Like the tale of Alighieri’s descent to the deepest recesses of Hell, Bathaus’ “|Bastien” begins and ends in fire. Quite literally, opener “Inferno” bakes and breathes life into lungs born of ash. Twisting beams of netherworld light know and find their footing very well in these barreling passages. Disarranged voices cut through pounding beats set to a blazing rhythm and ascend to the mouth of an unseen cavern… the air is heavy and choked.
Reborn in a format suited for this album’s underlying warmth, |Bastien delivers its own nine circles (plus one), and BATHAUS is our Virgil. Throughout the ten tracks sewn into this tape’s creaking folds, a chill begins to slowly set in. Distant beats chop away at a sea of icy synthesisers and slowburn samples, leaving waves of acidic feedback in their wake. With remixes, a collaboration, and obvious standalone singles, |Bastien is clearly a whirlwind of sounds from various planes of the musical spectrum, and yet BATHAUS manages to precisely craft them so as to allow each one its own rightful passage, and still blend every track into a cohesive ebb and flow of barren, nostalgic sequences.
To the very last step of this cathartic journey, the ever-present hand of the Guide follows and flows ahead. |Bastien is a song and a dance, a light in the darkness, and a shelf for tender thoughts. Cloaked in tape fuzz, synthesised notes sparkle with hesitant, dark desire, shimmering over beats that pound, envelope, and crawl underneath… this cycle of newborn repeats will have no trouble finding a permanent home in one’s own layers, whether they be 9 strong or infinite.