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Bassnectar, Vava Voom
Amorphous Records, April 10

By Eric Saeger news@hippopress.com



Bassheads – that is, drum-n-bass fans who’ve been around a while – are hilarious to watch these days, tentatively dipping their toes in fantasies of their one-man-band-heroes’ finding mainstream success, mostly because everyone, including 90-year-old grandmothers, are hearing and seeing Skrillex all over the fricking place lately.  Lorin Ashton – that is, Bassnectar – is the long-time Beta to Skrillex’s VHS, i.e. he’s arguably better if you want more random sounds in your DnB; he’s definitely more heavy-metal-rooted and more experimental.  In this one, he makes some pretty hep beats out of samples: a girl’s laugh in the aptly titled “Laughter”; a bouncing ping-pong ball in the aptly titled “Ping Pong.”  Underneath those tunes and the rest of them lie the standard (and yes, I’m treading lightly when I say “standard,” because, yes, the guy’s deep) accoutrements, that is to say lots of lowering wub-wubs duking it out with Nintendo chiptunes and breakbeats and whatever else happened to wander into Ashton’s awareness that day.  The title track finds the Jay-Z-spawned Lupe Fiasco rapping away, a feat. which apparently was the impetus of making this full-length in the first place.  That song, like all the others on the record, is as immersive and sturdy as you’ll find in this genre, which is, yes, working its way into the mainstream whether fans (and non-fans) approve of it or not (speaking of fans, Ashton loosens his grip on the dubstep hardcores here, really only throwing them “What” and “Empathy” if you insist on getting pedantic about it). A- —Eric W. Saeger






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