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Tim Hecker & Daniel Lopatin: Instrumental Tourist (Software)

It’s perhaps an unlikely pairing, but I was immediately excited by the prospect of a hands-on collaboration between Tim Hecker and Daniel Lopatin (a.k.a. Oneohtrix Point Never). Hecker’s œuvre leans toward expansive, hazy and dense ambient abstractions, while Oneohtrix Point Never is more of a restless spirit, though he’s also no stranger to wandering landscapes of sound.  The sounds of Instrumental Tourist were created by the duo together in the room — perhaps notable only because correspondance collaborations are so commonplace these days — and it sounds to me as though Hecker’s knack for organ drones has rubbed off on Lopatin, reining in his usually varied and unpredictable aesthetic. If nothing else this makes for a fairly consistent affair from start to finish, leaning more on the ambient, synthesized side of things with a few surprises along the way. My personal favorite is “Intrusions,” in which the collaboration seems balanced, starting off with distorted noise and evolving into something psychedelic and amorphous. Lopatin’s influence comes through clearly in the use of more overt synth sounds, synthesized voices, monophonic synth warbles and solos — it’s a palette of sounds that is a clear departure from Hecker’s usual style, but executed in a way that feels gracious and patient, not restless. “GRM Blue I” and “GRM Blue II” showcase Lopatin’s unusual knack for non-melodic musicality, a nice counterpoint to the gloomy opening block of tracks that fall more in line with Hecker’s Ravedeath album aesthetic. The collaboration does not necessarily transcend each artist’s own repertoire, but it is something of an earworm nonetheless. I find myself coming back to it time and time again, drawn to its hazy magic.

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