Aidan Baker is at it again. Another full length sprung out of nowhere (I think it's his fifth of the year but I may be wrong) and Baker manages to challenge my conceptions of the genre he is a part of as well as his music itself. Tonstreifen
is a two part album that is both conceptually fascinating and aesthetically dull. While ambient music takes a certain kind of person and a certain kind of mood to be truly enjoyed, Tonstreifen
manipulates the genre's formula, retaining all of its repetitive elements but foregoing typical texturing and atmosphere. The style here can simply be categorised as 'constant' - it takes one particular melody, locks itself into a groove and just plays that melody over and over again. There exists a very subtle variation within either track, one in which the intensity is increased ever so slightly. To sum it up as succinctly as possible, Tonstreifen
sounds like a New Order
intro stuck on repeat.
While this may seem a 'boring' experience to some, there is something very hypnotic about this record. When the groove locks itself in, so does the listener. There is little variation throughout the album, only in the smallest changes to each song as they progress. The two songs, 'Ton' and 'Streifen', come as two parts of a whole. They are remarkably similar in all aspects, except that the melody itself is somewhat different. This then leaves Tonstreifen
with two elements that define it: first, the forced repetition, or 'constant' if you will, of the melody, and second, the transition between the two songs. Said transition represents a lag in the first song, a slight hesitation which then transforms itself into the next calmative sequence. This piece of music is not for everyone, including fans of Aidan Baker. It makes for excellent background music, but for those dedicated enough, it also can represent an insightful form of hypnosis.