Aidan Baker

Aidan Baker

One guitar, a thousand sides

interview by Matteo Meda
The most interesting thing about you is the variety of soundworlds you work with. Because of this, everything that comes from you is always a sort of surprise. Do you usually let your creativity surprise you?
More often than not, I have a fairly specific idea of what I want to do going into a new project... But often during the process of working on that project, I might surprise myself or realize something unexpected. As such, the process of the act, and what might happen in the course of those actions, is as important as the initial conceit.

In a more rational way, what's your approach to music composition?
That depends entirely on the project and the nature of my initial conceit. Some compositions are considerably more structured and rigid, others are entirely improvisational and freeform, some are a combination of that.

I think your background's also quite various, isn't it? Do you think this has a great importance on your approach?

My background is relatively various, yes, from formal classical studies to self-taught experimentation. I suppose it is important to the way I work, but since it is such an integral part, but sort of subliminal, in a way, I cannot say that I really think about it...

How was the idea of re-release "The Sea Swells A Bit" born? Why did you decide to release it again only on LP?
"The Sea Swells A Bit" has long been one a fan favourite and a lot of people asked if there would ever be a vinyl edition, particularly in recent years with the resurgence in vinyl production. But it was not until I connected with Ici d'ailleurs last year that I found someone who was interested and able to do a re-issue. A Silent Place, who originally released the album, did two pressings of the CD, so it did not seem necessary to do both a LP and CD re-issue.

In that album you probably got closer than ever to psych-electronics, and it came after two very different releases. Did you experience it as a sort of moving away from the stuff you were working on mainly?
Not really, no... I think it was just another style and sound that I wanted to explore. Even if it was, at the time, different than other releases, it was style part of that continuum of my 'soundworld,' as you call it.

What does that album represent for you?
To be honest again, I have always been a little surprised at the popularity of "The Sea Swells A Bit". Not that I dislike the album, but in some ways it seems... simplistic! Which simplicity might well be one reason why it's so popular, since it takes the conventions of post-rock and simplifies them into an ambient context and, in a way, makes what is essentially an experimental album more accessible...so, the album has a bit of a mixed representation in my own mind.

During the last year, you've developed much more your drone and noise sides (that becames more or less your "classic" ones), in albums like "Aneira". But you've created also something very new, in "Already Drowning" in particular. What about these works?
The more song-structured approach of "Already Drowning" is not really a new one for me - even if drone is more my 'classic' sound, I do have other song-oriented releases in my catalogue. But again "Already Drowning" takes an approach I have already explored minimalist post-rock or slowcore, if you will, but with the addition of guest vocalists and an overlying lyrical conceit I'm attempting to offer up something different and unique.

The only real common element of all your works is probably guitar... Do you see it as the main carachter of your soundscapes?
Yes, certainly. Though I have released records with little or no guitar on them..."Book of Nods" or "Still Life," for example, which are more piano- or keyboard-oriented.

Even if your soundscape is quite complex, you've ever been open to dialogues and collaborations with other musicians, sometimes very far from what you do... How do you feel about sharing your creativity with other artists?
Collaborating can be very satisfying - it is not always fruitful or easy, of course, but the best moments are when something unexpected albums and the process of collaborating takes both parties to new and different places.

Some of these collaborations evolved as complete projects. Nadja, for example, is today one of your creative sides, isn't it? How does this step usually happen?
Nadja is not really the best example of this, as I began the project by myself and asked my partner, Leah, to join in order to be able to perform Nadja material live. This certainly changed the nature of the project, but it didn't really start out as a collaborative partnership. B/B/S/, my trio with Andrea Belfi of Hobocombo and Erik Skodvin of Deaf Center, is more a group that started somewhat spontaneously, just from meeting up to play together and see what might happen...

How do you see Nadja and what creative forces do you manage to realize in that project?
I originally started Nadja as something of the flipside to the solo work under my own name - still drone-based and ambient, but heavier and denser, incorporating noise and industrial or metal elements. Nadja still represents this alternate side, but I feel freer to do different and weirder things under my own name - Nadja now has a fairly specific sonic identity and it is sometimes not so easy to take our music outside that...

