Aidan Baker – Everything Is Like Always Until It Is Not

Aidan Baker – Everything Is Like Always Until It Is Not
Cruel Nature Records
Release Date: 23/02/24
Running Time: 45:24
Review by Dark Juan
7/10

Once more into the breach, dear friends. I am Dark Juan and I am supposed to be writing about Metal release, yet I unaccountably keep disappearing off into musical hinterlands further and further from the One True Path, and it is at that point where I have to make a decision as to whether I write about what I am listening to and share it with the crew of the good ship Ever-Metal.com, or whether to file it quietly under “Bin” because it is unutterably shite and we have a policy of actual positive critical engagement nowadays instead of slaughtering the fuck out of people as was Dark Juan’s wont when he first started out in this line of work.

I have such a dilemma with my current listening upon the curiously quiescent Platter of Splatter ™. I have the latest release from Nadja’s Aidan Baker, “Everything Is Like Always Until It Is Not”. You will all no doubt recall that I reviewed Baker’s last work with Jussi Lehtisalo of Circle and Pharaoh Overlord (https://www.ever-metal.com/2023/07/12/baker-ja-lehtisalo-crocodile-tears/ being the link to click if you are in fact interested in yet another 1000 words plus of inane rambling) and that I quite enjoyed it despite it being rather removed from the True Gospel of Metal.

This is the same problem I have with Aidan Baker, right now, although this album is even further away from Metal than “Crocodile Tears” was, and this record does represent a strange and frequently beguiling type of ethereal Ambient Industrial music, so it just about qualifies to have words written about it on Ever-Metal.com. 

Baker played everything, mixed, produced and mastered everything on this album and it has throughout a liquid, languid quality, drums being played softly and acting as counterpoint to ticking metronomes and counterbeats while waves of Ambient electronics sweep over the listener in a kind of endless, gentle polyphonic almost orgasm, edging without end towards ecstasy without ever actually getting there.

I never thought I would see the day when I type this about a record on this website, but this album is actually really quite relaxing, although it retains a slightly disturbing quality, a hidden but sharp edge that will cut you while you sleep. It is haunting and soft, yet also slow-moving and predatory. ‘Until’ is like this, being a colossal wave of slowly pulsing and building electronics, overlaid by a jazz drumbeat and an underlying dissonance that makes the experience uncomfortable and somehow wrong-feeling. It relaxes and unsettles you at the same time, like falling asleep in front of a horror film and only being asleep enough to still hear what’s going on, and those events influencing the lucid dream you are having, not being awake enough to escape it, but so far lucid as to incorporate ever greater horrors into it.

In a vain effort to describe this music to you in other terms – imaginer, s’il vous plait, les popsters Francais Air, and their incredibly idiosyncratic version of Pop music, meld that with the miserablism of British Post-Punk and the downbeatedness and defeatism of Joy Division, and then mix in the electronic influence of Hawkwind’s Dikmik, but he’s on mega downers and can barely move, he’s that out of it. That’s what Aidan Baker’s solo work sounds like – ‘It’ has fizzing, damaged electronics over a very groovy bassline and an overlaying synth line that sounds almost like whalesong and the pace of the music is glacial. You will not be able to dance to this record. However, it is a record that would be easily listenable if you had to commit some duty-bound suicide with a ridiculously convoluted ritual attached to it. Although Dark Juan feels he would prefer something a little more upbeat and cheerful if he was having to render an apology in the old pig-sticking sense. This album is fantastically dour. If it had a face, it would be wearing a dark, angry and mildly puzzled frown as it works out just what fucking insult you have said to it about its partner or mother… or both.

To sum this record up then, it’s as if Air discovered Quaaludes and marijuana, did both of them at the same time for some considerable time, and then recorded an album that probably sounded upbeat and speedy at the time of recording. It amalgamates the pointed impressionism of Drone with the dehumanization of Industrial, the raw emotion of Shoegaze and the expressionism of Jazz. It very much is a record for only the most fearless and daring listener, and Dark Juan feels that it is beyond the taste of most Metal fans and that the audience for this album is only going to be the most esoteric music fans.

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System awards Aidan Barker 7/10 for an album that is an extremely challenging listen for a person who is a seasoned audiophile, let alone someone who is only a casual listener to music or who has not attuned their ear to other styles. It barely touches the edges of what Metal is and has therefore been marked down for this and has also lost points for the fact that it will have an incredibly limited audience. It is eerily hypnotic, though.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Everything
02. Is 
03. Like
04. Always
05. Until
06. It 
07. Is
08. Not

LINE-UP:
Aidan Baker – Absolutely fucking everything on this record.

LINKS:

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