The immediate horror of Tim Hecker’s Virgins is disconcerting. Upon the album’s commencement, we are at once made to indulge in something sinister in the form of an ear-jutting, salient drone. It’s a curious and agitating feeling – Hecker allows its tendrils to wrap and hold us captive as the album cloaks us in its entirety. And it’s not necessarily a feeling that curtains when the album does the same.

What exists is a palpable ominousness that saturates the album, penetrating every pore of it and therefore ourselves as we lend our senses. Even amongst the airy and spatial electro-acoustics that are notoriously Hecker, there is potent trepidation.

But Hecker does allow us to surface from the swallowing, in suspended moments of minimal instrumentalism, most noted in the album’s one-third and halfway marks, However the dread is foreboding, implied in the very space Hecker sanctions. In this way, Virgins is haunted by the spectre of his own mind.

The swells in Virgins are so beautifully menacing as the album culminates into a sort of horrific epiphany. Tim Hecker’s manifestations are wholly haunted and unsettling but this is not in a way that is unfamiliar; the work evokes an ever-present ruminating darkness. Like much of his discography, Hecker demands an exhausting commitment of the listener. If you allow it to, Virgins will consume you.

By Nivedita Iyer

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