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Aidan Baker – Noise of Silence

Essence Music

A welcome re-release in lavish packaging for Aidan Baker‘s 2007 CDR-only effort, complete with remastering at the hands of the deservedly legendary James Plotkin. Noise of Silence finds Baker in muttering loopy mode once again, with ominous, faintly mechanical sounds trilling, sussurating and billowing around what could be misinterpreted as the rambling voices heard trickling through central heating systems and fluttering down the chimney stack during a windswept 3am morning reverie. As the words gather in volume if not clarity, so the nearly tangible taste of bitter metal synesthestizes from the electronics, like blood in the mouth as the teeth clench with a growing sense of terrible unease.

But this is no mere gothic horror show, nor is it even particularly darkly ambient – the music has too much presence, and imposes itself on the listener in a way that negates much hope of ignoring its horripilating encroachments on the attention. As is often the case with Baker’s offerings, Noise of Silence shares some of its atmospherics with the sensibilities of Nadja and the noirish strands of truly difficult-listening metal; though sans riff, sans rock and without very much roll. Instead, there is a constant swell of uneasy motion, of the coursing churn of the arteries and veins in cyclical flow, of the pounding of a hyperrhythmic heart as the adrenaline set pumping by uncertainty and dread kicks in.

So the relentless wash of echo FX gathers momentum, and the inevitable elongated doom which comes to such esoteric peregrinations comes in a welter of poly-arhythmia begetting emergent rhythm by default. All by the power of the loop, all in homage to the recursive grip which feedback (in its widest sense) exerts in stochastic Lovecraftian majesty as self-replicating choir of deracinated glossolalia rebounds upon itself. But as the words become clear – in a turnabout for this sort of piece, they come into full view at the end of the looping chaos , rather than descending into it – it might have been preferable if they had remained inchoate, unheimlich, as they offer no comfort whatsoever when revealed in their sinisterly desolate comprehensibility.

Play this recording on the biggest set of speakers, the best headphones, on a deserted, ruined factory floor, out the windows  in a smog, or curled up under the covers as the north wind howls; and breathe a sigh of relief when the slowly rising – and very welcome – dawn unveils… silence.

-Linus Tossio-

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