Published Feb 24, 2015For an artist who's released over 100 albums over the past 15 years, Aidan Baker still manages to surprise. Through his solo work and as one-half of Nadja, Baker has explored almost every depth of experimental, doom, death and ambient. But on The Confessional Tapes, the Berlin-via-Toronto musician has proven just how capable (and structured) of a songwriter he can be. Recorded years ago in Toronto, Baker originally lost the material when his hard drive crashed. The recovered, corrupted files have been updated for this 10-track album, lending to the distant, decaying sounds that ornament it.
Filled with distortion, hiss and blips, Baker comes off like a baroque version of Phil Elverum, adding whispered vocals and barely-there melodies to tracks like "Hart" and "Buoyancy"; to show his range, Baker adds gorgeous flutes to "Spider Named Spider Killing" and fanciful guitar pickings to "Something Less." The Confessional Tapes uses its limitations to triumphant effect; it's the imperfections here that give it such a grand, engaging personality. (Pleasence)