In August, under the alias of his “passive listening” ambient pop project Geotic, Baths’ Will Wiesenfeld debuted nostalgic trance “Gondolier” as the lead single off his forthcoming album, Traversa. Today, we’re premiering the second single from the record.
On album opener “Knapsack,” Wiesenfeld constructs a bright, sunlit jungle for us to get lost in, full of the gooey whispers and lucid, repetitive melodies we’ve come to expect from him. The song is a multi-layered nature scene: A bucolic menagerie of chirping and rustling natural found-sounds are laid over the song’s electronic ecosystem of pattering footstep beats, pebble-dropped ripples of synth, and occasional warbles of violin. An airy staccato beat serves as a path through the flora and fauna.
It’s a blissed-out, whimsical electronic pop tune imbued with an early Vampire Weekend-ish sincerity, and maybe I’m caught up in the title, but I sort of imagine the Moonrise Kingdom kids clambering around it’s meandering, loopy landscape, poking their heads into its caves, hiding in its crevices and scaling its trees. Wiesenfeld conjures an adventure filled with twee optimism: “Roots and thick socks/ Boots and old rocks/ Food and big thoughts/ Quiet tree frogs/ Pervasive good mood.”
But let’s not forget that Wiesenfeld’s a weirdo and his downbeat whispers always reveal a layer of itchy introspection lurking below the placid surfaces of his songs — just slightly souring their potentially saccharine flavors. His cheerful adventure, it turns out, is really an escape: “Somewhere I might be/ A modern human being/ But not here.” The song’s narrator is trekking towards some kind of primordial refuge where, at least for a moment, the world feels new, gentle and limitless.
He told us previously of Traversa: “The whole inspiration of this record is borne of that feeling when travel is good and you can let your brain go where it wants to. From the very beginning, music was more transportive for me than anything else. In all forms of media, I’m constantly gravitating towards things that allow me to feel something different from my day-to-day life.”
02 Swiss Bicycle”
03 Harbor Drive”
05 Town Square”
Traversa is out 10/19 on Ghostly (and 10/17 on Tugboat in Japan). Pre-order it here.