By now, many know Aidan Baker as one half of the Canadian drone-metal duo Nadja. Somewhere between My Bloody Valentine and Godflesh, Nadja plods and stretches doom into pure bliss. As prolific as Nadja has become (they?ve already unleashed five albums and collaborations this year, with several more on the way), Baker puts out albums even more frequently as an experimental solo artist. Baker?s solo releases are all quite varied, but many explore the seemingly unlimited realms of drone and ambient. With ?Broken & Remade?, however, Baker goes for something entirely different altogether.
The album follows an interesting, streamlined concept. As the liner notes say, ?all songs digitally constructed from 4 to 8 second samples of analog instruments.? Cut up and tossed into the mix are guitar, bass, flute, trumpet, drums, violin, and even some of Baker?s hushed vocals. While portions of the eight tracks retain an expectedly self-conscious, ?glitchy? aesthetic, others sound quite organic and natural.
Even the song titles take a reconstructive approach, switching letters in the album title around to form eight amusing, nonsensical phrases. ?Debra Modern Ken? starts the album off gently with a slow, jazzy groove. ?Ab Mad Kern One Te? picks up the pace a bit with its cymbal-heavy drumbeat before it gives listeners a jolt as it begins to fast-forward and certain samples are played in reverse, finally bringing drums back into the mix for a truly enjoyable finish. Unfortunately, the static ?Anna Broke De Dr Me? has considerably less direction and is unable to sustain itself for the entire track length. ?Karma Orb Need End? ends the album on the right note with a massive, drum-lead drone that almost sounds synth-based, but according to the rules it certainly can?t be.
?Broken & Remade? isn?t quite as consistent as last year?s ?The Sea Swells a Bit? or most of Baker?s work with Nadja. Still, it will certainly be of interest for fans of cut-up electronic music and Baker enthusiasts who want to hear him work a bit outside of the drone/ambient field. It?s truly exciting to think of what Baker might do next with his solo work. Fortunately, we won?t have to wait long to find out. 7/10 -- Franklin Teagle (3 July, 2007)