Hoko to Shin Ken
60 to 0
Oben Beg (mk 2)
Baikonour – For the Lonely Hearts of the Cosmos
‘a hybrid of fucked up treatments and loop-based kraut-isms. More Air than hot air.’ DJ
The historical Baikonour (in Khazakstan) was known for hosting a Soviet launch base, but its musical counterpart goes by the real name Jean-Emmanuel Krieger and has nothing to do with missiles. He takes residence in Brighton, UK which might be interpreted as a latent need to be closer to his spiritual home and birthplace; Versailles, France. For a rich seam of future like-minded artists has been mined from the denizens of that town in recent years, including names such as Air, Etienne de Crecy and Alex Gopher.
Jean-Emmanuel’s own musical upbringing progressed through many stages, stages reflected in his own creative output, as the man himself admits. Growing up with ‘Pink Floyd from Dad and Marvin Gaye from Mum’ he later found himself ‘obsessed with British indie pop in the ’80s, like Cocteau Twins and My Bloody Valentine. I think you can hear a lot of guitars in my album and I’ve always been facinated by guitars and the variety of sound you can get. This is why I like the Cocteau twins, MBV and Sonic Youth as they have that in common.’
These days, however, you’re more likely to find him plugged into a wide variety, ‘Jamaican music is a favourite as well as Krautrock (massively) and another love being Indian music. What else? Alice Coltrane (the indian music connection here), Soft Machine, Os Mutantes, Television, Manuel Gottsching, Japanese Noise, Neil Young, Eno, Cluster and Deuter, 60’s psych and Scott Walker. I’m still interested in what Amon Tobin, Boards of Canada and Mouse on Mars are up to’. This intricate path of musical touchpoints has served to enrich Baikonour’s own output with every flavour imaginable, steering from Kraut-influences to jazz and always underpinning each piece with, simply, great tuneage. All inspired by his predecessors’ ‘total lack of commercial ambition and the will to do something different’.
That’s an admirable ambition indeed, and For The Lonely Hearts Of The Cosmos adheres closely to its principles. For this record, Jean-Emmanuel went back to the style and inspiration of the sounds he grew up with. ‘I mixed and recorded everything myself, using mainly old instruments. But everything has been recorded and edited on a Mac using digital emulations of classic 60’s compressors and Eqs’. But that’s not all, For The Lonely Hearts Of The Cosmos lives by the oath of collaboration and was recorded in a truly pan-continental sense. ‘All the live drums have been played by Lee Adams from Imitation Electric Piano except on Hoku To Shin Ken’ which has been played by Eiji F Morotomi and recorded in Tokyo, Japan. Etienne Rodes is playing most of the 6 strings guitar parts on this track too’.
The near future beckons more work with Baikonour’s contemporaries, namely lining up with some of his old collaborators by ‘playing with Imitation Electric Piano, playing bass and mixing the new album’. Until then, you’ll have his own opus to admire; it’s for the entire cosmos after all.