Aidan Baker's release list on Discogs runs for five pages, and I can't be certain that it's either comprehensive or complete. He is an artist of such abundant output that it's impossible to know where to begin.

His latest release, 'Already Drowning' is for the most part an enormous departure from the sound usually associated with Baker. Where most artists that are blessed/cursed with the shoegaze moniker aim for a fat, creamy mid-range, Baker is wont to focus on a crackling, trebly Velcro fuzz – especially with Nadja. However, 'Already Drowning' is a collection of more classically structured songs, each with a unique female vocalist interpreting, and often translating, the lyrics. The lyrics, incidentally, are all based on myths of female water sprites – because why the fuck not?

The songs often amble over lounge-jazz terrain, cemented by the chanteuses. The opening (and title) track (ft. Clara Engel) rolls out mercurially, with a slow, smouldering heat. Holes are poked in the almost disarmingly trad instrumentation by the tiniest, subtlest of electronic taps.

'30 Days / 30 Nights' (ft. Jessica Bailiff) eases in ever so gradually with that murky, semi-reflective pond that Low do so well, before Bailiff's forlorn spoken word steers it in the direction of Stereolab at their softest. 'Melusine' (ft. Valérie Niederoest and Maude Oswald) and 'Mein Zwilling, Mein Verlorener' (Ft. Joanna Kupnicka) are both repetitive cycles. However, the former's cut-up cymbals and floating vocals couldn't contrast more with the plaintive guitar and Accordion of the latter, beautifully embellished by Kupnicka's Germanic warble.

'Tout Juste Sous La Surface Je Guette' (ft. Geneviève Castrée) is a definite highlight. It's the perfect marriage of the album's somnambulistic pacing and Baker's penchant for creating a ripping, fuzzy squall. For all its restraint, the crescendo is utterly consuming. Castrée's vocals, nasal though they are, complement the music's 'ruhig blitzkrieg'.

The penultimate, ten-minute track 'Ice' (ft. Liz Hysen) revisits the steady-paced, jazzy refrains, with Hysen's spiderweb-thin delivery barely making it over the fanfare chorus, and absent altogether in the pomp and groove of the remaining three minutes. Closer 'Lorelei, Common Tongue' (ft. Carla Bozulich) sounds as though it is the result of all previous experiments. Vocal manipulation, both organic and synthesised, is its glue, and the collage behind it is the regurgitation of all that has come before.

Back on harsher form, I picked up three stunning tapes from my good friend Tommuel. Tommuel is the proprietor of Scrape Tapes, which is becoming one of my go-to labels and distros for good power electronics and darkwave. Scrape Tapes are currently putting out some seriously nice sounds from the Winnipeg-based DIY label Male Activity.

The first tape is a split from Gashkadin and Wet Nurse, both Winnipeg natives. The tape is dedicated to Sidney Bradford, a man who went blind at ten months of age, and received sight once again after a Cornea transplant at 52. Just two years later, however, Bradford died of no specific cause. It is said that his perception of things through sight terrified him, as he had previously only understood them through touch.

The idea is, the riot and cacophony of sight drove him to his death. Power electronics is by design cacophonous, and if described synaesthestically (pretty sure that's not a word, but you know what I'm getting at), it could be described as being full of broad brushstrokes, clashes, and murk. To hammer this home, the front of the tape's insert features a naked and emaciated figure undergoing sensory deprivation, with his eyes covered and genitals taped up.

The Gashkadin side is full of pure disgusting harsh noise, with the final track 'Gloria, Lara "je le veux, j'en ai besoin. Je suis ton vrai'" providing full, explosive release. Lyrically it is the sound of a sad, lonely loser with control issues, screaming rape fantasies at an imaginary lover who just refuses to submit to his pathetic masculinity. The twisted thoughts of someone who has read too much of the Marquis to be allowed in a relationship are complemented perfectly by a deep, rumbling washed of shitstorm noise, made all the bassier on tape (seriously, compare tape with a bass boost to SoundCloud).

The Wet Nurse side begins by supplementing the static with stabs of feedback- 'Trauma Hole' (nice) is an atonal mess on top of an atonal mess for nearly nine minutes. Considering how formless it is, the lack of actual rhythm is unnoticeable – it has its own propulsion, its own means of moving forward without the speed dictated, it seems unstoppable, but nothing is. 'The Man Who Found Out' is an exercise of texture; seemingly random transitions between varying shades of sandpaper.

A second Gashkadin split 'Size & Position', this time with Assimilation, is on a totes chic purple tape. On the Gashkadin side, 'T. Krishna' is in no way going to procure enlightenment (or even a free curry), as it does its level best to render senses useless. A standard wall of noise drops before the gun is cocked and the track drops properly, its slow, measured pulse belying its crushing intensity. MOAR WEIGHT. Tones change, but the march on is steady, to the end. 'Musk of a Man' is bewitching in its repetitive hypnotism, a simple cut up sample repeating over and over and over and over before snapping into a wall of screams and sturm. The jolt it causes is almost enjoyable.

The Assimilation side offers a welcome reprieve from static, as 'Prophylaxis' is more of a microtone exploration that slowly, slowly, tortoisely, drops in pitch to become all more cavernous. Absolutely beguiling to the last, with repeated screams of 'Do not resuscitate'.

Saving the absolute best for last, the irritatingly obscure Bedroom Suite is a thing of absolute beauty. Limited to 20 copies on see through C91, the collection of field recordings, ambient synth loops, guitars, voices and kitchen sink musicality ebbs and flows between light and dark, gently pulling you from one way to the other. Not since I first discovered William Basinski's Disintegration Loops have I felt so emotionally connected to a piece of ambient music. Its softly washing synths push and pull gently, until you unconsciously match your breathing to it and there is a connection between the body and the sound – from here everything external to the tape's core feeds directly into your mind, turning the most incidental of noises into grand events, no matter how insignificant they may or may not seem. Listening to this body of work is an exquisite pleasure, of that there is no doubt.


Head here to the April edition of Black Vase.