What the fuck are “companion pieces”?
I’m sure you’ve heard the term before. It’s one of these classic English phrases that seem to imbue meaning into something that may have none. Phrases like, “It is what it is.” Really, motherfucker? You’re going to take up my precious oxygen saying that dumbass shit? That’s like saying, “red is red” or “a box is a box”. Guess what? I know, motherfucker! See my eyes? I gots two of ’em. One dude tried to argue for this phrase with, “I don’t mean it like that. What I mean is that life and reality, despite how much you may want to change either of them, are full of inevitabilities outside of your control.” Then fucking say that! At least that’s something to spring off of. Half the time this phrase is thrown out by those special few that are as equally lazy as they are cynical. People that want to say some dour shit but are too lackadaisical to defend their own words. The other half of the time it’s, generally, said by morons seeking power. That’s why you so often hear the phrase barked out of self-serving abusive boyfriends. “It is what it is, babe” a.k.a. “Sure, you may want to defend yourself, stand up for your rights, or be heard or listened to in any way, but all actions that you take to do this will be absolutely futile.” When you say that shit outloud you come to fully understand how fucking evil it is. Other empty phrases may include: complete overhaul, thoughts and prayers, first responders, and millennials. You know when you’re in the presence of one of these phrases when it suddenly reeks of bullshit. “Fifteen, nine, nine, nine,” or “four easy payments of…” instead of the more honest, “fifteen thousand nine hundred and ninety-nine dollars.” Or, more to the point, a veteran musician with nothing else to give but shitty leftovers releases a “b-side” or “companion piece”. You’ve smelt them. You’ve seen them. You’ve heard them.
But this album is not that brand of motherfucker.
This album is a true “companion piece” to last year’s Konoyo. In Japanese, Konoyo means “this world” and Anoyo means “that world”. Both these albums were created in a single recording session. Each album can stand independently, but when you put them shits together you get the complete idea. Konoyo is light. Anoyo is dark. They complete each other like Tom Cruise and Renée Zellweger. The same conditions that worked in Konoyo apply in Anoyo. Tim recorded and helped guide a group of musicians playing non-western instruments in a Buddhist temple. He took these recordings and added his electronic production and alterations to enhance what was already there. With anything Hecker, you can either skate above or jump the fuck in. Trying to differentiate what is electronic or not on this album is part of the deep dive. These two elements are difficult to pull apart. They come as a single whole. Hecker has the unique ability of transforming an electronic music festival into a place of spiritual elation. And with these two albums, he brings the spiritual world into electronica. He brings that world over here and this world over there. Konoyo. Anoyo. That’s how to do a fucking “companion piece”. This isn’t leftovers sold as fresh. There is nothing empty here. This is as real as dirt without a drop of bullshit. Anoyo stands with Konoyo as a single complete form. And it’s fucking beautiful.