Mesmerizing the Ultra

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Whoever the guy is who records under the name Bassnectar, he's picked a perfectly apt pseudonym. His sound is equally concerned with sweetness and with heavy grooves, and on what appears to be his debut album he's managed to attract an impressive array of like-minded musicians to help him realize his uniquely funkalicious vision. KRS-One, Buckethead, Sound Tribe Sector 9, Freq Nasty, and Michael Kang (from the String Cheese Incident) all put in appearances or make mixological contributions here, and for those who like by-the-numbers politics there are spoken word interludes courtesy of Noam Chomsky and Mumia Abu-Jamal. Luckily, the music is much more thoughtful and nuanced than the political pronunciamentos -- "Blue State Riddim" combines a glitchy sort of breakbeat sound with dubbed-up snatches of vocals, "Bursting" is a funky but contemplative exercise in a sort of faintly new age techno featuring Buckethead on uncharacteristically understated guitar, and "Creation Lullabye" rips apart several vocal source tapes and throws them back together again in the context of bleepy, blippy synth-funk. Especially lovely is the slowly churning "Dubuasca," which juxtaposes gorgeous female vocals with a jittery, almost junglish glitch beat and languid, melodic bass. Almost every track on these two discs is a different variation on one man's kaleidoscopically brilliant funk conception. Very highly recommended.

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