"Thoughtspan" consists of 3 long tracks experimenting
with the conventions of space-rock or kraut-rock, combining simple yet
propulsive rhythms with multi-layered drones and ambience.
Although, these tracks may sound like a band,
"Thoughtspan" is essentially a one-person record (apart from violin and
trumpet contributions), as the songs originated with the drum parts
and built up one instrument at a time from that rhythmic base.

01 - Spee
d Of Thought (mp3)
02 - Thought Climate (mp3)
03 - Thoughtspan (mp3)

Click on mp3 to hear music samples


Reviews *** Reviews

Vital Weekly 569
review by Frans de Waard
Of an entirely different nature of course is the music by Aidan Baker, well-known by now through his many releases on as many CDR labels, although things have been quiet a bit of lately. Here he plays everything again, except of some violin and some trumpet parts. Baker plays guitars, drums, bass and vocals. Through the use of a four track machine, Baker has the possibility of playing everything by himself. More than before it seems, he now crosses the line of ambient guitar to psychedelic krautrock and a whole new territory lies open. It seems to me that there is some emphasis on the drums, more than before, and it beats a nice free floating beat, over which it's nice to let your guitar tapestries float free. The bass holds things together. Perhaps it's all a bit too retro krautrock for me, but at the same time it's also pleasant head trip music. And that is sometimes more than enough.

Aquarius Records
If he wanted, Aidan Baker could cruise along making the same record over and over, but a restless musical soul this man must have as even successive releases by his various projects tend to diverge greatly from their various sounds. While Nadja tends to be the most sonically consistent project, existing in the nether gloom of black ambient dream doom or whatever we feel like calling it, his work under his own name has shown the most breadth, veering from clattery noisy experimentation, to ultra minimal drone, to strange collaged jazzscapes, to dreamy slowcore, and one and on... For Thoughtspan, Baker handles the guitars, drums, bass and vocals, with some help on live drums, violin and trumpet, to weave a gorgeously expansive soundscape of laid back, shuffling yet propulsive, krautrocky jazz. Dark and smoky, dreamy and smoldering, the closest sonic comparison might be the Necks, but where the Necks lock into extended cyclical grooves, Thoughtspan plays more like a 'rock' band, albeit a looped, mesmeric one, locked into a seemingly never ending groove, but as the record progresses the music begins to gradually crumble, becoming more and more distorted, everything slowly collapsing inward, the scraping of a violin heralding the shift, as any 'rock' is rent asunder, and all that is left is a strange whirring, creaking ambient dronescape. And that's just the first track, although it is 22+ minutes... The second track, another long one, begins with strange buzzes and metallic shimmers, a very percussive soundfield, peppered with backwards sonic swoops and buzzing steel strings, eventually the drums kick in, and the band is loping into some dense reverbed jam, the buzzing strings stretched out over the propulsive rhythmic framework, eventually fading back into the backwards droning buzz of the first few minutes. Finally, the final 16 minute track, finds Baker creating a strange wide open expanse, distant drones and all sorts of strange muted melodies, with moaned, barely decipherable vocals, and in the middle of it all, a drummer, playing on the rims and the floor and on wood and metal as much as on the kit, the whole vibe is very abstract and freak folk, it's not difficult to hear some Avarus or one of those tribal outfits, but unlike those folky forest dwellers, Baker begins to gradually affect the sounds here, smearing everything into warm droning swells and jagged streaks of resonant buzz, beneath which the drums lock into a staggering sort of midtempo lope, it's dirge-y and dramatic, but still sort of blown out and ambient, before finishing off with a burst of blinding distorted radiance. Packaged in a mini, plastic dvd style case, full color artwork and full color photographic inserts.
review by Stephen Fruitman
By this stage I have been exposed to quite a lot of Aidan Baker´s music (and still only dipped my toe into the ocean of his discography), though I realize that I have only heard his drone work, which I rank among the best around. Thoughtspan (on the feisty Tosom label) shows off his more experimental side. "Speed of Thought", the first of three long tracks is a lovely piece layering sounds that is almost post-rock in nature, a study in the creation of tension and then slow dispersal. "Thought Climate" is regrettably more aimless, the "beat" as it were being kept in desultory style by snare drums. Finally, the title track is a voice experiment, concrete poetry (Baker is also a writer) over free-form percussion before a groundswell of off-key jamming culminating in a cathartic blast of guitar feedback takes us out. My feedback? I miss the dronemeister but admire the restive artist.

