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Baïkonour - For the Lonely Hearts of the Cosmos

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Artist: Baïkonour

Album: For the Lonely Hearts of the Cosmos

Label: Melodic

Review date: Aug. 11, 2005

An intergalactic scene is inked on the cover and the title evokes astral barony, but this debut album from the bedroom starsurfer who goes by Baïkonour is thoroughly grounded. The product of French-born/England-based Jean-Emmanuel Krieger, it evinces that certain Gallic tendency for Floydian space-pomp. But Krieger sources the once-removed jazzy spookiness of The Virgin Suicides more than Meddle or More. Mid-album, “Hoku To Shin Ken” is practically a slow motion Godin/Dunckel medley. Krieger, like Air and others referencing both Floyd and the prog lineage as a whole, zooms in on specific iterations of the genre – a watery organ burble, a one-note bass churn – and clips them out for re-contextualization in zippy, brief tracks where these sonic souvenirs are lock-grooved, intersected and set marching nowhere-bound. Under the post-rock umbrella, Baïkonour belongs to the camp of lifestyle psychedelia. His lysergic-like modules of fuzz guitars, synth gurgles and mono-rhythms don’t make for any para-physical architecture, just unboring structures.

Though Mac-generated, Baïkonour’s colorless instrumentals are not exactly e-music. Backed by the live drumming of Imitation Electric Piano’s Lee Adams, songs like “Coltan Anyone” and “2/3/74” find Krieger dabbling Rhodes tremolo-clusters, palm-muted dry chords and the occasional oscillation onto a steady, Kraut-ish pummel. “60 to 0” has some white-hot MBV spume dripping on early Eno machine beats only to end with lite-piano twinkles echoing (again) that aforementioned French duo with the sandy-hair and suede loafers. Most incongruous is the matching of old-school Casio demos with Spacemen 3 drone blues on closer “Ultra Lazuli.” It’s a twilit séance with every bulb burning bright, proving Baïkonour may harken back to other side voyagers but he seems incapable – or just unwilling – to take the trip himself.

By Bernardo Rondeau

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