Based just outside Austin, Texas, alternative artist 1st Base Runner, aka Tim Husmann, released the music video, “Near Me,” not long ago. The song is from his Ellis EP, released near the end of last year.
Directed by Ellis Bahl and Johnny Chew, the video depicts the surreal, imaginative world of 1st Base Runner, merging the eidetic visual substance and latent riskiness of both Bates Motel and Alice in Wonderland with 1st Base Runner’s beguiling music.
At once hallucinatory and mysterious, images of black goo dripping from a pulsing organism, floating coins, a dissolving animal head, a diminutive female dancer, and a dismantling chair furnish a delirium-like dreamscape as the music pulsates on leitmotifs blending electro-pop and shoegaze into stripped-down, alluring, and darkly dangerous harmonics.
Husmann, after playing drums, synths, and handling electronic arrangements for mega-artists at venues such as The Troubadour and The Fillmore, took a seven-year break before going his own way, a way involving, according to John C. Ireson, “His love of vintage synthesizers, atmospheric musical acts, and surrealist cinema.”
His reappearance was heralded by the release of Seven Years of Silence in July of 2021. The Ellis EP, a collaboration with Bryan Ellis, followed a few months later and, weighed against Seven Years of Silence exhibits, as Ireson notes, “Brighter chords and percussion moved to the fore while keeping the same hazy glow that gave Seven Years its ineffable vibe.”
The “hazy glow” refers to the brooding feeling of Husmann’s music as if viewing passing vistas rife with a sense of imminence that pervades Husmann’s compositions – like the residue of secret ideas. And although the songs on Ellis do roll out on more luminous coloration, tangs of distant gloomy pressure are still apparent in songs such as “Near Me.”
“Near Me” opens on deep throbbing tones, accented by rounded stuttering notes. Tight, crunching drums and a fat bassline imbue the rhythm with almost shuffling energy. Husmann’s vocals highlight the “hazy glow,” simultaneously full of whispery timbres and sad delicacy.
Impressively evocative, the combination of illusory images and thrumming shoegaze textures of “Near Me” results in an otherworldly audio-visual experience.