By Doc Vocado
“Presenting Noise vs Beauty: a 15 song journey which spans the spectrum of music from hardcore noise hysteria to lush, ethereal beauty – and many points in between. I collaborated with over 50 different human beings on this collection, and it is without a doubt my favorite album to date!
I hope it brings you happiness 🙂
A few weeks ago, Lorin Ashton a.k.a. Bassnectar blessed the world with another work of mind- numbing, skull-rattling, mood-maximizing audible poetry that’s worth endless listens, that is, if you’ve got the speakers to handle it. Even though it’s my goal to get you to listen to more music in general, I really have to recommend experiencing this project for the first time through your 9-speaker car stereo, or home surround sound system that you didn’t pay for. I’ll explain why in my reflection on Bassnectar’s 2014 release, Noise vs Beauty. I like the word reflection more than “review”, because if I’m taking the time to write about it, it’s safe to assume I think it kicks ass.
Anyway, as per usual, Nectar offers up that one-of-a-kind, genre-shattering noise that casual fans and die-hard bass heads will enjoy alike. Holding true to the album title, as well as his stage name, Lorin’s production is a satisfying dichotomy of soothing instrumental melody, and bass-laden interludes heavy enough to rattle your rearview mirror, and have you concerned that the car behind you is trapped in the world’s tiniest earthquake. One moment, you’re swaying to orchestral strings or piano keys, vibing to a manageable drumbeat and enjoying some playful pads and subtle vocal samples, only to have your emotions commandeered by the neck-breaking, neural-transmitter shorting bass drops and wobbles that make up the essence of any Nectar track. I love the album title, because he’s really managed to include a lot of lighter moments on this project while still remaining true to his 80s metal influences.
I haven’t mentioned any individual tracks yet, because I really wanted to talk about the unique whole of this production, and why it so perfectly represents Lorin’s role in the music industry. As an artist, he consistently obliterates two notions: The notion that music is solely an audible experience, and the notion that it’s acceptable to categorize all computer-produced sound as “electronic music”. This album is HEAVY, yet soft, aggressive, yet subtle. “Ephemeral” for example, offers something you might hear in the lobby of a spa (a really fucking badass spa that plays Bassnectar and puts mushrooms in your eyes instead of cucumbers). Conversely, “Lost in the Crowd”, featuring Boulder, CO native Jantsen, has a taste of party hip-hop, without seeming cheesy, or lacking the trademark sound of its creator.
Further, Noise Vs. Beauty is primarily an audible experience, but when you really crank the bass up and have the mood (and EQ) set just right, the experience is all together visceral, and you can feel a deliberate harmony between the drum patterns as they dictate your physical demeanor, the strings and chords as they caress your ears, and the bum-rushing bass as it talks to the inside of your chest cavity until it produces a response, and you feel a second mouth form on your breastbone and beg for more bass.
“Let the music take control, turn it up and let it go.” -Track 3- “Loco Ono”
When your day-to-day concerns are shaken off by the rattling bassline, and your extremities are it ease in the moment of tuning in to the pads of the melody, and the satisfying touch of each drum kick realigns your take on reality and allows you to melt into a gooey puddle of your own desire; then you’re listening to music. And then the bass drops and you get an orbital-shattering fistful of ohms to the face; then you’re listening to Bassnectar. Enjoy.
F.U.N. – The album opener is point blank the presentation of the album title in sound form. The Beauty is in the classical, even epic sounding piano and orchestral opener. Then the bassline enters the room. Then…the Noise…you’ll see, and hear, and feel. Huge thumbs up for the intro co-lab with Seth Drake.
Noise – “I do what I wanna do, I do what I like.” Put simply, this is the yang of the album, and deserves to carry half its title.
Flashback – Progressive intro. Soothing legato. Subtle but extremely sexy female vocal when the beat starts to play. Nice addition to the “beauty” side of the project.
Loco Ono – more noise…yum
Gnar – MORE NOISEEEEEEE