October 15, 2010

Flying Lotus – Pattern+Grid World Review

Brace yourself for a new breed of FlyLo, with a new EP just months after his third full-length space opera, videogame drama, Cosmogramma. There’s more to be heard here, as Steven Ellison, the man behind the mask, takes you somewhere completely different once again. Pattern+Grid World tastes like a whole other dimension, with the otherworldly sounds and patterns that make an indistinguishable texture and quality, and we have to wonder if Ellison is really human. “Clay,” the opening track of Pattern+Grid World, sounds alien to our ears, but takes us to a time and place where music was reinvented, and had taken its own course in synth droning beats. If music really is universal, this EP might as well belong in a whole other universe (did I mention enough space imagery already?). “Kill Your Co-Workers” makes FlyLo’s drum and bass debut, with more arcade elements, as you can hear Ellison shooting for another high score. Although his beats are frenetic, and his synths get hazy, his melody sticks with you. His next track, “Pieface,” starts off with an abstract snare and cymbal, which inevitably builds into another 8-bit crescendo. Whether you are listening to his gurgling space jam, “Time Vampires,” or his synth-driven “Camera Day,” Ellison has something vastly different for your ears. At just over 18 minutes, this EP is short and sweet, and although it may feel like an acquired taste, it is still a welcome addition for any Flying Lotus fan.

Rating: 7.7/10

Recommended Tracks: Time Vampires, Jurassic Notion/M Theory, Camera Day

October 4, 2010

Bassnectar - Timestretch EP Review

For an EP with four new tracks and a presence that will dominate your sound system, Timestretch, a release by dubstep producer Bassnectar, makes no compromises. The explosive opener, “Here We Go,” a popular live track, takes you straight into the mind of Lorin Ashton, the mastermind behind Bassnectar, as the sliced up vocals and sirens build into an eruption of bass beats and roaring synthesizers. If you liked the monstrous build, do not fret, because Ashton brings it back later in the second half of the song. Each track has something different to offer, as “Bass Head” proves to rock your brain back and forth, with its robotic vocals, hip-hop build and timpani hits that drop into your consciousness, where they will probably stay long after hearing the song. Knowing Bassnectar and his insanely loud production, you better get ready for the next track, because there is no time to rest when listening to Timestretch. “Blast Off” crashes right into your ears from the very start, and instantly takes off with a bass that sweeps and resonates through the beat. It builds and keeps going until the epic halfway marker, where a breakdown gives way to the largest part of the song. A crowd of people can be heard counting down to one, where the song will literally “blast off,” through your speakers and your eardrums. The ecstatic moment of this release is pure adrenaline, and the song keeps up the pace as it slowly fades out. This leads listeners to the title track, which is arguably the calmest song on the EP, but don’t let that fool you. Maybe calm is not exactly the right word, because for the dubstep prodigy that Bassnectar is, calm is a relative term. Still, “Timestretch” gives listeners a few minutes to breathe, as the medium tempo hip-hop beat and bass become a little more reserved. Nothing particularly crazy happens during these beats, except for a very solid groove that is still just as addicting as the previous tracks mentioned. Besides these four new original tracks, Ashton is generous with his EP, including four new remixes to take over the second half (two “Bass Head” remixes, a “Timestretch” remix, and a remix of the non-EP song, “Maximum”). The second half echoes the first pretty well, while still offering new sounds to the mix. Check out Bassnectar’s Timestretch EP, and stay tuned for his upcoming EP Wildstyle, due out October 19th.

Rating: 9.0/10

Recommended Tracks: Basshead, Blast Off, Timestretch