Tim Hecker @ Summerhall, Edinburgh, 2 Apr

Although brief, the intensity of tonight's almost-pitch-dark show means there's plenty to enjoy throughout Tim Hecker's short performance

Live Review by Lewis Wade | 04 Apr 2019
  • Tim Hecker live at Summerhall, Edinburgh

sevendeaths proves an ideal way to prime the crowd for Tim Hecker, with a rare performance from the LuckyMe electronic maestro touching on the familiar textured soundscapes that the Hecker-faithful will be used to, mixing techno whooshes and auto-written programming to great effect.

Tim Hecker arrives in typically anonymous style as the houselights go out, leaving The Dissection Room as dark as it can be (still frustratingly well-illuminated by Fire Exit signs), busying himself with his preparations. However, his current look is pretty eye-catching, and really at odds with the severity of his music, with long, dyed blonde locks meeting with a baggy white tee and gold chains.

The first composition quickly gets its legs, enveloping the room in dense bass and distorted synth (and a few amp crackles as Hecker looks nervously on). This is real body techno, abrasive ambient (abrambient?), with more than one audience member shuffling uncomfortably and a few quick fidgets with earplugs. The music is loud, but it's the reverberating synth-lines, vacillating frequencies and shuddering bass that can really be felt through the whole body. This combination and the length of each composition (the show seemingly consists of three broad 'songs' each around 15 minutes long) makes it easy to get lost in the music, a perfect complement of both the cerebral and the physical.

Maybe 30 minutes in there's a terrific build, with Hecker playing the frequencies like glass, masterfully executing multiple dials and pedals to create an all-absorbing ghostscape. Looking out over the audience, it's a sea of fog and mesmerised onlookers, reminiscent of the lost souls of Les Revenants (soundtracked by Mogwai), trapped in an eerie reverie.

The main criticism is the brevity of the show (maybe just over 45 minutes), but the intensity means that there's plenty to enjoy over the short, sustained performance, and demonstrates that Tim Hecker is not an artist that needs a flashy light-show or ornate surroundings to flesh out his art. The music itself is more than enough.