|nineteen.seven (vs l’ombre)||*.mp3|
|into the unseen||*.mp3|
|misantron (vs architect)||*.mp3|
when benny boysen's debut, 'a dried youth', was released in 2003, a few
enthusiasts paid attention - the young artist, yet totally unknown,
used his enormous creativity to implant an aural impression of his
personal experiences onto a cd. although echoes of other artists'
influences seemed to be present, this cd showed that boysen was able to
walk his own path. hymen records signed hecq in 2004 and 'scatterheart'
was the first result - an outstanding album in which both reviewers and
listeners had cheerful reactions to. in the meantime, benny worked as a
remixer for snog, end, l'ombre, architect and many more. now, just one
year after 'scatterheart',
hymen records present the third hecq album.
'bad karma' is the most unique hecq release to date; a masterpiece of electronica which stands for itself. the melodic lines of the first two releases, which were reminiscent of artists like beefcake and lusine icl, are now mostly replaced by changing rhythmic textures, clicks and surprising sound manipulations. the precise filter effects on 'scumdrum's acoustic percussion samples are a good example of hecq's production skills. one could draw a comparison to uwe schmidt's ealier works as lassigue bendthaus and atom heart.
as an addendum, l'ombre and architect used hecq's sounds/ideas to create tracks that should not just be seen as 'remixes'. these collaborations are the perfect completion to this marvellous album.
scatterheart came out it gathered a lot of attention, but my reaction was a bit tepid. i recognized hecq's talent, but i was actually waiting for something more mature, more accomplished, that could do justice to the guy's skills. finally that record is out, and it's bad karma. this is not a step further, but an entire stairway up from his previous album; it's more intense, imaginative, captivating and the yet excellent production here is quite close to perfection. the tracks are longer and more focused, the deep bass tones of "untitled 1" and "the fiend" won't let you lose your attention. each episode has its own distinctive features, either it's the pitch black setting of "flying fear" or the minimal clicky beat of '"into the unseen," surrounded by spooky dub bass. there's loads of other interesting stuff; scattered frantic beats overlap with chopped amen breaks in "lightning slots," the tribal percussions of the second "untitled" are so mesmerizing that they could lead you to set up some voodoo rite --not to mention the awesome battle between industrial drums and tap dance of "scumdrum." as you can see, bad karma is full of wicked ideas, transposed to music with a sublime touch. and with hecq meets architect, it's no surprise to hear an amazing mutant electro tune; both have just released fantastic records, thumbs up for hymen. (luca maini)
two years after hecq’s debut album a dried youth, and benny boysen delivers a follow up that doesn’t deviate much from the original formula. bad karma is a disqueiting atmospheric album that every now and then erupts into hashed technological spatters and modulating rhythms. occasionally the results are interesting, after quite a drab start, lightning slots and h7 have you scratching your head – how did they make those sounds? but no matter how cutting edge and futuristic the programming is, i find that this type of album is beginning to lose its novelty a little. on the hymen label alone there are already a raft of artists producing equally imaginative electronic music, and the concept is hardly a new one. it would be nice if we could hear, what is undoubtedly a skilfully programmed selection of tracks, progress to produce something a little more cohesive and memorable. indeed, a couple of hecq’s label mates (l’ombre & architect) help out on a couple of tracks here, and one gets the idea that they are all communaly sharing ideas and samples – hiding their secrets from the rest of the electronic fraternity. one particularly interesting track, however, is scumdrum, which uses bongo drums and tap dancing samples in a quiet fascinating way, whilst misantron (vs architect) is one of the few tracks that formulate all of the intricate programming ideas into something solid and memorable. nevertheless, bad karma remains stunningly lacking in melody. listening to rhythm after rhythm, however often they mutate, eventually becomes repetitive, and the entire production loses its focus and edge – meanwhile, the short atmospheric tracks, which seem to have become a feature of so many albums of this ilk, are simply becoming pointless filler. it suprises me that so few artists use this technology and incorporate it into pop or alternative music, where it might ultimately make a difference and progress a genre – rather than just standing still admiring itself.
