Postmodernist Sound – Tim Hecker’s ‘Konoyo’ Album


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Post-Modernist art has an ambiguous definition attached to its meaning. Understanding how Post Modernism pervades throughout the spectrum of art and media can be complicated but is essential to understand its most basic capsulization.

It basically sums up to this understanding. After World War II, a new set of philosophies were setting their course for the evolving world. Rapid-paced technological evolution toiled along new ways of thinking and perceiving the world. Further understanding nature and humanity not only applied to objective logic but subjective criticism and perspective.

People felt the right to perceive the world their own way, restricted to their environment, psychology, aptitude, etc. Due to this change in the metaphysical dynamic, art had to evolve with this humane approach to thinking. After the 1950’s, music relied less on cultural inclusion or patriotic celebration, but on the emotional state of the human, and their interaction with the world around them.

This anchored the likes of The Beatles in the 1960’s, Judas Priest in the 1970’s, Run D.M.C. in the 1980’s, Madonna in the 1990’s, and the likes of today’s artists set in modern life. Interestingly, the rapid change in medium, from radio to television then eventually the internet, writhed the dynamic of music as well.

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As of the internet, there are more abstractions and forms of music than ever before. Some forms of music, such as the likes of the Pop genre, keep their sound safe and linear. Other forms of music push the boundaries forward, pummeling along new ways to think about sound.

For the previous two decades, Tim Hecker has been one of the forefronting figures of the catalyzing progression of abstract music. His genre is hard to define, but his transparent categorizations of music include Electronic and Experimental. Since his first album released in 2001 titled Haunt me, Haunt Me Do It Again, his sound has been polarizing critics and audiences.

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It’s hard to define his sound. With every composition and track, Hecker thwarts, slows, increases, and contorts his sound in order to seem it comprehensible. On average, his compositions run between five to eleven minutes.

During those durations, your mind tends to understand and appreciate the distinguishable nature of his work. He’ll use interesting electronic synthesizers, electric chords, drums, and heavy basslines to develop a seemingly supernatural aura.

This album was severely overshadowed, but for understandable reasons. This came out on the same week Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter V album was receiving enticement, as well as Logic’s YSIV album, even being overshadowed by Tha Carter V’s media attention.

Hecker’s Konoyo had no chance going against the larger releases, but it almost wouldn’t have made a difference. Hecker’s music will intrigue an esoteric audience. Konoyo’s sales numbers have never faired with the likes of the Pop-culture figures, but it’s not supposed to.

Konoyo holds seven tracks of heavy processions. Each one expelling their own experiential soundscapes. The first track titled This life, which initiates an explosion. For the first two minutes of the composition, all there is is an eerie chord that strings in such high amplitude. The eerie sensation is prolonged until the two-minute mark, where another set of chords come in and adds a baritone to the high-pitched play.

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Throughout the rest of the composition, the sounds reverberate into other chaotic noises, continuing to dismantle the momentary aesthetic while transitioning to a new form of noise. The track ends with the same eerieness from the beginning, just a little more hushed this time.

As the album heads into the next track, In Death Valley, the soundscape delves into reverberation, then the introduction of oriental strings and bitter chords the pelt and muddle throughout the composition.

As the chords continue to hurdle throughout the duration, added sound effect and heavy samples add to the imaginative worlds that it plummets you into.

In Death Valley seems to be an appropriate title for how this track feels. The titles of every composition here only paint an external picture of what you go through throughout these sonic journeys.

I don’t feel like I’m listening to anything made by a human. The indistinguishable samples measured by the unique selection of instrumentation only add to the “other-worldly” emotions I get from every composition here. In Death Valley feels like a vast land of nothingness. No sign of civilization or any sight of life.

Although each composition carries a different emotion for me, I still carry the same thought process as to prepare for these journeys. The thought of not approaching anything civil or conventional. Made something purely by concentrated octane and transferable emotion.

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That’s how I feel about tracks such as Keyed Out and Across to Anoyo. The first track is just an example of how the rest of the album goes. If I were to analyze each track, the description of this article would go on for eternity. This is one of those projects that the listeners himself or herself should go through if prepared for the experience.

Whilst perusing through reviews and criticisms of this album, all of them reign with positivity. Some sources even claim that this may be Hecker’s best effort yet. Although I agree this is an incredible feat by him, I don’t think it’s his best.

All his projects are purely-emotional triumphs to conquer, but each one differs from one another. Personally, I feel that Virgins was is his best album to date. Mainly due to the longer duration timing and the emotions he displays there.

When trying to implement something into the term of abstraction or experimentation, this album would be a good introduction as a supplement. Albums like these add to the moving evolution of Post Modernism.

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As civilization continues to evolve and grow into something bigger than itself, our philosophies and art mirror their respective timelines. This project, as well as Hecker’s other works definitely mirror the right image for Post Modernism.

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