Hecq – Bête Noire

I must admit that my tolerance level for the musical genre called “Dubstep” is extremely low. Usually, I’ll make it into the first “drop” and soon after that, the irritating array of broken beats and all in all broken-sounding… well, I hesitate to call it music actually, so lets say noise quickly drives me away. Yes, I’m getting old.

When universal sound-wizard Hecq released the album “Avenger” in 2011 I was of course curious, but unlike the heavenly “Nightfalls” and it’s (mixed) successor “Steeltongued” there’s not much ambient to be found on it. Instead, it’s dubstep. Oh my. I guess for the more all-around fans of Hecq that’s cool, but for me… well, it’s not.

But, as I said, while my tolerance level for dubstep is low, I do manage to listen to a little bit of it, and in this case, the opening track “Bête Noire” (French for “Black Beast”) is really pretty damn cool. It’s one of these tracks that is best enjoyed on a really good audio system and, surprise, at a relatively (cough-cough) high volume – and I’d say that it’ll put that audio system to the test.

The first 50 or so seconds the track gently fades in, introducing the main riff that will repeat throughout the song, first sounding like a muffled and filtered church organ, to then open up with crystal clear, glittering treble, adding a heavy foundation of droning bass and bassdrum that’ll make the walls tremble. This builds up towards “the drop” ~1:45 – which is, unarguably, a wicked bit of sound engineering and design. That such clear separation of bass, midtones and treble is possible at all is quite remarkable – one might say that Hecq really knows his shit.

Bete Noir Spectrogram
Bete Noir Spectrogram with the drop ~1:45 🙂

From there on, he plays with variations of the main riff, building it into a massive wall of sound that seems to tumble out of control before he brings it back together ~4:00, and wrapping it up by going back to the intro-sound only about 35 seconds later (this does sound a bit ambient-like, even).

The rest of the “Avengers” album has me skipping through the tracks, because that first track really stands out, and it’s all the dubstep that I can take in one go. Luckily, it’s possible to buy Bête Noire as a single track on iTunes – because I badly needed to have this track, but could easily do without the rest of the album… 😛


This is the first in – hopefully – a series of posts in the “Music” category and tagged “songs to play loud” – quite obviously, for these particular songs that just demand to be played really loud. We all know them, and I’ll write about some of mine here. 🙂

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