Review: Florian Hecker – Chimerization

There’s something rather teasing about the process behind Chimerization, which centres on a recital of an experimental libretto by Iranian writer/philosopher Reza Negarestani. Recorded in an anechoic chamber in three different languages (Iranian, English, German) – and in the case of the English version, articulated in part in immaculate received pronunciation – there’s an aspect of the piece that seems to desire to maximise the scope for clarity and listener comprehension, adopting practices akin to classic British radio programming in order to curb the natural imperfections of sound. In some respects, it’s a quest to amplify language while minimalizing the potential pitfalls that arise through articulation.

But the drama within Chimerization – the tension, the energy – comes in Hecker’s vigorous sabotage of his own setup. He masks and distorts the voices via bubbles and scrapes of electronic noise, thus beating language out of its pristine shapes. Listener comprehension flickers like a light bulb – certain words and phrases are snatched out the murky fizzing, humming, scraping, with sound flitting instantaneously between phenomenological sensation and meaningful communication. As present in Hecker works I have heard previously, sound manifests as rapidly mutating pieces of elastic, littered with microscopic blemishes and jagged corners that gift it the textural and muscular complexity of a living thing. The emphasis on language and articulation is ultimately borne out of its own unravelling; the listener is left startlingly aware of the cognitive process that marries sound and language just as Hecker tries to drive his dirty great knife of divorce between them.