Montreal producer Tim Hecker made his initial breakthrough as Jetone, but followed with ambient music attributed to his born name. This experimental ambient work, released by Alien8 sublabel Substractif beginning in late 2001 with Haunt Me Haunt Me, Do It Again, won much acclaim. It also familiarized listeners with the producer himself, and not just because it featured his real name rather than a moniker: Hecker's self-titled work was much more personal than his Jetone recordings, its ideological characteristics reflecting his interests and its experimental slant reflecting his ambitions. For his self-titled recordings, Hecker drew inspiration from pop culture and showcased his ideas within dense collages of found sounds and computer-generated noise. Critics loved the experimentation and also the ideological richness. It also didn't hurt, of course, that Hecker's more techno-oriented work as Jetone attracted a large following of curious listeners who otherwise probably wouldn't seek out such ambient music. The producer also extensively performed live, another means of connecting with his continually growing audience.
As a graduate student studying digital acoustics and software, Hecker spent years dabbling with electronic music before finally debuting as Jetone in 2000 with Autumnumonia for Pitchcadet. The release interested Force Inc., which released Hecker's next album as Jetone, Ultramarin, a year later. Following this popular release, he aligned himself with Alien8, an experimental label based in Montreal. He recorded Haunt Me Haunt Me, Do It Again for the label's ambient sublabel, Substractif, and watched it inspire critical praise upon its release in late 2001. The album proved so successful that Substractif released a follow-up EP, My Love Is Rotten to the Core, less than a year later in hopes of building upon the lingering critical buzz surrounding Haunt Me. Hecker then recorded Radio Amor for Mille Plateaux, Force Inc.'s experimental ambient sublabel, which released the album in April 2003.
Inspired by a 1996 journey to Central America, where he experienced a memorable boat ride off the coast of Honduras, Radio Amor consolidated the various aspects of Hecker's previous two efforts into his most accessible ambient work to date, and accordingly won him yet more acclaim. In 2004, Mirages came out, followed by his contribution to Staalplaat's Mort aux Vaches series, a 41-minute live radio set that was released in 2005. The next year, Harmony in Ultraviolet hit shelves. The 2008 release Fantasma Parastasie was a collaboration with Nadjas Aidan Baker, while 2011 saw the release of the solo album Ravedeath, 1972.
Later that year, Hecker released Dropped Pianos, a darker-hued companion piece to Ravedeath, and in 2012 collaborated with Oneohtrix Point Never's Daniel Lopatin on Instrumental Tourist, which featured jazz-inspired improvisations from both producers. The album was the first in a series of collaborations to appear on Software, the label Lopatin ran with another frequent collaborator, Joel Ford. In July 2013 Hecker announced the forthcoming release on Kranky of a new album, Virgins, a deliberate excursion into live, improvisatory performance recorded in Montreal, Reykjavik, and Seattle with an ensemble of musicians playing woodwinds, piano, and synths. The album was released in October of that year. ~ Jason Birchmeier, Rovi