The Beat Down

Bay area DJ Lorin Bassnectar appreciates the subtle dynamics inherent in the best trip-hop. Unafraid to stray from the incessant disco thud that characterizes many purveyors of late night, ecstasy-driven cyber-boogie, Bassnectar's grooves vary from conventional, melodic pop to hip-hop, reggae and classic, bass-filled beats. Wisely taking cues from the legendary ambient/electronic textures of Eno, Can, Kraftwerk and even Aphex Twin, Bassnectar's approach isn't just about spinning discs and manipulating tapes. Like very few DJs, his music feels composed, not constructed.

More often than not, his latest double-disc, Mesmerizing The Ultra, succeeds by placing the emphasis firmly on the power of the groove and less on rather pedestrian political ambiguities that he touts on his Web site. On the first disc, Bassnectar collaborates with some of the hippest trip-hoppers around, including Sound Tribe Sector Nine, Buckethead, Freq Nasty and Nickoftime. Tracks like "Parade Into Centuries" and "Inaugural Day Beatdown" deftly mix the intrinsic repetition of trance with dub-influenced open spaces and sinewy bass.

The second disc is made up of remixes, including "Arrival" by Heavyweight Dub Champion, that you're likely to hear at his Lizard Lounge appearance. Featuring major old schooler KRS-One, this is music that looks at the past and to the future in the same breath. It celebrates the hypnotizing, mesmerizing, sweaty thrall of revelry that is not beholden to any specific decade, genre or movement.


Bassnectar spins at Lizard Lounge on Saturday, October 15.

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