RSS feed RSS Twitter Twitter Facebook Facebook 15 Questions 15 Questions

CD Feature/ Aidan Baker: "Thoughtspan"

img  Tobias

To Aidan Baker, seizing the moment is not only an intuitive principle of composing, it is also a method of conceptualising his releases: On his homepage, Baker describes each of his albums with a single, poignant phrase, outlining mood and approach in nothing but a few concise words. Even though certain terms keep popping up more often than others (“drones”, “ambient” and “post-rock” constituting a top-3), their constant shuffling and juxtaposition demonstrates his eagerness to avoid repetition and to begin each new record with a clean slate.

Of course, “Thoughtspan” does have its cross-references. In a way, these three extended pieces, driven by a full studio-band of percussion, guitar, bass, violin, trumpet and including Baker’s vocals on the closing title track, are a logical continuation of “The Sea Swells a Bit”'s haziness.

The purposely irregular computer beats may have been replaced by the dreamily protracted grooves of Jonathan Demer’s drums and the mellow drift of its predecessor deepened into oblique soundscapes between organic experimentation and the smell of illegal herbs and weeds – but both works combine loosely focussed and completely opaque material into contemporary third-eye-music.

The difference in perspective results from “Thoughtspan”’s ambition to allow for opposites to linger, instead of gradually resolving them. When Baker brings the hypnotic drive of “Speed of Thought” to a halt at around the ten-minute mark and funnels it into an oneiric tunnel vision, this is not a transmission, but a genuinely autarkic movement within one and the same piece. Similarly, the undefined, almost Free-Jazz like opening to “Thought Climate” is more than just an introduction – it is the composition itself, waiting to be slowly concretised and defined.

Hardly anything on this album can be decoded with just one half of the brain. It is interesting in this respect that Baker describes “Thoughtspan” as “experimenting with the conventions of space-rock or kraut-rock”, rather than claiming that it actually sounds like these two genres. It is the general attitude of locking away all watches, of ignoring stylistic conventions and of aiming for something extraordinary with very ordinary tools which places it in this corner. Baker has again recorded the most spontaneous impulse imaginable – while making it sound like a meticulously planned effort.

By Tobias Fischer

Homepage: Aidan Baker
Homepage: Tosom Records

Related articles

CD Feature/ Aidan Baker & Tim Hecker: "Fantasma Parastasie"
A spacey feel-good factor: Baker ...
CD Feature/ Aidan Baker & Jakob Thiesen: "A Bout de Souffle"
Tiring, grandiose and captivating: Improvisational ...
CD Feature/ Kevin Ayers: "The Unfairground"
Zen master to a new ...
CD Feature/ David Watson: "Fingering an Idea"
A bagpipe-disc and a guitar-disc: ...
Vital Weekly 622
Frans de Waard presents the ...
Nadja: Desire in Uneasiness on Crucial Blast
Amidst a concerted effort of ...
CD Feature/ Aidan Baker: "Scalpel"
Layers of acoustic guitars shifting ...
CD Feature/ Freiband: "298"
A sudden motivation to pay ...
Nadja: Skin turns to Glass on completely re-recorded album
Canadian two-piece Najda are about ...
CD Feature/ Nadja: "Corrasion"
Reaching for the stars with ...
Frans de Waard: Saxophone Sound Session
Critic and Sound Artist Frans ...
15 Questions to Seconds in Formaldehyde
At the beginning of 2007, ...
CD Feature/ Seconds in Formaldehyde: "Suddenly Silence burst my Ear"
Between tranquility and aggression: Within ...

Partner sites