Baker, Aidan – Figures

I knew Aidan Baker as the composer of high quality ambient structures, such as his split ‘Undercurrents’ with Matt Borghi. His twentieth solo release ‘Figures’ is no exception when speaking of quality, although it’s somewhat different than ‘ordinary’ ambient.

On this album Baker combines ambient/guitar drones and mixes it with the kind of pop/ slowcore we know from acts as Barzin, The Red House Painters and Below the Sea. Aspects of these band’s music, such as slow, monotonous vocals, droning slideguitars and occasional violin mourning, are integrated in Baker’s ‘Figures’. Don’t get me wrong: this is not an album of pop songs, the basis is there, but is heavily smeared into ambient textures.

As in ‘Undercurrents’ (although this album has less pop-influences) the result of the combination is beautiful. Although some tracks have- in my opinion- more potential than realised. The last track for example, starts out beautifully with guitar and slow, minimal percussion, but it goes on to long without any apotheosis.

In any case, there is no way you can escape from the sadness evoked by the dreamy, low-key soundscapes. Very enjoyable, especially when you are about to hang yourself from a tree under a bleak, autumn light.

artist: Baker, Aidan
label: Transient Frequency
details: 6 tracks, 49 min, 2005 [tf003]