With the way electronic music has blasted onto the music scene, it is almost surreal to remember that Bassnectar released his first album over ten years ago, when Skrillex was still just a twelve year old emo kid. Since then, dubstep has exploded into the mainstream – even though Bassnectar doesn’t consider himself a part of the scene; and DJs are filling up the same venues as rock bands – which Bassnectar has been doing for years.This is what makes Bassnectar a unique artist. He is always ahead of the curve, making music based on his own tastes and interests. It was the heavy metal music of the 90′s that helped develop his hard, bass-infused sound that many would lump in with other dubstep acts, but that is really decidedly different. His latest album, VaVa Voom, is a natural progression of these sounds along with a host of new influences and new ideas. VaVa Voom has a slew of guests on it, but the one that sticks out the most is the addition of rapper Lupe Fiasco on the album’s title track.
Fiasco, who joined Bassnectar at last year’s Bass Island festival, drops multiple verses packed full of fast paced lyricism that is consistent with the best of Lupe’s work on more fun, party tracks. Bassnectar’s production doesn’t stray far from a standard hip hop banger – it’s a little harder than most of Lupe’s other tracks, but fairly consistent with other southern or west coast style hip hop tracks. Video game style synths make up the melody atop pounding bass and a slowed down vocal sample repeating “Vava Voom/into the room”.’Do It Like This’ featuring producer ill. Gates sounds more like standard Bassnectar. Wobbles galore, chopped up samples, and a host of different sounds coming at you from seemingly different directions. Vocalist Tina Malia makes an appearance on the track ‘Nothing Had Been Broken’, a much slower track featuring a stomping bass beat and haunting synths. This track has an eerie tone to it and almost feels like it would fit into a movie score.One highlight of the album is a track called ‘Pennywise Tribute’. Drawing on his earlier influences, yet sounding much different than much of his current sound, Bassnectar essentially remixed the Pennywise song ‘Bro Hymn’, turning the punk rock classic into a hardcore drum and bass track with wobbles thrown in towards the end. Other than that, the song reads very similar to the original, and, as the title suggests, pays a fitting tribute to the California band that no doubt was a huge influence on the producer.
Another interesting track is ‘Laughter Crescendo 2012′, an update of Bassnectar’s original track off of 2004′s ‘Diverse Systems of Throb‘ LP. The track, which has become a Bassnectar staple, is a more laid back song, with earthy tones and a sample of a laughing girl looping in the background. In the re-work, there is an interesting break down in the middle, enhanced drums , and a generally much cleaner production.
This album fits perfectly in Bassnectar’s canon of full length albums. There are progressive tracks that push the boundaries of modern electronic music, along with several songs that sound like classic Bassnectar. There is definitely something for everyone on this album.
L4LM Rating: 4/5
Stream Bassnectar’s ‘VaVa Voom’ here: