This review is going to be broken down into three pieces: What Radio Amor isn’t, What Radio Amor is and What Radio Amor means to me. I will be deviating from the standard music review and my past evaluations of records. I find it unfair to take any single track, like 7000 Miles, and evaluate it on its merit. Each song is a piece contributing to a larger picture.
Radio Amor isn’t party music nor is it a catchy tune. This project isn’t something to listen to with friends. Radio Amor isn’t a chart topper. It isn’t a song to cheer you up at the end of the day.
Radio Amor is a one hour odyssey into drone/ambient music written and produced by Tim Hecker. Radio Amor is his sophomore effort that released in March of 2003. Hailed in the drone community as a landmark record in the genre, it has solidified its place in the experimental hall of fame. Anything further you can experience yourself.
Now come the meat and potatoes. Everything past this is my interpretation of the record.
Radio Amor is the fuzz. After waking from suffocating dreams to realize that it was all an illusion, Radio Amor is what is playing as you stare yourself down in the mirror. The idle gray slowly filing itself in through the windows to settle on the countertops is Radio Amor. In fact, as reality grabs you by your toes and drags you down, Radio Amor is the sip of coffee that surrenders yourself to the sunless skies. Radio Amor is the routine malaise that becomes a soft pillow in contrast to the vastness of everything and everybody else.
One thing I like to do when I listen to records like this is to lay down, close my eyes and drift down-tune. Being too alert, we fall into the trap of judging the immediacy of this project. People fixate on the tones and ask whether or not that is what they are supposed to be enjoying. They never arrive at the destination which Radio Amor desires to take them. The guard has to be relieved of his shift. A storm is coming, and we don’t want any accidents. A ritual of mental cleansing eases the body into the music. Similar to how one would gingerly slide into their tub. While floating to this tune, it is easy to find the tones and drones seeping into your veins through the IV drip of your headphones.
I’d like to imagine being in a sensory deprivation tank with this feeding into my soul. Nothing to be there to anchor you to reality. But anchor is the wrong word; existence serves as the shackles which bind you. Effortlessly teasing you with glimpses of beyond, the feeling of the music settles down like the dust on the cover of the book you said you were going to read but never did. The atmosphere is where Radio Amor shines. Tim Hecker is sailing us deeper and deeper into ourselves. As you attempt to tap the captain’s shoulder, the fog and mist thicken. You cannot see your own hands, and you wouldn’t have it any other way.
Voices cling to your ears, but the words bead up and roll off of your eardrums. Waves of warm water slowly blanket you as the acceptance settles. A crackle flutters across your eyelids before resting on the bridge of your nose, yet you are not alive enough to wipe it off. As the sound-scape has its curtain call, the physical pulls you back. Sitting up and staring about aimlessly, you find it just slightly harder to breathe.
Not everyone is comfortable with the feelings explored in this work nor are they friends with it. I think this causes listeners to miss the target. “Accessibility” makes Radio Amor even more special to those who treasure every last glitch. Radio Amor is an experience, not an album or a collection of songs. Radio Amor is a voyage into the lethargy and apathy which haunts me and haunts me again.