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As stated several times over the years, one of my overall favorite pieces – regardless of genre – is Aidan Baker’s “Rusalka”, a minimalist composition for patterned guitar layers that literally borders on the sublime. In Pithovirii – the gifted Canadian’s newest work for Alessandro Tedeschi’s Glacial Movements – Baker comes very close to those peaks of poignant and, in this case, dramatic appeal. Two tracks of half an hour each provide us with moments of ecstatic trance in total estrangement from any vortex of thought. Built entirely on darkish cumuliform masses of guitar reiteration, “Sibericum” and “Massiliensis” exploit Baker’s well-known ability to transform the timbres of his machine to the point of making them anything but. What begins with soft touches on the low strings becomes an abysmal choral requiem, in which one feels simultaneously lost and relieved of all anguish. A hazy two-chord stream increases in intensity until it turns into a second coming of the Titanic orchestra, suggesting images of apocalyptic yet necessary changes. The spirit of William Basinski and his Disintegration Loops frequently hovers around these expressive areas. However, let’s not forget that, through looping, Baker has been creating gorgeously different sound art since 2000. Pithovirii confirms him as a significant beacon in the field of music that is able to subjugate the excesses of the intellect.BEYOND THE DUST
For those who are into sonic contemporary ambiences and slowly moving electronic soundscapes, the name of Aidan Baker is familiar. He can be considered as on of the brightest (and notorious) figures in modern day minimal ambient next to other giants such as Tim Hecker, Jacob Kirkegaard, Rafael Anton Irisarri et al. His efforts for the abrasive and fuzzed-out drone project Nadja is also worth of interest. Needless to develop furthermore high points of his career, let’s have a few words about this new effort—to be released this early March—welcomed by key indie publisher Glacial Movements (headed by ambient music specialist and sound artist Alessandro Tedeschi). For those not aware of the existence of this label, it is now a mythical one for minimal ambient isolationism (with a harrowing melodic heart) celebrating big names such Murcof, Bvdub, Scanner, and lesser known but still intricate projects in this musical field. If I’m not wrong, it is the second full length release published by Aidan Baker for Glacial Movements, the first was Aneira back in 2013. This new album provides two sprawling and blooming sonic journeys for long electronic strings and dense layers of sounds. All motifs, tone colors and sinuous textures are beautifully sculpted and progressively transport the listener in deep mental spaces submerged by a delicate and tasteful melancholic gloom. The magnificent dramatic aura of the album is even more perceptible in the second track that will leave you in a throbbing introspective trip. The soundscapes are efficiently blurry, languid and cloudy with a visceral, cerebral and vigorous psycho-acoustic impact. Soaked and epic reverbed ambient sequences which need certain mental disposals and feeling ready to let go. The album operates a successful balance between emotional harshness and deeply meditative comfort. As usual with Glacial Movements, the empowering isolationist quality is phenomenal thanks to a substantial sensitive column, drone experimentations and movingly ecstatic moments of tense dramatic beauty. I needed several listening experiences to fully appreciate all nuances this album provides when you go beyond the apparent monolithic sounding surface. Soundscapes with an elegiac tone and engulfing atmospheric somberness.IGLOO MAG
Dans l'univers envoûtant de la musique ambiante, une figure émerge avec une présence tant mystique que puissante : Aidan Baker. Sous les auspices de Glacial Movements, le maestro canadien nous offre son dernier chef-d'œuvre conceptuel, "Pithovirii". Inspiré par le roman Ice Trilogy de Vladimir Sorokin et l'incidence du météore de Toungouska, Baker plonge dans les profondeurs de l'exploration sonore avec une détermination sans faille. Dans "Pithovirii", Baker manipule habilement sa guitare électrique et ses pédales d'effets pour tisser des paysages sonores aussi vastes que glacés. Ce nouvel opus, proposant deux longs voyages pour cordes électroniques et nappes sonores denses, invite l'auditeur à une exploration introspective à travers des espaces mentaux profonds, enveloppés d'une tristesse mélancolique subtile. À travers son approche unique de composition et de production, Aidan Baker