Released as a companion piece to last year’s Konoyo, Tim Hecker’s new album is a relatively slim and minimal affair. It is filled with synthy ambience, which verges on drone music at times but pulls back with a synth lead here and a melodious bassline there, and East Asian instruments dominate with their contrasting timbres.
Anoyo opens with That World, featuring plucked strings that start off sparse but layer on top of each other in processed forms to form a cavalcade of sound. Plodding bass notes move sombrely down and up the Western scale, while haishō clusters echo around, creating a very atmospheric piece of music.
Is But A Simulated Blur and Not Alone both utilise the same percussion motif, in which the intervals between hits diminish progressively, and in the former it is accompanied by grand-sounding woozy synths while the latter takes a more stripped-down approach.
The subtle glitchiness of Into The Void is also fascinating, with its bending tones making the whole track seem just that bit unstable, but the album’s real highlight is its closing number, You Never Were. Twangs ring out decisively over the beatless expanse, and a unpredictable LFO effect is applied to the synth that makes it jitter and relax entirely at random. As a soundbed it strikes the perfect balance between stasis and movement, ancient and futuristic, and by the time a mutated electric piano appears to serenade us out in the final two minutes the effect is that of a strange calm.
The less charitable may call this record a collection of leftovers, in the manner of Radiohead‘s Amnesiac to Kid A. But Anoyo succeeds on its own terms too: the combination of sounds is still captivating, especially recommended for anyone who feels to this day that new age music was underrated.