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BAKER, AIDAN - Liminoid / Lifeforms

Format: CD
Label & Cat.Number: Alien8 Recordings ALIENCD87
Release Year: 2010
Note: composition for large ensemble (strings, guitars, amplified metal works), performed with 8 guest musicians !
Price (incl. 19% VAT): €13.00

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"While Alien8 Recordings has had the pleasure of releasing three full-length albums by Aidan Baker's ambient doom project Nadja, as well as his collaborative effort Fantasma Parastasie with Tim Hecker, this marks our first solo release with the artist. Although we consider Liminoid/Lifeforms to be a solo effort, there are in fact no less than eight guest musicians helping out on the recording. These include Canadian noise legend Knurl (a.k.a. Alan Bloor) who has been released three times on Alien8 Recordings prior to this recording, as well as members of Arc, Picastro, Forest City Lovers and Whisper Room. Liminoid is a composition for large ensemble exploring sonic immersion in drones and textures, rhythms and pulsations. Incorporating composed and improvised segments, the piece uses elongation of sound and layered polyph- ony in an attempt to create a liminal and/or numinous state. This recording of Liminoid is from its premier at The Music Gallery's X-Avant Festival in Toronto, October 25, 2008. The piece features a powerful vocal performance with every member sharing the vocal duties. The lyrics have been adapted from 5th-8th century Coptic Christian texts and inspired by the book Ancient Christian Magic by Marvin W. Meyer & Richard Smith. The ensemble members for this performance were: Aidan Baker (guitar/ voice), Clara Engel (guitar/voice), Nick Storring (cello/voice), Jakob Thiesen (drums/voice), Richard Baker (drums/voice), Tillman Lewis (cello/voice), Laura Bates (violin/voice) and Jonathan Demers (guitar/voice). Lifeforms is a composition for strings, prepared/effected guitar, and amplified metal works. Likewise incorporating written and improvised material, the piece was originally commissioned and performed by The Penderecki Quartet in 2003. This recording was made in August 2008 at Commonwealth Studios in Toronto. The performers were: Aidan Baker (guitar), Nick Storring (cello), Mika Posen (violin) and Alan Bloor (metal works). This recording has been both skillfully mixed from multiple recordings and mastered by James Plotkin." [label info]


"The latest from the always impressive, and always prolific Aidan Baker, who creates thick wall of sound doomgaze in the duo Nadja, and much more personal, hushed drone music under his own name, but more and more has been expanding his scope with various collaborations and large ensembles. This might be the biggest ensemble he's worked with, 8 players, all contributing vocals, three guitars, two drummers, violin and two cellos. And it does sound like what you might imagine, a sort of Aidan Baker drone record / chamber music
hybrid, long languid tones, plenty of cymbal shimmer, the strings moan and sing, the sounds ebb and flow, swelling ominously, building to
swirling crescendos, before slipping back into something more minimal and contemplative, "Liminoid" is split into 4 movements, and is about as close to classical music as Baker has come, at least in the first part, the second part shifts gears dramatically, transforming into something more jazzy and propulsive, a sort of krautrock thing, but with a jazzy slow shifting Necks vibe, eventually building to a dense tribal workout, before slipping into part 3, all shimmery blissy drift, soft focus and sun dappled, the drums an understated slowcore
shuffle, leading up to the 15 minute final movement, where the vocalists team up for a haunting bit of choral drama, which explodes
into full on free jazz freakout wall of sound, finishing off with a long form spaced out drone jam, that definitely reminds us of a super
stripped down White Hills, psychedelic and washed out and very hypnotic.
The second piece, the nearly 30 minute "Lifeforms" is a smaller ensemble, Baker on guitar, with violin, cello and 'amplified metal works', the metal works had us expecting something clangy and bombastic, but instead, it's almost all warm whirling ambient shimmer,
much more in keeping with Baker's solo sounds, near the end, the sounds shift, and the strings move to the fore, weaving dramatic melodies over the slow burning drone underneath, the result very cinematic. Quite nice." [Aquarius Rec.]

"One of my favorite noise albums, "Frequency LSD" by Japanoise artist Masonna was released on Alien8 Recordings in the mid-90's. With this in mind, and in combination with the release of present two albums, there shouldn't be any questions about the the great span of styles released by Alien8 Recordings - Canada's probably most interesting label of the underground. Aidan Baker is a Canadian multi-instrumentalist and sound artist that creates music in the field from post-rock across drone ambient to modern classical. His latest release "Limonoid / Lifeforms" roughly comes across all aforementioned styles. On the album Aidan Baker has allied with concrete noise artist Alan Bloor alias Knurl / Pholde, Richard Baker on drums plus a number of other acoustic members on instruments such as cello, violin and guitars. As the title suggest the album is divided into two main sections: A section called "Limonoid" consisting of four intersections and the long and final piece titled "Lifeforms".
"Limonoid" is as mentioned earlier an interesting crossover between neo-classical chamber music, noise-rock, post-rock with associations of earlier Krautrock (first of all Amon Dььl I + II) and neo-folk with elements of middle-age expressions. Quite interesting and very trippy psychedelia with vocals from Clara Engel is what the first four chapters of the albums presents. But in my opinion, the true gift is the second main section of the album titled "Lifeforms". "Lifeforms" is a lengthy piece clocking approximately 30 minutes. Where the aforementioned section was a crossover of a number of styles "Lifeforms" mainly focus on ambient-expressions but with clear interventions of classical instruments such as violin and cello meanwhile aforementioned noise artist Alan Bloor controls his usual ultra-aggressive sound equipments being amplified steel and metal as sound sources into more subtle and very attractive noise drones. The piece is quite repetitive with a long hissing drone of amplified strings but with organic interventions of concrete sounds of aforementioned instruments. Halfway though the track, hissing drone fades away giving way to more plain acoustic ambience until another drone appears. The atmosphere is hypnotic and very intense through out the running time of the piece. Very interesting album showing the wide span of Aidan Baker." [NM / Vital Weekly]