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  Half Lives: Mountains Sweat Clouds
Half Lives: As I Walked On Dead Earth
  Aidan Baker
  Gizeh Records
Release Date:


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This is a two album set from Aidan Baker, an experimental electronic ambient artist from Canada. Think: Fennesz, early Acceleradeck, Tanakh, etc. This is moody music that is dark and meandering.

And quite honestly, this will not appeal to most people. I am one of those people who listen to this kind of "ambient noise" music and i can pick out a few moments that sound really cool here or there. Half Lives is 21 songs stretched over two records, and i can find three of them that i really, honestly enjoy.

On Mountains Sweat Clouds the track A Black Crow Flies is a long drone, Baker's voice layered over it singing lazily while a xylophone tinkles and the drummer taps lightly. It reminds me of The For Carnation in its long, slow growth. A really lovely moment.

But that is really the only moment i really enjoyed on that first half of this set.

There are two songs i enjoyed on As I Walked On Dead Earth. The first is Somewhere In The World Trees Are Growing. Violins and strings slide against one another in a slightly dissonant manner while the drummer keeps a lethargic kind of beat. It has the feel of Ascension Day from the last Talk Talk record, and that is not a compliment i bat about lightly.

The less than two minute interlude Still There Is The Sound Of Thunder is also really lovely. The drums keep a fun beat and the keys drone along nicely. This is well done. I wish that more of this record were like this.

And thatís it. The other 19 songs vary between boringly droning to outright irritating.

I just ... i guess that after a while, i don't get this type of stuff. Feedback is cool, but this is static. Every song is overwhelmed with fuzzy static. I feel about this the same way i felt about that Postal Service record -- why? I don't get it. I don't get why people want to listen to a record that sounds like you are half a radio channel away from whatever you are listening to, as if this entire two album set were taped off of 88.3 FM here in Atlanta...

However, you might get it, and if so, more power to you. And for the record, i appreciate that Mr. Baker is out there pushing the boundaries of recorded music. And i appreciate that Gizeh Records are out there releasing this kind of thing.

But on the whole, i feel like i should enjoy this more than i do. I suspect this is a residual Catholic Guilt thing. This type of music is complex and over-intellectualized, and if i were a smart person i would love it. The fact that i struggle to get through listening to even one of these records tells me that i am a stupid person and should just go listen to some metal.

So, in fact, after forcing myself to sit through this set for the third time, that is what i did. Kinski and Sandrider pounding in my headphones sounded better than this.

I just honestly cannot think of a single person that i both know and like that i would recommend this too. I bet the pretentious fucktard that a college friend of mine married would like this. But he annoys me, so i am never going to share this. Fuck him. And if the people who like this kind of music are like him, then fuck them too.

Now, if you will excuse me, i have something loud and catchy to listen to, and i donít care how unintellectual it makes me seem.

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