Florian Hecker isn’t interested in romance. Right around 35 seconds into “Wq Acid VII”, as its undulating strands of noise approach a kind of anti-charm, everything drops out. Only a stream of wobbly feedback remains. Every few seconds thereafter, a new sound introduces itself like a hopeful suitor to a choosy princess: Moog farts, elastic twangs, searing hums: all synthetic, and all abortive. The piece’s attention span lengthens as the ten-minute finish line approaches, and themes from the first few minutes return (at a higher pitch) in the last. At no point, however, does Hecker establish continuous forward motion. If anything, he willfully avoids it.
Neu CD, a collection of pieces Hecker wrote for recent exhibits at Berlin’s Galerie Neu, is a demanding listen. Perhaps unreasonably so. The bait-and-switch antics of “Wq Acid VII” and the extensive insect-like drone of “Yin Pitch Detection Synthesis Kissing” don’t quite pay off the patience they require. Catching on to Hecker’s subtle craftsmanship is supposed to be its own reward, I guess. “≤ ∑” closes the disc with some confrontational blasts of sound, but the rest of Neu CD is too dry and austere to provoke much beyond mild academic interest.