‘Into the Sun’ is the new genre bending effort from DJ and Producer, Lorin Aston, AKA Bassnectar. Released last week, the album is an electronic kaleidoscope of trap, electronica, dubstep and the other usual suspects that make up the dance music landscape these days. The album truly is varied; so varied in fact that it could feasibly be split up into distinct sections, each presenting different genre, influences and tempos.
Bassnectar has been prolific on the music scene since the early 2000s, producing and releasing an album per year, as well as numerous collaborations and EPs. On top of this, he has become a regular on the US festival circuit, playing festivals such as the ‘Electric Forest’ and the legendary ‘Burning Man’. He has also, in the last few days been added to the line up of EMD-head Valhalla, ‘Tomorrowland’, proving his legendary status within the dance music scene. His impressive light shows have inspired trippy wonder- dreams in the minds of party people all over the world and he continues to preform to large audiences with screens and projectors, which scream out colourful images. It is not surprising therefore, that Bassnectar began his career within the visual arts in his home city of San Francisco. But the question is; how easily can this multi-platform style of performance translate to an entirely audio format? Basically, does it still raise hairs, without the help of a strobe-filled club atmosphere?
It actually does, extremely well for the most part. The opening track of the album is a perfect indicator of what’s to come which is a variety of lovely sounds and “synthesizers that make (you) feel things”, as one Soundcloud user commented. The clink of xylophones mingles perfectly with gospel like vocals to create an ethereal opening to Track 1 ‘Chasing Heaven’. There is definitely a sense of a more ambient sound here, which is blended perfectly with a heavy trap beat. Trap is most certainly not too everyone’s taste; however producers such as Cashmere Cat, Lido and Mr Carmack have, in recent years lifted trap out of its gangsta rap routes towards a lighter and more emotive sound. There is definitely a distinct whisper of Mr Carmack influence in this album and this comes through in the opening track strongly. Track 7 ‘Sideways Ft Zion I’s drop also has a flavour of Mr Carmack. The track uses jagged sounding synths and a drippy beat to create an unusual sound.
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This isn’t to say that the whole album is trap based; there is a sense of dupstep amongst many of the tracks also. Track 8 ‘Gnar Gnar’ provides a heavily synthetic sound along with a punishing beat. The album is definitely not meant for easy listening, although the majority of the tracks do include some ambient notes. For the most part this is a selection of music is overwhelmingly meant for live performance. ‘Into the Sun’ also includes some interesting elements, which lean it towards experimental music. Not surprising when you consider Bassnectar’s audio-visual background. These elements are numerous, but not intrusive enough to make the album unappealing to those who are just looking to dance.
The album is very strongly produced, but if you’re into this kind of heavy music then you’re probably not going to find anything new here that you haven’t heard before from others in the industry. ‘Into the Sun’s’ final four tracks just seem to fade into the background and don’t have the same bite and pop as the rest of the album. This might be due to the fact that they are all either remixes or newer versions of previous songs, but whatever the reason, the album falls a little flat at the end. For the most part though, this is a very solid EDM album, which benefits highly from a heavy trap influence. Bassnectar is primarily a live performer; his light shows and bassy sets are truly amazing and recommendable to anyone who enjoys a hard dubstep soundtrack on their nights out. Check out his set at ‘Electric Daisy Carnival’ this year; it is truly spectacular.