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August 1st, 2011


Divergent SpectrumI wanted to create a collection of music that reflects my diverse tastes, but also I wanted to explore the energetic balance between heaviness and weightlessness, between beauty and aggression, tension and release. Since I am on tour year round, I decided to take a few original tracks, and combine them with some remixes of older material, and some collaborations as well, to flush out as many individual pieces as possible. When I realized it would be a full album, and not just an EP, I decided to compile each song in order of how i would play it in a set: Usually i arrange my sets in terms of Acts (like a play) and each Act contains various routines (which are segments of loops/songs/samples that all flow together harmonically, melodically, energetically, etc) and then I kind of just let loose.

But energetically my favorite method is like this: start with an explosive bang, get the crowd going wildstyle. Play with some surprises and unexpected twists. If you go REALLY hard, then make up for it with something really dreamy. Or vice versa, if you get all melodic and emo, then fuckin SMASH IT afterward. Just keep playing between extremes. Eventually stop, take a breather, and change it up completely. Surprise everyone else, or maybe surprise yourself. Then rinse and repeat this exchange of intensities for a while until it is time to TOTALLY freak out. After that, enjoy a nice long meltdown into deepness.

Upside Down

So Upside Down was an easy kick off, the intro is tense, and the drop is stupidly heavy. Although it has a pretty basic sound, I love this song because it has that ‘here we go’ kind of feel, winding up an almost drunken rollercoaster… and i also just *LOVE* 808 hip hop beats, so this was a pretty straightforward call. Little subtleties like the pulsing/breathing effect on the siren, or the particular exchange of synth tweaks and beat change ups, even the complex lattice of bass dives and risers …all of this was lots of fun to make, and resulted in tons of un-used material, perfect for remixes and future versions.


Plugged In has a nice celebratory vibe to it… it is anthemic, almost triumphant. But lots of pretty tinkles and melody, so that kind of ‘makes up’ for the bassline assault of Upside Down. I first heard the original version by Rollz while hunting through music last summer, and I wanted to play it so bad, but i just didn’t want the double time drums. It took some convincing but eventually Matt (Rollz) and Leroy (DJ SS @ Formation) agreed to give me the parts, and really I didn’t want to make some whole new song or version, i just wanted to kind of tweak the drums and groove it out a bit. Collaborating like this is such an obsession of mine, and I love the open-mindedness of current electronic musicians, where people can simply share files and parts and components, and everything blends even deeper into a melting pot of sound, style, and ideas. Much thanks and respect to Matt!

Gogol Bordello

Next up, something totally different: punk rock. And beyond that GYPSY PUNK! BOH BOH! This is something I have never sampled or included in a release, so this was very exciting for me. And of course that drop is just… absolutely ABSURD. Shit is FUN! And the message is great too (my crude interpretation: it is about immigration, and the abstract contradiction of telling people they aren’t welcome in this country where everyone is basically an immigrant, or their relatives were). It’s like the FUCK YOU ARIZONA GOVERNMENT song. :). Major thanks to Eugene & Gogol Bordello for being so open-minded, and also to Patrick Jordan, Charlie Walker, and Rick Rubin for sharing the parts.


Then Boomerang. This is kind of a throwback to when i was 16, and getting mega-blazed with my friends and *CONSTANTLY* playing death metal. We had a rehearsal studio with everything set up: a PA, guitars, drums, etc, and everyday we would grind out, either band practice or even forming a new band for the day, maybe a surf rock band, or a metal cover band doing only NWA covers, but always playing music nonstop. Anyways, back to Boomerang, the song was called ‘Return To Guitars’ and i spent a few rainy days last winter recording some amazing shit with friends, including Ken Bryant, who set up his marshal full stack in my living room and played for several hours. Then I started recording vocals to it, and developed a new kind of meaning and intention for the song, which at this point was called ‘Inside Out’ because I had this dream where I woke up inside the dream, and then started lucidly pondering if I was inside of the dream looking out, or outside looking in, then I woke up and got all these ideas for lyrics. But anyways, after tons of time on tour, playing only the instrumental, i got used to it as an instrumental, and saved all the vocals for later. Like I said, the vibe is basically Timestretch (which i used to make Magical World, Underwater, and Ellie Goulding… I like to develop a song and then let it mutate) combined with the death metal influences from my high school daze of nonstop guitar …this has been one of my favorite songs to play in each set, I don’t think I have played a single set without including it thus far in 2011.

