Baths – Obsidian Baths – Obsidian

Baths - Obsidian (2013)

Baths – Obsidian (2013)

Obsidian came out a month ago. Shit. I could justify this by saying that this album has taken awhile to take hold but in all honesty I have not been checking into electronic music as much as I used to. I haven’t been around these parts in a while. Despite not being a part of the electronic music world anymore, escaping Baths’ third album is almost impossible. I keep hearing about this record and its potential to emotionally cripple its listener. I am glad I am taking this opportunity to listen to it because I need about an hour to really figure out what in the hell is going on.

This is electronic music right? I am not in the wrong place am I?

Baths is the moniker of Will Wiesenfeld who has been releasing critically acclaimed records since 2010. His debut, Cerulean, made a significant impression with its unusual employment of vocal samples and found sounds. Obsidian is the third record for the creator but it seems it is shaping up to be not only his most successful to date, but the one which makes the most sense. Caught somewhere between solo piano, IDM, acid trips, and hazy general electronic music lies music that is wandering out on the side of the road alone and confused. It doesn’t have any sort of identification but I do not think I will ever forget its name.

Compared to Cerulean and even Pop Music/False B-sides, Obsidian prides itself on balance. There are no point in the album which becomes too overbearing. While vocal breaks and grinding electronic music used to work exquisitely for the producer, Obsidian succeeds because of its subtlety. There is a dark surrealism which runs through the album which makes songs like “Incompatible” with its emotional and sexual apathy so successful. Wiesenfeld has learned that with a steady beat and well-leveled atmosphere, songs can retain their fucked-up nature given just the right composition.

Obsdian shows a creator which has matured with a few albums. The mid song IDM noise in “No Eyes” is used with a wry smile because in all honesty it is jarring and unsettling but never obnoxious. Combine this with the lyrics “And it is not a matter of / If you mean it / But it is only a matter of / Come and fuck me” repeated over a near synth dance beat and one has music that could be a radio hit if you squint your eyes just enough. “No Eyes” not only illustrates Wiesenfeld’s musical irreverence but his desire to use songs as scrawled journal entries which retain just as much catharsis as they do sarcastic humor.

I take back what I originally said. I do not think this is electronic music. This is something elese which cannot be fixed with a house, disco or trance label. If I was an asshole I would just leave it up to “electronica” but we have moved past that. We have crossed over into lands full of memories, rumination, and black comedy.

Obsidian Tracklist:

1. Worsening
2. Miasma Sky
3. Ironworks
4. Ossuary
5. Incompatible
6. No Eyes
7. Phaedra
8. No Past Lives
9. Earth Death
10. Inter

Baths - Obsidian , reviewed by Kaptain Carbon on 2013-06-25T11:56:46-07:00 rating 3.9 out of 5

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