A recent collaboration that really shocked me was the one with Uochi Toki - two italians guy that I actually don't like so much. How did it take shape? How did you manage to create an artistic dialogue with them?
We met Uochi Toki through OvO, whom we also collaborated with. And certainly Uochi Toki make very different music than us, but I think we found common ground in bass and noise. Our collaboration with them was actually quite effortless and instinctual, I think. Once we established a basic premise and structure, we just played and more or less spontaneously created the album.

You use to be incredibly prolific, releasing also something like 5-6 albums per year. How do you manage to complete so much stuff in such a little time?
I always have songs or sounds going through my head demanding to be played or recorded... A lot of what I do is improvisational, so it is easy (for lack of a better word) to produce a lot of material. Separating the good from the bad material is one of the biggest challenges, of course, and is often more time consuming than the recording process itself.

Last but not least: would you be able to choose an album from your huge discography and say "that's my favourite one?
Uh... not really. If I could name a few, I'd say "Already Drowning," "Green & Cold," "The Spectrum of Distraction," and (of course) "The Sea Swells A Bit" are among my favourites.
Discografia
 

AIDAN BAKER (discografia parziale)

  
 CD & LP
 I Fall Into You (CD-R, Public Eyesore, 2002 / LP, Basses Frequencies, 2008)
 Letters (CD-R, Arcolepsy, 2002 / LP, Basses Frequences, 2008)
 An Intricate Course Of Deception (ltd, .Angle Rec., 2004)
 At The Base Of The Mind Is Coiled A Serpent (La Cri De La Harpe, 2004)
 Butterfly Bones (Between Existence, 2004)
 Figures (CD-R, Transient Frequency, 2005 / Volubilis, 2007)
Song Flowers And Skin (CD-R, Zunior, 2005 / Beta-lactam Ring, 2010)
The Sea Swells A Bit... (A Silent Place, 2006 / LP, Ici d'Ailleurs, 2015)
 Oneiromancer (Die Stadt, 2006)
 Green & Cold (CD-R, Gears Of Sand, 2007 / ltd, Beta-lactam Ring, 2008)
 Noise Of Silence (CD-R, Hyperblasted, 2007 / Essence Music, 2011)
 Thoughtspan (CD-R, ltd, Tosom, 2007 / LP, Blackest Rainbow, 2009)
 Broken & Remade (ltd, Volubilis, 2007 / LP, Revolvermann, 2010)
 Scalpel (The Kora, 2007)
 I Will Always And Forever Hold You In My Heart And Mind (CD-R, ltd, Small Doses, 2007 / Basses Frequencies, 2010)
 Book Of Nods (ltd, Beta-lactam Ring, 2008)
Blue Figures (Basses Frequencies, 2009)
Gathering Blue (LP, ltd, Equation, 2009)
 Dry (ltd, Install, 2009)
 Liminoid / Lifeforms (live, Alien8, 2010)
Lost In The Rat Maze (ltd, ConSouling, 2011)
 Closure Axioms (ltd, The Miskatonic Soundlab, 2011)
 Plague Of Fantasies (LP, ltd, Blackest Rainbow, 2011)
 Still Life (Primary Numbers, 2011)
 Loop Studies (raccolta, ltd, Paradigsm, 2011)
 Pure Drone (Drone Compendium One) (live, LP, ltd, Beta-lactam Ring, 2011)
 Only Stories (LP, The Kora / Broken Spine, 2011)
 Rictus (raccolta, ltd, [OHM], 2011)
The Spectrum Of Distraction (Robotic Empire, 2012)
 Origins & Evolutions (compilation, Install, 2012)
 Isolated Landscapes: A Singles Collection (raccolta, Broken Spine, 2012)
 Aneira (Glacial Movements, 2013)
Already Drowning (Gizeh, 2013)
 Triptychs: Variations On A Melody (Important, 2014)
 The Confessional Tapes (Pleasance, 2015)
  
