Saturday, May 30, 2009

Hecq - Steeltongued (Hymen)

Hecq... Have you heard? If you haven't, it's time to jump on board. And by the way, you're missing out! After all, this is Hecq's sixth full length release (fifth on Hymen Records). Dare I say it the following way : with Steeltongued, Hecq surpasses the leaders in electronic experimentation, Autechre, leaving them in the dust to scratch their heads in awe of this twenty-seven year old Berlin based musician. Like a villain of traumatized sonic disintegration, Ben Lukas Boysen unwinds the tight coils of sound into distinct entities of material forms and packs them away into carefully allotted spacial frequency shelves. I did not bring up Autechre for mere name dropping. I clearly remember the very first time I heard the decomposition of sound in the Booth & Brown's track Vose In on LP5, (Warp, 1998). I will never forget. Not one release in the last decade has stopped my breath with the penetrating thought of "what the hell was that?". In the last years, steps have been taken to evolve the sound and build upon the solid foundation, with only Autechre occasionally in the lead, piercing the darkness of uncharted territory. They are always allowed. Because, frankly, they are Autechre, right? The one falling in their footsteps is always behind. Apprentice to a skilled magician. Then... BOOM! ... Hecq. I don't know how Lappersdorf (Germany) based Hymen Records had discovered Boysen [that surely deserves an interview question], but when they did, they have struck gold. Quickly demonstrating his abilities with Scatterheart (Hymen, 2004) and Bad Karma (Hymen, 2005), Boysen has landed a coveted spot on a limited Hymen boxset, Travel Sickness (Hymen, 2006), with a mini-EP along with the releases by Lusine Icl, Solar X, Lowfish, Venetian Snares, Psi Spy, Snog, The Manhattan Gimp Project and Mad EP. Mmmm. My copy still smells like cedar... Delicious. Boysen's fourth album, 0000 (Hymen, 2007) made my Best of 2007 list, and in 2008... well... I have lost the words with Night Falls (see my previous review). So what to expect with Steeltongued? Twisted rhythms swirling around your brain like an inhaled sip of wine and a gulped breath of smoke. Divine soundscapes crawling beneath the barbed wire of the restraining acoustic prison, begging to rather be shot in the back then remain draining their minimalism onto the cold surface of tears and blood. I will survive, bounces the reverse reverbed voice of Nongenetic, Late for my funeral, rather be buried alive... Then destruction and mayhem... Then silence... Frost... and the Hypnos trilogy of tracks. Well, that's just gorgeous... This double disk release features twelve remixes of Steeltongued from an eclectic group of friends and collaborators, including Spyweirdos, Si Begg, Black Film, and Team Doyobi among the many. Words are too limited and gentle to describe the range of emotions evoked by Steeltongued. The album is a trip and an unforgettable experience. That one memento that will stay with you for years to come. That one beautiful moment of "what the hell was that?" | |


license said...

Hi, Autechre fanboy here. I felt more or less the way you described upon hearing "Vose In" for the first time as well. Your claim that Hecq's latest album finds him "leaving them in the dust to scratch their heads in awe" intrigued me, so I jumped over to the Hecq MySpace page post-haste.

I have to say that unless the content there is markedly different from that on the album, you're way off base. What I heard is good but lacks textural variety. It suffers from the same squeaky-clean "first person shooter" sound that seems to plague the bulk of today's "dark" electronic musicians, especially metal-influenced laptop jocks from North America. Lots of people dig that but I find it pretty boring. Compared to Autechre it sounds downright monotonous.

I think a better comparison would be Venetian Snares or Richard Devine and they're still head and shoulders above this guy in just about every way I can think of. I was blown away once again last year by a number of cuts from Quaristice, particularly "plyPhon." Autechre still got it, and from what I hear this guy is choking on dust with the rest.

Headphone Commute said...

I may have over-hyped it just a tad. I'm just so used to that "autechre" sound that I want something else to "wow" me... Autechre doesn't WOW me anymore, regardless of how amazing it is - because simply it is Autechre - I expect that...

The latest Hecq is definitely _not_ within the Venetian Snares or Richard Devine category. I'm not sure which tracks you previewed, but recommend checking out the entire album if you can get your hands on it.

Alice Casey said...

Hello there! my dad just said you commented about the archivist album, sorry for a late reply I am not updating my blog right now, so many other projects! you can still buy copies from the lovely folk at boomkat,

thanks for the support and I hope you enjoy the album!