This is an article of an ageing man. Or at least of one whose youth seems at one point tonight to have escaped in some self indulgent haze of arrogant belief.
As I stand, head-bobbing like a weed smoking dashboard pooch at the back of the room with my cup of Strongbow in hand, amiably admiring an unchartered sect such as CAMP’s, a group of what my delightfully twee parents would call ‘youths’ bops in as if the entire venue is surfaced with trampolines covered in golden syrup.
Now, it is a tad farfetched to have you imagine that I would be there shouting “GET OFF MY LAWN” in some apoplectic condition – but it immediately gripes on me. Yes – we may be in the youthfully exuberant humdrum of an East London venue – but I’d just as soon as buy Becoming Real on 12″ and sit writing a similar, nonsensical rant of woefully agist proportions on my computer in my festivally heated home with my slippers on.
But that would do such a set a massive disservice – his is a reinvigorating sound of touching complexity and originality, based equally on the cornerstones of washed out Burial style electronica and the bass driven histrionics of the new breed. All of sudden, these shoulders come to life like the Skins cast in front of me. His arms twist and neck strains with every wrench on the engulfing whole – making himself at one with the rest of the room. And whilst I may try and personalise his sound to something hidden and treasured, such ear wrenchingly brilliant performances would make even my slippers feel ashamed.
Will Wiesenfeld (aka Baths), on the other hand, immediately strikes as the kind of man you may meet at any ATP weekender. The kind of man you would end up meeting watching Slint and then happily discuss the canon of Belle and Sebastian with until the early hours. The irony of his initial affable behaviour being that his obvious geek-gone-right demeanour offstage completely mutates on stage into a gleeful spree of top-half thrusts and grooves and romantic clenches of.
Cerulean has undoubtedly been one of the stand out electronic albums of this year – abating the genre untethering of ‘chillwave’ but managing to strike a similar sort of romantic chord. And upon witnessing such an obviously utterly elated man performing from the start, where a divine ‘Hall’ smoothed the edges of a baiting crowd, the man is a chemic ball of energy, swiping at his own sonic textures with slices of crunching electronics and dance-like stop starts the have an enviable ability to both sooth such an obviously adoring crowd and whip them into a frenzy through the simple touch of a button.
Considering all of his stuff strikes that same balance of earphone to dancefloor so perfectly, it’s a shame his first new turn away from Cerulean material comes in the form of a Holden-like techno number that is ruined by poor sound. Whilst he sings the softness of his heart dry, clenching at the microphone like it is his only friend and then dancing with it like some gleeful bubble boy, it’s easy enough to feel his delight and anguish through movement alone. Unfortunately, at points, the dense, underground walls of Camp are unwilling to play along with his sonic dexterity.
It’s only once the smacks of synthetic kick and snare return that the crowd come back to life. Maximalist finds our ever present performer hide fully for the first time behind his tools, remaining throughout a gleeful mute proving that he is by no means as if he is at a loss. As his humbling, thrilled face is framed by the loving shape of a hand heart for the double head ending of ‘Apologetic Shoulder Blades’ and ‘Aminals’, I begin to wonder if all that time spent over-maturing, mentally shouting at the kids was even worth it. I could so easily have been in that bedroom making music that was destined to take me put of it – well, if I could produce but then, I probably wouldn’t do it with the same nonchalant aplomb as Baths.