It’s been an incredible year for experimental music. From the returns of Wolf Eyes and Hair Police and the debut of Pharmakon at the beginning of the year, 2013 is closing out with excellent albums from James Ferraro, Laurel Halo, and Oneohtrix Point Never. Add Tim Hecker to that list, because Virgins is possibly his best work in a long line of excellent albums. He has never made a record this dark, this frozen sounding, or this aggressive. It’s a sound that the startling music video for “Black Refractions” hinted at, but in full context is even greater. Hecker sounds like he is breaking his music into pieces throughout these tracks whether doing so through crunching percussion (a real first in his recordings) or through fragile looping atrophy. And yet despite, or perhaps due to, that aggression this is Hecker’s most emotive and beautiful work, the kind of thing you’ll want to listen to once the snow starts falling. Check out the stream at NPR, close your eyes and get lost in this thing.
Virgins is out 10/14 via Kranky.