Before I even knew the word “dubstep,” I knew Bassnectar. One of my friends in college just so happened to be blasting “Cozza Frenzy” through the halls, which immediately sparked my interest. Ever since then, I’ve been digging through his back catalogs, downloading most of his free library on his website, and blaring it wherever I can. It could be because of how infectious his productions are, or maybe it’s because it was different (at the time). But regardless, Bassnectar has been my personal #1 on the electronic dubstep scene.
Before I start talking about his newest full-length, Vava Voom, I would like to say something to people who are coming in through because of the Skrillex wave. Bassnectar and Skrillex are two entirely different entities of almost the same scene. If you like Skrillex’s abrasive, in-your-face type of production (not that there’s anything wrong with that), than Bassnectar might not be for you.
If you are into heavy beats, mixed seamlessly with hip-hop, 8-bit, and atmosphere, then by all means, go listen to Vava Voom, and enjoy it.
The album starts off with it’s title track, featuring rapper Lupe Fiasco. Mixing 8-bit sounds and Lupe’s lyrics and Bassnectar’s signature sound makes for one epic trip down memory lane of hooks and textures. That switches quickly into “Empathy,” a low-end electronic jam that can relax you as much as it can make you dance. “Ping Pong” opens with just that, a ping pong match. But that quickly transforms to an escalating bass-heavy audio affair. Also, Bassnectar took Pennywise’s “Bro Hymn” and turned it into a moshable good time with the aptly named “Pennywise Tribute.”
The three songs that caught me a bit off-guard were tracks eight through ten. “Laughter Crescendo” is a trance-inducing dreamscape that bounces between headphones, creating multitudes of feelings to come out of the listener. “Butterfly (feat. Mimi Page)” evokes a feeling of relaxation, mixed in with a dash of dance. “Nothing Has Been Broken” closes the trio with a louder bang; bringing the noise back to some beautiful lyrics adding some rightfully placed sensitivity.
One thing that this album has got wrong is it’s setlist. The three songs I mentioned about are nice way to get us ready for the end of it, but only to prep us for “Chronological Outtakes;” a mixture of death metal growls, tribal chantings, and incredibly short pieces of something that seemed to fit no where on this album (the tribal chants were pretty cool though). Instead, I would’ve liked to seen the previous three tracks found in different places, giving the listener and ascetically pleasing rest before going back into a mind-rage.
If you are just getting into dubstep (or electronic music as a whole) then by all means – get into Bassnectar. There’s plenty of free stuff on his website that you can download and listen to as much as you want. Afterwards, go give Vava Voom a good listen to. It’s unique sounds, grand-in-scale song structure, and overall good vibes makes Voom a great listen to. Some songs might play themselves out after the first couple of listens, but that leaves you a handful of incredible dance and electronic music to fill your now ever increasing library.
Final Grade: B+
Go Download: “Vava Voom (feat. Lupe Fiasco)”