Aidan Baker’s experience as a musician encompasses solo work, collaborations, bands, remixes writing books of poetry, and with this release, composing pieces to be performed by orchestras. His career is defined by experimentation and a willingness to explore new and diverse avenues for his sounds and while he may be best known for his work with Nadja, he is also working/worked on projects with Thor Harris, thisquietarmy and Tim Hecker, to name but a few.
For this release, Baker composed two pieces of music with each performed by an orchestra – “An Instance of Rising” as performed by the Spółdzielnia Muzyczna Contemporary Ensemble of Poland and “Liminoid,” performed here by the Riga Sinfonietta of Latvia alongside a band made up of local musicians, The Burning Kulba, who were put together especially for this. While “Liminoid” has existed before this release, and was performed with Tim Hecker and Pram previously, here it sounds even more vital and resounding which is due to the rich instrumentation used by the Riga Sinfonietta and the addition of The Burning Kulba to bring the closing stages to a head.
Firstly, “An Instance of Rising” brings the ideas of post-rock to a classical environment with the Spółdzielnia Muzyczna Contemporary Ensemble adding multiple dimensions of tone to a piece that, while long in terms of running time, feels much less so for the warm woodwind sounds and gentle pacing. There’s space to reflect within and moments of peace are found during soft passages that envelop you in deep, vibrant textures.
“Liminoid” is the second composition and it is beautifully resonant in its melancholy beginnings; there is a sadness in the sounds that are created by the Riga Singonietta and as the strings build to a crescendo there is an sense that an overwhelming, encroaching wave is about to crash to the shore and bring down all that lies in its path. As the wave moves back out to the ocean the piece becomes somewhat more still yet the fear that something powerful is out there is felt in the skittering drums and dissonant strings that permeate the darkness.
The composition moves then into more peaceful territory as the emotions change from sadness to fear to echoing hope in the brighter notes that rise over the horizon. As the music shifts during these heightened states, “Liminoid” becomes a narrative of loss and the drive to find oneself again and this is brought to the fore when a stark, clear voice begins; laden with sorrow it resonates with pain and pleads for help in the darkness and the strings begin to spin even more off axis as the piece builds again into anxious waves of sound. It’s claustrophobic in its power and “Liminoid” starts its journey to the final moments, all curious time signatures, reverberation and dread.
For as prolific as Aidan Baker is (besides his most known musical endeavor Nadja, he is involved in a slew of other projects as well such as Arc and Infinite Light), his solo material seems criminally ...
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