After over a decade in this bass music game, Lorin Ashton has never lost his edge. If anything, he’s been honing it into an adaptive, razor sharp point. The Bassnectar has never stopped flowing and his latest release, the six track “Freestyle EP,” presents his most refined material to date.
Part dubstep, part hip-hop, part trap, and part drum & bass, the “Freestyle EP” proves without a doubt that genres no longer hold meaning to Bassnectar. He has one goal: to engulf the sences in a visceral sonic experience. And any bass music genre, or combination of genre elements, that serves that purpose is just a another tool in his repertoire.
Freestyle Ft. Angel Haze:
On the EP’s title track, which features rising hip-hop star Angel Haze, Bassnectar pulls out all the stops for a beat that transitions from the trilled up booty bass of trap to the frantic breaks and grinding bass of drumstep – before bringing both together into a twerk worthy finale.
Breathless Ft. Mimi Page
The next cut, “Breathless” featuring vocalist Mimi Page, sees Bassnectar teaming up with UK based duo DC Breaks for a liquid drum & bass effort that combines DC’s D&B expertise with the smooth – yet strikingly immediate – basses Ashton has developed throughout gentler tracks such as his other Mimi Page collaboration “Butterfly.”
Hologram Ft. Zumbi
“Hologram” and “Infinite” strike closer to Bassnectar’s dubstep roots, but each takes an opposite end of the spectrum from melody to grime. “Hologram” is easier on the ears with its slowly wobbling basses set beneath a symphony of astral synth patches and a sparsely auto-tuned vocal contribution from Zion I’s own MC Zumbi.
“Infinite,” on the other hand, displays a characteristically Bassnectar style with its selection of high octane, in-your-face subwoofer shakers that will surely please any longtime fan.
Zion I – “Human” (Bassnectar Remixxx)
To end his EP with a bang, Ashton finishes things off with a twofer of hip-hop remixes for the likes of West Coast legends Zion I and Eligh & Amp Live. The first comes from Zion I’s forthcoming album “Shadowboxing” and adds a throbbing sub bass to the relentless flow of their track “Human” before, much like “Freestyle,” bursting into a clean series of breaks.
Eligh & Amp Live – “Ego Killer” (Bassnectar & Timeline Remix)
For the second remix, Bassnectar teamed up with small time Denver DJ Timeline to transform Eligh & Amp Live’s “Ego Killer” into a bone-rattling banger full of swells and classic dubstep vibes.
The “Freestyle EP” isn’t exactly groundbreaking. And to some, Bassnectar’s influences may have become a bit too broad. But for a six track play of genre fusion and experimentation, it is hard to argue Ashton isn’t successful in creating some fresh new sounds for EDM, without sacrificing the quality people have come to expect from him.
If already worship at the alter of Lorin Ashton, you probably don’t even need me to tell you to pick up this album, but for the uninitiated – the “Freestyle EP” is the perfect introduction to the current state of Bassnectar’s evolution and the bass music scene at large.
Score: 8.0 / 10