Tim Hecker – “Black Refraction” Video

By Miles Bowe / September 26, 2013 - 4:02 pm

While previous records by Tim Hecker like Harmony In Ultraviolet come at you in movements, building to a sort of heavy peak, his recent work has ebbed and flowed with the menace of a riptide. Virgins, due out next month, is the best example of that — in fact the push/pull between chaos and grace can be found in just the album’s singles. Look how something as explosive as the track “Virginal II,” could be followed by the fragile piano decay of “Black Refraction,” released today with a startling video by Sabrina Ratté.

Ratté loops footage of what I’m almost positive is the famous Botafumeiro, a massive, pendulous thurible (an incense burner on a chain, basically) found in the Santiago de Compostela Cathedral in Spain. Though it swings almost dangerously fast over churchgoers, spreading frankincense to the highest and lowest points of the massive cathedral, Ratté slows the footage considerably. The burner hypnotically floats, moving like a jellyfish underwater, as it hangs impossibly long in the peaks of its swing. Eventually the music and video are broken apart by silence and blackness causing abrupt false endings, not unlike William Basinski’s now famous Disintegration Loops

Much like Hecker’s music, this video is extremely rewarding if you immerse yourself in it. Full screen it, and don’t look at the progress bar, this is something that is meant to entrance you, so it can disorient you by the end. Given some attention it’s a deeply moving and beautiful pairing of sound and image. Watch it below.

Tim Hecker’s Virgins is out 10/14 on Kranky.