No matter the initial plans and intention, creating a new album is always pure, beautiful, noisy, messy chaos. It’s a crazy rollercoaster ride that takes on its own momentum – each and every time. And, as Bassnectar records are very much a collaborative process, so much happens and changes along the way as different hearts and minds contribute a special part of themselves to the whole. The journey helps shape the album and, by the time it’s finished, it has taken on an identity of its own, one that could never have been exactly planned: the summation of all the love and energy put into its creation by all contributors, and the circumstances around those moments that can never be repeated.
So here we are, with a brand new album UNLIMITED ready to roll! As is tradition we like to publish “liner notes” online, to offer some behind-the-scenes info into the making of, give nods to the artists who inspire or contribute, and preserve some of the album experience in this age of fleeting digital consumption.
Thanks to everyone supporting, and big shout out to album lovers who are preserving the experience of the album as a conceptual work 🙂
We archive these on Soundcloud, so please leave a positive comment (if you love it, say it! if not, go find what you love, but don’t hate) or share your thoughts or flag your favorite moment – streaming graffiti!
01. Bassnectar – Reaching Out
This is one of my favorite songs. I have listened to that 1st “drop” on loop approximately 18 zillion times; it reminds me of the sparkling melodic downtempo I fell so deeply in love with back in the day – exploring the side rooms & chill rooms with avant-garde sound-systems playing music from leftfield… or spiraling liquid abstract downtempo that would play during sunrise at a free outdoor full-moon celebration. Listening to this style of music was one of the 1st times I really registered in my mind that I was hearing an 808 bass, and it began a whole side-genre for me as a producer: using those drums to strengthen any other genre or sound. And who doesn’t love a good vocoder… also a classic sound to my ears from the 1990s rave scene. This one says “We’re reaching out to set you free” and it captures that healing energy of feeling rescued by friends (or angels) – this is one of the most important effects music has had on my life: making me feel healed.
02. Bassnectar & LUZCID – Music Is The Drug
Eons ago I used to see that phrase popping up everywhere in graffiti around the Bay Area. Of course music can overwhelm and overpower and posses our nervous systems better than any other drug: but I like to think about this in the sense of a cultural mindset, not just a literal proclamation that we can get high on music. For me, it means that music can be medicinal, and also significant to our lives as a shapeshifting force for culture, identity & community. As members of a musical community, you all have the chance to prioritize the health & safety of your nervous systems, and to treasure your bodies & their well being, instead of being careless, reckless, or harmful with such precious cargo. To me this song is about magic more than anything, and creating it with LUZCID was a joy and a pleasure. I also want to thank Katrina again for the vocals: we love your voice : )
03. Bassnectar – TKO ft. Rye Rye & Zion I
I love how the bass drop of this tune feels like a biiiiiiig ballooooooon swelling up. Or what happens in slow motion when an elephant lands in the center of a trampoline and it stretches down so low. I have infinite appreciation for Zion I as well as Rye Rye – fucking proper team 🙂 To me this song is an anthem about how good it feels when things just click into place – when you’re in your own zone, and following your path, striving upwards at light-speed, doing the right thing, and the negative energy of others simply cannot phase you. It’s not always easy to remember that when someone is hating or trying to pull you down: it’s showing a lack of love in their lives. Instead of getting mad at them, it makes more sense to feel sad for them, to feel sorry for them, and if you feel strong enough, be kind to them. Anyways, when all the trolls on Facebook tell you how bad this record sucks, you can laugh and sing in your mind: “At the top of the world, your bad vibes don’t phase me.”
4. Bassnectar & G. Jones – Mind Tricks ft. Lafa Taylor
Teamwork! More joy was brought to my life as I created this song with G. Jones & Lafa Taylor. It feels like the demented friend of Bass Head, but with a simple reminder that things are not always what they seem. And when the mind plays tricks on you, anything can happen…
We are preparing an entire collaborative release with G. Jones on Amorphous Music, and this was gonna be the first song on that, but it was too good to wait. Stay tuned for more!!!
5. Bassnectar – Unlimited Combinations
This is the most symbolic song on the record for me, even though it’s instrumental. Like Timestretch, or Into the Sun, or Boomerang, it just feels like it’s from that same place in the universe where these big soaring love songs live. But this song was an absolute pain in the ass to make because there were SO many different versions of it. There were various vocal versions, and completely different possible sequences, and insanely long extended versions, and at almost every point I felt paralyzed creatively because of all the various creative options. I would listen to the song on loop for hours and keep all the drums muted, and just mix it into a symphony of glittering sonic color, or mute all the melodies on the drop and just let it growl… I started bringing in sounds from other songs (Replenish, Ping Pong, Flashback, etc) and it was while working on this song that I dreamed up the concept for the album: celebrating music as a sonic collage, and surrendering to all the diverse micro-nuances and possibilities within the creative process.
6. Bassnectar & Levit?te – Level Up ft. Macntaj
After we made Chasing Heaven, I knew there was more music to be created together with Levit?te. I wanted to go somewhere harder and faster, but with a drop that made me almost stop dancing cuz it feels like a “pause” button… suspended in a full force flex. That intro loop is something I used to always freak out for when making psy-trance, and had an FX setting saved called “Blazz” which you could run anything through and make it feel like it’s constantly rising on a robotic river to heaven. I want to thank Macntaj for being so flexible & fast, he rained so many lyrical ideas & options on us, it was hard to choose which lines to keep, cuz we probably could have made and entire album. The theme of this song: drive, ambition, relentless passion, always taking it to the next level in the name of art.
