San Francisco’s Bassnectar, aka Lorin Ashton, skirts easy categorization with Under-ground Communication, an album that’s equal parts bass-heavy breakbeat electronica, soothing trip-hop, party rockin’ hip-hop and glitchy experimentation with field recordings. It’s an incredibly varied aural universe where ornate melodic phrases and grumbling bass lines hover above urgent rhymes and tottering rhythms.
Choice cuts include “Bomb The Blocks,” wherein a recording of a child repeatedly saying, “Look at this!” gets sliced to bits and becomes one of the songs many euphonic melodies. A beat comprised of clicky, high-frequency tones accent the harmonics as the rhymes of MC Persia urge listeners to join the party and “throw your hands up.” Later in the album, the track “Yo” pays homage to a surefire combo of electro-breaks and snarling bass—a style pioneered by British producer Tipper—while vocalist Kristina Maria sings something beautiful in Spanish.
Taken as a whole, Underground Communica-tion seems destined for freak-outs on the dance floor. Compositionally, though, the album has enough contrast and variety in timbre to make it stand out from the insipid, often repetitive sounds of most dance-centric electronic music. (Ira Sather-Olson)
Bassnectar plays The Other Side Thursday, Nov. 15, at 10 PM with Enzymes and Mankiisi. $15/$12 in advance plus fees.