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Only The Truth: Bassnectar – Noise vs Beauty

Wednesday, July 09, 2014
Matthew Jager

I wanted to say a little something before we start. As this is the first edition of Only The Truth, I wanted to say a little something about what I hope these articles will become. With Only The Truth I wish to create an open minded discussion about music and a place where opinions can be shared without scorn from others. My opinion on music may very well differ from you, and I respect that. What I ask from you is to not jump to conclusions or emotion when reading through these articles. My purpose is to take a deeper look at an album of music and point out what I think is good and bad about it. Not all reviews will be bad, not all will be good. You won’t get some watered down review that doesn’t say what the writer is thinking. What you will get with Only The Truth is simply an honest opinion. With that said, let us jump into Bassnectar’s Noise vs Beauty.

Bassnectar - Noise Vs Beauty

Bassnectar has made quite a name for himself in the electronic community. Always one to strive away from the trends of mainstream music, Lorin Ashton has created a movement behind his music that touches something deep inside our soul. His message of peace, love, and bass can be felt and heard in his music. The songs are not about being wild and crazy or going after that Project X lifestyle. Instead, he has focused on the music and the bass. When I interviewed Sound Remedy in April he had said that he believed Bassnectar to be one of the best put together musicians he has ever met. However, did this quality and professionalism translate into his new album Noise Vs Beauty? When I finally got my hands on a full version of NVSB, I was extremely excited to see what Bassnectar had cooked up in the labs for us this time, and with a Paradiso performance looming in the near future I was also curious to see what I would soon experience live. The first track, F.U.N, came on and I was intrigued by the intro, but as the song progressed into the chorus and true soul of the track, I was initially taken back. Bassnectar leads us off in a new direction with a different sound than we are used to. It sounds experimental and is definitely pushing the boundary of what we know to be Bassnectar. I honestly did not understand this track until I witnessed how Bassnectar used it in his set at Paradiso. For pure listening purposes, this song does not make sense, but when Bassnectar steps up to the decks, he is able to create movement through his set, and this song fits perfectly into the journey he is trying to take us on. tumblr_mzgv06xaSX1sm1e13o1_400 After a strange start, Bassnectar reminds us why he is the Bass God. The next two tracks, “Now” feat Rye Rye and “Loco Ono,” are my second and third favorite tracks on the album. Bassnectar demonstrates his perfect blend of bass and melodies that when played live instantly got the crowd going. They are not the savage beats of bass that dubstep sets loose, but they are masterfully crafted songs that showcase Bassnectar’s style and musicality and skill at organize the mass chaos that bass music can be at times. In case those two tracks got you too worked up, the album then takes a more lyrical twist with You & Me feat W Darling. You & Me will what Butterfly was to Vava Voom. This track is full of the beautiful vocals provided by Darling that really grab your interest and keeps it the entire song. With a message of unity and conquering obstacles with someone special, You & Me fits right into the image and movement that Bassnectar has developed over the years. Now that we have gotten past the proverbial entrance of Noise Vs Beauty, Bassnectar decides to show off more of his musicality with a wide variety of styles of tracks. Lost In The Crowd has a more old school Bassnectar sound with rap lyrics and traditional bass while the song directly after, Ephemeral, is a complete department from the dirty bass and instead takes a more melodic trip with a more future bass sound and feel. He then returns with a more experimental sound paired with distorted lyrics in Hold On feat TURSI. Followed up by Noise feat Donnis and The Future feat Jenna Sousa, Bassnectar takes us back into the deep end with some bass that is a truer reflection to his older style while still showing the progress and growth he has made over the years as a musical artist. Bassnectar continues the trend to play around with sound and style for the remainder of the album, pushing the boundary of bass music while challenging us to decide what is noise and what is beauty. However, deep in the recesses of NVSB is a song that has grown on me to be my favorite track on the album, Don’t Hate The 808 feat Lafa Taylor. This track is easily up there in my top Bassnectar songs. The nostalgia of Basshead and Wildstyle Method has been reincarnated into one amazing track that I personally feel will rise to the top as one of his all-time best. It has been on repeat ever since I first heard it, and seeing Bassnectar drop it live was truly a highlight of Paradiso for me. So what is my overall thought of Noise Vs Beauty? I think it is a masterfully crafted album that holds deep artistic decisions which help create a musical journey throughout the album. This being said, I do not think that NVSB is an album that is designed to be just put on and enjoyed; it is more of an artform. There are a few songs I am not a fan of and that I feel are too experimental for their own good. This however does not mean I do not appreciate the artistic direction Bassnectar took with this album. Pushing the boundaries of what is acceptable is always a risk, but Bassnectar is one of those artists who has the ability to truly advance a genre. tumblr_m18xljbO7C1r8a1kho1_500 The beauty of this album is not how banger his tracks are, or how many times we will hear Bassnectar bass on the main stage of our favorite festival. The true beauty of NVSB is the quality of each track, the emotional and conceptual depth of each track, and the sense of freedom and originality found embedded into each track. Noise Vs Beauty does not have a corporate feel, or one that makes us feel that Bassnectar has sold out. In fact, with some of the experimental sounds found in this album, it gives me hope for the electronic music industry. With so many artists looking to Bassnectar for inspiration and as a guiding light of positive music making, maybe some of these ideas of pushing a genre and not sticking to the same old proven formula will rub off and take hold across the music industry. With NVSB, Bassnectar has once again stood up and shown us that there is a different way to do music that cultures a progressive music scene and not one stuck in the rut of big room formulated tracks. Overall I give NVSB two thumbs up. Noise Vs Beauty is not for everyone, but for those open to a new sound or two, Bassnectar will not disappoint and will instead show you the future of bass music. Below is the full playlist of Noise Vs Beauty for your listening pleasure on Soundcloud.