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Album review: Baths' 'Cerulean'

August 9, 2010 |  7:13 pm

BATHS_C_175 The great bonus of the laptop age, from a composer’s perspective, is that one doesn’t have to deal with other humans in order to craft rich, dynamic music. Every melody and rhythm can be tweaked without having to worry about a guitarist with a drinking problem or a drummer with body odor. The downside is that solitude often begets self-indulgence. Will Wiesenfeld, who records as Baths, is the rare young electronic music composer with a sharp internal editor and an ear for melody, even if he needs to scale back his falsetto vocals a notch.

On his debut full length, the 21-year-old Valley boy has crafted a dozen bedroom electronic tracks rich with hummable tunes and ethereal sounds. You can hear echoes of Boards of Canada and Aphex Twin’s ambient work in “Rafting Starlit Everglades.” On “Indoorsy,” Wiesenfeld honors a “beautiful, breezy day” by pulling his curtains closed and, like any self-respecting computer geek, rejoicing in the darkness as his vocals grow increasingly foggy and distant.

Songs on “Cerulean” are, for the most part, pleasantly introspective, his way with drunken beats is inspired, and his songs are expertly arranged. The result is a sunny record perfect for driving with the windows down or moping in the solitude.

—Randall Roberts

Baths

"Cerulean"

(Anticon Records)

Three stars (Out of four)


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