Passive Neurotic Aggression

Haunt Me, Haunt Me, Do It Again by Tim Hecker

I originally chose this album because I was in the mood for some artsy music. Or at least, when I was sitting outside in the sun, listening to "Romeo" by Basement Jaxx, the thought struck me that I've been dipping too far into the more accessible stuff from my 365 list, and it's been a while since I stretched the limits of my musical tolerance.

Starting out, I'd never heard of Tim Hecker before, and actually chose his albums to put on the list based on this album's title (it brought a smile to my lips, and I figured it couldn't be that bad) as stuff to fill it out. So I won't hesitate at all to admit that when it comes to ambient drone, or abstract electronic music (or whatever you want to classify this as), I am absolutely no expert.

Haunt Me, Haunt Me, Do It Again can be described as almost cinematic, and indeed some of the track titles (like "Music For Tundra") seem to lend to this idea. The album spans 20 tracks (with actually 9 central songs that are stretched over multiple tracks) and lasts for nearly an hour, and from the beginning it is clear that this is an album meant to be heard in its entirety.

The album opens with "Music For Tundra", which is stretched over three tracks, in which we are introduced to the style throughout the album: that of rolling undercurrents of drone and buzz, with unpredictable cuts of noise. The album seems almost to grab onto an emotional current and is pulled along through those 20 tracks, exploring the depths of that emotion almost like one would explore a conceptual idea.

"The Work of Art In The Age of Cultural Overproduction" is by far the standout track. The title itself is a reference to an essay titled "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction" written by Walter Benjamin in 1935. Whereas most other tracks are either a practice of distance, alienation and loneliness, or a practice of depth, invitation and warmth (as much as it can be applied to ambient drone), "The Work of Art In The Age of Cultural Overproduction" is neither; 7 minutes long, the song is surprisingly tense and forceful. When the song gives way to "October", it is almost a welcome reprieve from the stirring yet sparse noises (and strangely, even though the song is seven minutes long, it almost manages to feel as if it is over too soon). From there, the second half of the album lends itself over less to static and more to synths, and almost seems to transcend into some kind of starry romanticism (even the song titles suggest this, with "Boreal Kiss" and "Night Flight To Your Heart").

Though the album presents itself as almost alien and strange, Haunt Me, Haunt Me, Do It Again manages to be beautiful and patient. The album is highly rewarding, and though it is to some extent haunting, the album invites you in to be haunted again and again.

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