Aidan Baker

Pithovirii

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.

Akira Kosemura & Lawrence English

Selene

Paying homage to the Greek goddess of the Moon, Akira Kosemura and Lawrence English join forces to create a deep listening experience for Temporary Residence Ltd. And I mean “deeeep”, especially the low rumbling bass that is shaking my room now at the start of the record on the very first track. Here, the Japanese founder of Schole lends some piano chords that drop on a bed of wide and expansive ambience, like large raindrops on the pavement and like falling stars in the night. Meanwhile, the Australian founder Room40 spreads his sonic palette into a more harmonious atmosphere, leaving atonal noise aside in the background to carry the melodies spreading with light. Describing the record, the duo reflect on the interplay of atmosphere and gravity, which contour our world, on one side creating stability, on the other offering a space for the inquiry into beyond. “Selene is a record about this lingering desire for that which sits beyond. It is work that seeks new perspectives snatched from familiar vistas, and it meditates on that sense of anchor and perspective. The work is also a speculative hymn to the visions of the celestial zones that spill ever outward.” The music captures a timeless narrative, linking past and future, inviting listeners to find their place in this continuum. This is a somewhat-romantic sci-fi post-everything record, where neo-classicism meets experimental cosmic drone. Expect to find the beauty if you’re looking for the noise. Stay tuned for an IN THE STUDIO special with Kosemura, which I plan on publishing shortly on Headphone Commute.

Glåsbird

A Sonic Expedition

The final entry in today’s ⟪ REW | FF ⟫ column is an upcoming 16-track release compiling two pieces from each of Glåsbird‘s previous eight albums from A Sonic Expedition series, which covered everything from Novaya Zemlya to Siberia to Pacifica and Antarctica, which I highlighted in my Music For Capricious Souls Adrift In Noir-fi Best of 2023 list. This series is officially over, but if you somehow missed out, this compilation is a great way to experience this sonic journey around the world (from the North to the South Pole) in its compact form (even though it lasts about 75 minutes). “There’s an enormity and poignant feel to the music, as melancholy classical notes extend through an eerie chill, or sun-bleached tapes explore hidden islands and tropical climes. The natural beauty of our world can be felt throughout this collection alongside a sense of despair at its apparent demise.” Previously remaining [somewhat] anonymous, it’s no surprise to find that Harry Towell is lurking behind this project, which he put out on his own whitelabrecs imprint, where he is also known as Spheruleus. A self-described lifelong geography enthusiast, Towell brings this imaginary trip across the land and seascapes directly into your home. This ambitious project is great, but, for me, the music is greater. Although I can’t resist applauding this accomplishment, I’m more moved by the sounds within, and this is why I recommend this album. You can pick up this limited edition release on a vinyl-effect CDr accompanied by a 16-page booklet of photography by George Korunov and poetry by Neil McRoberts when it becomes available for pre-order on July 5th directly from the imprint’s Bandcamp.