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Aidan Baker and Tomas Järmyr – Werl

Consouling Sounds

Aidan Baker and Tomas Järmyr - WerlWerl documents a supercharged powerhouse in action, one that came from the meeting of the guitars and FX of Aidan Baker (of Nadja and also Hypnodrone Ensemble, Caudal, etc) with the heavyweight percussion of Tomas Järmyr (from Zu, Barchan and Yodok in various forms). The album stretches to over an hour and half of music across eight tracks on two CDs, allowing the duo plenty of space in which to improvise among and around the frontiers of the known instrumental universe.

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Aidan Baker and Claire Brentnall – Delirious Things

Gizeh (CD) / Pleasance (Vinyl)

Aidan Baker and Claire Brentnall - Delirious ThingsThe title track pins you early on in fuzzy cushions and muted percussion, this elastic line of rhythm stitching the goods as vaporous panthers prowl the collaterals. Claire Brentnall‘s vocals make a brilliant foil to Aidan Baker‘s shoegazery sensibilities and pedal prowess.

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Aidan Baker & Idklang – In The Red Room

Karl

Aidan Baker & Idklang - In The Red RoomGently grooving guitars weave in and out of focus, playful in their interaction and sporadic dialogues with each other. At times they align, generating a collective groove that rolls along with the free spirit of Krautrock. In other moments they separate, creating backdrops for each other casting light and shadows, or providing minute detailed explorations of sonic material, until once again, they reunite and take on a common direction.

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Aidan Baker – The Sea Swells A Bit/Triptychs

Ici d’ailleurs/Mind Travels Important

Aidan Baker - The Sea Swells A BitAidan Baker has made an art of being really, really boring. Having released several thousand albums to date – with almost all of them revolving around a guitar and a couple of pedals – you’d be forgiven for thinking that ‘boring’ was in some way a pointed derision aimed squarely at the man’s omnipotence, his unwavering dedication to a singular minimalist aesthetic, but Baker is far too skilled for that sort of charge — his boredom is acute, exhausting, emotive.

The Sea Swells a Bit serves as a wonderful elucidation as to what is on offer here, which is to say, almost nothing, but a strangely captivating nothing that extends far beyond the sum

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Aidan Baker / thisquietarmy – Hypnodrone Ensemble

Consouling Sounds

Aidan Baker & thisquietarmy - Hypnodrone EnsembleRecorded live in Berlin in May 2014, with no less than three drummers joining Aidan Baker and Eric Quach (AKA thisquietarmy) as they sweep their guitar drones into places further out than many guitarists are prepared to go, Hypnodrone Ensemble comes across as a band name as much as it is a performance or an album title. With Felipe Salazar (also in Caudal with Baker, and of Muerte en Pereira), Jérémie Mortier from Alice in the Cities and Lady Shot from a Tree, and Dave Dunnett of Man Meets Bear giving their collective drumskins a good pounding, it’s no surprise at all that what starts as a rush of cymbals and FX swarms soon lifts off with its multi-ventricled heart set on reaching for the constellations

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Aidan Baker – Aneira

Glacial Movements

Aidan Baker - AneiraAneira appears as one long track, and this time round it’s simply Aidan Baker on his own with a twelve-string acoustic guitar. This is a piece which is far more isolationist than that simple statement might at first appear, as Baker uses the instrument as a sonic generator to produce a whole host of glacial textures and tones. While the sound of steel strings is still evident in the rustling, shimmering noises, their twanging rustle sometimes brings to mind the wind rattling the ice-clad rigging of a wooden sailing ship stuck fast in ice, as do the ominous groans and drones which shudder and heave at the low end.

As listens go, this one is often quite oppressive, and there’s no denying that Baker has captured an impressionistic portrait of forces of nature in slow, glacial motion.

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Aidan Baker – Already Drowning/Aidan Baker with Plurals – Glass Crocodile Medicine (Latitudes)

Gizeh/Southern

Aidan Baker - Already DrowningAidan Baker‘s Already Drowning marks something of a departure for his solo releases, as each piece finds him collaborating with (in this case, women) singers with lyrical inspiration coming from the likes of Angela Carter, Philip K Dick and various folk sources. recorded over the space of two years, it’s also one of Baker’s most assured works in an already impressive catalogue both as a solo artist and in his many and various bands, not least of which is the ineffable Nadja.

The title song is a slow drum-led number, the kit swinging in a slow rhythm as Clara Engel croons softly. Her voice is as sad as the melancholy bassline, but there is a hint of optimism still in the rising swell

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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

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Aidan Baker – Lost in the Rat Maze

ConSouling Sounds

Rippling with softly-struck piano strings echoing through a slow accretion of sonorous drone fragments, the opening minutes of Lost in the Rat Maze finds Aidan Baker stepping briefly into the brightly-lit fresh air from the more weather-beaten fuzz and feedback soundscapes of Nadja and some of his other solo releases. Which is not to say that he has abandoned all things gritty and texturally-touched by the warmth of hiss or the overtones of melodies which weave around each other in hypnotic rapture. No, rather that the structures Baker builds from loops, keyboard and guitar speak of an almost optimistic mood here (at least as first), as sections of sound shift across each other in undulating accretions and dissipations, gliding from background to foreground as each segment segues into the next.

Muttered words and vocalisations appear and recede into the denser

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