Monday, 22 November 2010

Baths @ Deaf Institute, Friday 19th November


Just a day before Kieran Hebden took to the WHP with a Jurassic line-up of brooding glo-fi, Warp-esque hand-picked acts, Will Wiesenfeld aka Baths was showcasing his altogether more fragile, West Coast development of the ethereal (yeah, I know, can we think of a more clich├ęd word?) glitch movement in Manchester. Refreshingly lacking the self-awareness of much of the house/glitch-step direction that UK acts seem to be taking, Baths is even a mercurial breath of fresh air to the west-coast glitch-hop Low End Theory scene.

It was Daedelus who introduced Baths to Anticon and Low End Theory, and for all Wiesenfeld's stunning tinkles and rushing beats – and hefty facial chops, check – that keep his brand of heavy romanticism from straying into ambience, you can see why. But Baths is a wreck on stage. Being grounded in hip-hop, it’s great to be totally taken by surprise by a supercute and cuddly little bear on stage, as openly gay as Quentin Crisp.

Introducing himself to Man-chest-hair is a good way to go down [yuppers, sniggers intended]. But after this quick pre-thought intro his falsetto vocal delights are accompanied by uncontrollable body flapping, throwing himself into the passions of giddy childhood dance. ‘Animals’ is even given extra delight by paw lashes, scampering across stage. It’s a real shame he hasn’t invested in some decent live effects kit though, because if you know how special and individual the cuts and jilted pitches are on each of his tracks, the endless tampering with the same filters and phasers really kind of ruined it for me. Hell, though, when you finish with a touching dedication to Hugh Jackman, who cares?

Compared to Saturday, which was sold out in its thousands months earlier, Wiesenfeld played to just over a hundred people. WHP really missed out here, and I can’t help but think they only did it because Baths just wouldn’t fit in to all that macho posturing. Perhaps he’s actually more man than any of them to just go out and radiate his essence.

Words: Sam Bass
Picture: Laurent Du Bus

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