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An Intricate Course of Deception

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Album Review

After a period of gradual expansion on his sound (adding poetry recitation, female voices, string instruments, etc.), Aidan Baker released in 2004 a number of limited-edition full-lengths and EPs featuring solely his multi-tracked electric guitar drones. An Intricate Course of Deception is thus an all-instrumental, all-guitar affair. It is also the first pressed CD released by the Montreal micro-label .angle.rec. Baker's discography is getting crowded, but most of his albums came out in very limited editions or on very low-profile labels, so chances are that the ones you manage to locate won't seem too repetitive. Yet, An Intricate Course of Deception represents the core of Baker's art. It contains four extended tracks consisting of slowly evolving, thick multi-layered guitar drones ranging from the shyly peaceful to the disturbingly dark. In fact, on this particular album, Baker dives deeper into scary, psyched-out guitar effects, especially in the second half of "Thread/Bare" and in "Gossamer," one of his best instrumental drones to this day. The four pieces are presented in decreasing order of duration (25, 19, 8 and 8 minutes), a simple yet effective way of respecting the listener's attention span and effort. The first and longest piece, "Interweaver" feels overlong, but it is also the most suitable track for meditation or contemplation. "Thread/Bare" and "Gossamer" are more tortured, even raucous at times, hinting at the harshest moments in Troum's music or even the clinical, oppressive sound of Richard Pinhas (in the last two minutes of "Gossamer"). "Weft" comes back to gentler textures and is dominated by delicate manipulations on a prepared guitar. Baker's music is more singular and personal when he adds his poetry or other instruments to the mix, but An Intricate Course of Deception still makes a fine listen and will probably appeal more to fans of dark drone music than Eye of Day or I Fall Into You. ~ François Couture, Rovi


Born: 1974 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

An accomplished writer and musician, Aidan Baker has his artistic fingers in many pies. After graduating from Montreal's McGill University with a degree in Literature and Religious Studies, Baker released a four-song acoustic cassette as "Aodhan" (the Gaelic spelling of his name). He also teamed up with two fellow Toronto musicians to create ARC, an ambient guitar-driven trio which garnered much praise for its innovation and integrity. The group released three albums, including Two in 2001. Having...
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An Intricate Course of Deception, Aidan Baker
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