Konoyo // Kranky
Tim Hecker’s genius has never been greater, after manipulating an Icelandic choir on 2016’s impeccable crafted Love Streams, Canada’s experimental/electronic guru has returned to deliver the greatest achievement of his catalogue. Hecker’s work begins with a source material that he creases and folds intricately into something completely different from its previous form… Call it sound origami. On Konoyo, he chose to work with a gagaku group to weave his musical journey. Gagaku is a type of Japanese classical music that has been performed at the Imperial Court in Kyoto for several centuries. It directly translates to "elegant music" and features flute melodies, drums, strings, and a 17 pipe free reed instrument called the shō. After several sessions with the gagaku group, pushing them more towards experimental territories, he then set out to work his magic. The major difference between Konoyo and Hecker’s past albums is his subtle approach, for the first time he let his source material tell more of the story. Taking a page from the late Jóhann Jóhannsson’s playbook, he chose to use less layers and volume which made the relationship between the gagaku sounds and his synths more of a partnership. This approach truly paid off as you get a sense that the music he worked with was simply too special to distort beyond recognition. Sometimes by doing less you achieve more, this concept is what makes Konoyo a truly blissful listening experience.
- Jeff MacCallum