Baths – “Seaside Town”
Shout-out to David from Rawkblog for getting me hooked on this track.
I love a good ambient song. Few people know this. Soothing electronic bleeps and bloops, airy synthesizers, and sampled audio from anything under the sun (as long as it’s not too ridiculous and doesn’t hinder the track) gets me in a great mood. There’s something naturally spiritual about the genre. Officially bursting onto the music scene in 1978 with Brian Eno’s Ambient 1: Music for Airports, ambient music has been on a long journey that has circled the globe. Ambient music’s popularity comes and goes, but its influence is vast, and can be seen in many artists’ work today. With “chillwave” becoming a dominant genre in independent music now, ambient music is finding a new way to reach audiences. In 2010, I think I’ve found my favorite ambient track of the year; I’m currently really into the midsection of Baths’ debut LP Cerulean, in particular, standout track “Seaside Town”.
First, a little about Baths. Baths is the project of a 21-year-old Los Angeles native named Wes Weisenfeld. This kid has a storied history with music-making, starting out with piano lessons when he was four and then recording his own music when he was a preteen. Cerulean is an album that doesn’t stick to one style of ambient music. In fact, it’s not as tranquilizing as originally thought. The tracks in the beginning are packed with plenty of sporadic beats and jumbled pieces of music meshed together. But the middle is where it gets going.
Enter “Seaside Town”. Hear those seagulls in the opening. It’s an invitation to a serene beach, just for you. And now here comes the vocals. Recognize that voice? It’s a young Kirsten Dunst. What’s she doing on this? Well, the vocals are sampled from a 1989 anime film called Kiki’s Delivery Service, an Animage Anime Grand Prix prize recipient. I’ve listened to “Seaside Town” so much lately that I’m actually thinking about watching it. Anyway, Kirsten lends her voice to the Disney release in 1997. The movie is about a young girl, who happens to be a witch, who moves to a new town and searches for inspiration. You can pretty much make out the story in the song; it’s a common theme in anime films. It’s a lovely sample. Her voice is so innocent and charming. But the best element to this piece, besides Kirsten’s voice and the booming drumbeat, is the synthesizer at work. It’s dramatic and soothing at the same time. It’s a steady, little over three-minute float in a calm body of water, or at least that’s what I get from it. It’s what makes ambient music so great. Don’t just take my word for it, check it out for yourself.
Baths – “Seaside Town”
Cerulean is out now via anticon.