Friday, May 22, 2009

Aidan Baker & Thisquietarmy - A Picture of a Picture (Killer Pimp CD)

From Foxy Digitalis:

Aiden Baker and Thisquietarmy’s Eric Quach reconvene on this follow up to their first EP together, “Orange.” Rather than relay tracks back and forth through the mail however, this time the duo made a point of working the material out live, with little to no overdubbing involved. What results is a symbiotic approach to drone that is concerned as much with forward momentum as it is with textural elements.

Lasting an hour, the disc’s four tracks each represent a logical exploration of one element of the unit’s sound. The opening “Imagistic Continuity” glistens as the duo’s guitars intersect in slow motion iridescence. Combining equal parts Fripp & Eno with an undercurrent of noisier influence, the piece transforms itself continuously as it radiates outward from its opening. The following “Loss of Perspective” immediately inverts itself however, slipping inward as it delves deep into some cavernous patterns of thick, folk strums and cresting tonal waves. There is a proggy, constructive element here that separates the material from your usual drone act, as it manifests itself more closely to a live composition than an overtly drone-oriented work. The result is some of the moodiest drone one is likely to come across, as harmonic progressions drive a dirge-like theme above the crystalline shards intermingling below. The work even begins to take on an almost club-like vibe, with a certain brooding trance feel not so far off from the same forest-of-the-mind traversed by Gas.

“Negative Space” once more looks outward, as trickling notes delay and decay around one another, building into a tall cloud of sound whose intricacies are endless and immersive. Each movement, no matter how decisive, is swept into the cyclical center, only to be seen again when another revolution has completed itself. The addition of an amorphous bass line adds to the club feel, pulsing and bobbing in the light of night. Not that this is dance music whatsoever, though maybe the emerald green world of more mysterious creatures believe otherwise. The closing “Horizon Line,” the longest work here at 20-minutes, only deepens the nighttime atmospherics of the rest of the disc, albeit in a far more haunting, even sinister, vein. Deepening the blackness, the piece moves through vast swarms of sinuous mental lines whose construction treads on the right side of a fine line between ambient/drone atmospherics and clichéd movie mood setting. Yet the duo exudes such clarity of vision that it is hard to not be swept up in the grandiose nature of the pieces. One for summer nights and firefly fights.

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