Tim Hecker's 2011 masterwork Ravedeath, 1972 approaches a form of secular musical transcendentalism from within the battered temple of spirituality. Recorded in a church in Reykjavik, Iceland and using a pipe organ as the primary sound source, this piece is essentially a live recording. In reality, it exists in a nether world between captured live performance and meticulous studio work, melding the two approaches to sonic artifice as a unity. It is in parts a document of air circulating within a wooden room, and also a pagan work of physical resonance within a space once reserved for the hallowed breath of the divine.
While the title of the piece "Hatred of Music" might be a clue, the album is also partly an attempt to confront a pervasive negativity surrounding music. Historical rituals of destroying pianos, mountains of pirated CDRs pushed by bulldozers in Eastern Europe, or the melancholy of the digital music era began as sideline motifs which quickly informed the work on this record. They also really didn't at all. Despite that the context is wide open in such a form of musical abstraction, the substance of these immersive compositions showcases Hecker's continued mastery of organizing sound into a visceral near entity. It is an almost physical presence that the listener feels as much as hears.
This work is a significant contribution to Hecker's oeuvre, one which spans over 15 years of musical production. Ravedeath, 1972 is an enigmatic document of beauty and force. The album was recorded mostly over the period of one day in July of 2010. Iceland-based musician Ben Frost assisted with the engineering and also performs on this recording.