Ellie Goulding

Then comes my remix of Ellie Goulding’s “Lights”…in a set this is the beautiful breather. On an album, this represents much more because not only do I LOVE this song, and LOVE her as an artist, but this was the first song of the record that we released (last January) before I even knew if we could include it officially. It has been a big part of the year so far, and I am just SO thrilled it is a part of the whole release. And for anyone wishing for more ‘Mesmerizing The Ultra’-style… this song is basically ‘Replenish’ and ‘Enter the Chamber’ …same synths, same energy, same vibe :). I made the remix in one day, after discovering Ellie Goulding by hearing dubstep remixes of her music. Although i liked most of the remixes, I felt like most of them would introduce her melody and vocals and then quickly explode into an assault of amazing bassline action. Even though I love heavy basslines, of course, I felt that each time it kind of disturbed my hypnosis, or shook me out of the trance. So I set out to basically take existing remixes and kind of smooth them out, but quite quickly this remix unfolded. Some people asked why I didn’t do more to it (whereas with Gogol, i just used a few small parts of the original then took it into an almost totally unrelated bassline territory) and the answer is that I am not making music to show off, as much as to allow myself to hear things with my ears like I hear them in my mind. That’s why being a DJ is so fun, because sometimes you find songs that are just perfect, and you get to share them with other people, no need for obligatory changes. In this case I basically wanted to mix ‘Lights’ with ‘Mesmerizing The Ultra’. So much thanks to Elliott for fearlessly and relentlessly refusing to take no for an answer and getting the official permission to include this on the album.

Ellie Goulding

I was raised in a hippy commune in California, and have always been a fan of collaboration, teamwork, and community. As a teenager I spent all my time playing music in bands, and I networked within underground music scenes by working together with various other people to organize shows, exchange ideas, and promote the music we loved. Although I always had one main band, I would regularly form side projects with members from other bands, and make strange combinations or just mess around and see what we ended up with. To this day, one of my favorite people to collaborate with is Dylan Lane (aka ill.Gates). A friend for over 10 years, we have spent countless hours musing together about the universe, making music, going on adventures, tackling technical problems as if it was a game of chess, teaching each other techniques, and just basically geeking out nonstop. We have made many songs together by simply sharing files back and forth across the interwebs, but this one came about in June 2010. I just wanted to mess around with that classic West Coast gangster rap hook, so we recreated it using a patch in Massive, and went from there. The tune came together pretty quickly, and we were excited to feature drum loops from our good buddy KJ Sawka (drummer for Pendulum). The actual song is about 11 minutes long, but this version is just something I sequenced live from loops which I used in my DJ sets. This song came to life in September 2010, on tour in Tallahassee, Florida. When that synth loop hit, everyone in the building thought it was the FSU War Cry chant that they routinely blare at the top of their lungs in massive stadiums of people. They instantly began chanting over the song, and it overpowered the music. It was an unforgettable experience! Myself and my entire team lost our damn minds, and I knew I had to release that song eventually. Dylan and I share a library of sounds and have built multiple studio templates together, resulting in heaps of unreleased music. We will release more soon.


Jantsen is another longtime friend and collaborator, who started out as an interesting fella I met in Hawaii while DJing on a college campus in 2001. He began sending me mini-discs of rare b-side music he recorded from vinyl, a lot of old school trip-hop and 2-step – we shared very similar tastes. We have of course collaborated a lot since then, and this one took well over a year and a half to finish. For no other reason than we lag hard, and are both too busy to see straight. This was kind of a playful blend of b-more, electro and dubstep. Jantsen was the first producer I ever heard start to combine electro house and dubstep, as early as 2006 he was sending me awesome prototypes and this bleepy squeaky hook was one of them. Also this song has become a instant favorite for Michael, my lighting designer, because at shows he goes bonkers when it says “watch the light go red”.

