In a pop-culture landscape obsessed with the heavily computerized, surface-level lyrical vibes that dominate EDM, it’s only a matter of time before the sonic pendulum swings back towards organic sounds and introspection. By switching up both his orchestration techniques and his state of mind on this, his second studio album as Baths, Will Wiesenfeld could lead that charge.
On his 2010 debut, Cerulean, the Los Angeles–based electronic artist dealt in skittish, bloop-heavy love songs; here, he adds an enveloping atmosphere of human warmth to that foundation. Obsidian features subtle textures (like the sound of running water that bookends the sweeping “Miasma Sky”), sepia-washed visions of Victorian doorways (on the stately, piano-driven “Ironworks”), and odes to our most base, animalistic urges (the pulsating “No Eyes”).
But it’s on the standout “Incompatible,” a sombre reflection on a relationship with a live-in boyfriend that never had a chance to flourish, that the songwriter boldly exposes the dark recesses of his subconscious and turns Obsidian into a deeply emotional experience. Wiesenfeld has chosen to fight back against alienation in pop music by composing a raw and revealing
self-portrait; in the process, he’s created a truly romantic work of electronic art.
Playlist picks: “Incompatible,” “Ironworks,” “Miasma Sky”
Baths plays the Horseshoe Tavern (370 Queen St. W.) on June 9.