Three By Aidan Baker




All the sounds in the “spontaneously composed” Dance Of Lonely Molecules were generated by Aidan Baker’s electric guitar, of which the Canadian is nowadays one of the most imitated manipulators. The CD is mastered in such a way that a three-part continuous suite is (criminally) abruptly interrupted at the birth of each track, breaking the music’s flow. Horreurs! “Sarabande” is conceived like an arc: it begins with subsonic drones, evolves into psychedelic industrial mayhem replete with distorted dissonance and ends with ionospheric superimpositions of suspended harmonies and loops that lull us back into the land of Catatonia. “Trotto” is a slow seesaw between two neighbouring chords, dark oneirism of the finest blend enhanced by extracurricular scrapes, twinkling and plucking adding a touch of implosive movement to an otherwise overwhelming rumble. “Saltarello” starts with beguiling siren chants where different strata morph into each other, creating a perturbed function in which circular movement and expansion of consciousness coincide, at least until the definitive return to a basic pattern that mixes deep breathing, jet explosion and metallic resonance. Chaos finally prevails.

Broken & Remade is an atypical release for Baker, digitally constructed with 4-to-8-second samples of analogue instruments (including guitar, bass, flute, voice, drums, trumpet and violin) played by Baker, Richard and Lucas Baker and Sarah Gleadow. All the tracks take their name from anagrams of the CD’s title: “Ab Mad Kern One Te” sounds like Dif Juz cut into subtle shreds that get entwined in garlands of Pink Floydian reflections, drums and bass appearing in short outbursts of reverse-tape serendipity amidst peculiar scalar accelerandos that leave you puzzled (to say the least). “Anna Broke De Dr Me” is a postmodern Pygmy song mixing Jon Hassell and the drunken local band in your favourite exotic holiday. Both “Bard Dna Reek Omen” and “Radar Been Mend Ok” mix rock and trance elements in about 12 minutes each, but the result isn’t up to Baker’s usual standard. The repetition undoubtedly overstays its welcome. It’s nice to hear the guitarist attempting something new, but I’d be lying if I told you that Broken & Remade ranks among his best releases. An EP would probably have been enough.

Comprising three “songs” performed by Baker with contributions from Sarah Gleadow, Lucas Baker and Jonathan Demers, Thoughtspan is a different proposition altogether. “Speed Of Thought”, despite its title, is a scarcely dynamic yet texturally rich piece that moves along the most contorted meanders of the psyche through disarticulated chords, detuned enchantments and obliquely zinging strings. “Thought Climate” presents even more impenetrable abstractions, beginning with high shrills, percussive titillations and swaying lines that, in their simplicity, give us several uneasy moments. This track’s lo-fi vibe recalls Baker’s self-produced first album Element, with heavier rhythmic presence and an overall sense of haziness throughout. Baker’s whispery voice sings the title track, immediately paralleled by rolling drums and immaterial “Aidantronics” pulse. Remarkably, it’s the drumming that assumes command, establishing a continuous flux of beat’n’hit ritualism that waters its most arcane seeds into a fully-flourished plant whose different colours constitute a potentially intriguing facet of Baker’s future experiments. The final minutes bring us back to the Kingdom of Loopscape, the kind of standstill the man from Toronto specializes in.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s