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11 July, 2014@1:25 am

Bassnectar has been putting it down since the 90′s rave scene, graduating to his first album release some thirteen years ago. Since then, he’s had an incredible output of singles, EP’s, and full-length releases, with legions of self-proclaimed “bass heads” in tow. Since the stateside electronic music explosion, Bassnectar’s long, storied career has gained even greater momentum, most notably collaborating with Ellie Goulding on the remix to “Lights” and Lupe Fiasco on the title track to his 2012 LP, Vava Voom.

With his tenth (!) album, Noise Vs. Beauty, he sounds as if he’s just getting warmed up, with no sign of peaking any time soon. True to the history of his craft, there’s no real box to put Bassnectar in, as he fuses sounds of dubstep, rock, hip-hop, trap, and other genres into one cohesive LP.

The album begins with the symphonic dubstep fueled “F.U.N.”, but then really kicks into high gear on “Now”, a nasty 808 trap banger featuring vocals from Rye Rye. The same can be said for what follows, “Loco Ono”, an energetic dubstep anthem, sure to destroy any summer stage. Meanwhile, Fool’s Gold alum, Donnis, steps way out of his comfort zone on “Noise”, in an experimental, genre-defying cut that somehow works.

Heaters aside, there’s some depth to Noise Vs. Beauty, as well. The melodic, romantic “You & Me”, featuring W. Darling, knocks it out of the park like the soundtrack to some slow-motion, festival after-video, sure to strike a chord with his female fanbase. Meanwhile, songs like “Ephemeral” and “Mystery Song” call back to pioneering acts like Depeche Mode or Nine Inch Nails, with classic synthpop and industrial influences.

Not everything works so flawlessly, however. “Open Up”, featuring Simon Morel, piles on the heavy “you’re my ammunition” metaphor, utilizing a lyrical formula of that’s all too common in modern pop music. The Zion I and Fashawn featured “Lost In The Crowd” is an honest effort, but somehow feels out of place here. The trap fueled “Don’t Hate The 808″ featuring Lafa Taylor also fails to deliver, sounds a bit like a bad Son Doobie impression.

Despite a few minor missteps, Bassnectar’s Noise Vs. Beauty is otherwise pretty consistent. It plays solidly throughout, with a song sequence that plays seamlessly, even matching keys from track to track. While many others have attempted to cash-in on EDM’s explosion, Bassnectar has kept it true to himself and his fans.

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