by Jake Krzeczowski
Compilation albums are a tricky beast to tame; many times a string of solid tracks can be upended by the wrong mixture of artists, sounds, or theories. With their newest release, Subsynthesis.com shows that they are very much capable of putting together a package that can be entertaining from start to finish. A thirty-three track behemoth of an album, Bass From Above: Volume 2 is a beast in itself, listeners may want to stretch and prepare themselves before delving into the flowing throb of electronic masterpieces that live up to the album’s namesake.
When I first got the album I wasn’t sure where to start, the massive track listing a daunting undertaking, in itself. As is customary I just dug in from the top and began rifling through the beautiful mixture of highs and lows the album provides the listener. The album itself is the second in a series produced to raise money for the Japanese Red Cross in response to the devastation caused by the tsunami. The previous Bass From Above raised over $1000 for the fund. For a small charitable donation, it’s worth grabbing the album, which is bursting with talent.
“Bass Freaq” by artist Protohype is by far my favorite song off the album. The song reels you in as you may expect, using thick bass rhythms and grinding dubstep to latch you to the music. Well-placed samples accentuate the compositional impact of what Protohype has put together here. Letting the synth roll at points he works the bass in slowly before unleashing it full speed, which may cause your back button on your iPod to get a bit worn. All in all “Bass Freq” really became my interpretation of the album. For an album called Bass from Above, this song definitely feels as though it were sent from the heavens. Protohype recently finished up a string of shows on the west coast in Arizona and California.
For sample-happy electronic listeners, the Love and Light duo of Probiotik & 4Centers (Matt Madonna and Ryan Anderson) provide a funky remix of the Doobie Brothers classic tune “Black Water” mixed in with a host of synth measures and dub beats that turn a classic into a club banger.
Also satisfying that blast from the past is an artistic re-styling of Marvin Gaye’s timeless hit “What’s Going On.” NiT GriT does an impressive job mixing light and heavy synths with throbbing bass lines, turning Marvin’s tune into something your parents won’t recognize. The transitions between samples, synth hits and bass vibes will leave your head spinning, while Nit Grit tosses in well-placed samples of that melodic voice to keep things interesting.
The tempo gets pushed hard on Project Aspect’s banger of a track, “Let Me See Ya Sneakers Work,” intertwining heavy bass with timely vocal samples and a piano line that would rock the listener to sleep if it weren’t for the plethora of sounds that also pump from the headphones. Listening to this track I had a hard time keeping my head still, the rhythm keeps the song going while the piano guides the listener safe and sound through all 7:32 of the track.
For a funkier beat sample I would turn to Pairadimez’s track “Fire and Ice,” which is all over the map with hard bass lines, light synths and tempo changes that will keep listeners on their toes for the duration. The Colorado-based duo of ONik and r.e.g.’s ability to pick and pull the tempo is what kept me listening, there being no way to know where the song would head next. These two are definitely ones to keep an eye on, if they produce more tracks like this one they are in for much more success.
The final track on the album, “Fractalfield,” packs lots of piano and is heavy on the bass. Pressing play will make the listener pay attention regardless of whether or not they felt like they had a choice. It literally propels one’s ears on a journey of epic synth rides and throbbing bass lines. Artist soCinematic allows a light piano drop in once in awhile, a bit of relief before the wave rises again and crashes against the ear-drums bouncing the listener back, dangling them on a bass from above.
From top to bottom I was pretty happy listening to the entire Bass From Above: Volume 2 album. It’s hard to pass on the lineup of young artists they assembled such as Gladkill, Skytree, Elfkowitz, and Fast Nasty. With the money going toward the Red Cross and the music an excellent opportunity to listen to a variety of sounds, there is little not to like about the most recent release from Subsynthesis.com.
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