Three years ago, Baths dropped his startlingly beautiful debut, Cerulean, blurring the line between post-modern pop and the LA beat scene with devastating emotional clarity. Its tone was as celestial as its album title, taken from a shade of blue typically used to describe the sky.
Cerulean earned year-end “Best Of” recognition from Pitchfork and The Onion’s AV Club and established Chatsworth-raised Will Wiesenfeld as one of the finest young composers (and falsettos) in Los Angeles. His sophomore album Obsidian finds him emerging as one of the most complete artists of his generation. As one might expect, the name hints at darker overtones. The mood is shimmering and pitch-black; the lovely blood flow has turned into lava.
Following the success of Cerulean, Wiesenfeld spent much of the next year touring to progressively larger audiences. He also released an ethereal ambient project under the Goetic moniker. When he returned home in July of 2011 to record his sophomore effort, he was bedridden for months with the E. Coli bacterial virus, barely able to digest solid food and bereft of creative energy.
Obsidian understandably has these scars etched into its imprint-see opener “Worsening,” subsequent cuts include “Ossuary,” “No Past Lives” and “Earth Death.” While the mood is often bleak, it’s never bloated. “Miasma Sky” balances being “swallowed alive by the sky” with a gorgeous piano groove and levitative croon that could detonate a disco club night.
Suffused with heavenly choirs, head-nodding percussion, erotic lyrics,and wry humor, Obsidian is unusually cohesive work combining universal questions with personal pain.