DIVERSE SYSTEMS OF THROB & MESMERIZING THE ULTRA

December 26th, 2015

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Bassnectar - Diverse Systems Of Throb & Mesmerizing The Ultra

About 15 years ago, at the turn of the millennium, I began working on some music which felt both futuristic and innovative, as well as deeply rooted in sounds I had heard in my favorite songs from artists all over the world. It was a heartfelt art project, all for fun, all about the love. I had been studying electronic music at school for 5 years or so, and DJing mostly at underground raves, free full-moon gatherings, and festivals like Burning Man, Shambhala, etc. The word “Bassnectar” was the name I chose for my “band” …it was (and is) my art project. It was not (and is not) the name of a human. It’s the moniker I chose to name the music and art I was creating.

As songs and ideas began to develop, and my informal DJ mixes (mixtapes) grew exponentially more customized, I started realizing I was actually writing albums, not mixes. There was no record label who understood the ‘genres’ I was making (perhaps because I named the genre “omni-tempo maximalism” which meant basically “I can do anything I want, and there are no musical rules”) and no touring infrastructure for DJs in North America at the time, and quite frankly no actual “fanbase” – basically just a growing scene of friends and family, comprised of freaks and artists and collaborative minds who gravitated toward a sound that didn’t really have a home or a face…

The first actual collection of music which I felt was “an album” was ‘Motions Of Mutation’ [2001] …and it was basically a super-deluxe mixtape of remixes & bootlegs, mashups & collaborations, and a few original tracks (many of which were just complex, seething sonic collages of found material with added beats & FX). I worked with my friend Volo (who helped me design the first bassnectar.net website in 1998, and sat patiently with me as I/we obsessed over all the artwork and cover art) to design the cover art of Motions of Mutation: that visual process mirrored my sonic process, as I was taking/sampling images of other collages from my friends (in most cases Darrah Danielle foundfables.com) and then editing and remixing them digitally and layering the F*CK out of everything. I pressed up 1,000 CDs, posted the MP3s for free on my website, and gave everything away. This continued for a while, and soon I had another new album.

I called this ‘Diverse Systems of Throb’ …it was over 15 tracks of all styles, speeds, genres, and attitudes, and was woven together with vocal samples from innovative thinkers and activists like Noam Chomsky, Mumia Abu Jamal, Fred Hampton Sr, Michael Rupert, and even included a recorded radio broadcast of Laura Flanders (working assets radio) and cuts of spoken word I got from friends like Andres Octavio and Scott Smith. Again, I had no label to release it, so I just did it myself. And my ‘career’ as a touring musician and obsessive music producer was suddenly squeezed as I began an additional full-time career as struggling independent record label. I would ride my bike around the playa at Burning Man with a basket full of the CDs and either give them away or leave them in pretty places with notes for whoever would find them. I tried to sell them, but it was more important to me that the music was heard so if someone couldn’t afford it I would rather they have it. I could not find any press to cover it or help me promote it, minus a few brave underground sources… I think this was before Myspace existed… this was a lot of email lists and hand-to-hand musical combat 🙂

As all this was happening, the alternative scenes of the West Coast underground were expanding, in large part thanks to Burning Man and Shambhala, as well as the remnants of the rave scene, the constant and nonstop work of all the free-party families like Moontribe, 13 Moontribe, Spaceship Gaia, and countless others. This was not the over-commercialized “EDM scene” you see today. This was not the mass-marketed ‘mainstream pop’ where DJs are glamorized glory stars. Instead there were legions of committed, hardworking humans and artists and social rejects whose art form was “The Scene” – it wasn’t an industry, it existed both as art, and also as a political celebration of rejecting the norm and going outside the bounds of conventional concerts and American pastimes. It was DIY, punk-rock, and beautiful.

The DJs were usually just as involved in throwing the events, scouting the locations, working the door, helping park cars, pass out fliers. Nobody got paid. Nobody was charged anything. And while that isn’t very sustainable, and while there were many downsides and caveats, the music was a reflection of this time: pure and authentic, unpopular and raw. I made this music because I was in love with it… so in love with I could cry, and so in awe of it I had no choice but to sit in the studio for months on end letting it flow in and out of me. I felt like a slave to it, and simultaneously a master of it.

Ironically, I still have the exact same relationship to music now as then, I just had to add on more and more full-time jobs to keep up with everything… eventually I was working 90 hours a week, and playing over 200 shows a year, and felt like I was moving at the speed of light. And everything I was making/remixing/composing/recording/producing back then felt like writing in my journal. (Making music today feels identical to making it back then, even if it sounds different to someone else. It’s just a natural creation and an honest reflection, and even if it’s for sale on iTunes now, its still a gift from my heart.)