Aidan Baker ist ein Musiker und Schriftsteller aus Toronto. Baker ist Multiinstrmentalist, die meisten Instrumente hat er sich selbst beigebracht. Der Kanadier hat bereits zahllose CDs auf Indie-Labels in der ganzen Welt veröffentlicht. Als Solokünstler erforscht Baker vor allem de Möglichkeiten der E-Gitarre, schafft damit Musik von experimentell über Postrock bis hin zu zeitgenössischer Klassik. Das vorliegende Album "Thoughtspan" ist ein Beweis für diese Spannweite. Entspannte Gitarrenexkursionen mit manch schrägem Einschlag. Sich langsam entfaltende Stücke, die mal schneller, mal langsamer einen Höhepunkt zutreiben, krautige Spacesounds, in die man sich fallen lassen kann. Dazu ein präzise arbeitendes Schlagzeug, das einen variantenreichen Rhythmus vorgibt. Zwitschern, zirpen und pfeifen und trotzdem sehr harmonisch… Fans von Fear Falls Burning oder älterer Bohren und The Club Of Gore werden daran ihre Freude haben. Der Hammer schlechthin ist das Titelstück "Thoughtspan". Der etwas rauchige Gesang Bakers hat etwas Beschwörerendes, die langsam hinzukommenden Gitarrenloops verstärken diese Wirkung. Das Schlagzeug läuft dazu im Zick-Zack, mal rhythmisch, mal chaotisch. Absolut fantastisch. Nach zwei Dritteln der Laufzeit kippt das Ganze wieder in den bekannten Sound - eine etwas andere Auflösung wäre wünschenswert gewesen. Ist aber nicht wirklich schlimm.

Paris Transatlantic Magazine
Comprising three "songs" performed by Baker with contributions from Sarah Gleadow, Lucas Baker and Jonathan Demers, Thoughtspan is a different proposition altogether. "Speed Of Thought", despite its title, is a scarcely dynamic yet texturally rich piece that moves along the most contorted meanders of the psyche through disarticulated chords, detuned enchantments and obliquely zinging strings. "Thought Climate" presents even more impenetrable abstractions, beginning with high shrills, percussive titillations and swaying lines that, in their simplicity, give us several uneasy moments. This track's lo-fi vibe recalls Baker's self-produced first album Element, with heavier rhythmic presence and an overall sense of haziness throughout. Baker’s whispery voice sings the title track, immediately paralleled by rolling drums and immaterial "Aidantronics" pulse. Remarkably, it's the drumming that assumes command, establishing a continuous flux of beat'n'hit ritualism that waters its most arcane seeds into a fully-flourished plant whose different colours constitute a potentially intriguing facet of Baker's future experiments. The final minutes bring us back to the Kingdom of Loopscape, the kind of standstill the man from Toronto specializes in.

To Aidan Baker, seizing the moment is not only an intuitive principle of composing, it is also a method of conceptualising his releases: On his homepage, Baker describes each of his albums with a single, poignant phrase, outlining mood and approach in nothing but a few concise words. Even though certain terms keep popping up more often than others (“drones”, “ambient” and “post-rock” constituting a top-3), their constant shuffling and juxtaposition demonstrates his eagerness to avoid repetition and to begin each new record with a clean slate. Of course, “Thoughtspan” does have its cross-references. In a way, these three extended pieces, driven by a full studio-band of percussion, guitar, bass, violin, trumpet and including Baker’s vocals on the closing title track, are a logical continuation of “The Sea Swells a Bit”'s haziness. The purposely irregular computer beats may have been replaced by the dreamily protracted grooves of Jonathan Demer’s drums and the mellow drift of its predecessor deepened into oblique soundscapes between organic experimentation and the smell of illegal herbs and weeds – but both works combine loosely focussed and completely opaque material into contemporary third-eye-music. The difference in perspective results from “Thoughtspan”’s ambition to allow for opposites to linger, instead of gradually resolving them. When Baker brings the hypnotic drive of “Speed of Thought” to a halt at around the ten-minute mark and funnels it into an oneiric tunnel vision, this is not a transmission, but a genuinely autarkic movement within one and the same piece. Similarly, the undefined, almost Free-Jazz like opening to “Thought Climate” is more than just an introduction – it is the composition itself, waiting to be slowly concretised and defined. Hardly anything on this album can be decoded with just one half of the brain. It is interesting in this respect that Baker describes “Thoughtspan” as “experimenting with the conventions of space-rock or kraut-rock”, rather than claiming that it actually sounds like these two genres. It is the general attitude of locking away all watches, of ignoring stylistic conventions and of aiming for something extraordinary with very ordinary tools which places it in this corner. Baker has again recorded the most spontaneous impulse imaginable – while making it sound like a meticulously planned effort.