Contemporary music from everywhere

Aidan Baker | N – Doppellive


Twitter is alive with a side-splitting conspiracy theory this weekend. It would seem that U.S. President Donald Trump stepped off a plane with a Melania look-alike. I’ll leave it to you to decide for yourself. But while we must in all fairness consider the images inconclusive, the idea of Trump not being able to get a date with his own wife is too gratifying to dismiss outright.

Speaking of doppelgangers, a pair of artists who’ve been frequently compared to one another have released a double CD featuring live recordings from two improvisational sessions. Aidan Baker’s guitar is presented alongside N’s guitar and electronics.

The first Doppellive disc features the 38-plus-minute piece “150316 hamburg.” Recorded aboard a ship docked in the German city, Baker’s ambient-style performance is a pleasant counterpoint to N’s gritty drones. It builds slowly, very slowly in fact.

Together, the duo’s music is inviting. But it demands that listeners attune themselves to the work. Slow your mind, and take in its rich subtleties.

Disc two presents the 41 ½-minute “230316 wuppertal + hidden track.” We get more of the same nuanced drones. At times, Baker dominates. At others, the force of N is almost overpowering.

This recording comes from a performance in the German city Wuppertal. They were in an art gallery there, next to the city’s Suspension Railway. We’re told the passing trains can be heard on the recording, every 10 minutes or so.

Doppellive is deeply meditative, and if your headphones are up high enough, packed with the kind of detail that separates great drone recordings from good ones.

Kevin Press

The Moderns, vols. 1 and 2, by Kevin Press are available exclusively from Amazon.

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