Hecq – Night Falls (2008)

Orchestral. Atmospheric. Bombastic. Intriguing. Dark. Melancholic. Disturbing. Majestic. Pulsating, glowing red. Full of emotion. Those are some of the words I’d use to describe Hecq’s 2008 album “Night Falls“.

I bought this album on a whim, after reading Headphone Commute’s review (ah, the power of a good review!). This is such a varied and diverse record – don’t get fooled by the melancholic and hauntingly sweet, orchestral intro track “Nightfalls”. The second track already, with it’s fat, pulsating synth bass, has a very different character.

Unlike the records that I previously wrote about, this album doesn’t have just one “theme”. By the third track (which will perhaps disturb and irritate at first), you’ll realize that you’re not just listening to music – you’re listening to an epic soundtrack, an aural movie of sonic wizardry. It’s a journey that includes dark moments which would best fit the tech-heavy sci-fi atmospheres of the “Alien II” movie, as well as uplifting melodious pieces, that cast images of sweeping views over snow-covered mountaintops glistening in the sun in my mind. And once they get too close to Hans Zimmer cheesiness (“Time”, anyone? So good. So cheesy), are deconstructed with some glitching elements, effects, samples. Like saying “sorry, but it’s not real!”

The minimalistic cover art includes the German version of a poem by Juan Ramón Jimenéz (“Yo no soy yo”) – the English translations that I found after searching online (only briefly, I admit) didn’t really do it poetic justice in my opinion – they appeared somewhat plump to me, lacking something, so I try myself:

I am not me.
I am he
Who walks by my side, unnoticed.
Whom I visit often,
But just as often forget.
He who remains calmly silent when I speak,
Who mercifully forgives when I hate,
Who roams where I am not,
Who will endure when I will die.

I bought more of Hecq’s albums (including Steeltongued [which does contain some beautiful ambient tracks] and Gravity), but for me, nothing comes close to Night Falls… (IDM/Glitch/Dubstep lovers will certainly disagree). Here’s a musician who is so versatile that he can pull out an album like Night Falls, and then move on to other territories. Good for him, but a bit sad for the “pure” ambient lovers like me. I’m aware of his “real” soundtrack word (Mother Nature, Restive) but the individual tracks are too short, disconnected, and lack the flow of Night Falls.

The disc is long sold out, and currently trades at relatively high prices on discogs.com – I’m glad that I was able to secure a copy back then (I prefer physical media over downloads). But you can stream the album and buy a download from Hymen Records’ Bandcamp site, thankfully: