Prior to 2010, Bassnectar seemed to excel from the fringes of dance music. With the rise of bass music, Bassnectar’s “omni-tempo” genius hit fans on a global scale, leading to one of the most prolific strings of headlining festival slots from any genre. As he inspires new guns worldwide, Bassnectar has been forced to dip further into his well of creativity to stay at the cusp of the amorphous bass sub-genre. However, on his newest Freestyle EP, the producer has shifted focus from fusing psychedelic layers of bass-rattling textures to pleasing the lowest common denominator within the EDM crowd.
Ranging from the deconstructed 808s hip-hop of “Freestyle” (feat. Angel Haze) to the trance-like robotic dreamscapes of “Breathless” (feat. Mimi Page), very little holds the EP together besides the fact that the tracks are the freshest from Bassnectar’s ongoing fall tour. “Infinite” and “Hologram” each possess the lighthearted production approach Bassnectar displayed on Vava Voom’s ”Butterfly”, but instead of painting a juxtaposed sonic portrait of whimsy meets post-apocalyptic destruction, he chose to keep “Hologram” floating on an elongated bass wave and fed “Infinite” through an over-produced bro-step filter.
The lone standout track isn’t even a Bassnectar original, but a remix of Zion I’s “Human Being”. Even this remix loses some of its impact after listening to the original production developed by the always-futuristic Amp. Bassnectar augmented the title, added a modest break and textured instrumentation to keep attention on the mix instead of the lyrical flow, but take both tracks to your next few parties and see which incites the most twerking.
Given Bassnectar’s long discography, a few missteps can be both expected and overlooked. Until another LP is on the horizon, keep digging further underground.
Essential Tracks: Zion I – “Human” (Bassnectar Remixxx)