Review Summary: All your bass are belong to him.
“We are so blessed, and so deeply fortunate to be alive and awake right now…it’s a basic truth, but it’s very powerful. I think privilege confers responsibility, and Bassnectar is a reflection of that opportunity to give back; the motion of my cells bouncing back at the world.” - Lorin Ashton
The Universal Connection
For aspiring artists and veteran musicians alike, the haunting notion of restrictions may cripple not only their proficiency, but their capability to really have fun
with music. We’re given the gift of sound and with it, we have a way to express and transfer emotions, ideas, memories, frustrations, excitement, stories…there are endless possibilities. Sadly, and contrary to belief, music does have its set of rules. While recording a bird chirping outside for eight minutes or the Doppler effect of midnight drag races might metaphorically and audibly depict today's zeitgeist about what creativity means to the current generation, there just is no substitution for how the melodic connections of perverted percussion rhythms and harmonious migration conjoins strangers all around the world.
Once you’ve respected the concept of music by giving it some of your time by studying the science of harmony and the mathematics of rhythmic cadences – then the world becomes your auditory playground. DJ Lorin Ashton, takes this green light for what all its worth with his meticulous, many-sided organism called Bassnectar. He openly describes it as “omnitempo maximalism” – which to him translates to: “no limitations, no hesitations”.
Mesmerizing the Ultra
is one massive, breathing creature indeed. It's electronic heart pulses out experimental rivers of ambience while its trip-hop brain sends glitchy nerves for the breakbeat limbs to dance with. Although it's main function is animation, it does verbally send hints of political agendas or invitations to "check it out" with an over-dubbed double-sexed voice. What makes this two-disc animal so fascinating to listen to, as you'll experience by its far end, is its chronological fluency. It's like hearing a story being told without (many) words as Ashton demonstrates a transforming, amorphous critter continually rising to life out of the ashes of its previous arrangement. For example, the remix of Sound Tribe Sector 9's "Some Sing" turns the already electronic original into a handclapping, glitchy tune that gets interrupted by a mechanic's touch, which distorts the song away from its smooth texture towards one a bit more bass-spoken. After the chimes pull the curtain, a swamp like stutter takes over to comfortably ease your imagination to into "Blow"'s raw physique.
This makes it incredibly hard to stop mid-album because it's as if you're stopping mid-song. Though overkilling yourself by taking it from front to back in one sitting is also not recommended.
The content inside is even more colorful than the album's cover itself. Ashton manages to chaperon you to sundry conditions - take the mysterious distant space, with a little help from Buckethead (no, there's no shredding), on the boiling but starry "Bursting". Immerse yourself into the abysmal depth of the oceans with the crystallized "Leprechauns Arise" whistling its way through overdubbed rap. You can make your way out of the dusty robotic dungeons in "Enter The Chamber" that has a very creepy demeanor but keeps afloat and keeps you moving.
The fluctuating disposition of the bass is vital to pass these different scenario representations. While sounding bombastic and chunky for its natural persona, it isn't limited to stay there - and don't expect it to. There are no limitations and no hesitations.
Talk and Dance
At first, the fact that there is a voice at all may seem to tarnish this musical journey. Though, once you've settled into a cozy mindframe and allowed this album lift you away, you'll find that the voice is often there for a reason. It adds an extra layer of interest and personality to Bassnectar like in the dismembered voiceboxes of "Creation Lullabye".
At certain points, the voices actually help push the beauty of a song's intricate effects. Featuring a gorgeously soothing female voice, "Dubuasca" stands out as one of the more fragile grooves. The bass takes a back seat for once and softly hums while quaking diamond sounds spring to life and diffuse within the same breath.
Besided being excellent 'chill-out' ambient soundtrack, the Ultra
is the life of a party. Can't dance? You don't have to. Simply put this on late at night if no one is around, and squiggle your nerdy body to the impossibly enslaving beats. The primarily trip-hop verses of "Blue State Riddim" has MC Lush firing off lines that will excite any breakdancer to work. Along with "The Sound" being handclappingly inviting, there is a sense of undeniability towards the perfect blend of a full resonation and the breakdancer's paradise.
Yet while there's an average amount of street talk and curb rap, there is also a spot for literal laughter. Playful effects bounce around for "Laughter Crescendo" to mix a clip of a girl laughing into the track. This along with "Breathing", that - you've guessed it - gently mixes clips of someone inhaling and exhaling, are such simple ideas yet so fascinating. To see everyday actions and functions detailed so precisely and kindle imagination so effortlessly marks a truly genius project.
After listening to Lorin Ashton's continually reforming craft, it's hard to think the guy walks down the street without turning the action into a couple minutes of breakbeat artistry. The facile task of loving life and realizing the senses you're given won't be around forever are presented in the form of Mesmerizing the Ultra
. A truly inspirational and arresting craft brings its all in a different definition of classic. While this might not be an album you're able to blast everyday, it's certainly one that can occupy a lifetime of creativity and imagination. Ashton keeps on the move to plant good will and love to many listeners by DJing all over, bringing "the motion of his cells bouncing back at the world." How's that for a fantastic nine-to-five?