Bassnectar – Underground Communication
Om Records (4/24/07)
Electronic (Big Beat / Breakbeat / Drum & Bass / Grindcore) / Hip-Hop
It’s been almost two decades in the industry for Bassnectar.
If you’re reading this review you either know that already or you’ve never heard of him. Can’t imagine there are too many casual, occasional fans out there.
Quick intro for those new to the show: Bassnectar plays big shows and back alleys at a clip of about 150-200 shows per year. You’ve probably heard one of the many generic derivatives of Bassnectar’s sound if you’ve been to any nightclub in the world—bass-heavy, electronic beats over the club-supplied smoke machine and $12 cocktails.
On Underground Communication, it’s easy to hear the difference between Bassnectar and all of the imitators. With apologies to Gertrude Stein, there is a there, there.
The title track is layered with no less than a half-dozen sonic styles from beginning to end that start, stop, speed up, slow down, then morph into something new just as the ear has managed to catch up. And, if that sounds like a cop-out description of a song in a genre that’s impossible to describe, then you’re reading the wrong review, son.
“Amorphous Forms” features some traces of unmistakable funk blended in with its computer notes. If Dr. Dre were to ever to record an electronic music album, this would be the first single. “Ridiculous Wobble” builds on a strong drum throughout, before switching up to what almost could be described as a trip to India at the end.
Bassnectar’s version of “Stomp”, with vocals by Seasunz, would surely make Kirk Franklin’s head explode as it veers from today to tomorrow, then hits the brakes eases to its finish. “Kick It Complex” has a decidedly Latin flair and if this one isn’t being played right now in one of Miami’s wonderfully diverse dance spots, I’ll give you a dollar.
I’m not going to insult, y’all, now. If you’re not a fan of the genre, this album won’t turn you into one. The sound here is broader and not intended to be contained within the confines of your iPod. Never before has the cliché “it is what it is” been more appropriate. Still might be worth a listen for the curious, though.