Home Music For the love of bass, turn that up!

For the love of bass, turn that up!

by The Concordian November 29, 2011
For the love of bass, turn that up!

Photo by: Shai Shotts

Lorin Ashton, better known as Bassnectar, has no idea how to describe his sound. And that’s something he’s really happy with.

“Once you can define music, it’s confined to a limited space, and for me I feel like I’ve been able to stay outside of those limitations and basically be free to love and share everything I create,” he said. “When people ask me to describe it, as opposed to using catchphrases or sub-genres, I refer to it as a balance between what I consider to be ultra beautiful and ultra intense.”

If you had to describe his sound, think of it as taking dubstep, breakbeat, and drum and bass, putting them in a bag with a pack of hungry wolves, and shaking it up a bit.

Growing up in San Jose, California the 33-year-old’s musical roots lie in death metal, but he started DJing and producing more dance-oriented tracks 15 years ago after he attended his first rave. He’s articulate and weighs every word of his sentences with the same care devoted to and replicated by his work. For the past 10 years he’s been producing and touring, but he’s proudly never given in to corporate greed, or what he refers to as “selling out.” Asked whether the lack of an association with a genre made it harder for him to sell records, he paused for a few seconds, then answered confidently.

“I love not being labelled,” he said. “Fortunately for me, marketing my sound has never been much of a concern. That’s because for more than a decade, people have passed around my music authentically to each other. I’m not interested in marketing my sound as if it were a product. I’m more interested in creating experiences for people to inspire positive social impact in their lives.”

Ashton is well-known for his energetic live performances, and tailors most of his songs to those events specifically. “I customize each set to a massive amount of variables,” he said. “Not only do I consider the audience and its size, but just like a mad scientist or witch doctor, I put a lot of care into my experiments and my live shows have become an overwhelming experience, kind of a like a fun canvas to paint on.”

His show at the Metropolis on Nov. 25 certainly reflected that approach and dedication to delivering a memorable performance. A fired-up Ashton hit the stage around 10 p.m., following narcoleptic efforts by local artists FunkyFalz and The Dooze Jackers, and he belted out a three-hour set that had the crowd headbanging the entire time.

The build-up was carefully orchestrated; the lights went out, and Laurence Fishburne’s instantly recognizable “let me tell you why we’re here” speech from The Matrix queued up. With strobe lights blasting at a machine-gun pace, a relatively small-framed figure with hair down to his waist and an impressive goatee walked on stage. Once he felt the crowd was sufficiently ready, he jumped into a remix of Rage Against the Machine’s “Wake Up” (only on steroids), and the rest is history.

Ashton’s bass-drenched beats were complemented by David Lynch-esque visuals, which were perfectly synced up to his tracks. Surrounded by four LED screens of various sizes, Ashton displayed, for the most part, computer-generated imagery which was sometimes punctuated by stock footage of life at its weirdest. We watched bombs explode during one song and what looked like DNA double helices flying around in another; the classic journey-down-the-wormhole was used on occasion, which is always pretty hypnotizing and effective at making one contemplate existence.

Ashton figured prominently on stage, going back and forth between two laptops and a mixing board, waving his arms emphatically throughout the show and encouraging the crowd to do the same. His energy levels never plateaued, one audience-rousing hit after the last. He was impressed enough to comment on Twitter following the show: “MONTREAL! GADZOOKS! That was one of the sickest mosh pits i’ve ever seen. when Gogol dropped the entire room erupted into a human burst!” By the end of the show, Ashton had convinced every single person in attendance that his love for music is genuine, and his passion is undisputed, which echoed something he said before.

“It’s so much fun knowing I’ll be playing all these sold-out shows to enthusiastic fans night after night,” he said. “I’ve gone crazy, I’ve gone wild in my studio preparing these tracks, so when I get up there I know which beat is coming up and it just gets me so pumped up.”

Bassnectar’s latest album Divergent Spectrum is out now.

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Audrée BThibeault December 4, 2011 - 09:51

where is the picture?

TheConcordian December 5, 2011 - 14:37

At the event (photo by Shai Shotts).

Jessy D'amours Chevalier November 5, 2012 - 10:09

where can we find the other pictures of that night?


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