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Divergent Spectrum
Album Review
By D-monic

The following is a track by track breakdown of Bassnectar's new album Divergent Spectrum. This is Lorin's 8th album release which builds upon his style of HUGE bass-heavy anthems contrasted with dreamy soundscapes which offer just enough break to catch your breath before launching back into the fray. Old fans will be delighted to hear revamped classics and live concert favorites while new fans will undoubtedly be blown away by the feast of sonic diversity that is Divergent Spectrum. 

So without further delay lets dive in!

Upside Down - This track opens the album with thunderous drums and a siren which calls to mind the engine ignition of a rocket ship. Upside Down i a thrill ride for the ears launching listeners into outer-space with the elevator like rising and falling of the main synth. The final minute is my favorite with rapid triplet rhythms and a pulsing/breathing effect on the siren that drive the overall theme of the song home at a different angle than the first go-round.

Plugged In - This collaboration with Rollz is a festive anthem that welcomes old and new fans alike with an energy that is common at a Bassnectar show. Raw, straightforward, and unbridled positive energy are the highlights here. The beautifully harsh and screaming lead siren synth begs for a crowd response (glow stick explosion anyone?). The following melodic twinkles settle listeners into a groove which straps them in for the ride ahead.

IMMIGRANIADA - Yet another collaboration but in a COMPLETELY different direction; however, I feel a word of caution is necessary as casual listeners probably wont dig this one. This crazy little number is something that I wish Bassnectar would do more of just because it is so damn different. The source of the original material that made this frankenstein of a song possible is from Gogol Bordello which is a Gypsy inspired punk rock band (yeah, i said "what the hell is that?" when i first heard it to). Anyways, IMMIGRANIADA is a glimpse into Bassnectar's metal/punk past that quickly disintegrates into a pulsating, twitching freakfest which will delight true fans looking for something they've never heard before. The build up to the second drop is simply nasty with brilliant high hat and vocal morphing.

Boomerang - Thumping guitars highlight this simple yet well executed banger. Yet another prime example of great layering of a diverse sonic pallet. The high pitched lead dances around and fans the fire created by the main mix. It has a vibe similar to songs found on the Timestretch LP and will surely be a live favorite for a long time to come.

Lights - This is probably my favorite track on Divergent Spectrum as every time I hear this track live, it simply blows me away. Beautiful and passionate lead vocals from Ellie Goulding are backed by sparkling twinkles and a striking yet subtly powerful bassline. This track is a much needed slowdown from the onslaught of the first 4 tracks. Lights feels like a romp through a magical forest at night with a canopy of beautiful stars guiding your way.

Probably Cause - Ill Gates and Bassnectar churn out yet another atypical banger that sets the senses aflame with a meandering opening melody before dumping the listener into a vat of raunchiness that is the main drop. The granulated drums in the intro and the head shaking three stooges like one shot are some of my favorite elements in this song.

Red Step -  This colaboration between Bassnectar and Jantsen begins with a slow build up that launches into a fun and bouncy 8-bit theme. The main drop is a half time cut with a methodic drum beat  and an abrasive main synth which fans have come to expect from anything alluding to the dup-step genre. The fun blippy jungle/electro vibe of this track is a great change-up in the middle of this album.

The Matrix - This song seems to be a no-nonsense rundown of a typical Bassnectar live show. Quite simply the lyrics ring true "We drop bass in yo face". This track has the feel of "Basshead" off Bassnectar's acclaimed Timestretch LP.

Voodoo - A noodley high pitched synth driven by an 808 drum beat compels the listener to do their two-step from the first second this track starts. A quick build up launches listeners into wildstyle pandemonium. This is quite simply another bountiful banger with boo-koos of bounce.

Heads Up - This is a re-work of a track that has been reincarnated several times over the years. Frankly this is one of the things that keeps old fans coming back, if it ain't broke don't fix it. Bassnectar has regularly pointed out in interviews that he recycles a lot of old material which keeps a familiar link between old and new albums. This song will bring back memories of ragers past to old fans and serve as a quick history lesson to new fans.

Paging Stereophonic - A song that starts off innocently enough before assaulting the ear drums with a vibrating wall of sound. This track made me want to shake my head because it's straight nastiness. The beat-boxing breakdown in the middle is a nice touch that incorporates an old-school element in a new-school project.

Above and Beyond - This track has more emotion than any other on this album in my opinion. It starts off almost too "dub-steppy" for my taste but the orchestral breakdown is simply beautiful. It sounds like another cookie-cutter dubstep song at first but eventually shows you it's true colors as a thoughtful and well executed endeavor. After listening to this one a couple of times, I could not deny it's greatness.

Parade Into the Centuries - Yet another reincarnation of an old favorite off the Mesmerizing the Ultra album. This track signals the beginning of the downward slope that is the end of the Divergent Spectrum album. It is a welcome rest from the super intense bulk of this latest release. Parade Into the Centuries is a dreamy song that brought an image to my mind of riding atop a cloud floating over wide expanses of green earth.

After Thought - Bassnectar tucks his listeners into bed after a long exhausting sonic journey with this song. After Thought harkens back to Lorin's Trance roots with sweeping melodies that have a slightly atonal feel. Thumping drums further soothe the senses and put listeners in a zen mind state. Towards the end crunchy drums slowly fade in and replace the main beat to execute a soft landing sending fans home with alien bubble sweeps.

Overall Rating
A wonderfully intense yet diverse album that is a great addition to the Bassnectar collection. Anyone who enjoys the heavier spectrum of electronic music will enjoy it.  



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1 comment:

  1. Great review! COMPLETELY nailed Above and Beyond and Lights. Bassnectar continues to solidify his seat at the top of the dubstep/electronic circle with this one.