équilibre avec brio la dureté émotionnelle et le confort méditatif. Son utilisation innovante de la guitare électrique, influencée par des méthodes de jeu préparées et alternatives, crée une fusion captivante entre l'ambient, l'expérimental et le post-rock. "Pithovirii" offre ainsi une expérience musicale à la fois stimulante et émouvante, captivant l'auditeur dans un voyage lancinant, où les paysages sonores sont flous, alanguis et nuageux, créant un impact viscéral et cérébral. Originaire de Toronto et actuellement basé à Berlin, Baker est un artiste polyvalent dont l'influence s'étend bien au-delà des frontières musicales. Multi-instrumentiste de formation classique, il a publié de nombreuses œuvres en solo et avec divers projets de groupe, tout en étant l'auteur de plusieurs livres de poésie. Sa présence scénique impressionnante l'a conduit à se produire dans des festivals internationaux renommés tels que Supersonic, SXSW et Unsound. L'événement tragique de la Toungouska, qui a inspiré une partie de cet album, offre une toile de fond intrigante. Avec une énergie équivalente à mille fois celle de la bombe de Hiroshima, l'explosion a laissé un impact durable sur la région, suscitant des spéculations scientifiques et des récits épiques. Cette histoire fascinante ajoute une profondeur supplémentaire à l'exploration musicale de Baker, faisant de "Pithovirii" bien plus qu'un simple album, mais une véritable odyssée glaciale à travers les méandres de l'âme humaine. Prochainement en programmation dans Solénoïde, émission des musiques imaginogènes diffusée sur 30 radios/50 antennes FM-DAB !SOLENOPOLE
Aidan Baker’s principal currency in music is the electric guitar, but in reality he is a multi-instrumentalist, able to use the guitar along with electronic manipulation, and in a way that moves easily between musical forms. Pithovirii, the Canadian composer’s first release on the Glacial Movements label, takes its inspiration from Vladimir Sorokin’s novel Ice Trilogy. This led Baker down a rabbit hole, reading about the destructive Tunguska meteor that fell on Siberia in 1908, flattening an estimated 80 million trees, and then more reading about truly ancient viruses found in glacier ice – known as ‘pithovirii’. Using his electric guitar with effects pedals, Baker has attempted a musical depiction to convey the idea of glacial density, and “stasis within which lurk potentially malevolent microbiome”. What’s the music like? Baker certainly catches the almost complete stasis of a glacier in the two long-form tracks that make up Pithovirii. There is an ominous feel to Sibericum, a kind of omnipresent threat that hovers over the music. As it slowly evolves the dark colours of Baker’s vision come in to view, dense clouds of sound working in slow-moving waves that wash over the listener. This is certainly musical ambience, and is meditative to a degree, but it is also quite oppressive in the way it takes over the sonic spectrum, working as a very gradual crescendo.Massiliensis is named after a mysterious form of bacteria that appears to still be under exploration. The light ‘hiss’ that Baker has around the edge of the sound is both ambient and disarming, as a long unison note makes itself known, slightly metallic in texture – and the hiss becomes a thick, woolly drone of sound. As the track unfolds the sonics combine to make the audio equivalent of hearing a massive church organ from the far end of the building, sustaining a long note whose overtones work in and out of consciousness – and gradually change and even modulate over time, taking over most of the aural spectrum. The thick outer coating to the music remains, fed through Baker’s electronic prism. Does it all work? It does, with a couple of caveats. The obvious criticism to level at Baker’s work would be that there is not a lot going on – but that is the whole point. To fully experience and appreciate these big blocks of sound the listener needs to be somewhere quiet, with all frequencies available. Is it recommended? Yes. Baker is a natural fit for Glacial Movements (in title alone!) but he has written two extremely evocative pieces here. Together they make a whole that somehow captures the state of the remote ice regions of our planet in this day and age.ARCANA FM
Album of the week @ THE MODERNS BLOG by Kevin Press