 CD-R & cassette
 Element (CD-R, Arcolepsy, 2000 / MP3, Broken Spine, 2011)
 Wound Culture (CD-R, Unbound Books, 2002)
 Pretending To Be Fearless (CD-R, Fleshmadeworld, 2002)
Concretion (CD-R, DTA, 2003)
At The Fountain Of Thirst (CD-R, Mystery Sea, 2003)
 Threnody One: Lamentation (CD-R, Null, 2003)
 Métamorphose (En Sept Étages) (CD-R, ltd, S'agita, 2003)
 Loops Studies One (CD-R, ltd, Laub, 2003)
 Black Flowers Blossom (CD-R, Sonic Syrup, 2003)
Dreammares (CD-R, ltd, Mechanoise Labs, 2003)
 Field Of Drones (CD-R, Arcolepsy, 2004)
 Antithesis (CD-R, ltd, petite sono], 2004)
 Ice Against My Skin (CD-R, Arrêt Arrêt, 2004)
 Candescence (CD-R, Verato Projekt, 2005 / MP3, Broken Spine, 2012)
 

Remixes (remix, CD-R, Arcolepsys, 2005 / MP3, Broken Spine, 2013)

 

Still My Beating Hearts Beats (CD-R, Pertin_nce, 2005)

 

Periodic (CD-R, Crucial Blast, 2005 / MP3, Broken Spine, 2012)

 

Traumerei (CD-R, Evelyn, 2005 / MP3, Broken Spine, 2012)

Dog Fox Gone To The Ground (CD-R, ltd, Afe, 2006 / MP3, Broken Spine, 2012)

 

Loop Studies Two (CD-R, Dissonance, 2006)

 

Convs. w/ Myself (CD-R, Evelyn, 2007 / MP3, Broken Spine, 2013)

 

Dances Of Lonely Molecules (CD-R, Blade, 2007 / MP3, Broken Spine, 2013)

 

Exoskeleton Heart (CD-R, ltd, Crucial Bliss, 2007)

 

Suchness #1 (CD-R, ltd, Gears Of Sand, 2008)

 

Infinite Loop #1 (cass, ltd, Inselkind-Schalltraeger, 2011)

  
  
 AIDAN BAKER & THISQUIETARMY
  
 Orange (EP, Thisquietarmy, 2006)
A Picture Of A Picture (Killer Pimp, 2009)
 Document: Eurotour 2011 - Live In Paris & Ljubjana (Thisquietarmy/Pirate Ship, 2012)
 Hypnodrome Ensemble (Consouling Sounds, 2014)
  
  
 AIDAN BAKER & LEAH BUCKAREFF (CD & LP)
  
Untitled (with DatashocK, LP, Meaudiademorte, 2007)
 Trinitarian (with Nadja, split-LP, Important, 2008)
 Trinity (with Nadja, split, ldt, Die Stadt, 2008)
 Breathing Heavy Breathing (split, 7", ltd, Thisquietarmy, 2012)
  
  
 AIDAN BAKER & RICHARD BAKER
  
 Variations On A Loop (Rhythms) (MP3, Broken Spine, 2012)
 Smudging (LP, Backwards, 2013)
  
  
 ALTRE COLLABORAZIONI (AIDAN BAKER)
  
 CD & LP
 At Home With... (with Ultra Milkmaids, ltd, Infraction, 2005)
 Undercurrents (with Matt Borghi, Zenapolæ, 2005)
Untitled (split-compilation with Z'EV, John Duncan & Fear Falls Burning, 2xCD, ltd, Die Stadt, 2005)
 Nagual (with Todd Nerrell & Patrick Jordan, ltd, aRCHIVE, 2007)
Fantasma Parastasie (with Tim Hecker, Alien8, 2008)
 Colorful Disturbances (with Noveller, LP, Divorce, 2009)
White Nights / Drone Fields / DOM (with Nadja, box set, ltd, Beta-lactam Ring, 2010)
 Green Figures (with Kevin Micka, ltd, Basses Frequencies, 2011)
Infinite Light Ltd. (with Matthew Sweet & Nathan Amundson as Infinite Light Ltd., Denovali, 2011)
Smokefall (with Josh Rothenberger as Scythling, Aurora Borealis, 2012)
Nihtes Niht (with Troum, ltd, Alone At Last, 2012 / MP3, Broken Spine, 2013)
 Glass Crocodile Medicine (with Plurals, Latitudes, 2013)
 Adoran (with Doran Williamson as Adoran, ltd, Consouling Sounds, 2013)
 Mépris (with Jakob Thiesen, Interior Massacre, 2013)
 At Komma (with Felipe Salazar, ldt, Tokyo Jupiter, 2014)
  
