2009's An Imaginary Country continues on from the trajectory of Tim Hecker's previous album, the critically acclaimed Harmony in Ultraviolet (2006), while also ushering in a few new tricks. Tim incorporates more pulses here and also works with a sound pallete including overdriven mellotron strings and synthesizer. At times the album is less overtly aggressive than earlier efforts, but the notion that this is pastoral work would be dead wrong as there are plenty of the agitated crescendos that he is know for. The music backs off from the void of immensity in favor of a terrain of lushness and warmth.
This heat, this work of musical abstraction, is largely made possible by the tools of digital technology that he employs. It is a means of musical production that allows for the obliteration of questions of representation or instrumentation. Strings, synthesizers, pianos and guitars all fade away into the fog of what they once were. A tropical mist (or a northerly breeze) of sound is also a musical resonance of imagination.
The title comes from a quote, "The imaginary country... one that cannot be found on a map," uttered by Debussy in regards to the sad state of musical affairs at the time, arguing that music was in dire need for alternate worlds of possibility. In some ways this is a utopian work, in the sense of the term meaning that of 'no-place'. All the tracks are landmarks in a dream cartography. With this album Hecker expanded his palette as well as his range, further cementing his reputation as a singular and significant entity in the world of contemporary music.