As ‘Diverse Systems of Throb’ (DSOT) was throbbing away I was gushing ideas regularly, and soon had a second album, called ‘Mesmerizing The Ultra’ (MTU). I had been heavily influenced by the trip hop and acid jazz artists of the 90s and all the ambient/chill room music which was so prevalent then. Additionally, the balance between ‘feminine’ and ‘masculine’ was of extreme importance… songs which could go from pulverizing to enchanting, or which could swing between energetic extremes. To me, the album is a journey where each song’s personality works off the previous song, and sets up the next one. Including input and collaboration from so many like STS9, HDC & KRS One, Michael Kang, Sayr, FreQ Nasty, Sunru, Buckethead, and a zillion other friends & musicians… this album was a family affair, and a reflection of a sound & movement which was both sacred to us, yet off-radar to the masses. It was very heartfelt and very special (and still is, to me).


Due to some frustrating record label setbacks, both albums were not available for a long time – and when it was available, it was confined to low resolution versions. I was busy then, hard at work making new music, and zooming around the world nonstop, and when life gets that hectic there is kind of no looking back: and even now i feel I still have 8 zillion ideas which are begging to be set free and fly. So unless you really knew where to look, both DSOT & MTU kind of faded to the periphery.

In 2014, I realized it was the 10-year anniversary of DSOT, and then in 2015 the 10-year anniversary of MTU… I decided instead of going through a bunch of hoops and hurdles, I would just like to give this music away, post it up wherever it goes, and let it be shared with whomever wants to hear it. It’s an amalgamation of MANY people’s thoughts & ideas. It’s a reflection of MANY artists and styles and sounds and entire scenes from the past which came and went off the radar, in the shadow of the mainstream, in the underground, before many of today’s DJs were out of Jr High ; )

This music isn’t something I want to make a big deal of and claim ownership of, at least not in this raw form… I just want to let it exist, and if you enjoy it then maybe it will influence you somehow. Maybe it will become some small part of your own reflections and what you choose to give back to the world around you.

Thanks for tuning in, end ramble…

L

  • DWTF

    Your inspiration will have a positive and long lasting impact on this world for sure..

    I love the way your mind operates. Keep being you Lorin.

    With much love and respect
    – Jay

  • Johnathan Mizell

    One of my favorites

  • Alexis Garcia

    I like both when I was 5 years old Lorin since in 2005 that I heard the radio song called enter the chamber then when was 7 years old I said man I wish Lorin realese his old song 2002-2005

  • Christopher Charles

    Thank you for making such beautiful music.

  • chucktone11

    thank you so much for this lorin! you are the shit! some of the best albums from bassnectar

  • Soriah Suggs

    Wow Lorin this is beautiful!! Thank you for making such thoughtful beautiful heartful precious Music Lorin!! I love it all! I really really appreciate it a lot!! 😀 <3

  • Soriah Suggs

    Btw your music totally influences me to appreciate music it self!! Now I feel like I wanna be a DJ and or a Music producer! im a huge Dubstep fan to be honest! 😀

  • Yoanna Todorova

    Thank you Lorin and all the humans behind Bassnectar. Your music is cherished and appreciated. Thank you for sharing such personal emotions with us!

  • Soriah Suggs

    Lorin, Your music has made a part of me more positive then before, I don’t really know how but just the sounds of all your tracks made me more open minded on the world, it makes me appreciate music more, since im a music fan! It also makes me giveother music genres a chance even though I dislike it. Thank you so much Lorin! so much love and respect to you, your music will be cherished in our hearts forever!

  • Sheilah ShaktiVa

    LOVE LOVE YOU & THOSE GAZO’Z CREEK GATHERINGS Lorin aka Bassectar….. Will NEVRE 4GET thee MAGICK of those dayz and thee WAY COOL MUSIC …. BLESSINGS TO YOU AND YOUR ENDLESS ENERGY and CREATIVE SOURCE …. from teaching children to make electronic music on their computers to travelling the country expressing your heART of heARTs <3 …. 1LOVE sheilah

  • BassNick

    Lorin,
    Thank you for this release. We all appreciate it.

  • Storm

    Thank you for being.

  • cearakellee

    Were gonna regenerate every sound from which you dwell <3

  • Kyle Harvey

    It’s important for everyone to know where you came from in order to know who you are. 🙂 Thank you so much for this.

  • TarzanKingKongWTFisShe0n

    beautiful post sir. thank you for all your hard work. see you in Birmingham!

  • Nicholas

    This is one of my most favorite albums of all time. Thank you!