Aidan Baker (Nadja, Adoran, Werl, Caudal, Whisper Room en nog een tiental andere projecten) blijft een overproductief baasje. Te productief om al zijn werk te volgen. Hij brengt releases uit bij een groot aantal labels, wat het sowieso al moeilijk maakt om alles te volgen/ horen. Niet dat we dat willen want veel van de albums die hij onder een bepaalde noemer maakt klinken nogal eender. Het is altijd wel goed en aangenaam om te horen maar we hebben het na een eind wel een beetje gehad. Het is steeds een weer meer van hetzelfde, wat veel van zijn releases onderling inwisselbaar maakt.Eind februari was er zo Everything Is Like Always Until It Is Not op Cruel Nature. Een heel degelijke cassette, dat zeker, maar de zoveelste Aidan Baker die weinig tot niets toevoegt aan de stapel releases onder zijn eigen naam. Nu is er ook Pithovirii op het in ijselijke soundscapes gespecialiseerde Glacial Movements. Het moet worden gemeld dat Baker zich netjes heeft aangepast aan de verwachtingen die het label bij al het werk dat wordt uitgebracht, heeft. Donker, open van sfeer, desolaat en noordelijk geïnspireerd. Twee episch lange nummers (beide een paar seconden langer dan een half uur) zijn het geworden, respectievelijk Sibericum en Massiliensis getiteld. Gedeeltelijk geïnspireerd op de IJs-trilogie van de postmodernistische Russische auteur Vladimir Sorokin, boeken over een in Siberië belandde meteoriet en over virussen die duizenden jaren diepgevroren zitten te wachten op hun bevrijding levert Baker, met bas en gitaar, twee uitstekende drones af die perfect binnen het plaatje van het label passen.LUMINOUS DASH
Das italienische Label Glacial Movements hat übers Wochenende ein neues Album von Aidan Baker herausgebracht, dessen Material auf elektrischer Gitarre und Bass und dem Einsatz von Effekten basiert. Das Album, das nach einem veränderten Begriff für eine Gattung von Riesenviren “Pithovirii” benannt ist, enthält zwei gut halbstündige, detailfokussierte Ambienttracks von vordergründig kühler, “glazialer” Gestaltung, in deren auf- und abebbender Dröhnung sich allerdings eine Vielzahl an nur halb versteckter Wäreme in Klangfarben, Volumen und Melodik findet. Das Album erscheint auf CD und zum Downloadmit Artwork von Lia Bosch und Sleeve Design von Rutger Zuydervelt.AFRICAN PAPER
Aidan Baker ‎- Pithovirii (2024, Label: Glacial Movements Records). (08/03). Album 2024 per il musicista canadese Aidan Baker che esce a poche settimane di distanza da la Invicible cities II pubblicato in collaborazione con Gareth Davis. Classe 1974 e originario di Toronto, il musicista è ora di base a Berlino. Il prolificissimo Aidan Baker ha iniziato a pubblicare con continuità a partire da inizio anni Zero. Quest'anno ha pubblicato anche l'album Everything Is Like Always Until It Is Not. Pithovirii è un concept album, ispirato dal romanzo Ice Trilogy di Vladimir Sorokin che a sua volta prende spunto dalla caduta nelle gelide zone della Siberia della meteora Tunguska nel 1908. Utilizzando una chitarra elettrica ed effetti Baker "riporta in vita" virus intrappolati nei ghiacci da migliaia di anni. Due brani di drone music chitarristica della durata di mezz'ora l'una (ma il suono della chitarra è completamente sublimato), che procedono tra sottilissime variazioni di intensità. Più meditativo che tellurico, Pithovirii è una riflessione sulla forza della Natura e delle sue inesorabili logiche. L'album è presentato in questo modo su Bandcamp: "Glacial Movements is proud to present the soundscapes of Canadian artist Aidan Baker. His first appearance was with the song "Beneath the Ice" on "Cryosphere", the first and only compilation of the entire catalogue. [continua qui]" Artwork by Lia Bosch. Consigliato a chi ama la musica di Pjusk, Netherworld, Thisquietarmy, Tim Hecker. Brani top: Massiliensis a seguire Sibericum.EUROPA E CULTURA ELETTRONICA
ROCKERILLA # Marzo 2024
Non è di moda parlare di uno iper-produttivo come Aidan Baker, di sicuro uno dei miei musicisti preferiti di questi anni, uno che ha trovato una sua “voce” a l’ha declinata in tutti i modi possibili. Passiamo le giornate a leggere del problema di autocontrollo creativo che la rivoluzione digitale ha involontariamente creato e dunque dire bene di lui suona contraddittorio, con tutto che un gruppo come i Nadja è molto amato. Nel caso di questo disco per Glacial Movements, è un po’ come se Baker andasse a caccia in una riserva: troppo facile. Eppure molto bello. L’ipotesi alla base del racconto è: cosa possono farci dei virus sopravvissuti all’interno dei ghiacciai per migliaia di anni? Il drone chitarristico sottile e inquietante di Baker (e dei Nadja nelle fasi calme) serpeggia per un’ora ed è quanto di più adatto per trasmettere la paura che qualcosa di infinitesimale e primordiale cominci a ucciderci tutti, una paura, in periodo post-pandemico, giustificabilissima. Ci immaginiamo senza problemi la consunzione progressiva dei ghiacciai e il liberarsi di minuscoli frammenti di chissà cosa, provenienti da epoche che credevamo concluse. Non stiamo niente, aiutati dalla pressione sui timpani delle basse frequenze (è ambient perfetta per un documentario, se vogliamo) a pensarci a grandi profondità sott’acqua mentre vediamo qualche stramaledetto pesce diventare l’ospite involontario di qualche malattia, mentre il mondo là sopra ancora non sa nulla, e rimaniamo col dubbio se mai tutto ciò potrà arrivare davvero in superficie. Ci sentiamo fortunati, perché almeno sappiamo da Ridley Scott che gli scienziati della spedizione “Prometheus” sono tutti morti.THE NEW NOISE
