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A Magazine for Sheffield

Aidan Baker Soil

Soil is a largely distant and hazy wash of droning and reverberating noise.

Released: 12 June 2020

Dauntingly prolific and impressively consistent, Canadian experimental musician (and one half of drone metal band Nadja) Aidan Baker brings us one of his several 2020 releases, Soil, on brand-new Sheffield label Utility Tapes.

As one might expect from a drone or ambient release, this is 42 minutes of texture designed to be consumed as a whole, a vessel primed to guide you through its world of sound when 2020 has you feeling like you need an escape.

Open tracks 'Rill 1' and 'Rill 2' are both built on the unnerving buzz of an unplugged speaker lead, with part one hiding beneath lush layers of looping and reversed guitars lulling you into a dream via a gradually rising tide of ambient noise.

Part two takes a second pass at a similar mix, bringing that usually undesirable buzz to the fore and relying more on discord, never allowing the loops to settle and making for a more uncomfortable ride. Thus the two sides of the record are laid out.

Soil is a largely distant and hazy wash of droning and reverberating noise, but an undercurrent of discomfort pervades a good portion of these massaging tones. Percussive interlude 'Kolk' introduces a rhythmic element, with two plinking guitar notes endlessly delayed like multiplying bouncy balls, and this rippling sense of pulse continues into the menacing 'Surface Creep'.

Closer 'Rainfall & Distance' is arguably least effective, playing like a simple guitar jam drenched in delay, but this doesn't stop Soil being an intriguing and immersive journey.