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Baths marks final night of Low End Theory residency, lists his current pop culture favorites

May 26, 2010 | 10:37 am

Baths_6 Chatsworth is Manson Country, the porn capital of the United States, a sleepy suburb on the fringe of Los Angeles, where people head when they want to escape but stay close enough. The land is cheap(er), horses trot across what used to be sprawling Spanish land grants, and later, the baked-brown expanse where Gene Autry and Roy Rogers played cowboy.

The serrated Santa Susana Mountains operate as a shield at the north, which creates an uneasy vacuum of ceaseless and severe winds. It’s always hotter or colder than the rest of the city, but it’s never the same, and it’s where 21-year old Will Wiesenfeld grew up.

Maybe its appropriate that a bedroom community would birth one of the city’s brightest new electronic music talents, who records his beat music under the name Baths, an appropriate moniker considered the scalding climes where he crafted his debut album, “Cerulean.” The biography exists in lieu of a real narrative (sometimes, you’re just gifted): boy asks parents to enroll him in music lessons, by 13, he’s recording his own music with a Midi keyboard. Boy hears Björk, who turns his synapses to shrapnel, causing him to teach himself the viola, the guitar and the contrabass.

From there, the story splinters — Wiesenfeld formed [Post-Foetus], a folktronica project that occasionally swelled to 10 members, and Geotic, an ambient side project. Baths emerged after venerable producer Daedelus asked Wiesenfeld to play a set at Destroy LA, alongside Flying Lotus, Gaslamp Killer and several other beat-heavy hitters. Wiesenfeld wrote and recorded “Cerulean” (named after a shade of deep blue) in a matter of weeks, earning a label deal from Anticon, and an offer of a month-long May residency at the Low End Theory.

Distilling the cosmic sampledelics and stutter-step drums of his blunted beat peers, Baths’ closet node of comparison is Anthony & the Johnsons, as produced by the Books. Celestial falsettos vault over cut-and-paste samples, crestfallen piano lines and a precocious knack for song structure. It cements Wiesenfeld’s role as one of the vanguards of the next generation of beatmakers to emerge out of the iPod era.

Tonight marks the final night of Wiesenfeld’s residency. In advance of the show, the artist known as Baths compiled a list of his current favorite books, television shows and records.

-- Jeff Weiss

Watching

"Adventure Time With Finn and Jake"

One of my favorite feelings in the world is to have a new episode of amazing TV to look forward to every week, and this show has delivered SO WELL with every single episode since the premiere last month. Totally hilarious and relentlessly creative. I LOVE it.

Pokémon

I feel like I still can’t get enough. It’s been like 10 years or something. The world of Pokémon is still the easiest and most delightful world to slip into when I need my dose of escapism or relaxation or whatever. The TV show especially; the video games provide a bit too much stress and competition for my taste, haha. The channel Boomerang is airing episodes commercial-free.

Reading:

Steven Pinker -- "The Language Instinct"

My dad is still my personal living library. I was thinking about lyrics and talking to him about wanting to go back to school for English or something, and he brought this book to my attention. It looks extremely deep into the fundamentals of how the brain actually creates language, and it has already made me aware of some amazing things. Can’t wait to get all the way through it.

Rumiko Takahashi -- Maison Ikkoku

Quite possibly my favorite thing ever. It’s now available as a 15-volume comic series that I am reading through for the sixth time. Maison Ikkoku, named for the apartment complex where the story takes place, is a romantic comedy of errors set in Japan in the 1980s, which couldn’t POSSIBLY be a better setting. It’s beautifully drawn, and the plot is extremely solid without being the least bit simple. The magic about it, at least for me, is that it is extremely realistic, and you can immediately identify with so many of the characters, but at the same time the setting provides a perfect level of disconnect. It allows the whole thing to feel like a fantasy. I don’t know... it just appeals to me in so many ways. The first volume is rough around the edges, but by the second or third it really figures itself out and you can’t put it down.



Listening:

Fennesz -- "Black Sea"

I am of the iPod generation, and have purchased nearly 60% of my music library digitally (I have the e-mails from iTunes to prove it). It was only two weeks ago that I purchased this, my first vinyl record. I already owned and loved the album, but the world and lifestyle of owning vinyl records was calling to me. I sought to find an album I could imagine having on in my house as often as possible during the day, and this perfectly fit the bill.

Toro Y Moi -- "Causers of This"

By far my favorite album of 2010 so far. Super cohesive, beautiful and creative in the most amazing ways --  there are sounds and methods of production that I’m hearing on this album that I didn’t even know were possible with music. Its a total journey, start to finish. Love it.

Download:

MP3: Baths -- "Hall"

MP3: Baths -- "Maximalist"

Photo: Baths; Credit: Anticon


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