By Max Schaefer
Posted on Nov 13th 2008 10:49 pm
AIDAN BAKER & TIM HECKER
Alien8 Recordings 2008
66 Tracks. 33mins48secs
This Fantasma Parastasie sees Canadian musicians Tim Hecker and Aidan Baker fuse together in a constantly shifting surge punctuated throughout with barks, growls and excited panting in the dark from Hecker’s seemingly endless store of electronic distortions and Baker’s fractured instrumentation, which ambles to the rhythm of madness, joy and sheer exultation.
Phantom On A Pedestal supplies the first rumble of revolutionary thunder, opening with an astonishing array of guttural squeaks, burps, groans, and gasps: what sounds like their very souls were straining to burst free. With each successive segment, the piece only grows in its punishing density, and the tightly orchestrated workouts for desiccated and freeform guitar stabs and highly charged electronic thrusting positively ripples with psychosexual undercurrents.
What follows generally carries on and develops these orientations, but isn’t quite as assaultive. Instead, they are fleeter, and more musically diverse. Many of the remaining seven movements ping and eddy with bursts of static, hiss and crunch that slowly disperse themselves and are largely deployed with a sensitive hand and a general feeling of concern for the listener. Now and again, Baker even navigates an arco melody through Hecker’s granular harmonic shoals, further impressing the dynamic and emotional range of these works.
A crisp articulation of attack thereby manages to steer these movements safely through several disparate ports of call. Small wonder, as the materials germinate in the soil, not the screen; in a face to face encounter marked by a consummate reciprocity which inserts these two individual players into a shared operation of which neither is the clear creator. As though something were therefore at stake, the two elicit exciting, edgy performances that never call on all their resources, but always give off the impression that more is hiding away.