Hear Five Tracks Off Bassnectar’s New ‘Big F–king Sonic Collage’
Bassnectar’s 2014 album, Noise vs. Beauty, marked a mainstream breakthrough for the California-based DJ and producer. After over 20 years producing crushingly heavy downtempo electronic music, Lorin Ashton – the man behind Bassnectar – earned his first Number One LP on the Billboard Dance/Electronic chart and hit Number 21 on the general Top 200 chart. Still, for all the success it has brought him, the record took away time from Ashton’s favorite project: a yearly mixtape.
So when approaching his highly anticipated follow-up LP, Into the Sun, Ashton says he didn’t think about it as an album – and he still doesn’t. “I think of this as a mixtape,” he tells Rolling Stone. “This is like a mixtape you’d make for a lover or friend before they leave on a road trip or something.”
For him, mixtapes offer a certain type of freedom, and seeing Into the Sun as less of a product of heavy studio time and production allows him to “underpromise and overdeliver.”
“[Mixtapes] are fun playgrounds for me because there are no rules,” Ashton explains. “You’re basically sampling anything and mixing everything together with abandon. It’s like a big fucking sonic collage.”
With Into the Sun, out June 30th via his own imprint Amorphous Music, Ashton aimed to create a summer mixtape, perfect for the Bassnectar fans who travel for miles to see him perform at festivals and his often sold-out arena shows. “It sounds fuckin’ cheesy to say that DJs take you on a sonic journey, but in a literal sense, that’s my favorite part of DJing,” he says. “You can piece together all these different personalities of songs, and everything weaves together to form a tapestry.”
In his new collection of songs, each track plays off the ones that come before and after it. Four of the five tracks streaming today come in succession on the LP, beginning with his remix of the Naked & Famous’ “No Way.” “I love the visceral energy of the original,” he says. “I didn’t want to produce a remix which sounded like a remix — I wanted it to just sound like a thicker, heavier, more intense version of the original, like if a death-metal guitarist was playing the parts or something.” To reach his goal, Ashton layered electro house kicks with a dubstep-style sub and topped it off with a re-recording of the guitar parts done by a friend. “This allows the mix to be way more full and almost bursting out at the listener.”
“Into the Sun” follows with its “element of sonic euphoria,” as Ashton describes. “I doubt it would ever get played in a club or anything, but it goes back to the Nineties when I was studying electronic music, and we were using hardware synths. I would focus on the R2D2 blips and bleeps, all the weird melodic tone sounds and modeling those to sound like a guitar.”
“Speakerbox” and “The Mystery Spot,” featuring Lafa Taylor and G. Jones respectively, are much heavier. The former builds on samples of kids shouting and Masia One’s “Warrior Tongue.” Vocalist Taylor recorded his parts in the bus/studio where he lives, calling Ashton from various locations so the two could meet up and record on the go.
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