  • Jose

    Vinyl Lorin…Please for the love of music and for all the DJs, we need these to be issued on vinyl.
    I beg you!!!

  • swaggio

    keep it real lorin

  • Joshua

    Take a walk with me…
    Rambling leads us to some good points. I helps build the storyline for the listeners/readers for better clarity and understanding of what is at hand.
    Giving unconditionally is how the world works properly. Self sacrifice for everyones well being and witnessing their own personal growth is the best feeling of gratification. That power – no one can take from you. It gives you unlimited energy and karma. Everyone needs to be uplifted if we want to make a good change to our environments worldwide.
    If everyone in the world planted and looked after one new sapling their would be 7,125,000,000 new trees world wide. Giving protection from flooding, sever drying of soils, heat accumulation in soils, desertification, hurricanes, encroachment of territories/competition, etc. Greenhouse gases would be captured by the thousands of tons a year, stored as sugars and proteins. How do we get all people to do this as a group effort? ~Music!?
    Thanks for listening, through all the cross scatter and static, to hear the quiet humbled voices over the loud dominating ones.
    Thanks for making that Nectar for us day in and day out.

  • Danny B

    MTU is one of my all time top 10 electronic albums. I enjoyed the written throwback, those were special times

  • Melissa Rose Bird

    13,000 years babe. I need to see you face to face. We have an endless story Lorin. Don’t let it be another romeo and juliet. WE already made it passed the Enlil and Enki, the Ra and Hathor, the Isis and Osiris. Why is the concept of Bird and Lorin so hard to get across. Trinity fizix. Remember you promised not to ever make me cry.

  • Lara

    I just read this while going through airport security. It felt like reading a documentary. Thank you for sharing, Lorin! This helps fans have a better understanding behind all the work, love, passion and drive behind the music.

  • Cliff Perry

    I love this story. We listened to DSOT the night before we left for 360, while we were packing, and it’s awesome to hear the back story, of which I was unaware. Dave Grohl will get this music, someday, I am sure.

  • matthew szymkowicz

    can you comment on the urban legend regarding you “stealing” your early material from an old roommate who taught you Reason? And subsequently this being the reason that underground communication sounds so wildly different?

    • DB Montana

      All of his music isn’t made by him. Hell, just read between the lines of this very article. I have a whole Facebook thread dedicated to opening peoples eyes on this topic. It needs to be updated, but take a look..

      https://www.facebook.com/montanadb/posts/10156535597865640

      • Go on discogs and look at his albums. He gives credit where it is deserved and takes credit for what he created from nearly scratch. A lot of old school sets are comprised of his original sound as well as others music. He is a DJ, therefore he has permission to use the tracks he drops live.

        • DB Montana

          Discogs is made by the people, for the people. It’s not the actual credits that are in the liner notes, unless stated.

  • usernamehasbeendeleted

    Your early work will always be my favorite. You should make a big deal about it, because its HIGHLY underrated compared to your recent releases.

  • shaughnessy ?

    Thank you so much for this beautiful gift ?

  • Jamie Luhr

    Thank you 🙂

  • Lisa Prue

    My 21 year old daughter suggested I listen to your music last year. I had heard some of your tracks from the “kids” (all the 20-something’s hanging out at my house) and liked it. Over the last year I have become a HUGH Basshead. I love your creativity, the uniqueness of the music, and how it moves my soul and body. Thank you for allowing me to explore some of your first creative expressions for free. I can’t wait for Bass Center in July. It will be the first time I see you live. My daughter, Jessica, said it will change my life. This will be her 4th time seeing you live. 🙂

  • anon

    2 of the best albums ever, it’s a shame there will never be anything like it again. I’ve only been listening to these albums for the last year and a half. I own several copy’s of both CD’s, including the Advanced Album of MTU. It’s the best shit ever.

  • DB Montana

    This article is so confusing. Are you a producer, or what? A co-producer? What do you do? Many times you refer to Bassnectar as “I” , but then say it’s not a single person. You hire people like Seth Drake and ill Gates to produce your tunes (just to name a few).

    What the hell is Bassnectar and who all creates it? I think the fans deserve to know.

    Here’s a thread to make you “think for yourself and question”..

    https://www.facebook.com/montanadb/posts/10156535597865640

  • Dave A Tylka

    This is awesome how u can just move the sound to the future and just let your mind free with ideas 😉 and for that I thank you

  • Robert Jared Nikkel

    Thank you so much for sharing!!! I loved reading your ramble and coming across these albums to listen to while i read. This really puts you into perspective for me and makes me feel even more blessed to listen to your work! truly inspirational!!!

    • Chris Basscrew

      🙂