Reviews of The Union:
“… There is something wondrous about this implacable and partly untraceable album…” — Ash Akhtar, The Quietus. Read full review.
“Echoes of Connors also show up at the beginning of The Union, the first album by Tom Lecky, who records under the name Hallock Hill. The opener, “I began to lose myself within a wonder”, has the halting, spare feel of Connors’s Airs period. But as the album progresses, Lecky’s playing becomes busier and prettier. He creates a bucolic tone that could easily become saccharine new age (a style Fahey has been accused of spawning). But his music has an unpredictable edge that avoids over-sentimentality. In that way, he reminds me of someone we interviewed recently, Michael Jantz (aka Black Eagle Child), who plainly declared he’s not afraid of nostalgia. Neither is Lecky, and The Union shows that wistful emotions and fond memories can be as deep and complex as darker themes. It’s my favorite solo acoustic album of the year so far, and if it indicates a new direction for this kind of music. I think Fahey would approve.” –Marc Masters, “Beyond Fahey,” The Out-Door, Pitchfork.
“… The Union becomes, eventually, like an improvised extra-linguistic tone poem, the product of both an intense period of remembrance and a sustained, forgetful self-listening. It deserves your attention.” — Matt Poacher, The Liminal. Read full review.
CD of the Week: “… Tom Lecky’s album is one that is clearly inspired by his own movements. Hallock Hill refers to the rural backdrop of his upbringing in New York State, and it’s also interesting to learn of Lecky’s own movements from countryside to city. ‘The Union,’ an album filled with imagery and emotion, loneliness and reminiscence is Lecky’s personal world on record and one that we’re lucky to have shared with us…” — Josh Atkin, Fluid Radio. Read full review
“One of my personal albums of the week/month and probably year.” — Jeremy Bible, Experimedia. Read/order.
“A centrepiece of five consecutive three-to-four minute acoustic pieces is smartly offset by an extended excursion in beautiful, darksky ambient crackling with forked bolts of electricity. And the closing “On Sundays When I Wake Up” will make your heart ache for whatever it truly aches.” — Stephen Fruitman, Sonomu. Read full review.
Reviews of There He Unforeseen:
“It’s difficult to talk in terms of influences, as the material is so acutely personal and idiosyncratic. There are hints of Loren Connor’s airs rising damply out of the murk, and moments that are redolent of Scott Tuma’s meta-commentaries on the American (and, more specifically, the Appalachian) tradition, particularly on “Needing Bones.” At other times, in static crackles and strange high ringing tones, I’m reminded of some of Alan Lamb’s recordings of telegraph wires in Western Australia. Yet those only function as pointers, ways in to what is a strange and fecund palette of sound.” — Matt Poacher, The Wire, December 2011.
“Hallock Hill’s second album of 2011, There He Unforeseen, diverges from the rolling, arpeggiated guitars that littered his brilliant experimental debut The Union earlier this year. Though Hallock Hill’s creator, Tom Lecky, now incorporates a wider variety of sounds into his material (including a piano and a banjo), there is somehow now more space to be found amongst the six tracks that comprise this foreboding follow-up. Where The Union was a peaceful series of flowing, deconstructed meditations, There He Unforeseen feels like its angst-ridden twin – the shadow of its brother.” — Ash Akhtar, The Quietus. Read the interview.
“unpacking 100-year old handtools, bird’s nests, alfalfa hay, heirloom jewelry, and a 300 page manual on joinery techniques from inside the soundhole of a single acoustic guitar” — WFMU’s Dan Bodah, Best of 2011.
“If you’re a tone fanatic who sees this sort of minimal, uneasy listening as a treat then there’s plenty to digest on here…” – Norman Records. Read/order.
Reviews of The Union | A Hem of Evening 2xLP:
“Bringing together Tom Lecky’s 2011 debut The Union and a new recording, A Hem of Evening, this double vinyl release showcases the upstate New Yorker’s profound acoustic intelligence, layering deeply compelling improvisations of old-sun brightness and cold-star frost into latticed patterns of immeasurable power.” — Andrew Male, MOJO, February 2013.
“In a world overpopulated with acoustic guitar players, Lecky’s increasingly refined and focused experiments with such shifting, half-repeating, subtly accreting textures makes his music stand out as having courage and vision where far too many only have technique and tradition.” — Nick Southgate, The Wire, November 2012.
“This is an important distinction between Lecky and many other contemporary musicians: like James Blackshaw, Lecky approaches the acoustic guitar in unconventional and new ways, treating it as a kind of orchestral instrument, psychedelic in the sense that through its use a composer is able to call up profound mental impressions, of a deep opacity, in the listener’s consciousness… I would truly recommend these albums to any intelligent and honest person looking to challenge their concept of what new music can do.”— Jordan Anderson, Foxy Digitalis
“In bringing these two separately released recordings together as single package, we are presented with two takes on the same theme, a complimentary parallax, if you like. The music on both discs is composed of a sensuality which is, paradoxically, immediate and deferred. Lured by the warm tonality, Hallock Hill’s music is all too easy to fall into but, once immersed, you discover that it is never straightforward, never predictable. In The Union you will find frictions and sharp edges among the gentle turns. A Hem of Evening is a gentler, more overtly seductive affair but carries with it a sense of longing too which adds dimension and punch. The upshot, taken together, is a record which will continue to tug at you, which insists on your attention, your engagement. It is a record to which you might want to make something of a commitment. It is confounding, thought provoking and will enrich your life. It is a record you might find yourself loving, if never quite fully grasping.” – Calum Neil, The Liminal
“And though, as stated, the collection does offer a feast for six-string devotees, it’s important to emphasize that Lecky’s no self-indulgent soloist, but rather someone who uses his instrument to realize and give voice to a state of being. In one sense, there’s zero soloing on offer; on the other hand, the argument could be made that there’s never anythingbut soloing in play, given that every moment of the recording documents Lecky’s spontaneous expression. In that regard, his approach to music-making recalls Ornette Coleman’s harmolodic concept as applied to group interaction, the critical difference being that Leckey accomplishes the feat by himself using multi-tracking—a remarkable feat indeed.” - Textura, September 2012.