Baths – Cerulean Baths – Cerulean

Baths – Cerulean

Baths – Cerulean

Baths – Maximalist
L.A.’s Will Wiesenfield is no stranger to glitchy electronic music. Whilst Cerulean is his debut full length under the Baths moniker, Wiesenfield has previously sculpted beats under the Post-Foetus name, as well as sharing company with the likes of Daedalus, Nosaj Thing and Flying Lotus. I am a big fan of all of the above artists, however being the sucker for a catchy hook that I am, I always need to be in the right headspace to fully appreciate the likes of Nosaj or FlyLo. Cerulean rewards full length listens with its’ emotional cohesiveness but also provides tracks catchy enough to survive on their own, whether amongst friends or for casual listens on the bus. Baths takes the current L.A. electronic sound and gives it a much needed pop edge. The result is Cerulean. The result is a thing of beauty.

As a listener I tend to lean towards music that is emotionally charged, a trait that is sometimes difficult to inject into electronic music. If there is one overarching theme in Cerulean, it is emotion. Take the beat heavy “Maximalist” for example- woozy synths sound in and out of what can only be described as beefy beats, before a self help style sample of, “It takes a lot of courage to go out there and radiate your essence”. Or the steady and whimsical amble of “♥”. Even the title itself lends to the emotional weight of Cerulean. But the apex has to be with the heart-wrenching “Plea”, “You can taste your future/ but I’ve lost focus/Please tell me you need me”. It’s heavy stuff, but Wiesenfield wisely ensures that the lyrics are slightly less emotionally direct than the music, lest the listener spend the 45 minutes of Cerulean sobbing into their Apple Macs.

But emotional needn’t necessarily mean sad. Opener (and oddly titled) “Apologetic Shoulder Blades” showcases Wiesenfields’ manipulation of Four Tet esque blips and blops before his soaring vocals come in to lift the piece up, despite sounding like they’re being sung underwater. The J Dilla influenced “Lovely Bloodflow” is an album highlight, with hip hop beats and beautifully placed guitar harmonics. The rising fuzzy synths in the background raise the track, making it more than a suburban LA funk jam.

Special mention has to go to the beautifully innocent “Aminals”. Featuring children’s voice samples throughout, it opens with a young girl describing how, “And…I talk nicely to them….and try and get them to come closer…” Before Weisenfield’s joyous beats and synths parade in.

The only cut that proves less than essential is “You’re My Excuse To Travel”, which whilst providing touching sentiments comes off more as Wiesenfield doing his best Mr. Passion Pit impression. Still, it’s a minor flaw in the track and not bad for a 12 track album.

Overall, Cerulean is fantastic. It is hard to describe through written word just how strikingly beautiful this album is when in the right headspace, and even then, it’s a fantastic piece of work. The beats have muscle and the lyrics hit all the right spots through Wiesenfields’ more than capable voice.

Four Tet and the L.A. crew had better watch their backs; all of a sudden Mr. Wiesenfield finds himself rubbing shoulders with James Murphy in album of the year territory.

Baths – Cerulean Tracklist:
01. Apologetic Shoulder Blades
02. Lovely Bloodflow
03. Maximalist
04. ♥
05. Aminals
06. Rafting Starlit Everglades
07. Hall
08. You’re My Excuse To Travel
09. Rain Smell
10. Indoorsy
11. Plea
12. Departure

Baths - Cerulean, reviewed by Lemon on 2010-08-09T10:34:39-07:00 rating 4.4 out of 5

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