KEEF BAKER: Dry / Barren CD / DIGITAL DOWNLOAD Hymen Records
So we come to the end of the journey for Keef Baker releasing work under his own name, as he shifts his focus to other projects that have been making a mark. All the odds and sods that he hasn’t used over the years were passed to his label to compile a collection of songs that are a fitting departure to a remarkable journey. Released in the same format as his latest Nimon masterpiece; we have the main album in hardy copy format, backed up with a digital partner to give you more bang for your buck.
It is of no surprise that the majority of the CD ‘Dry’ harks back to Baker’s n5MD days musically. Opener ‘Stumpy’s Christmas Delight’ and ‘Soldeed’ wouldn’t have sat that out of place on his debut, ‘The Widnes Years’; with beats that fit well within much of the structures of his early work, accompanied by subtle harmonies and Keef’s well placed music theory that has served him so well on all his accomplishments.
The dry humour is as evident as it always was, with the ability to create some of the more evocative IDM out there, carrying the listener on a rocky emotional rollercoaster; only then to give it a tongue in cheek moniker to lift all seriousness out of the equation. It’s this ability to see life from both sides of the proverbial coin, that carries the listener on life’s ship of chartering the choppiest of seas, to the calmest of lakeside shores, that has elevated Baker into one of the scenes most respected underdogs.
From the situational aspects of the ludicrous ‘Jason Cheng and His Football Game’ (something I can relate to well), to the serious breakcore Venetian Snares nod of ‘Amenema’, and the soaring pads of ‘Moar Ambient pls Kthxbye’, as examples; we have here over the course of 35 tracks, an insight into all the tools at Bakers disposal. None of his other projects sound like the work he has done under his own banner, yet as always, all of this output is incredibly varied and of the highest standard.
It’s sad to see this chapter end, but then everything does have to have a conclusion, as everything in life is finite in one way or another. However, what better way to end a section of ones career by submitting a release of throwaway tracks, that have the ability to blow away many artists’ much prized main bodies of work; which surely underlines the credibility of Baker’s place in underground electronic music history.