Aidan Baker – Book of Nods (Beta-lactam Ring Black Series)


Aidan Baker is a Toronto-based drone/ambient musician and poet who’s been incredibly prolific over the last few years. Since 2000 he’s released over 40 albums (many on obscure CD-R labels). Book of Nods is his latest release. It consists of a suite of four linked movements. Instruments used include electric guitar, keyboards, organ, flute and percussion. The guitar is overdubbed, effected and processed to create a dense tapestry of droning elements.

Book of Nods is a mysterious album – there is a feel of almost religious awe to large parts of this recording. The artist name and title are printed on the spine, but apart from that, there are no track titles or credits anywhere on the cover or disc label – the gatefold cover is adorned with four large oriental pictograms (one on each surface), revealing nothing about the contents.

The disc opens with ‘Love’, which is a swooning blend of droning and pulsing keyboards, like a dubbed-out Reich or Riley. The mood is intense – this is love as sickness, or madness. On ‘Survival’ more ominous bass drone figures appear, and then disjointed drums and percussion enter the mix, along with some nagging muted guitar parts. ‘Obsession’ sees the mood darken further as gentle keyboard drones are disrupted by more drums and cymbals. Flutes entering the mix bring to mind the Tangerine Dream of Alpha Centauri. On ‘Good & Evil’ the mood approaches the blissed-out rapture of Popol Vuh.

Baker’s record label are pitching this disc to fans of ‘ambient doom’, but this is a really beautiful album, and it deserves a much wider listenership than that.

For MP3 previews click here.

Ewan Burke


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