Tim Hecker Norberg, Sweden

Australia’s ROOM 40 imprint is responsible for some of the most essential ambient releases to come out this year. The label has affinities to the world of music cultivated by 12K and the now-defunct Ritornell roster, staking their territory around the digital experimentation that shapes laptop music’s outer reaches. Last month’s Airport Symphony two-disc set (featuring Fennesz, Stephan Mathieu and Christophe Charles, among 15 others) delivered Montrealer Tim Hecker’s first music for ROOM 40, and this month’s Norberg, Sweden brings him back to the spotlight with a 21-minute single-track live recording from the Norberg Festival. Norberg finds Hecker starting off in his most emotive state of mind since Radio Amor before steadily building his processed guitar feedback to the loose and abrasive levels found on Mirages. Whereas last year’s excellent Harmony in Ultraviolet insisted on revealing its rewards slowly, upon repeated and active listens this new music delivers generously off the bat, focusing on the dissonant contradictions of symphonic warmth and white noise evocation that have become the producer’s highly recognisable trump card. This is well worth chasing down on import. (Room 40)