Baths – Cerulean

Baths – Cerulean

It’s getting harder and harder to pinpoint just exactly what is going with electronic music and how it continues to get stronger, bigger and, most importantly, deeper. There’s already been a solid handful of releases – amongst a crowd of other stellar releases – from its genre that are, clearly, some of the best. And like hip-hop before it, electronic music has developed a truly new regional style of clash that’s making up for endless opportunities from producer to producer.

In L.A., we all know that Flying Lotus’ reign has been firmly set in stone since his groundbreaking Los Angeles album of 2008 and a follower of his, Nosaj Thing, has already started his own movement along the same thread. All of this is still under the massive umbrella of dubstep which is now seen as something even too vague to use when describing music. Point is, FlyLo sounds strikingly different from Nosaj Thing and vice-versa and now, Baths’ Will Wiesenfeld enters with his surprising debut success, Cerulean – and yes, it’s dubstep in a completely different style.

The music on this 21-year-old wunderkind’s album is the stuff that you’d expect from a crafty pro like Bibio in this day and age. But then again, to borrow from earlier, during this day and age, the room for growth has been nothing short of extraordinary. New producers are stepping onto the scene and though most fail, Wiesenfeld’s music champions throughout. It’s sparsely decorated with the fuzz and buzz of bedroom recordings in what ends up being a warmly affecting listen. Imagine Burial if it wasn’t so cold and stoic; melodies is where Cerulean peaks: bold, moving and always linear, they propel the album to progress to even deeper realms.

Playing piano by the age of four sounds cliché even to these ears, but when your chords are filled with the playfulness of someone like Mozart and at times, dissonant in the light of Schubert, then you really can’t deny the importance Wiesenfeld’s classical music has played in his shaping. Perfect examples come when the dancing affections of “Indoorsy” clamor the walls with twirling piano rolls, while “Lovely Bloodflow” backs everything into a booming VIP room: bottom-fed, rattling sides but with a soaring cloud of strings on top. Not only does the quality of the music improve because of such understated modifications but they alter the scope in so many ways; instead of everything dragging through repetition, Wiesenfeld skips into a slight jazz mode for about sixteen measures before bringing it all back home.

The best word that popped out at me on the press release (and yes, I’m giving the promoter major props here) was spontaneity. Baths is most definitely not a tempered jest and he’s not someone that drills your brain with the same idea for forty minutes straight. This is partly due to the fact that he has far too many ideas to ever slow down and probably just that his music never drifts into such pandering spectra. The most noticeable shift comes when “♥”’s Radiohead-like piano melody introduces us to what seems like a ballad of some sort and before you know it, the beats have taken over with another counter melody, provided for dimension. Through twelve songs you’re likely to find at least one instance where the aforementioned happens – where something triggers like a match catching fire – and you know that Cerulean isn’t just a lucky first hit but instead, the work of a true musician, making the music he loves and delivering it at the highest caliber.

Anticon