Album: Baths – Cerulean
Filed under: Album Review | Tags: Album, Baths, Cerulean, Daedelus, Dubstep, electronic, Flying Lotus, glitch-hop, Lovely Bloodflow, M83, Nosaj Thing |
The 14 tracks on Cerulean boast a maturity and musical intuition beyond what can be expected from a 21-year-old. However when we consider that Will Wisenfeld (Baths) has spent the majority of the last decade making music and honing his particular brand of electronic hip-hop, under the name [Post-Foetus], not to mention the ambient venture Geotic, things become somewhat clearer. Like dubstep, glitch-hop has enjoyed a speedy rise in popularity among the online indie community thanks to the work of producers such as Flying Lotus and Daedelus. Throughout Cerulean, Wisenfeld makes his own mark in a genre over-populated by producers trying too hard to stand out. Ironically by adopting a more refined approach Baths has created the genre’s outstanding album.
While others producers maintain a distance with the listener Wisenfeld has harnessed his songwriting skills to add a personal touch to Cerulean. The anthemic ‘Lovely Bloodflow’ possess the features prevalent throughout the album. A simple hip-hop kick-snare lays the foundation for Wisenfeld to build on with clicks and jumpy vocals accompanied by leafy effects to add weight to the lyrics “kick up my shit you wanna, rustle these leaves.” Ponderous as these words may be the sentiment behind the tune is more obvious when the beat lowers to allow Wisenheld proclaim in a high pitched melody “you are my bloodflow.”
Clocking 50 minutes Cerulean may seem a bit imposing but in truth you could double that length and not tire of the album. Wisenfeld has mastered the elusive art of creating a cohesive compilation which flows perfectly from start to finish but avoids the trap sounding repetitive. His command and understanding of instrumentation comes to the fore in ‘♥’ which only introduces an electronic beat after a haunting piano and guitar intro is brought to a halt by Wisenfeld’s ghostly vocals. This is also the most revelatory track dealing with the life he has left behind in his suburban hometown; “Met in the night like it was wrong, laugh at the life left now that we’re gone, I won’t go back, I won’t go back, I love you too much”
Wisenfeld’s greatest achievement on Cerulean is to incorporate so many things without making it sound remotely cramped or forced. The bass gets cranked up in ‘Mximalist’, ‘Mecha Joy’ and the wonderful ‘Indoorsy’ providing a more customary glitch-hop sound synonymous with artists like Flylo and Nosaj Thing. Throughout Cerulean effective use is made of vocals samples, from the M83-esque slow burner ‘Seaside Town’ to the album’s ultimate feel good, danceable number ‘Animals’. ‘Hall’ brings the album to a fitting close projecting a blend of loops, soft vocals and layered effects to give the end as optimistic a feel as ‘Apologetic Shoulderblades’ provided at track 1.