|tombola thrill killer||*.mp3|
|eric dawsons porcelain god||*.mp3|
|the glass tax||*.mp3|
|the only way||*.mp3|
born in widnes and living in leeds, uk keith 'keef' baker has been
writing music under various names since 1989. starting out in death
metal bands and moving into indie and jazz, keef became a session
bassist and also a computer game musician. over the years, he learned
to play various instruments including bass, keyboard, guitar, drums,
mandolin, sitar and double bass. however he rediscovered music through
bands such as skinny puppy, test dept and autechre in the early to mid-90s which was when his attention turned to more electronic music. through the years this music has mutated into a cross breed of
influences. in his' own words, the 'keef baker' project started as a cross between gridlock, somatic responses, venetian snares and tri repetae period autechre. 'i have expanded (these influences) to include
a lot more including dub, jazz, bits of metal, funk, post-rock, straight drum & bass, indie-rock and the like. not in an attempt to break new ground but in an attempt to write the kind of music i'd like to listen to. if new ground ends up being broken on the way then all the better. redeye has took nearly 2 1/2 years to write, the earliest track on it dates back to around june/july '04 and the latest to around nov '06. redeye refers to two things, one being an old fashioned term for whiskey and the other referring to the feeling of tiredness that i've had for quite some time.'
the uniqueness of keef's musical talent can be described in mixing the
above mentioned influences without breaks within one single track.
melodic idm, drum & bass patterns, breakcore effect usage and sampling
weirdness endorse each other, the changing of rhythms totally make sense, the different moods keep the listener in a permanent state of positive tension. a perfect symbiosis of electronic and acoustic
instruments ('tombola thrill killer' with its embedded electric bass might be an example). the quality of the production is just stunning: clear, powerful and transparent. this is one of these albums you will
listen to dozens of times and you always find some new details - the time it took to finish 'redeye' is obvious on every note.
i never quite know what to expect with keef's output. with the huge variety of influences - not only idm, but also electronics, industrial, jazz, death metal and god knows what else - it sometimes leaves you with the feeling to not only expect the unexpected, but also to perhaps fear where he might take you next on his musical odyssey. and odyssey is the word here - at 68 minutes, there is a lot to take in. the atmosphere at once is set to the depths of the night, maybe that time on the way home from a club. kirkstall morrisons glitters with a celestial beauty, while derbyshire dark comes in two halves - the first half continuing a swirling mist, the second suddenly galloping forward into a beat driven spiral, before strings take over and the water calms again. qaop space is another highlight, with mournful synth lines sweeping in and out of a restrained beat pattern, with all kinds of retro-electronics joining in the fun later on, while an interrogation is an ocean of blissful calm, where even the drum rhythms that are there are not too intrusive, at least until later in the track. the heavily treated vocals are just the icing on the cake. i could go on, but we'd be here all night - otherwise dirty basslines make their appearance, there is lush trip hop, glitchy drum'n'bass, pianos, even what sounds like some treated acoustic guitars on last track the only way, which is where the watery sun brings us out of the realms of night. the variation, and conversely the control, displayed on this album is phenomenal. despite the use of so many styles, everything just works and flows. although the album is very long, don't let it put you off. just pull the curtains shut to keep out the light, and let keef take you on a journey into recesses that you may not have noticed were there. you won't regret it.
