Baths: Celebrating The Life Of A Hermit


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In "Indoorsy," Baths' Will Wiesenfield shows he knows how to make an ambitious song still feel fragile. courtesy of the artist hide caption

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In "Indoorsy," Baths' Will Wiesenfield shows he knows how to make an ambitious song still feel fragile.

courtesy of the artist

Monday's Pick

  • Song: "Indoorsy"
  • Artist: Baths
  • CD: Cerulean
  • Genre: Electronic

It doesn't take much legwork to pin down Will Wiesenfield, the 21-year-old L.A.-based musician behind Baths, as an archetypical "bedroom musician." Most obviously, Wiesenfield recorded the entirety of his debut album, Cerulean, in his own home without any apparent outside help. (That story isn't exactly a rarity these days, especially among the electronic set.) Beyond writing and recording, however, stands Wiesenfield's actual material, and the sort of hermitic empathy he's able to invoke in "Indoorsy," during which he sings, "It's a breezy, beautiful day ... the air is cool and there are plenty of things to do / So I pull my curtains closed / And in an absence of the world compose / And sleep and stir in bed until it ends."

The emotional turn of the verse almost feels like a bait-and-switch, especially when coupled with the upswing of the music: The fractured breakbeat gives way to an ethereal, synth-soaked spate, Wiesenfield's voice fogs up into a haze, and the bass hits start pulsing like a hummingbird. The music itself feels like it could be an extolment of the "day," but the words push the mood into a darker meditation on isolation — though not necessarily an autobiographical one.

With the label of "bedroom musician" comes the ease of shuffling Wiesenfield in with the L.A. beat scene: Daedelus helped nurture his career, initially lining up shows for him with the likes of Flying Lotus and Nosaj Thing. The experimentalism of his beats also makes those associations easy, but it's the strong emotional undercurrent of his music that sets his sound apart (and what makes Anticon, his label, an almost too-perfect fit for him). As Cerulean attests, Wiesenfield knows how to make ambitious songs that somehow still feel fragile. That skill requires an enormous amount of talent to pull off under any circumstances, much less alone.

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