7. Bassnectar & Qa – Shampion Chip
I’d like to be the first to suggest that this song is comical, even ridiculous. It’s like a parody of itself… like the nerdy big brother to Mystery Song (although much different sounding) and it had me shaking my head and smiling even though I know it’s gonna be so much fun to watch it splat on crowds 🙂 Seth and I were joking around making an absurd side-project, and Qa was born (originally named S.H.O.E.) …maybe this is not the last you will hear of Qa.
8. Bassnectar – Zodgilla
This tune was supposed to be a part of Into The Sun, but I couldn’t get it finished in time… It was like tapping into that Loco Ono nerve, and then I wanted the widest, stupidest, lowest, slow-motion drop… then I started jacking with alternate surprise cuts from artists like Dead Prez, Big Makk, Yookie, GTA, (huge shout outs to these artists for the inspiration!) and then it even ended up flowing perfectly into F.U.N. somehow… force is versatile. Extreme props to Seth Drake for suggesting this trick with the sideband I can’t even pretend to understand, but it made the weight of that fucking downbeat absolutely ludicrous 🙂 Special thanks to Bay Area Blackalicious superstar Gift Of Gab for cutting vocals while on the road!
09. Bassnectar & The Glitch Mob – Paracosm
It was an honor getting to be a part of the creative powerhouse that is The Glitch Mob. Having been friends for 15 years or so, and watching each of them progress over the years, it has been incredible to experience their triad of musical wizardry. My favorite part about this song is that we didn’t end up with some hands-in-the-air banger, and instead it’s like this deep unicorn make-out track or something. Although I couldn’t find the word in a dictionary, Justin informed us that “a paracosm is a detailed imaginary world created inside one’s mind. This fantasy world may involve humans, animals, and things that exist in reality; or it may also contain entities that are entirely imaginary, alien, and otherworldly.” Perhaps the word is merely a paracosm in Justin’s mind, but either way I hope there are unicorns there…
10. Bassnectar & HAILO – Surrender ft. Haley
HAILO is a longtime friend, and now travels the world relentlessly as tour manager for Steve Angelo. While moving to Sweden, he sent me over a sketch for a song which sounded like it could become a deep house lullaby. We invited Haley Gibby to work on the track, and together we developed it into this enchanting downtempo crush track. I’ll let Haley do the talking on what this song means 😉
11. Bassnectar & Gnar Gnar – Dream Catcher
Who would have guessed I would be making music with that random longhaired ambassador with the upside-down cross t-shirt? Another Ambassador (Bri) sent me a folder of mp3s to check out, and my favorite song in the folder was by “Gnar Gnar.” When I found out it was Tyler, I flipped out, and ever since then he and I have been endeavoring together through the mystical sonic lands. It’s a match made in heaven. We hope you enjoy our follow up to Generate – this one is more of a melodic meltdown moment. Mmmmmm….
12. Bassnectar – Journey To The Center
Actually, maybe this song is my favorite on the album… the original concept was like an ode to late-1990s electronica, and I was doing a good job keeping it simple and steady and pretty at first. But as layers kept getting added it morphed into a thicker, more futuristic journey: like the second cousin of Flashback …which is fitting. Someday I may release the first version, which was uptempo with double-time breakbeat drums, and a hypnotic pattern which was like a weird mix of Knight Rider & Mesmerizing The Ultra. I love when the shortest version of a song is 6:20… you know the cook was getting out of hand in the kitchen.
13. Bassnectar – In The Beginning [2016 Version]
I wrote this song a million years ago, it was my imagination’s idea of something opening and expanding, like dawn… evolving from silence into the next phase. Those suction noises at the beginning made me think of creatures evolving out of the sea or something (not that that was ‘the beginning’ of time or anything) but I basically felt like the soul of this song is really old and simple. There is something dark and deep about the groove, but also hauntingly light and ethereal. I hope you enjoy this little slice of mind from way back in the day.
14. Crywolf – Rising, Rising (Bassnectar Remix)
When I heard the original, I thought it was some Coldplay song I’d never heard before (and my favorite Coldplay song, at that) but upon further investigation I discovered this amazing indie artist named Crywolf – and getting a chance to step behind the scenes of his masterpiece was simply indulgent. Once I was at the controls, I became saturated in the soul of his music, and had no interest in making ‘a remix’ of the song. I just wanted to play with it, explore it, and interact with it. I ended up letting it breathe, as a deeply soothing lullaby which lets the original melodies loop on and on until you wonder if you are dreaming. Toward the end I couldn’t bring myself to finish it because of the unlimited combinations of chimes and bells and harps and guitar interlocking with the vocals. I just wanted to let it play forever.
15. Bassnectar – Inspire The Empathic
This is just a silly outtake of me acting like a fool with one of my best friends in the universe, Craig. I was asking him to help me figure out if an idea I had for a bassline was out of key with an idea I had for a lead, and I was looped out and needed perspective. We ended up ‘singing’ the two parts (obviously neither of us are singers) and sure enough it worked out. Later after I finished the song Nostalgia Worship, I found that outtake, and mixed a bit of the song out of the session we were recording. Some weird sounds ensue…