AIDAN BAKER – Exoskeleton Heart

(Crucial Bliss)

The label’s name could be an indicator of the effect produced by Exoskeleton Heart if one’s in the right frame of mind. The record is divided in two long segments – “Interior” and “Anterior” – for a total of an abundant hour of music. The first half demonstrates how the Toronto lone looper is able to generate hypnosis through distortion, exploiting the billowing qualities of saturated guitars craftily layered to bring out unstable harmonics and interconnected resonances. Those sonorities are easily linkable to Baker’s harshest production (read: Nadja) and/or those “alternative” drone-rock outfits – no names necessary – hailed by more or less everybody except me and the wind (*); in case you ask, the man is a master in that field, too. This observer does have a preference for the second segment, fabulously efficient in whatever setting you decide to enjoy it. However, by leaving the sound free to spread in a room, a sense of harmonic suspension – enhanced by lullaby-like oscillations and pseudo-mermaid chants – will literally throw the human receiver into oblivion. If one analyzes the contents carefully, lots of sinister quasi-radiophonic dissonances and oblique crossfades are detectable underneath as well. I even managed to get asleep while listening to this magnificent tapestry, despite its disquieting character; certain frequencies work way better than a prayer. One of the best releases by Baker. (* Thanks, Andy Partridge)


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