  
 CD-R, MP3, cassette (discografia parziale)
 Terza Rima (with Thomas Baker & Alan Boor, CD-R, Public Eyesore, 2003)
 Corpus Callosum (with Gydja, CD-R, Koloform, 2003)
 An Open Letter To Franz Kafka (with Beta Cloud, CD-R, Laughing Bride Media, 2007)
A Bout De Suffle (with Jakob Thiesen, CD-R, Waterscape, 2008)
 The Sun Is Bleeding & Has Black Hands (with ARC, 2xCD-R, Kokeshdisc, 2009)
 Live At Czech Centre (with Andagainandagain, live, MP3, Manyfeetunder, 2014)
 Cntntl (with Jakob Thiesen, cass, ltd, Broken Spine, 2014)
  
  
 

NADJA (alcuni titoli già citati sopra / discografia parziale)
(Aidan Baker & Leah Buckareff)

  
 CD & LP
Corrasion (Foreshaw, 2003 / LP, Basses Frequences, 2007 / Miskatonik Soundlab, 2012)
 Touched (CD-R, Deserted Factory, 2003 / Alien8, 2007 / LP, Conspiracy, 2008)
 Skin Turn To Glass (CD-R, ltd, NOTHingness, 2003 / The End, 2008)
 Truth Becomes Death (Alien8, 2005 / LP, Conspiracy, 2008)
Bliss Torn From Emptyset (CD-R, Fargone, 2005 / Profound Lore, 2008 / LP, ltd, Dirter, 2014)
 Bodycage (CD-R, ltd, NOTHingness, 2005 / ltd, Profound Lore, 2006 / LP, ltd, Equation, 2007 / Broken Spine, 2011 / Daymare, 2013)
 Trembled (Utech, 2006)
 Radiance Of Shadows (Alien8, 2007 / LP, Conspiracy, 2008)
 Thaumogenesis (aRCHIVE, 2007 / Important, 2010)
 Guilted By The Sun (Roadburn / Elevation, 2007)
 The Bungled & The Botched (ConSouling, 2008 / LP, Blocks Recording Club, 2009 / Daymare, 2013)
 Thaumoradiance (aRCHIVE, 2008)
 Desire In Uneasiness (Crucial Blast, 2008)
 When I See The Sun Always Shines On TV (The End, 2009)
 Belles Bêtes (Beta-lactam Ring, 2009)
 Under The Jaguar Sun (Beta-lactam Ring, 2009)
Ruins Of Morning (Drone, 2010)
 Autopergamene (Essence, 2010)
 Sky Burial (Latitudes, 2010)
 Dagdrøm (Broken Spine, 2012)
 Flipper (LP, ltd, Oaken Palace, 2013)
 Queller (Essence, 2014)
 Paradox Incubate 15.09.14 (live, ltd, ConSouling, 2014)
  
  
 NADJA & FEAR FALLS BURNING (Dirk Serries)
  
 We Have Departed The Circle Blisfully (LP, Conspiracy, 2006)
Fear Falls Burning & Nadja (LP, Conspiracy, 2007)
Untitled (with Macchu Picchu Mother Future & Year Of No Light, LP, Music Fear Satan, 2009)
  
  
 NADJA & ATAVIST
  
 12012291920 / 1414101 (Invada / Kreation, 2007)
Infernal Procession... And Then Everything Dies (split with Satori, ltd, Cold Spring, 2008)
 II: Points At Infinity (Profound Lore, 2008)
  
  
 NADJA & VAMPILIA
  
The Primitive World (Iscollagecollective, 2012)
 The Perfect World (Important, 2013)
 /ɪmpəˈfɛkʃ(ə)n/ (Autoprodotto, 2014)
  
