Aidan Baker & Tim Hecker “Fantasma Parastasie” (2008)

What if you got on board both the genuine mastermind behind shoegaze noise doom band Nadja and the most inimitable noisician of emotive electricity Tim Hecker, and convinced them to investigate through the magick of occult wisdoms from the past? In a sense, Fantasma Parastasie is the perfect answer to such a question, yet of course it’s also so much more than that. As we usually say, an analogy is unfortunately condemned to remain a crippled representation of what it’s supposed to reveal, and in this case even more so, because with these two creative artists, you’re in for an atmosphere of the highest (un)reachability. Fuzzy, murky, dense, layered, blurry, thick, foggy, distorted, dreamy, bleak, hazy, benumbed, otherwordly, name it you got it! But what you actually hear is way more than anything you could ever signify with these few words.

Well throughout its complete duration, the album keeps up with a sense of wonder which allows you to feel relaxed and engulfed as well as always on your guard and vigilant. The natural emphasis is indeed on ultra-grainy textures and physical noise expansion, but there’s also a clearly assumed desire to carry complex harmonic and melodious structures into actuality, which makes room for an intense, dynamic and varied record. So from that point of view, Fantasma Parastasie is a perfectly matured and grown ambient noise album, from the second it springs forth to its last breath of life. Consisting of 66 tracks, wherein the seven chapters all effortlessly flow one into the other, we should perhaps assume that this is indeed one single epic composition. By the time Phantom On A Pedestal, the first movement to come on its feet, enters your imaginary mental scene, its darkened tone, starkly contrasting with some sort of transcendantal sound beauty, sits you back among unidentified spirits from somewhere else. If you ask me, the cover artwork perhaps imagines a group of down to earth people experiencing this without having been advised: completely enthralled, some want to touch it; others are looking elsewhere in disgust; an afraid man is ready to use his sword to defend his fear, while the last woman on the right, poor creature, doesn’t seem to clearly understand what’s going on.

At first I had a hard time distinguishing Hecker from Baker and vice versa, the sound being so thoroughgoingly abundant and mellow altogether, but after a while you get to follow the shadowy Bakerish elusive ambiances around the more structured, noisy Heckerish loads of electrical synthesized waves. Both Hymn To The Idea Of Night and Auditory Spirits, for example, are nevertheless devoid of any noise intensity, and rather concentrate on creating audial images of a singular spectral beauty: fans of Tim Hecker’s Harmony In Ultraviolet will certainly feel at home here, while those who prefer the solo dreamlike guitarist Aidan Baker are gonna find much of what they usually enjoy. The three next ones, especially Skeleton Dance, visit the heavier, louder side of things, and you even get to hear, now and then, some micro-altered doom drone kind of noise guitars, which are truly massive to say the least. And last song Fantasma-Parastasie ends everything with a continuous, rumbling deep bass slow-moving drone, reducing the album’s lights, one by one, down to zero nothing. The perfect ending to one intense voyage…

I would say this is an excellent example of two strong egos whom, without loosing any of their respective characteristics, delightfully mingle to the point where you don’t know what is Hecker and what is Baker anymore. One might even think there’s only the “er” left! So for those who still don’t get the ambient noise tag, Fantasma Parastasie could be just what you ought to begin with, if you dare to that is.

-Oliver Side


Release:  2008
Label:  Alien8 Recordings
Avantgenre:  Outer Gloom
Duration:  34:25
Origin:  Canada
Official site:
Review online since:  23.10.2008 / 19:41:53


1 – Phantom On A Pedestal
11 – Hymn To The Idea Of Night
22 – Auditory Spirits
33 – Skeleton Dance
44 – Gallery Of The Invisible Woman
55 – Dream Of The Nightmare
66 – Fantasma-Parastasie

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