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Tim Hecker: No Highs

"Throw caution to the wind, and dive head-first into the horrors of reality,
for Tim Hecker's No Highs is not an album that encourages passive listening"

There will be a silence that follows the listening of Tim Hecker‘s ‘No Highs‘, one that is perhaps slightly uncomfortable, seemingly loud and lingers on like a persistent little prick of a thorn stuck under a layer of your skin.

A full display of Hecker’s cathartic manner of composition, ‘No Highs‘ delivers all its glory with a crippling rage that gradually subsides into a slow-burning ache like the touch of salt on a fresh open-cut wound.

Setting off the album, an invite to the unknown is ‘Monotony‘ made of a single repetitive note like the pulse of a Morse code eventually consumed by theatrical looming sounds of what resembles cathedral keys blowing into the abyss on the summoning of the composer.

The album purposefully serves as an “anti-relaxant”, as intended by Hecker, to revoke a tinge of unease in the listener derived from the amplified awareness of their natural setting. Despite its climatic advances with soaring sirens and horns engulfed in industrial atmospherics as in ‘Total Garbage‘ and ‘Lotus Light‘, the tracks swiftly fade out before reaching their euphoric peak to daunting and delicate beauties of winding otherworldly synths like ‘Winter Cop’ leaving the listener a little restless and in search of what remains.

Journeying into this musical piece, the mundane absurdity of contemporary life is more apparent to the human eye in its deprivation of any form of escapism. Provoking a confrontation with oneself, ‘Anxiety‘ is a hard-hitting and articulate depiction of an anxious mind as exposed once again by the Morse code-like rhythmic note now fashioned to sprint in a circular motion, tense and breathless, layered endlessly with agitated strings and noise.

While there seems to be no rest for the soul, there is relief tucked away in the sublime sounds of the last seven minutes of the album, bringing a self-explorative experience to a quiet end. A gasp of fresh air is the two-minute interlude ‘Sense Suppression‘ that is almost too pretty, too dainty in an otherwise grave and dreadful meandering. Not letting off so easy, the quest ends with ‘Living Spa Water‘ promising a positive excursion with its wispy, mystical synths to only close with harrowing looms lurking behind a wishful ambience.

To entirely enjoy the essence of it, one must throw caution to the wind and dive head-first into the horrors of reality, for Tim Hecker’s ‘No Highs‘ is not an album that encourages passive listening. Feel what you must—even if it is to simmer in your own filth, and find you may, on the other side of the rhythm, a refreshed awakening.

‘No Highs’ is scheduled for release on 7 April via Kranky. Order a copy from Bandcamp


1. Monotony
2. Glissalia
3. Total Garbage
4. Lotus Light
5. Winter Cop
6. In Your Mind
7. Monotony II
8. Pulse Depression
9. Anxiety
10. Sense Suppression
11. Living Spa Water