  
 ALTRE COLLABORAZIONI (NADJA) (discografia parziale)
  
 CD & LP
 Tümpisa (split with 5/5/2000, ltd, Accident Prone, 2008)
Magma To Ice (with Netherworld, ltd, Fario, 2008)
Kodiak / Nadja (split with Kodiak, Denovali, 2009)
 Primitive North (with A Storm Of Light, Robotic Empire, 2009)
Pyramids with Nadja (with Pyramids, Hydra Head, 2009)
 Nadja / Black Boned Angel (with Black Boned Angel, 20 Buck Spin, 2009)
 Dominum Visurgis (with Troum, Transgredient / Denovali, 2010)
 The Life & Death Of A Wasp (with OVO, LP, Vendetta / Adagio830, 2010 | Broken Spine / Bar La Muerte, 2010)
 Transmit Acoustique Abstraction One (split with Armchair Migration Journey, LP, ltd, Beta-lactam Ring, 2010)
 Konstruktion (with Galena, LP, Adagio830, 2011)
 Fool, Redemer (split with Picastro, Alien8 / Broken Spine, 2011)
Vomos (split with N, LP, Midira, 2012)
 Cystema Solari (with Uochi Toki, LP, Corpoc, 2014)
  
  
 ARC (discografia parziale - alcuni titoli già citati sopra)
(Aidan Baker, Richard Baker, Christopher Kukiel)
  
 Untitled (CD-R, Arcolepsy, 2000)
 Two (CD-R, Arcolepsy / Worthy, 2001)
 Feral (CD-R, ltd, Arcolepsy / Worthy, 2003)
 Eyes In The Back Of Our Heads (split with Pholde, Worthy, 2004)
 The Circle Is Not Round (ltd, A Silent Place, 2005)
 Glassine 1 (A Silent Place, 2008)
 Arkhangelsk (Epidemie, 2008)
Somewhere There (Drone Compendium Two) (live, LP, Beta-lactam Ring, 2012)
  
  
 B/B/S/
(Aidan Baker, Andrea Belfi, Erik K. Skodwin)
  
 Live @ NK, February 14th 2012 (MP3, live, Miasmah, 2012)
Brick Mask (Miasmah, 2013)
Coltre / Manto (LP, Midira, 2014)
 NK012 (cass, Umor Rex, 2015)
  
  
 CAUDAL (discografia parziale)
(Aidan Baker, Felipe Salazar, Gareth Sweeney)
  
 Forever In Another World (LP, ltd, Oaken Palace, 2013)
 Ascension (Consouling Sounds, 2014)
  
  
 MNEMOSYNE
(Aidan Baker, Richard Baker, Rodin Columb/Heather K.)
  
 Spiritsized (CD-R, Arcolepsy, 2003)
 The Air Grows Small Fingers (CD-R, Piehead, 2004 / LP, ltd, Beta-lactam Ring, 2014)
 Fragments (MP3, Broken Spine, 2014)
  
  
 WHISPER ROOM
(Aidan Baker, Jakob Thiesen, Neil Wiernik)
  
 Birch White (Elevation, 2009)
The Cruelest Month (Consouling Sound, 2014)
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Recensioni

AIDAN BAKER

The Sea Swells A Bit (ristampa)

(2015 - Ici d'Ailleurs / Mind Travels)
Ristampa per uno dei momenti più alti della carriera di Baker

AIDAN BAKER

Aneira

(2013 - Glacial Movements)
Il chitarrista e sperimentatore contamina la sua ambient con rimostranze industriali

AIDAN BAKER

Already Drowning

(2013 - Gizeh)
Otto muse prestano le proprie voci per il nuovo concept dell'infaticabile artista canadese

AIDAN BAKER

Liminoid / Lifeforms

(2010 - Alien8)
Il lato più sinfonico e “corale” del musicista canadese

AIDAN BAKER

Green & Cold

(2007 - Gears of Sand Recordings)

Shoegaze "mentale" e psichedelia nel nuovo disco del canadese

AIDAN BAKER

Dog Fox Gone To Ground

(2006 - Afe Records)

Un'ambient-drone pacificata e ricca di sfumature infinitesimali

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