a review in russian language can be found on machinistmusic's website:
keef baker has a long state of duty as musician in which he focusses on electronic music since the 90’s, inspired by bands such as test dept., skinny puppy and autechre. his music is best described as a crossbreed of ambient. idm and breakcore to which the sound has come into existence on intuition rather than mathematic precision. his previous cd was released by ad noiseam and his current album is now 2.5 years later released by hymen. melancholic ambient and idm go well together with clashing beats and explosive breakcore patterns which makes you indeed think of the late autechre, but also of venetian snares or even somatic responses. beautiful melodies and distortion. you will also hear fragments of commodore 64 sounds and jazz, metal, classical music and dub rise to the surface in the sound on redeye. he makes use of acoustic instruments which gives the music and sound on this album more depth. this doesn’t sound forced anywhere and does not get on your nerves either, but in the long run the richness in influences and ideas gets a bit exhausting to listen to. it is best to totally absorb the music when you feel fit and are not too tired yourself, or to play this while you’re busy doing other things. a well made album it is though, this keef baker album, and it is one you have to let grow on you. give it some time and you’ll surely be rewarded. (teknoir)
when your chosen field of musical interest tends towards electronica and idm, sometimes you need your faith restored just a little; something to let you know the scene you've grown to love so much isn't growing stale or running out of ideas. this is where "redeye" comes in to the picture. keef baker's 4th release, and 1st release on the highly respected hymen records label, "redeye" seemingly integrates idm and breakbeat songs which actually have melody, programmed percussion that fleshes out the sound beautifully and occasional vocal work, all of which give this album so much more soul than most electronica releases of late. this is a stunning release with a depth and feeling that very few manage to achieve. "redeye" starts with "kirkstall morrisons", a track which begins with a glitchy, almost 'interference noise' sound followed by a beat that actually makes you jump - think of watching a horror film, and something unexpected happens, that sort of feeling. "tombola thrill killer" is almost industrial to begin with; i can certainly imagine some angry sounding vocals over that to go with the guitars, but luckily it calms down in to a relaxed vibe all of its own around halfway through. "bobfoc" has a sound not dissimilar from bitcrush and is soothing and painful in equal measure; an emotional rollercoaster as it were. "qaop space", is an intense and quite memorable track in the vein of tarmvred's "viva 6581" with all its 8-bit quirky goodness. it made me think of two things - first if keef had gone totally mad, and second why couldn't i get kraftwerk's "the model" out of my head - the start really does sound like the chorus of said song... or at least it does to me. other tracks of note are the really quite wonderful "thalamess", which is certainly the noisiest track on the cd, it's definitely not straight up power noise and has a beauty all of its own. the ending track "the only way" is a sombre note to end on, featuring minimal lyrics and haunting piano melodies, that really do pull on the heartstrings somewhat. in conclusion, i'd say this album is an absolute necessity to any electronica enthusiast's collection. if you were starting to get a bit bored with hearing the same thing rehashed over and over again, this will give you the kick you need to see that there is still life in electronica yet. (kate turgoose)
what would you think if i say, “someone shoved a knife deep into my heart and all i felt was joy”? sounds pathetic? sure... but all i wanted to describe is the feeling that i had after listening to keef baker’s new album called “redeye”. this album is like traveling around the world in less than 60 minutes. it’s filled with rough edges. i love it when things aren’t so apparent. “redeye” is an album with power and a rough energy, but it’s also an album, which is really loud and powerful in its quietest moments. this chameleon plays hide and seek with the listener. for example take “tombola thrill killer” a track that starts with a hardcore punk loop and becomes a colorful picture in the end the track goes back to the start. this album can’t be conceived in one listen through, it shows you all of its beauty like a rose unfolding its petals. pathetic again? yes, again. i love this album; it is a beautiful labyrinth that is essential for your ears. an adorable album that causes danger of addiction. wonderful!
black issue 46
was sich bei der ep „pure language“ bereits angekündigt hatte, entlädt sich nun in ganzer epik auf dem album: keef baker mag akustik. gitarre, klavier, streicher, ganz egal. hauptsache die melancholische note der brummigen elektronik darf noch etwas mehr emphase transportieren. die wuchtig schleppenden tracks bleiben enorm emotional, aber das crescendo-breitwand-rauschen muss sich diesmal mehr rhythmik und melodie unterordnen. seien es computerchip-kaugummi-sounds oder 4/4-housebeats, irgendwie scheint ein quäntchen mehr lebensfreude in die mixtur gerutscht. nichtsdestotrotz bleibt der brite eigentlich indierocker im herzen und presst seinen weltschmerz in warmes gesummse und brummige romantik. die absolut perfekte platte für jegliche dämmerzustände. keef baker bleibt ein frischer umdeuter von emotronica. (till)
