MEET THE BEATLESS MASTER, TIM HECKER
Montreal-based musician Tim Hecker has gradually bloomed into one of the world's foremost ambient-music auteurs. His last two albums—2011's Ravedeath, 1972 and this year's Virgins—especially have elevated his profile to lofty heights for someone whose music is mostly beatless. The tracks on the former record move with the magisterial grace of a holy-minimalist composer's work, conjuring a somber nobility and morose beauty. But Virgins is the one, the full-length that's earned the most accolades, and justifiably so. It sounds more modern and digital than Ravedeath, but also possesses a greater dynamic range and a more interesting tonal palette. Virgins crystallizes and boldfaces all of his best traits, and in tracks like "Virginal II," he reveals a rarely heard chaotic, maximalist side. It's his most exciting collection yet, and it bodes well for this performance with fellow Canuck ambient artist Christopher Bissonnette, which will be heard in immersound, a 6.1 channel installation conceived by France Jobin. Chapel Performance Space, 7:30 pm, $15, all ages.
HUSH HUSH HAILS NEW RELEASES BY SLOW YEAR, CHANTS
Alex Ruder's Hush Hush Records has been accelerating its activity this year, and tonight the local label showcases four artists working wonders in the atmospheric beatmaking department. Seattle's Slow Year (Edward Haller and Brian Binning) have a new, seven-track self-titled release that sensitively pushes those night-bus buttons. They make gracefully dawdling electronic music that's halo'd with tender, melancholic synth auroras and marbled with erratic, Burial-esque percussion. Also with a new release on HH is Chants (Madison, Wisconsin, producer Jordan Cohen). His I Feel Like I Feel It album delves into intimate, soulful bass music à la James Blake, but laced with field recordings and smartly selected sampled vocals of many timbres. With Cock & Swan, DJAO, and Little Weather. Electric Tea Garden, 9 pm, $5, 21+.
ELECTRONIC-MUSIC PIONEER MORTON SUBOTNICK AND LILLEVAN
Morton Subotnick's extraterrestrial Buchla synthesizer realizations from the '60s and '70s laid the foundation for much challenging electronic music in subsequent decades. In works like Silver Apples of the Moon (the Thriller of avant-garde synth music in terms of sales), The Wild Bull, Touch, Sidewinder, and Until Spring, Subotnick created a vast, cryptic vocabulary of otherworldly timbres and bold, feinting dynamics. For example, there's a discombobulating passage on side 2 of Silver Apples that sounds like experimental techno—25 years before the fact. Subotnick especially had an impact on IDM musicians' propensity to scramble listeners' sense of time and space. This event—which will span 50 years of Subotnick's career—will be accompanied by the high-definition, microcosmic graphics of German visual artist Lillevan (of Rechenzentrum). It's probably going to be the musical event of the year for many high-IQ'd people. Town Hall, 7:30 pm, $17 adv/$20 DOS, all ages.