Divergent Spectrum

Obviously this is like a remix of ‘Bass Head’. I love creating a song, and then remixing it again and again. The 808 beats at the beginning are from an *OLD* beat i made for Dead Prez like 7 or 8 years ago. I since used it in ‘Land of The Lupes’ and also in my remix of Nirvana’s ‘In Bloom’, as well as using it live to add energy to just about anything. After remixing ‘Hot Right Now’ for the Wildstyle EP, I asked Amp Live if he had another track i could remix, and instead of doing that, he went and did a special recording session for me with an amazing MC named D.U.S.T. from South Africa. When he handed over the vocals kind of as a donation to the cause, I spent days cutting them up over different beats before deciding to use them on the old ‘crush hop’ beat. Then I took bits of ‘Bass Head’, and along with some new patches and tweaks, I knocked this sucker out one day on the tourbus. For me, it is of course very playful, but it also has meaning: it’s a kind of an ode to this insane lifestyle I have lead nonstop for so many years, traveling full time, pouring my life into creativity, and relentlessly working to create that atmosphere for people to go experience crazy abandon. But after every buckwild show, emerging from the trance soaked in sweat and barely able to speak English, I always get back in the spaceship (or plane, or bus, or whatever) and zoom back into the matrix. Each show is like that momentary escape from ‘the matrix’ where I can lose my mind and just let go.

Divergent Spectrum

This song is basically a remix of ‘Wildstyle’, centered around that wildly bendy synth loop (which is actually a composite of audio loops, gelled together with reverb gates). I had outakes from a recording session with Zumbi from eons ago “like Shaka Zulu, my voodoo may break you down, and I post in the West with the Gumbuck Sound”. I have to admit I had no idea what “The Gumbuck Sound” was, and years later when I discovered the vocal in some random folder on an old computer, I asked Zumbi and he didn’t even remember ever saying the words. But I feel like it has something to do with “buckwild”…buck something …anyhow, this is a fun one, and will definitely be on full blast at Voodoo Fest this year. Also the second drop at 3:39 is soooo death metal, it makes me laugh. It just has that epic, forlorn intensity, and just keeps building until it all splits wide open at 4:22 …and that part reminds me of the climax in metal songs where the guitar solo erupts and people go bonkers. So much of this record was written as if i was 5 people in a band, messing around at band practice.

Heads Up 2011

The title is pretty self explanatory, obviously I released 3 versions of Heads up a few years back, and although I love them all, I just wanted a louder, cleaner mix. Once I started mixing it, I thought of little tweaks and adjustments I could make. I didn’t want to make some brand new remix (although I would love to do that also) but rather I just wanted an updated version, this song is a great opener, and an ideal kick off track for Fall tour.

Divergent Spectrum

Well over 10 years ago, my friend George gave me a white label record, with the word “stereophonic” written on it in black marker. When I put the needle on the record, I was instantly blown away by this massive wall of wobbling hi-pitched noise, and then delighted by the classic drum break that followed. I recorded it and used to include it in my DJ sets. The recording was pretty bad, and I always intended one day to meet whoever made it and ask if I could remix it. Well to this day I have no idea who made it, and after looking EVERYWHERE, I decided to recreate the basic idea with my own flavor, and chuck it out there. It contains bits of ‘Blue State Riddim’, and ‘Wicked Twitch of the West’, as well as a beatbox sample I heisted from my good buddy Ernesto from Mexicans With Guns. I love music that isn’t really written, it is just created collaboratively overtime, by sampling, re-sampling, and going mental in the studio. Also I was excited to use a bit of Jahi’s vocals “Before revolution can start in the streets, it first has to happen in the mind”. Over the years I have gone from being almost strangled by fierce political convictions to having a new understanding of the importance of exchanging information and opinion with other humans in a non-combative way, through discussion (online, not at a party or a concert) and this phrase is a microcosm for that: I don’t think a protest in the streets is necessarily as efficient as a life of critical thinking and exuberant expression. …study, learning, discussion, and exchange. My current political views are pretty identical to where I was at 15 years ago, except I now have more interest in humanistics (building community and empowering people with ideas and information) and less interest in the dishonest charade of corporate politics. More on that later.