redeye could appeal to people of many different tastes, but it does so without compromising quality. keef baker's redeye is a dense, multi-layered, energetic, and enjoyable effort that takes several unexpected turns throughout its playing time. at any moment, any given track could suddenly explode into chaos after settling the listener into a placid mood. baker knows how to build tension in a track and exploits this to its fullest. just when the listener believes a composition is headed in one direction, the rug is swiftly pulled out and expectations are confounded. the real triumph of this approach is how baker manages to keep these sudden twists and turns from turning his tracks into a disjointed mess. as surprising as some of these moments are, they all feel right at home as part of the songs in which they occur. another pleasing aspect of redeye would be its use of organic textures and big, warm analog sounds. all of these seemingly disparate elements collide to create a surprisingly satisfying sound, and despite baker's penchant for unannounced bouts of audio trickery, redeye remains a very accessible and listener-friendly release. there are several high points on redeye, and these start right at the beginning with the slow burn of "kirkstall morrisons" erupting into distortion borne aggression at about the halfway mark before settling into a more relaxed, yet still upbeat disposition. "tombola thrill killer" kicks in immediately with a driving rhythm and the welcome addition of some suitably nasty sounding distorted bass. "an interrogation" succeeds at the impossible: utilizing vocoder effects that actually enhance the song instead of devolving the entire composition to a fratboy conversation piece. keef baker has the right idea, a solid sound, an ear for composition, and the gift for producing a great sounding record. the sounds present on redeye are huge, well captured, and fully realized. this album comes highly recommended, as it succeeds in finding a middle ground not often sought by electronic musicians these days: challenging without being off-putting, accessible without being boring. (nate rand)
only keef would dare produce something so utterly dripping with emotion and technical accomplishment, and then give the tracks some of the most ridiculous titles going. only a northern lad could call a track ‘kirkstall morrision’s’, and get away with it. saying that, this opener sets the precedence for what is to come, with scattered and destroyed breaks and intricate melodies that fight each other under the affray. ‘derbyshire dark’ has one of the most addictive hooks that heard in any track, ever, pure and simple. it’s a monolith of a track, ticking every box that is required and more. beautiful strings, piano and the subtle heartbeat of the rhythm section keeps it flowing. again this trademark lead ties it all together again, and it’s a line you can’t get out of your head. it’s an immersive spectacular journey of a song. redeye never lets anything run away with itself. everything is key to the album as a whole. it has purpose, and as dramatic and serious as it can be a little tongue in cheek in places. from tool like guitar riffs, to glorious washes of synth and crashing cymbals, this album never lets go of itself, being mindful as not to stray where it shouldn’t. ‘qaop space’ is a fine example of this, constructed on a c64, you have to credit the sheer nerve of the lad. it pays off, and while being a little on the cheese side as what you would expect from the sound sources, keef happens to create an emotional romp that ends up being my favourite track of the album, down to the main hook alone. fantastic.
all in all, redeye is one of those albums you simply have to purchase. keef baker is to electronic music what pie n’ mash is to the north of england. essential. (tony young)
mit einer veröffentlichungsgeschichte auf n5md und ad noiseam kann für den mann aus leeds wenig schiefgehen. ein mann der samples, der breaks, der weiten sounds, ein mann, der weiß, wie man deepness grinden muss, um heute noch jemanden hinter dem ofen vorzuholen. das verrückte grinsen eines herrn james, gepaart mit den chopping-algorithmen aaron funks und dem willen, die welt mit der distortion zu verändern, die sie verdient. einfach ein fest.
english experimental electronics was always notable for its flexibility, pleasant sounding, melodiousness and innovations able to widen the horizons of listeners' sound perception. in this english manner the new work of english musician keef baker was recorded on german label hymen records. album redeye bursts out from the very beginning in the first lively track "kirkstall morrisons", its melodies remind a little bit global goon and production of rephlex rec. but the basis of this album is much more broken, syncopated rhythmical structure. from the first seconds of its sounding kirkstall morrisons touches you deeply and for a long period of time. the second composition "derbyshire dark" has its own special mood and nostalgia, very pleasant and professional shift from drill'n'bass to the more calm idm. nostalgia is replaced by the series murderer "tombola thrill killer". now the listener gets acquainted with the dark side of keef baker - absolutely different instruments, guitars with intentinal 'dirty' sound, aggressive drum line. everything sounds like a soundtrack for some films with serial murderers and maniacs. threatening track for uneducated listeners. the next composition "bobfoc" - trip through unsafe places, unfriendly atmosphere, the surrounding street panorama casts anxiousness over its visitors. it's easy to imagine prickly wind blowing rubbish and papers along pavements... "qaop space" is the next change of mood waiting for us, jolly syncopated idm rhythms return to us together with modulating toy melodies, something similar could be heard at the beginning of the album. already at the middle of the album redeye you understand that this work doesn't belong to the category of albums pushing you in deep depression. on the contrary, this record rouses great sympathy and leaves very exalted and light feelings after listening. "an interrogation" is very much alike with the wonderful guitar team mogwai but played by one multiinstrumentalist keef baker. the whole second part of the album, starting with "eric dawsons porcelain god", "ips terroni" is recorded in one melodious idm style without any significant experiments out of the standards of idm music. "thalamess" is the separate monument for the hard and uncompromising music, due to its drive this composition reminds some kind of an unexpected tornado. final composition of this release "the only way" is some kind of lullaby, for time travellers it's high time to go back home. nice and romantic album, one thing that bothers is that redeye was made in the ordinary frame of one musical style. but if you like this style, this disc won't pass by you.
the widnes years. cd. n5md md124. 2004
the widnes redevelopment project. cd. n5md md133. 2005
pure language. cd-ep. ad noiseam adn59. 2006
redeye. cd. hymen records ¥757. 2007
keef baker on the web: