Review Summary: this is ambient music.
Now that his LP discography amounts well into the fifties, Aidan Baker isn’t really as ‘ground-breaking’ or ‘innovative’ as he once may have seemed. But then again, with monumental releases like Scalpel
, Green & Cold
and The Sea Swells a Bit
under his belt, he doesn’t really need to be anything. His extensive collection of quality albums props him up exactly where he deserves to be, but one certainly gets the feeling he doesn’t really
need to release so many albums. Arguably, some of them are by and large inferior to his best, but the rating above simply signifies that Liminoid/Lifeforms
is not one of the records that should’ve been left on the studio’s floor.
As his first record of 2010, Liminoid/Lifeforms
is as its name suggests – two separate compositions under the same title. The Liminoid
portion is divided up into four separate entities that, similar to most of Baker’s work, gradually worm through various soundscapes that resonate with whatever thematic substance into which Baker has delved. While ‘Liminoid (Parts I and III)’ share a common compositional element in their almost post rock-ish ascension, the Liminoid
half is best characterised by the collaboration of its four distinct parts. The subtle build-up that the preceding three tracks bring into the delivery of the fourth track is remarkably timely, thus making the contrast between the buoyancy of the first three and the haunting disposition of the fourth all the more effective. Baker’s grasp of atmosphere shows in this juxtaposition, and the ensuing ‘collapse’ is highly noteworthy.
eschews the simplicity of four parts and is offered as a single half-hour long slice of ambience. It greatly resembles much of his previous work and hence seems uninteresting alongside its more bombastic partner in Liminoid
. But rather than continuing to speak of them as separate, the unification between the two is perhaps the most significant element of this record. Where resilience and solemnity are expressed as two stark extremes in Liminoid
bridges the two with a lingering neutrality and delicate hints to the record’s first half. In essence, Liminoid/Lifeforms
is an expression of Baker’s compositional endeavour, and where he may lack in profundity, he makes up for with conceptual continuity.