Geotic truly outdoes himself with new album ‘Abysma’
Many people already know Will Wiesenfeld for his work as BATHS, creator of erratic, sample heavy tracks that exist outside the confines of genre (grouped with acts like RYAN HEMSWORTH and HOT SUGAR). What you may not know is this producer/vocalist has another secret identity, GEOTIC; an ambient, downtempo project that’s been bubbling away for a while now with a few independent releases through his bandcamp. Geotic is the other side of Baths‘ coin, and Abysma, his first label release through Ghostly International, is the full realisation of this dichotomy.
Taking a more introspective look at dance music, the album is made for what the producer calls “passive listening”, like a gorgeous pulsing soundtrack for your day to day activities. Hints of techno, house, downtempo and even classical music flavour this release, but there’s a distinctive uniqueness to this collection of tracks that only Wiesenfeld can bring.
With this genre of music, it’s easy for a progression to get stale, as repeated beats and chords are the foundation of this style of breezy techno. But, in Abysma, Geotic switches it up by constantly keeping us on our toes. With the consistent introduction of new harmonies, building layers of synths and even inclusion of vocals, these tracks slowly evolve and grow.
Though individually they have their own special quirks, an undulating rhythm threads the tracks into a cohesive experience. This steady beat grounds the album; a stark contrast to the sporadic work of Baths where each track was so completely different to the last.
Within his works, Wiesenfeld has always brought analogue instruments into his electronic production, and this album is no exception. Inclusion of these instruments can feel jarring in the soundscape and have been used in his work before to accent a melody or rhythm in this way, but in this album the analogue fits right alongside the warm synths and drum machines.
In the tracks ‘Vaulted Ceiling, Painted Sky’ and ‘Perish Song’ piano is the main focus, providing a repeated melody for the song to base itself around. ‘Sunspell’ features stringed instruments not as the song’s focus, but as part of the larger scope of the track. At the start, violins can be differentiated from the rest of the production. But, as the layers build, elements that should be so at odds with each other start to meld together seamlessly.
Wiesenfeld’s ever heavenly falsetto floating over the production in tracks like ‘Actually Smiling’, ‘Laura Corporeal’ and ‘Billion Remnant’ is the cherry on top of this album. The unique timbre of his voice will forever tie him to his more well known work but its inclusion in this album highlights his growth as an artist. Instead of being the star of the show, the vocals take a back seat, just another layer in this rich tapestry of production. There are no lyrics, just flowing open vocalisations often layered over themselves to build more harmonies.
Along with trying to lend his hand to a different genre, Wiesenfeld has tried to make an album that lends itself more to private consumption rather than large scale showcases. “So much of dance music is about partying and going out and having a really hardcore social experience,” he says. “Dance music has never been that for me. So much of my experience listening to music is being by myself – at home or in my car”.
The producer explained his thought process for the release to fill the not so often explored “middle ground between that crazy hyper-emotive EDM and the hyper minimal deep dark club stuff”. With Abysma, Geotic has done just this by creating an easy listening record that still has a lot of compositional depth.
So do yourself a favour and emulate our rainbow friend on the album cover. Go lie on the floor in front of a big sunny window, chuck on some headphones and wallow in the warm world of Geotic‘s ‘Abysma’.
WORDS BY HOLLY O’NEILL
PHOTO BY MARIO LUNA