AIDAN BAKER – Only Stories

The Kora

A three-track vinyl LP, actually Only Stories features four when considering the indispensable bonus material to be downloaded after the purchase. The latter might be a rather arduous operation today: the record is in fact sold out already, having been released in 2011 in a limited edition. (STOP PRESS: Aidan Baker reports that he has a few copies for sale in his webstore)

It is a tradition of mine to look at other reviews of a given product before writing, for I’m always nosy when it comes to reading what people say and how varying individual perceptions have an influence in the writeups. Unbelievably enough, I couldn’t manage to find a single line of “official” comment on the web about this particular outing, which represents a somewhat lateral step by Baker in regard to his customary activities (though predated, in a way, by Scalpel – on this very imprint – a few moons ago). Perhaps years of looped-ad-infinitum electric axes acting as muted choirs have created a hesitancy to acknowledge different types of contents from the same artist?

Whatever. The use of 6 and 12-string acoustic guitars and voice over the course of extended “songs” lies at the basis of a “suite” lasting almost one hour. Strumming, bowing and scraping techniques generate the kind of resonantly zinging quality that reveals its rhythmic and textural subtleties exclusively when proper focusing is applied. Baker’s vocalism mostly verges on the whisper and the mumble, to the point that I have a pretty hard time in understanding many of the words (never mind – this happens when I listen to someone speaking in person, too…).

The end result is a semi-dirty psycho-trip chock full of echoing strings and humming lows, certainly able to remove a sentient being from immediate realness for the period necessary to finish the session. It’s reasonably distant from the droning hallucinations consistently churned out by the Canadian, but the engenderer’s identity remains well visible. A long, entrancing loop is the final signature, sort of “I’ll be back” with a wink.

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