Shower the people

Baths is Will Wiesenfeld’s swim into soloism.

Will Wiesenfeld proves he is a master of the sound wave.


Will Wiesenfeld proves he is a master of the sound wave.

Grant Tillery

Will Wiesenfeld was lost.  The Los Angeles native was on the East Coast leg of his tour, departing Portland, Maine, en route to Hanover, N.H.  Entirely unfamiliar with that part of the country, Wiesenfeld was still enjoying the journey. 

The tour was largely a departure from expectations. Wiensenfeld’s 2010 release, “Cerulean,” splashed onto the scene, fusing the lush dreaminess of chillwave with introspective lilts. 

But on 2013’s “Obsidian,” Wiesenfeld took a darker tone with a record more vocal-heavy than its predecessor. He’s currently on tour for a release mirroring that sound, an EP called “Ocean Death.”

“It’s sort of a companion piece to ‘Obsidian,’ songs that were started and failed during the process of recording that record,” Wiesenfeld said.  “The way things went, it sort of worked out that they got a second chance.”

The title track of “Ocean Death’” is a bleak, EDM-influenced number, more befitting for a squalid nightclub in Berlin or Amsterdam than a Baths EP. Plaintive coos emanate from repetitive pulsations, and the song begins with the crash of ocean waves — making it feel like an environmentalist’s dirge without overtly communicating a message.

Wiesenfeld moved away from his soloist tendencies on “Ocean Death,” collaborating with Morgan Greenwood, who tours with Baths to create a larger sound. 

“Morgan has a billion great ideas at any given moment and is the only person I can see [myself] collaborating with,” Wiesenfeld said.  “I’ve already worked with my dream collaboration.” 

Wiesenfeld’s sonic palette is descended from the lineage of Bjork.  Upon hearing her albums “Vespertine” and “Homogenic,” Wiesenfeld’s music tastes seismically shifted. 

“It was unlike anything I had heard before up until that point — I was [into] metal and very weird radio stuff,” Wiesenfeld said.  “I’ve always been inspired by stuff I’ve never heard before or I find alien or interesting.”

Contrasting “Cerulean” and “Obsidian,” both, at their cores, exemplify the 21st century tendency toward post-minimalism but engage different functions of the mind to achieve that effect. 

Wiesenfeld is consciously cerebral, and every last detail on a Baths album comes from a place of emotional openness and functions as a journal entry of Wiesenfeld’s life at a certain time and place. His music may lack dynamics at times, but it’s certainly not canned.

Despite a strong connection to sound, Wiesenfeld never had an “aha” moment calling him to become a musician. 

“I just worked really hard,” Wiesenfeld said.  “Things would come together in moments, but even once success started happening, I didn’t really think that I could have a career as a musician.” 

Before even one song found success, Wiesenfeld said, he already had seven albums worth of material.

Wiesenfeld isn’t the kind of guy to take his success for granted, though. He enjoys the nose-to-the-grindstone aspect of his musical journey. 

“Being successful, I feel it could all just fall apart,” he said.  “And not in a bad way — I just need to keep myself in check and make sure I’m doing my proper role. I’m not in a party mode for whatever can come with this career.” 


What:  Baths
When: 8 p.m. Saturday
Where: Triple Rock Social Club, 629 Cedar Ave., Minneapolis
Cost: $13-15
Age: 18+