nach teils sehr guten kritiken zum letzten album "scatterheart" sind die erwartungen zum neuen release "bad karma" von hecq entsprechend hoch gesetzt. benny boysen alias hecq hat sich den ruf erarbeitet, entgegen gängiger konventionen zu arbeiten und sich sein eigenes kleines sounduniversum zu basteln. im gegensatz zu seinen beiden früheren veröffentlichungen ist "bad karma" weniger melodisch ausgefallen. dafür gibt es eine ganze reihe neuer sounds zu entdecken. click 'n' cut auf den ersten blick, auf den zweiten aber perfekte soundtüftelei. ungeübte ohren müssen sich etwas eingewöhnen, denn hecq verlangt aufmerksamkeit. von einer melancholischen grundstimmung getragen, die durch ambiente hintergrundmelodien erzeugt wird, arbeitet sich so gut wie jeder song durch rhythmische abnormitäten. der opener "untitled" beginnt noch verhalten und breitet erst langsam seine volle schönheit aus, um am ende in harmonie zu vergehen. "distract" arbeitet mit rituell klingenden trommeln, wobei der song ähnlich wie das erste "untitled" zum schluss immer ruhiger wird. gänzlich ohne rhythmus dafür aber mit tiefster dunkelheit arbeiten "flying fear" und "bad karma", die ihrem namen nur zu gerecht werden. was "distract" angefangen hat, steigert der zweite "untitled"-track noch weiter und verbindet rituelle perkussion mit verstörenden geräuschen. der beste track kommt jedoch ganz zum schluss. "lost" malt eine graue trostlosigkeit durch prasselnden regen und schwermütige melodien, endet jedoch in merkwürdigen sound-experimenten. auch an musikerkollegen wie daniel myer (haujobb, architect) und stephen sawyer (l'ombre) ging hecq nicht vorbei und so haben beide gleich noch songs beigesteuert. "nineteen.seven" und "misantron" arbeiten mit hecqs soundideen und sind deshalb weniger als remixe denn mehr als kollaborationen zu verstehen. so lassen sich beide songs auch so gut wie kaum herauslösen, sondern reihen sich nahtlos in das album ein. "bad karma" ist ein ebenso gewöhnungsbedürftiges wie begeisterndes album. für den sucher des besonderen elektronischen hörgenusses bestimmt ein leckerbissen. unerfahrene sollten sich dem album jedoch langsam näher. aber die mühe lohnt sich!
hecq is a relatively young musician. this is his third record and the second for hymen. if you listen to his work you will hear hecq becoming bit by bit more himself. his sound evolves into a unique style of his own along the way. on this new record there are still hints of other idm / electronic music artists in his music (like for example beefcake) but more and more his own style is being displayed. listen for example to the tribal sounding rhythms on ‘distract’ and ‘scumdrum’. also his clicks and moods on tracks like ‘the fiend’ and mourning gates’ have something you have probably not heard a lot before. very nice are the two collaborations with l’ombre and architect. these artists fit very well into the world of sounds created by hecq. bad karma is a record you need to hear if you like intelligent electronic music. (mvg)
hecq’s third album is the kind of record one assumes there hundreds of. scanning the catalogue of hymen records throws up lots of equally obscure names like l’ombre, lusine icl, snog and beefcake, artists unknown outside of the tiny gene-pool of post-techno electronica, who one imagines make records just like hecq’s. that’s to say sleek and eldritch by default, programmed with terrifying attention to detail on the latest kit and un-preoccupied with their own consequence. however, i wonder if any of these other people’s records are quite as satisfying as “bad karma”? hecq, aka benny boysen, has a superb grasp of rhythm. he manipulates glitch’s hiccoughs and tics into fine-fibered black steel webs occasionally co-opting sampled drum and bass patterns, tom toms and tablas into his filigrees. it’s refreshing to hear electronica not destined for the dance floor, traditionally myopic, white-bred and stuffy, seizing upon rhythm’s visceral power and inherent melodic qualities (the drums here are exquisitely tuned). equally it’s not surprising that other commentators have found the record unnecessarily arid in much the same way folk used to complain all james brown’s records sounded the same. tracks like “(untitled)” a dark froth of softly rolling congas and aleatory shifts in timbre are seductively blank-eyed, perfectly embodying 808 state’s old adage “flow coma”. “scumdrum” another highlight uses a darbuka drum and nimbly weaves its characteristic hard middle-eastern sound through a minefield of galloping hip-hop breaks. also excellent is the half-paralysed clunk-skank of “into the unseen”. all of these rhythmic palettes have been cryogenically frozen in same sonic cold storage, strafed with hecq’s signature lift-shaft doppler effects, their ambience sounding like dry-ice looks. (woebot)
