stepping out into the bright age
|arrival in the kentauran hegemony||*.mp3|
|slow decent into jericho low orbit||*.mp3|
|nova byzantium a thousand spires of light||*.mp3|
|behold the wonders of the visser cube!||*.mp3|
|machine collective wants to play||*.mp3|
|islands in a sea of stars||*.mp3|
|earth is lost||*.mp3|
|legacy of the spooks||*.mp3|
|the coming renunciation||*.mp3|
release date: 02.july2014
programming and production by keith baker
mastering by philipp münch at tiger prawn studio
layout by stefan alt
"it is the dawn of the 28th century. the third renaissance, or bright age as future historians will call it, is at its zenith. after the catastrophic first contact with extra-terrestrial life that led to the horrific solar system war, humanity clawed its way back from the brink and finally reached the stars..."
(from the introduction of 'river of heaven' the roleplaying game by john ossoway)
some time ago newt newport, director of the uk based role playing games company d101 games asked keith “keef” baker if he would be interested in doing a soundtrack for a science fiction roleplaying game he was going to release. he agreed, and spent about a year of preparation absorbing and analysing sci-fi based soundtracks passively before he started to compose the score for 'river of heaven'. trying to capture the heart of those soundtracks while creating a feel that reaches forward towards the future, this digital release by keith's newly established moniker slipdrive includes a combination of kraftwerk, tangerine dream, john carpenter, and music for games and movies like 'mass effect' and 'tron legacy', charged with prog rock and melodic idm elements. a mix of bright powerful analogue sounds, springy reverbs, throbbing basses, hypnotic sequences and contrarhythms will all guide your way following the feel and storyline of the very own 'river of heaven' cosmos. space may be the final frontier...but it is not empty. and with this album it need not be silent either.
"the river of heaven is the name given to the milky way by the chinese. it is an ideaspace formed by generations of humans gazing up into the night sky and thinking "what if?". both keef baker and john ossoway have entered the river of heaven from diferent directions, using different means and have brought back into this world a little bit of its boundless wonder to lighten our days. despite never meeting and they have both created works from a shared ideaspace that exists in the human imagination. john a breathtaking role-playing game of humans in space in the 28th century and keef this stunning uplifting piece of music. both have drawn from science fiction traditions of the 70s and 80s and given it a bit of modern pizzaz. a rich pallette of literature and sounds that talks intelligently through our emotions to our higher selves in tones of optism and joy of discovery. so psychonaut get ready to lift off and through keef's music explore to the bright age of our future."
(newt newport, may 2014)
wounds of the earth
here we have yet another side-project from idm producer keef baker. this time he has set about tackling the task of writing the soundtrack to a futuristic sci fi tabletop rpg (named river of heaven) and has released it under the moniker slipdrive. i wasn't sure what to expect from this release, but i ended up quite liking it. imagine the soundtrack to a retro sci fi video game of the 80s, mixed with tangerine dream and given a modern spin by way of keef baker...and that's exactly what river of heaven is. this is a super nostalgic trip down retro-future lane and is sure to please fans of 70s/80s sci fi and related video games. layers of analog synths and melodies intertwine, coupled with driving percussion. while the synths sound convincingly cheesy (in a good way) and old school, the beats and top notch production give this a strangely modern feel which gives it a sense of identity, and takes it beyond simply being a throwback album. the songs go back and forth between being full-on upbeat, driving pieces like "stepping out into the bright age" to the more subdued, but still somewhat rhythmically driven, "arrival in the kentauran hegemony" to entirely beatless pieces such as "machine collective wants to play". i enjoyed each of these styles, although i prefer the tracks with more percussion - without it it feels as though a small but fundamental element is missing. the more upbeat parts remind me of n5md's spark and his chiptune/idm hybrid sound. a neat release that i found myself quite enjoying. this sound isn't something that i listen to all that much, but i can definitely appreciate it and i know others will as well. a worthwhile side-project, even if it's just a one-off effort (though it would be cool it there was more material in the future). would like to see more idm guys get the opportunity to write soundtracks like this.
i will always welcome another project by keef baker since announcing the retirement of the main output under his slightly bastardised own name (keith). this time his attention is focussed squarely on an official soundtrack for john ossoway’s ‘river of heaven’ role playing game released by d101. utilising the notion that the river of heaven is the name given to the milky way by the chinese, it’s easy to grasp the concept of baker’s intentions musically as the album opens. a firm grasp of sci-fi enthusiasm makes way for an aural cosmos of rich starlit sounds, which utilise key essences of computer game technology sound-wise and are wrapped up with clinical, yet warm beat play that stands firm with the aesthetics of hymen records. there is much to be made from the press bumpf that namedrops tron legacy and john carpenter soundtracks. thematically speaking, the source material sustains the concept musically and the warping electronics enriched by glowing pads, drive home a vision of past future notions made reality; all within a balloon of modern space age electronica. as always, baker is the consummate professional where musical structure and composition is concerned; every note has a purpose, every ambient backdrop a rich bed for harmonies to bounce across whilst the rhythm sections remain razor sharp. this is a much different album from what we have heard previously from keef, whilst retaining the ever so slight nuances that firmly stamp home the name of the composer. overall, ‘river of heaven is one of those releases that i would have loved to seen released on hard copy to join my collection of his exemplary work; from an artist with more strings than his bow could possibly brace.
for more information about the river of heaven rpg please visit:
slipdrive official webpage: