Night Stalker is an interesting title choice for 1st Base Runner’s fifth EP given the popularity of the Netflix bioseries of the same name. Those of us who are old enough to remember this, especially if you lived in Southern California at the time, may have an even stronger reaction to this EP and the music that came with it. Apparently this was intentional.
The resurrected true crime story of serial killer Richard Ramirez, dubbed the Nightstalker by the media in the ’80s, means GenX kids from Los Angeles and Orange County who were told to keep their windows closed ad nauseam at night , now not the only ones are those who are familiar with this story. It’s unknown if 1st Base Runner was inspired by the series or is actually one of those GenX kids, but Night Stalker is easily his darkest offering yet.
With a slew of goth bands like Bauhaus and post-punk acts like Joy Division, Love and Rockets and Tom Waits dominating his music thus far, tipping into darker territory probably wasn’t a very difficult move for 1st Base Runner. Night Stalker is a pretty blatant change, though. Just a bit of the signature shoegazey guitars remain on this EP. Even then, the guitars on tracks like “In the Neighborhood” and “Dark Drive Through the Canyon” are tuned to Maudelinian and/or eerie electronic sound design, giving this work a sense of madness and desolation only hinted at in previous works .
Another signature of 1st Base Runner has always been that even in the most emotionally difficult tracks there is a little hint of hope or appreciation, mainly in the way the harmonies blend together to create an uplifting slant to the music. That cue is still present in Night Stalker, but it generally feels at war with the scarier parts of the tracks, so instead of harmony we get discord or, like the title track, confusion and fear. This track lives up to its title and really feels like a sonic representation of what the inside of a serial killer’s mind might feel like. It’s instinctive, poignant, and a strong argument for not giving in to intrusive thoughts. You could say there is a little relief with the closing track “The Serpent and Space”, but you could also just see it as the peace and release felt by those who have given in to their demons after the evil deed is done is.
As with all !st Base Runner releases, Night Stalker was released with a beautiful and comparably visceral video accompanying the track “Dark Drive Through the Canyon”, directed by the prolific Dilly Gent of Son&Heir Productions and Radiohead. Dilly has served as creative director on a number of 1st Base Runner video projects, but this was the first she has directed. With the juxtaposition of terrifying and sublime action and imagery in the video, and the type of motion stop vs. compositional shot she created, it’s safe to say picking up the camera was a good decision. A complex track like “Dark Drive…” required a delicate and skillful hand with the video to match what the artist was trying to say and Gent captured it perfectly.
It’s truly sobering the level of quality and creativity 1st Base Runner has maintained over the past two years since the release of their debut All Thoughts single and subsequent Seven Years of Silence album. The backstory behind this project and everything that Tim Husmann, the artist behind 1st Base Runner, has been through would indicate that he likely has many more stories to tell. The fact that he’s been digging even deeper into Night Stalker to explore the darker side of humanity means he’s far from done.
Night Stalker is available to stream now on Spotify. Visit 1st Base Runner’s YouTube channel for more luscious videos and more of his story.