No Past Lives
Baths is California electronic artist Will Wiesenfeld, who's been bewitching fans of glitchy, atmospheric electronic sounds since he started releasing music in 2010 as both Baths and Geotic. Baths’ debut, 2010’s Cerulean, was full of stunning moments, showing Wiesenfeld to be a bit of a producing wunderkind; the collection fit right in with similar and more established artists like Bibio and Flying Lotus. On Obsidian, as the name might imply, things get darker and harder than on Cerulean. After Wiesenfeld fought for his life with a bout of E. coli in 2012, the topics of death and despair should be no surprise. What is a surprise is that those painfully introspective moments (“Tall rock shelf, are you maybe here to help me hurt myself?” “Where is God when you hate him most?”) can be so tranquil and beautiful. The somber, piano- and strings-driven “Ironworks” is as moving as a Rufus Wainwright moment without the melodrama; on “Incompatible,” Wiesenfeld claims he’s “scared of how little I care for you, I am elsewhere” while the tune burbles and clicks with sounds like scattering cockroaches and water drops. It’s both uncomfortable and mesmerizing, like all of Obsidian.