean Schuster-Craig

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