Live at Belgrave Music Hall, Leeds
I'm still a bit deaf in one ear from seeing Tim Hecker live. I say "see", the only thing I could actually see were the emissions of a smoke machine and a dull blue light, which Hecker was presumably using to see whatever technology he was playing. No, this wasn't a gig to rival the great showmen of the live circuit, there was no massive lemon, no robot masks, no giant crosses. There was just sound and vibration (and smoke). It was a similar story for Hecker's three support acts (Lcoma, Colossloth and Ten), all of them utilised the small dark room to transport the audience into subtly different worlds. Lcoma's set was particularly appealing with its occasional guitar vibrato and a stunning finale of bone-shaking bass. The Leeds musician could be a new British rival to Hecker's mangled ambient crown. Hecker's entrance is as unobtrusive as you'd expect, the only hint that the headliner has taken the stage is a wee tease of Ravedeath during the opening section. The Canadian is a grand master in atmosphere and, particularly vibration, which is used like a lead instrument throughout his hour long set. Perhaps some of this is down to the impressive Belgrave Music Hall, which has just the right size and ambiance to house these challenging and progressive musicians. Challenging my be the wrong word, as I was quite surprised just how quickly the hour passed and how gratifying this "drone"/"noise" (call it what you will) is. Yes, the show is intense, sometimes overwhelming, but it's also subtle and beautiful in the most unexpected ways. Towards the end of his set Hecker blasts out various sections of "In The Fog", which is welcome and also fitting given the surroundings (see image above). A surprisingly positive experience, a surprisingly danceable experience and certainly a truly unique live experience.