When: Fri., June 7, 9 p.m. 2013
On his 2010 debut, Cerulean, LA producer and Baths main man Will Wiesenfeld used layers of studio effects to to give his wonky, slightly draggy beats and elegant synths a washed-out sound and a muffled, pulsing feel, as though something were breathing under layers of blankets; his songs could seem translucent and insubstantial, like spiderwebs, but from the right angle they revealed detail and beauty. For the new Obsidian (Anticon), though, he’s stripped away some of Baths’ gauzy aesthetic, resulting in a clearer sound that lays bare Wiesenfeld’s occasional misanthropic gestures. He sometimes screams or injects harsh noise into a song; on “Earth Death” he builds his arrangement on a grumbling, gravelly bedrock of guitar feedback; elsewhere he sings about suicide (“Phaedra”) and seeking a fix of emotionless sex (“No Eyes”). In sound and in content, the new album is as direct and piercing as Cerulean is faraway and sentimental. Obsidian is gorgeous in its own way, though, and Wiesenfeld can make even his most disturbing and depressing lyrics feel approachable—the subtle house synths, slightly warped chiptune melody, touches of banjo and strings, and cooing falsetto vocals of “Miasma Sky” make it the loveliest and most danceable and track about an incapacitating disease that I’ve heard this year. —Leor Galil Houses and D33J open.