It doesn't matter where David Baker has been. There are rumors and whispers, hints and allegations, supposed truths far stranger than fiction. Pay them no mind. What matters is that David Baker is back. Having released the stunning debut LP 'Central Flow' last year, Baker returns to the UK under his Variety Lights guise to tour with Pere Ubu in April 2013. Joining him for a special UK Tour version of Variety Lights, the live line-up will feature Swervedriver/Bolts of Melody guitarist Adam Franklin.
Although Variety Lights' 'Central Flow' signals Baker's return to music after close to two decades out of the limelight, in some respects he's been here all the time. His otherworldly fingerprints are smeared across an entire generation of avant-pop records channeling his sound and vision: Erase from the annals of music history Baker's pioneering work on the first two, most formally radical Mercury Rev albums (Yerself Is Steam and Boces, respectively) or the solo effort World, credited to his Shady alias, and the widescreen ambitions of contemporary critics' darlings like Animal Collective, Deerhunter and Tame Impala become absolutely unthinkable.
Admirers of Baker's previous work will find much to savour on 'Central Flow', but don't expect a retread. Recorded at his own Over the Trees studio, Variety Lights' taut, post-Teutonic electronic pop fuses Baker's spectral, multi-layered croon with burbling, buzzing analogue synthesizers, programmed rhythms and an arsenal of guitar effects. Songs like 'Silent Too Long' and 'You Are So Famous' expertly balance the human and the alien, juxtaposing chrome-plated melodies against Baker's most emotionally intense and direct performances to date.
The forthcoming tour will welcome the first Variety Lights performances outside the US and promise to be thrilling and enthralling events. Featuring David Baker's charismatic persona on vocals and keyboards, he will be joined on stage by a very special line-up including Adam Franklin on guitar, Chaetan Newell on drums and Weston Broske on bass.
All dates with Pere Ubu
13 April: The Haunt, Brighton, UK
14 April: Arts Centre, Colchester, UK
15 April: The Sage, Gateshead, UK
16 April: Fibbers, York, UK
17 April: Mono, Glasgow, UK
18 April: Band On The Wall, Manchester, UK
19 April: Thekla, Bristol, UK
20 April: Rescue Rooms, Nottingham, UK
21 April: Robin 2, Bilston, UK
22 April: Eric's, Liverpool, UK
23 April: Bush Hall, London, UK
Listen to 'Invisible Forest' here: