Review Summary: Come fade to white with me
When I saw “Ocean Death” live last June, I was damned near convinced it was indicative of producer Will Wiesenfeld taking a creative leap, trying his hand at something distinctly darker. But no, the song is singularly sinister- its bass churns ahead at a rate more predictable than anything Baths has penned before. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that- hell, hearing the song live was life-affirming for someone who’s heard something they’ve cherished in each of the producer’s releases- but my mistake was that I thought the song was more than a red herring as to Wiesenfeld’s next steps as Baths. Indeed, “Ocean Death” is a misleading opener for its eponymous EP- as soon as the title track’s black fog crawls offstage, it’s replaced by the hiss of mist-tinged cascades. Ocean Death
is the same kind of music as “Ironworks,” a series of delicate tunes that imply imagery instead of spelling it out for you. But the difference here,and the reason Ocean Death is more a blur than 2013’s impressive Obsidian
, is that no personal stories are shared in these five tracks. L.A.-born Wiesenfeld, while still present behind the microphone, has vaguer experiences to share this time around, while his accompanying music is even more reduced than on his latest full-length. It’s easier to think about Ocean Death than to recall it, but such a change is hardly surprising- after all, Obsidian
was one harrowing experience for Baths. He simply needs more time to muster up his resolve before he releases something truly affecting again, and I don’t blame him one bit for it.