hecq's third album presents a cornucopia of atmospheric melodies hidden beneath a labyrinth of twisted electronic manipulations, showing a fine blend of skillful production and subtle musicality. benny boysen's path may show him still fresh on the trail, but what a trail it is. as the man behind hecq, his music weaves an intricate web of divergent electronic textures and rhythmic manipulations, with just a touch of melody to give his glitches a personality apart from the multitudes of acts already crowding the once adventurous idm scene. with bad karma, boysen presents his third hecq album, a work of irrefutable electronic mastery. beginning with bubbling rhythmic attacks and soft distorted waves of the opening "(untitled)" track, to the skittering clicks and cavern-esque dark ambience of "cr.blox," bad karma is immediately on par with the best works of anyone on the warp or frozen empire labels. "into the unseen" brings us to a slower, slightly hip-hop tempo, like cruising down a city street at night, with only the reflections of the street lights to guide the way in the form of sprays of echoing samples. kicking up the pace a few notches with some touches of drum & bass are the skittering electro effects of "lightning slots" and the nocturnal chirpings of "h7," as well as the tribal ramblings of "scumdrum" and the second "(untitled)" track. curiously, the title track is little more than an interlude of dark ambient noise. given that boysen has worked as a remixer for the likes of architect and l'ombre, it should come as no surprise that his music bears a resemblance to those groups; that, plus the fact that both groups make an appearance on the album. stephen sawyer of l'ombre appears on "nineteen.seven," starting with a rather disturbing sample of sad voices and kicking into a bouncy array of somewhat danceable percussion and light breaths of airy pads like sparkling clouds in a grey sky. the track then shifts slightly to include more ominous clicks and clacks of static and noise. architect's daniel myer also lends his abilities on "misantron," characterized by a simplistic but melodic synth bass line, and complemented by layers of subtle but energetic percussive glitches. simply put, bad karma is dizzyingly complex in its construction and production while still appealing to the musical psyche. be it for the underlying dance sensibilities amidst the labyrinth of electronic layers, or the hinting of melodies beneath the atmospheric structures, this album is one beautiful and, at times, haunting outing. fans of architect, monstrum sepsis, and even the more melodic works of download will find much to behold in hecq's third album. (ilker yücel)
after the debut release (album scatterheart) on the label hymen records hecq recorded the second astounding idm release - bad karma. this release is some kind of musician's personal intrusion into the sphere of experimental idm culture. scatterheart was a little bit cold ambient with field records and minimalistic techno-bits, bad karma, on the other hand, it is an absolutely different work with more serious presentation of its content. music here as well as the album's cover is absolutely new and original. let's analyze this album in detail and see what has changed. the first track "untitled" - very powerful idm stuff, the best start for live concerts. such compositions are able to catch the listener's attention immediately and at once change his inner mood. the second composition is "cr.blox" - while listening to it there is a feeling of being in some metallized city, walking through its dark outskirts. finally we come to the fourth composition "the fiend" - true dark ambient pending for the future album night falls. such dark ambient passages can be met during the whole album. perhaps motion vectors for the album night falls appeared already in this release. this dark album bad karma also includes several beautiful musical themes safely hidden by hecq from strangers. composition "nineteen.seven" (recorded together with l'ombre) - very recognizable style of hecq especially due to its voice insets from scatterheart. generally hecq chose the right time for scatterheart's release and at once attracted attention of listeners to his creativity. gradually, step by step the albums of hecq formed his own image on the label hymen records. composition "h7" is one more idm-pearl, it's able to catch the listeners' attention in many stylish clubs - a really perfect theme. the last program theme "lost" pleasantly surprised. very powerful emotional ending of bad karma. real feeling of total getting lost and vanishing in ambient. at the very beginning we hear lead rain banging at the metal roof, on the 9th minute of the track sounds the true hidden coda - the ending of the album. separate respect to the author for the ending of the album, the best conclusion i ever heard.
hecq discography. 10.2005:
a dried youth. cd. kaleidoskop kal003. 2003
scatterheart. cd. hymen records ¥742. 2004
bad karma. cd. hymen records ¥748. 2005