Review Summary: 'drone-folk' without any NSB, is this even real?
As one of the ambient genre’s most talented and prolific artists, Aidan Baker still manages to make notable distinctions between compositions despite the obvious difficulties he may encounter while writing album after album of guitar based drone. Scalpel
, as Baker himself describes, is ‘drone-folk’ - using his signature guitar experimentation in a purely minimalist folk setting, the record flows through gentle and lush scenes with naught but an acoustic guitar and an electronically generated cushion of lightness.
As sedate as it may be, the record is exemplified by its melodic undertones. It’s no surprise that much of ambient and drone music is ignorant of melody, but Scalpel
is in essence a number of sombre folk songs stripped away into nothing, before having weighty layers re-added to supplement its ambiance. Baker’s solemn vocals fit in perfectly with the mood the album is trying to achieve, his icy words spread thin over the flourishing composition beneath.
Though it is but a speck in the universe of music that is Aidan Baker’s discography, Scalpel
is undoubtedly a significant release - not only in regards to Baker, but to the genre overall. It eschews the mundane feel that his solo work can sometimes have, and reeks of Natural Snow Buildings
' folk experimentation. Perhaps not quite a classic, Scalpel
nevertheless comes very close.