In the liner notes of his 2014 album Noise vs Beauty, Bassnectar man Lorin Ashton notes that new ideas, interesting collaborations, and outside techniques were his driving influences during these recording sessions. Fair enough, and the album does feel like an EDM journey through sound with genres like trance ("You & Me") and trap ("Don't Hate the 808") adding new tones to the Bassnectar universe, but the happy side effect of all this messing about is how varied and album-like this LP plays out. After Bassnectar's grinding EP onslaught of 2013, this even-keeled approach is a surprise, and a surprise peppered with towering highlights. The Rye Rye-fronted "Now" is a poppin' and lockin' EDM cut where "going dumb" comes off as sound party advice, while on the other end of the spectrum there's "Gnar," a stone-face dubstep juggernaut that's the kind of stuff battlebots must listen to before entering the ring. "Mystery Song" is dark and mysterious enough to move goths toward the dancefloor, while the sequencing of "Noise" and "The Future" gives the album a second-half suite of worthy EDM experimentation. Turns out the producer is as good with the long haul as he is with the shock and awe, although EPs are still the Bassnectar format to turn to for those instant dancefloor fireworks.
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AllMusic Review by David Jeffries
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