Baths to visit Newcomb Quad

Alec Schwartzman, Arcade Editor

Will Wiesenfeld, also known as Baths, recently finished work on a nine-and-a-half-month international tour promoting his newest album “Obsidian” and its companion extended play, “Ocean Death.” The California native will perform a free show 8 p.m. Saturday at Newcomb Quad.

Much of Wiesenfeld’s early sounds derived from Bjork’s layered experimental electronic music, which inspired Wiesenfeld to experiment and push his sound.

“A lot of the early stuff I made was just trying to emulate Bjork, and it was terrible,” Wiesenfeld said. “Eight albums worth of not-awesome stuff. It started getting better, though, so it was worth it. It was like I needed the time to work on the type of music I was making. I had to make some bad stuff before I made some good stuff.” 

Eventually in 2010, he released the full-length album, “Cerulean,” to critical acclaim. Critics valued the bright density of his electronic layers and candid, humorous lyricism. “Obsidian,” Wiesenfeld’s most recent full-length release under the Baths moniker, represents his departure to a darker realm of electronic music. 

Before recording, Wiesenfeld obsessed about creating the idea of “a pop record about death.” Like most artists, Wiesenfeld’s music draws from his personal life and experiences. During the early stages of conception of the project, Wiesenfeld contracted E. coli, which only turned his musical choices decidedly toward the bleaker end of the spectrum.

“My personal life affects my writing like it would affect anyone else’s work,” Wiesenfeld said. “It turned into being a record more about apathy than about death … It was more interesting to write lyrics about not caring and not having passion … I had never felt that way about anything before in my life, so it was really interesting have lived a little bit of that feeling and then being able to write about it.”

Wiesenfeld’s ability to convert his emotion into music stems from his classical piano training as a child. While he does not retain much of the technical aspects of his training like reading music or actually playing the piano with skill, Wiesenfeld’s early exposure to music practice allowed him to express himself with ease.

“More than anything, I don’t know if it helped me write better music by itself, but what it helped me do is get my ideas out faster … You want to bring the idea to fruition as fast as possible before you lose the inspiration,” Wiesenfeld said. “The biggest benefit for me is being able to translate ideas into actual sound.”

Wiesenfeld made a point to say that he still records the majority of work in his bedroom, or that of his collaborator, Morgan Greenwood. Inevitably, Baths’ music emanates an intimate vibe, which, for other artists, could prove tough to recreate in a live show. Coming off this lengthy tour, however, Wiesenfeld has gained experience in varied music venues, indoor and outdoor, and crowds, small and large. Wiesenfeld claims the musical recordings translate weirdly.

“It is bizarre for people who are very used to seeing a full band,” Wiesenfeld said. “We don’t have live drums, all the drums are electronic but they are not being played by a live electronic drummer. I am very happy with the show that we have.”

Despite the gloomy nature of the new record, Baths’ shows promises good vibes to all in attendance due to his pulsing energy and charisma built over a mastering of his live set from the past year.