Baby Ford, Tin Of Worms

[Autoreply Music]


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It’s difficult to mention Baby Ford in 2009 without feeling the need to also discuss the passing of his longtime production partner, Ian “Eon” Loveday. Ford’s Trelik label was established primarily to release his work with Loveday, whether solo or together as Minimal Man. Loveday also lent his talents to the now seminal Baby Ford & The Ifach Collective project. Although the frequency of their collaborations tapered off after the turn of the century, one imagines the bond between them never weakened. All the more reason “Tin of Worms,” Baby Ford’s latest single released only days after Loveday succumbed to pneumonia, feels inexorably linked with his partner’s untimely passing. Production schedules suggest the music was likely complete well beforehand, yet a pall hangs heavily over the release.

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“Tin of Worms” isn’t overtly macabre so much as lacking small comforts to make listeners yearn for repeat spins. On the title track, aching, amporphous bass coats the mechanical thrusts of vintage drum machines like a sore mood. Only minor details — shuddering drum fills, stereo-scanning pads and malicious snaps — emerge from the sulferous atmosphere Ford concocts. With little to hold on to, the aggregate effect of “Tin of Worms” is a dejected sort of numbness. If the A side feels inhibited, B-side “Westway” offers a mournful reply, coming to grips in a still quite restrained way. A series of sustained piano chords are shadowed closely by doleful synth sighs whose indistinct and drooping tone suggests a sort of moan. Hushed percussion ticks off time next to almost frantic kick drum eighth notes and broken piano arpeggios, obscuring whether the track is fast or slow. Like its flipside, “Westway” is not particularly gratifying, which has as much to do with its pragmatic focus as the sorrowful sentiments it carries. In some ways these are just another set of utilitarian Baby Ford tracks in line with the minimal master’s oeuvre. Yet the crestfallen tones communicate a vexing if unintentional sentiment of loss, which might not earn the record much airtime but perhaps a sentimental place in DJs’ collections.

jim  on September 12, 2009 at 5:00 AM

‘Westway’ is gorgeous, really melancholy. To use so few elements and create an atmosphere like this takes a lot of talent.

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