What can a sonic crafter who became famous for the use of looped guitars do, if dispossessed of effects and delays? The answer lies in the 47 minutes of Dry, which was entirely played on an unprocessed electric guitar, nine tracks linked together as in a single piece.
Difficult, for the non-owners of an instinctive musicality, to even think of appearing completely exposed and unaided, attempting to produce appealing music without resorting to tricks. It is there that the separation between contenders and pretenders takes place. Baker is well acquainted with the core essence of the instrument: the fact that this record sounds related, in a unique way, to one of the countless lucid dreams he gifted us with in the past is testimony to his immutable sense of personal synchronization, which transits across many lands – static recollection, tranquil arpeggio, unanticipated crackle. Rather stunning, especially considering the bareness of the utilized means.
The Canadian’s ability is also established by the customary richness of those layers, reiterative figurations and chiming chords that, once superimposed, cause sympathetic resonance in large quantity. Not that there’s only cuteness: on the contrary, noisy particles of unclear activity, thumping hits and semi-strums – and, just maybe, some manual preparation – characterize the most surprising parts of the disc. But when Baker brings the whole to a conclusion by utilizing a mechanism of heartrending pseudo-vocal glissandos – ending the trip with the highest percentage of evocation – we’re finally able to release our breath, the deep sigh that typically follows an intense listening experience. “Yes, it’s still him” is the thought that comes to mind during the silent instants following the closing stages.
A touch of class that resounds magically, a highly recommended work – again – by a true poet of reminiscent reverberation.