Seth Drake

I was a fan of Seth’s music when he was producing as Shakes on SPL’s Hollow Point label. After getting to know each other we began discussing some collaboration, and Seth would send me stuff to see if there was anything I wanted to work on. For the most part nothing grabbed me and I would just kind of write back advice on what he might try with each piece. Then he sent me this symphony and my face completely melted off. The beats and bass needed some work, but the fact that he had composed an original symphony was extremely exciting as I had been searching for a symphony to work with for several years, to create some kind of hybrid classical music. Eventually Seth mentioned his experience as a mastering engineer and we decided to move him out to California so he could work full time at Amorphous Music Studios, both as intern and studio assistant, but also as the head mastering engineer for all projects: re-mastering my entire catalog, and eventually even my entire record collection, as well as any future projects and releases on Amorphous Music. Plus it helps to have someone back home at the studio when I need a file, or want to bust out and old dancehall 7-inch, but need the levels raised, or even need a vocal session or recording session to happen. This opens up so many possibilities for new music and new collaboration, and it means I can increase my efficiency and pursue even more of my creative ideas. And my ideas are endless. Anyhow, this is the introduction of a new force on the Bassnectar team, and you can expect much more to follow in the years ahead for Bassnectar, Amorphous Music, and our new side project ‘Crazyface’.

Above & Beyond - free download

Parade Into Centuries 2011

This has always been one of my favorites. I wrote it for my parents on guitar, a lonnnnnnng time ago – the basic concept is ruminating on how humans are so simultaneously significant and insignificant. And also how the human race is both a species and also an almost timeless bullet of evolving matter and energy moving through time. I was pondering my own mortal existence, as well as the existence and legacy of my parents, and marveling at how humans (and life in general) parades through time in such a phenomenal and mysterious manner. The original release of this song was at 110 bpm, but halftime so it was more like 55bpm, making it not really a song to play at a show, rather a good song for headphones. I wanted to make a version to play live, but not some big club remix, just a new version. Melodically it is probably my favorite piece on the album, and it exemplifies “the beauty” on one end of this strange spectrum.

Divergent Spectrum

I didn’t intend it like a noun, but rather like the shapeless form of whatever happens after thought. Really it was kind of a way of following Parade Into Centuries, by continuing the sounds and journey, kind of how the afterlife might be. But I don’t expect to be around to experience the afterlife, so I can only experience it in my thoughts, as something that may happen in the future, even when I no longer “exist” in this form to translate the sensation with my mind. Also, musically, this is the way I used to end morning sets. When I used to play deep into the sunrise, and as the end of the set neared, I would introduce a big, dreamy, gorgeous sound, and then silence …and then …more sound …and then silence …and so on. Kind of decreasing the frequency until it slowly becomes only silence. The end of my old mixtape ‘Dreamtempo’ is like that… as is ‘Cozza Frenzy”s ending. This song wasn’t really created to give to anyone, I don’t think of it as a product, just a song.

Divergent Spectrum

I wrote a song for ‘Diverse Systems of Throb’ that had this melody, and some of these sounds in it. I then proceeded to make *COUNTLESS* versions, and release none of them. In fact, I never really finished any of them. The song (and the melodic progression itself) became something I would just enjoy playing with. Kind of like the joy of playing a guitar, not writing a song. I would spend entire nights looping synths, and creating versions of this song in so many different genres, like drum&bass, trip-hop, rock, death metal, even ambient synth experimentia (tinkering with the melodies and harmonies when I test out new synths). Also, as a DJ I have always appreciated when I find parts of a song I love that I can sample cleanly because they aren’t buried beneath too many layers. When other artists or musicians give away synth loops, beats, or any interesting component of a song it is an obsessive passion for me to find and collect these. Using Ableton Live, I can constantly remix and layer bits over one another, and I like giving out the same to other artists. For example, when I released the ‘Wildstyle’ EP, I included some of the synths from ‘Window Seat’ and simply called it ‘Fun With Synthesizers’ …kind of a description of how I made it (having fun using synthesizers) but also as an encouragement to others… have fun with this. Use this as you like. It is the same idea here, I wanted to give out a beatless version even though the actual song has never been finished or released. I used these synths in ‘Land of the Lupes’ and I will hopefully get to explore more versions of this idea in the future. But it was also the way I wanted to end the record… just beautiful melodies richocheting off one another and slowly fading away. It reminds me of a breathtaking sunrise slowly unfolding from the darkness.