Sunday, July 15, 2007

Aidan Baker-Pretending To Be Fearless,2002,CDR,Canada

Aidan Baker is a musician and writer currently based in Toronto, Canada. Classically trained in flute, he is self-taught on guitar, drums and various other instruments. A regular performer in and around Toronto, he has also performed in New York, Montreal, Chicago, San Francisco and such festivals as The Om Festival, Saturation Bombing and The Distillery Jazz Festival. He has released numerous cds on independent labels from around the world and is the author of two books of poetry, two poetry chapbooks and has published poetry, fiction and criticism in various international and scholarly journals.As a solo artist, Baker explores the deconstructive sonic possibilitiesof the electric guitar as a primary sound source, creating music that ranges from experimental to post-rock to contemporary classical. He performsthe experimental collective ARC & the ambient/doom metal project Nadja.He has also composed work for the The Penderecki String Quartet& The Uxbridge Chamber Choir.

New album for the canadian artist Aidan Baker, who seems to be multiplying the CDR appearances quite fast at the moment. Using mostly accoustic instruments (or so it seems), Aidan Baker writes long tracks whose hearts are guitars and string lines, while the drumming and (slight) electronic elements get on the foreground only for a few moments (the beginning of the title track for example). Introvert and depressive, this album is a nice piece of relatively classic composition, stretched with a light post-rock approach (as can be heard on "The dog sleeps oblivious in the den"). Using accurately a combination of low rumbling drones in the background, a traditionnal smooth and light drumming, and long, repeated guitar lines, Aidan Baker immerses the listener into an ample, though claustrophobic mood, which unfolds as soon as the melodies dominate each piece. In the background, the droney elements, without being particularely original, work well and add to the weight and the mesmerizing aspect of the album. Playing a lot with loops, both with the beats and the riffs, "Pretending to be fearless" works as an hypnosis experiment, numbing little by little with many repetition and tiny changes. Therefore, the tracks are quite long to develop, integrating the various layers little by little. Although I do not know how exactly Aidan Baker writes his music, the five tracks on this album seem to be the product of long improvisation with the guitar, edited, selected and mixed with an textured background in order to fill up the silence between the melodies. And though this might sound plain, the result is pretty tasty and well done. My preference would go to the most post-rockish of the tracks ("The dog sleeps oblivious in the den", "A small neat wound"), who creat the strongest and most touching ambiences, though, unlike most post-rock, they are not constant building ups, and do not reach any climax, choosing never to unsettle the fragile mix of drums, loops and strings. By reading this, a comparison might arise between Aidan Baker and Maghweels, another act somewhere at the border between noise / ambient and guitar works. But although he might use the same instruments, Aidan Baker's music sounds much more accessible than his american counterparts. Where he uses loops and very slow evolution, Magwheels creates mixture of sharper noise and more epic melodies. Aidan Baker choses instead to walk a warmer and more accessible way. Still, it might take some time for the usual noise fan to get used to the current collision of guitar and noise elements, but I definitely hope that the word is spread, since musicians such as Aidan Baker are definitely up to something beautiful.
Nicolas Chevreux - Recycle Your Ears
Aidan Baker, from Toronto, Canada, combines warm drones with minimal post rock structures. The drone parts are really pulsing, deep and minimal and are very well done. They remind one of the works of Amon/Never Known or perhaps Moljebka Pulse. The post rock parts are a bit too subtle for my tastes as nothing seems to happen really, the atmosphere in them is really nice however, and remind me of Stars of the Lid or Ultrasound. Overall a recommended release for people who like both genres.

Excellent droning minimal post rock weirdness here!More to come.

***************NEW LINK POSTED SEPTEMBER 2012***************

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"Excellent droning minimal post rock weirdness?"

Does this perhaps mean you're going to be serving up some rare Matthew Bower, Ashtray Navigations, Birchville Cat Motel, Vibracathedral Orchestra and such?

I hope this means what I hope this means.