This past weekend I was lucky enough to get to see an amazing show up at the Miller Theater at Columbia University. Julianna Barwick opened the show with her choral vocal loops, followed by the always stunning Grouper (Liz Harris from Portland, OR) performing pretty much entirely new material(!!!!). Headlining the show was Tim Hecker, a Canadian electronic musician who was surrounded by analog noisemakers and a laptop. Tim Hecker makes serious drone music, obviously meticulously composed, heavy and more melodic than you'd think.
He is also not the type of musician who you would expect to have made an EP entirely out of samples of Van Halen songs and interviews. My Love Is Rotten To The Core (Subtractif, 2002), which followed up Hecker’s much praised full length Haunt Me, Haunt Me, Do It Again, is a bizarre release. It blurs the line between high culture (electronic compositions) and low culture (uhhhh..cock rock) to create something that could not be described accurately as either, or anything in between. It’s dark, heavy, and it ROCKS. Sorta.
I believe this album is more than simply convergence or gentrification. Rather than some ironic statement on popular music, My Love is a tribute to the legacy of a band that Hecker obviously loves. In the modern electronic age the lines between social cultures are blurred to the extent where it is hard to tell who is influencing whom, and even what is high culture and what isn’t. Anyone who has been paying attention to experimental electronic music over the past ten years has seen these lines breaking down (Fennesz’s Endless Summer being the most obvious example), and they will probably continue to break down even more in the future. I’m off to listen to “Panama.”
Listen to "Introducing Carl Cocks" Below!