LCNL 027: Ross Baker presents Mind in the Shadow Mix

Mind-in-the-Shadow(1)LCNL 027: Mind in the Shadow (Ross Baker)

Ross Baker collages together some influential tracks alongside his own compositions and field-recordings to bring us out into the country.


Introduce yourself.  What do you do, where are you based?

I am Ross Baker, and currently reside in the rudest, least friendly part of the UK, a town called Maidstone in Kent.  It’s not ideal, but I’m hopefully moving to London soon as there’s a bit of an experimental music scene there and I’d really like to get involved.  I’ve lived so far away from any musical strongholds for such a time now that I’m completely out of touch with any real life musicians – I’ve only played one gig in the last few years, which is something I aim to correct soon!

I’ve been making music, in one form or another, since 1995, when I was ten.  Since my dad played me ‘Revolution 9’ by The Beatles at that age, I’ve been interested in creating sound collages – which involved a lot of tape mangling and radio abuse until I got my first computer a few years later.  For quite a while I hid behind the moniker Second Thought, which released five albums of ambient electronica.  At that point I was aiming to create imaginary soundtracks, using field recordings and samples to evoke certain atmospheres – directly inspired by the collaging of The Future Sound of London.  FSOL actually released my third album, Safernoc, on their FSOLDigital label, which was the biggest honour I can imagine.

At the end of 2011 I dropped the name and have been releasing music under my own name.  I’ve become more interested in creating music that’s more personal and nostalgic in sound, and utilises real gear rather than just my computer.  The hands-on approach makes the creative process a lot more fun, and a lot of my recent work has been recorded to four-track.  I’m currently saving up to get some more gear and hopefully leave the computer behind all together.

What are you main aesthetic  priorities?

My friend Andy Condon (who records as The Glimmer Room) and I have been discussing the concept of ‘ruralism’ lately.  The name refers to a political movement (a kind of socialist conservatism which favours an old-fashioned, community-based lifestyle centered around working the land) and an art movement which celebrated old fashioned, rural imagery.  We’ve both started labeling our music as ‘ruralist’, due to a shared interest in making music that is both nostalgic sounding and features natural field recordings.  My music often strays a bit further from the definition than his – as some of the tracks on this mix show!

That’s interesting.  I think there is a lot that is valuable in that perspective, as long as it doesn’t get too escapist.  We have a long  history of “pastoralism” here in North America that I don’t think Europe has much of a tradition of.  Colonial settler nations, ideas about religious freedom, and an incredible amount of open space.  But a lot of people fall into the fantasy of withdrawal, as if we’re not all interconnected.  Too often people in the big cities forget that as well.  So, how did you make the mix?  What holds it together?

Mind in the Shadow is an exploration of the darker, more ragged edges of ruralism – effectively where nature is invaded by the modern day.  You’ll find piecing of gentle acoustic ambience in there – Mike Oldfield, EL Heath, FSOL etc. – but also harsher sounds, such as the Underworld track.  I’ve always had a fascination with things that seem strangely out of place, which sits quite nicely with my collage approach to composition and arranging, I suppose.  I’ve always enjoyed the sinister mystery of seeing strange, unidentified buildings on their own in the distance, surrounded by fields.  Is something sinister going on inside them?  Well, no, probably not, but I was brought up on The X Files and Jon Pertwee-era Doctor Who, so I’ve always been inclined to think that maybe there is…

The mix itself was collaged together in a similar manner to my music, using field recordings to blend the tracks, along with samples from various films and old radio shows.  I’ve also used elements of my forthcoming album, Terra Incognita, to stitch the mix together.  The album explores very similar themes to those I mentioned about the mix, so these elements seemed fitting.

Thank you to A Closer Listen for all the support over the last couple of years!  A wonderful site which has introduced me to so much great new music.


Ross Baker – Terra Incognita (Unreleased)

Tangerine Dream – Zen Garden (Le Parc / Jive Electro)

Winter of the World – The Few Ups and Many Downs of the 21st Century (Unreleased)

Karl Hyde – The Boy With the Jigsaw Puzzle Fingers (Edgeland / UWLive)

Ross Baker – Where Will We Go When the Roads Have All Cracked? (Unreleased)

Off Land – Records (Circadian / Test Tube)

Wir – So and Slow it Goes (The First Letter / Mute)

Ross Baker – Safernoc (Safernoc / FSOLDigital)

Burial – Ashtray Wasp (Kindred / Hyperdub)

Ross Baker – Terra Incognita (Unreleased)

The Future Sound of London – A Glitch in Cellular Memory (Environments 3 / FSOLDigital)

Brian Eno – Becalmed (Another Green World / EG)

Limmy – Millport

The Conet Project

Underworld – Pearl’s Girl (Tin There) (Pearl’s Girl / JBO)

Virlyn – Kristal (Man Asleep / ETALabel)

cubus – Fur Alali (Fur Alali / Jerky Oats)

Siouxsie and the Banshees – She’s a Carnival (A Kiss in the Dreamhouse / Polydor)

EL Heath – Snailbeach District Railway (Snailbeach Mines Trust / Wayside and Woodland)

Ross Baker – Almost Frozen (Eyebrook / Bumpfoot)

Ross Baker – May (I) (May / Self-released)

The Future Sound of London – The Wheel of Life (Environments 4 / FSOLDigital)

Ross Baker – Terra Incognita (Unreleased)

Mike Oldfield – Woodhenge (Platinum / Virgin)

Family – See Through Windows (Music in a Doll’s House / Reprise)

Jack Anderton – Somewhere Sealed (Archive I: Ambient Acoustic / Jerky Oats)

Intelligent Communication – Drive (Principals of Motion / Jumpin’ & Pumpin’)

Xan Alexander – Particle (Quantum Waves / AmbientLive)

Current 93 – Planet (Honeysuckle Aeons / Coptic Cat)

Ross Baker – Terra Incognita (Unreleased)

Giles Corey – Nobody’s Ever Going to Want Me (Giles Corey / Enemies List)

Orbital – Belfast (Orbital / Internal)

About Joseph Sannicandro

writer | traveler | sound organizer | contrarian | concerned citizen

One comment

  1. Pingback: Did you mixx us ? -

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