Five years ago today, Bassnectar released his eighth studio album, Noise Versus Beauty, on Amorphous Records. The release marked a pivotal moment in Bassnectar’s career. For starters, it was the last semblance of a “regular” touring schedule inside modestly sized venues.
From that point on, Bassnectar would shift to sports arenas and huge amphitheaters for a seasonal 4-show-a-year format. The era of Bassnectar curated events was born. This was a time when Bassnectar, known as the king of the underground amongst his crooning fans, was undergoing a huge mainstreaming process, at least in the realm of “EDM.” Kandi kids were slowly making their metamorphoses into wooks, or “butterfly beings.” Yet, Bassnectar was still able to hold onto his cult-like personae in spite of selling out the world famous Red Rocks Amphitheatre in 2014 and 2015.
How did he straddle these borders so well? One, because Lorin Ashton, the man behind the moniker, detests fame. “I detest famous people. I detest fame chasers. I detest the impulses in me of how I feel when I’m around famous people,” said Ashton to Dancing Astronaut in 2015. Two, because Ashton was able to transform Bassnectar from one man into the Bassnectar project — a collection of hundreds of people who not only put on Bassnectar productions, but a movement of fans and like-minded individuals committed to his ideals.
Prior to NVSB, Bassnectar was rising in popularity as the anti-establishment, former metal core headbanging dubstep musician with his albums Diverse Systems of Throb, Underground Communication, Divergent Spectrum, and more. Many diehard fans lambasted the NVSB album as a sell-out, as most of Bassnectar’s vocally critical fans often do with anything Ashton releases. Regardless of fan response, NVSB saw massive success right out of the gate, debuting on Billboard 200 at No. 21 and No. 1 on the Top Dance/Electronic Albums charts, selling 13,000 copies in its first week.
Five years later and his like-minded fanbase is loving every bit of material on the album. Bassnectar music, as many fans say, is like fine wine. It gets better with age.