Après Cerulean en 2010 et Obsidian en 2013, l’artiste de Los Angeles Will Wiesenfeld aka Baths revient avec Romaplasm son troisème album pour le label Anticon (sorti le 17 novembre 2017).
Se sentant moins connecté au monde réel qu’à celui des animés japonais, des jeux vidéo, des comics et des livres, Will a décidé pour cet album de s’inspirer de ce qui le touche le plus au quotidien, et de miroiter ces émotions de façon indirecte. D’une façon plus singulière, Baths livre sa vision post-moderne du romantisme. Romaplasm met en effet autant l’emphase sur l’émotion que sur l’individualisme et se confronte au chaos ravageur de la vie en choisissant de se focaliser sur la beauté et le sublime.
Comme toujours, Baths n’a pas peur d’avancer à contre-courant : délicat quand d’autres se donnent des airs, passionnant et viscéral là où d’autres s’enfoncent dans un bourbier digital. Mais ce n’est jamais par désir de contrariété mais uniquement par soucis de rester fidèle à lui-même.
In his own singular style, Baths has created his own post-modern take on Romanticism. Romaplasm bears a similar emphasis on emotion and individualism. You can see the hallmarks of the movement’s stress on awe—and like many of the great Romantic artists, he confronts the gnawing chaos of life with a focus on beauty and the sublime. As the German painter, Caspar David Friedrich once affirmed: the artist’s feeling is his law.
“That’s where my head is at right now,” Baths says. “Anime and fantasy overdoes that too. It’s about taking ideas as far as you can even if they don’t work out. I’m trying to capture feelings that might be more obscure when translated to music, but always seem to resonate with me.”
For as long as Will Wiesenfeld has been Baths, he’s been trafficking in perfect—or, more often and more interestingly—near-perfect pieces of pop. After attending Hamilton High School’s vaunted music academy, the classically trained singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist, first emerged in 2009, after a stint as [Post-Foetus] and the birth of another, still-active project known as Geotic.
His music, which merged the glitchy, punishing gloom of L.A.’s beat scene with sunnier melodies and vocals that often drifted into falsetto, was an instant sensation. It was as experimental as it was comforting, a warm blanket made from the rarest linens. Publications like Pitchfork heaped praise on his debut album, 2010’s Cerulean, which codified the sound; Obsidian, which followed three years later, in part chronicled Wiesenfeld’s recovery from a ghastly illness, and was even more well-received.
As always, Baths is unafraid to run counter to his surroundings: delicate when others are posturing, gripping and visceral where others drift into the digital morass. But this record is not about contrarianism, or about rejecting the status quo. It’s about centering the things that are important to you, and doing so in the most honest way possible, even if that means fucking things up a bit along the way.
“In making this record, I wanted to be as self indulgent as possible. To not think too hard about what I was doing stylistically as much as honing in on what material felt inspired and felt really good to make,” Baths says. “Those were the only things that I wanted to pursue.”