DUSTED MAG # March 2024
ONDAROCK April 2024
Barely a month goes by when Aidan Baker doesn’t get name-checked around here, and following Januar – the wonderful collaboration with Stefan Christoff, the Berlin-based experimentalist is at it again with Pithovirii. The Nadja mastermind is in long-form mode with two thirty-minute compositions that are like a cinematic backdrop after the world’s been flattened. It’s beautifully eerie, and subtly majestic. Baker always tries to extract vignettes of hope through despair, and through these two ambient dreamscapes, he just about achieves the goal. Pithovirii is a total zone out record, and oddly enough, works well alongside the above-noted Januar.SUN-13
UNI MAG CZ #04_2024
RUMORE #388 Maggio 2024
Antecedido por Januar (en colaboración con el también canadiense Stefan Christoff) y Everything Is Like Always Until It Is Not, Pithovirii es el tercer álbum de estudio de Aidan Baker en lo que va de 2024, que promete ser un año tan prolífico como lo fue 2023. Ya en estos tres lanzamientos es posible distinguir algo de la variedad del vasto catálogo discográfico de Baker. Allí donde Januar se encamina a sonoridades doctas, Everything Is Like Always... se inclina a la veta más post-rockera de su trabajo, conjugándola con elementos del drone. Por su parte, Pithovirii adopta el lenguaje más netamente ambiental del vocabulario del músico canadiense, que despliega aquí en dos prolongadas piezas, "Sibericum" y "Massiliensis", cada una de media hora de duración. Ambas entraman un único viaje sonoro en base a atmósferas meditativas, etéreas y algo sombrías, que van urdiendo paulatinamente un trance profundo y catártico. En ese sentido, Pithovirii es tal vez uno de los trabajos más decididamente ambientales de Aidan Baker, optando por permanecer en un hipnotismo abstracto que no llega a corporeizarse en una forma definida. Y no es que necesite tomar forma; trabajos como este, en que Baker se permite la exploración sin norte, son muy bienvenidos en su discografía, sobre todo por la facilidad con que consigue desarrollar esta arista creativa y arribar a buen puerto. Pithovirii hilvana paisajes de una frialdad paradójicamente acogedora, con largos drones que con sutileza van atrapando al oyente en un viaje contemplativo y de honda belleza, y que le dan al álbum su cierre con el mismo cuidado, depositándonos delicadamente en el silencio final. Hermoso disco.HIJOS DE SATURNO/a>
OX FANZINE #June 2024
It’s been a while since I’ve spent some time with Aidan Baker. Okay, I did mention this release in my OUT TODAY column when it came out this spring. But I think it’s time for a revisit. Baker, of course, is extremely prolific, so you will forgive me if I just can’t keep up. In 2023, I think he put out about a dozen records – there was an entire Trio Not Trio project on Gizeh Records where this Canadian and now Berlin-based musician worked on a series of improvisational sessions with another artist before sending out the recordings to another international composer to complete the piece. And then, of course, there is his Nadja project with Leah Buckareff, where drone meets metal in the night. Pithovirii is his new concept album, which was in part inspired by Vladimir Sorokin’s novel Ice Trilogy, “which in turn led to reading about the Tunguska meteor, which fell in Siberia in the early 20th century, which in turn led to reading about 15000-year-old viruses found in glacier ice.” Equipped with his favourite instrument, Baker transforms the electric guitar sounds through a myriad of effect pedals to paint an atmosphere of frozen depths, dense permafrost, and a temporal moment in time, as the “malevolent microbiome” is lying in waiting, ready to become awake [and finally wipe us out]. There are only two tracks on this album, each just a bit over half an hour in length, and together, they pull you down into the chilling grottos of bare glacial landscapes, echoing ancient and hidden forces lurking below. This is another perfect entry found only on Glacial Movements.HEADPHONE COMMUTE