Liquid Stranger‘s name has become a staple among the bass community. His career has been exploding upwards lately, with both his 2019 album Infinity boasting an impressive and iconic thirty tracks and his Wakaan label’s debut music festival. He’s a pioneer of experimental bass and downtempo beats and has a dedicated fan base to show for it.
It would be difficult for anyone to top such a packed year, but the producer (Martin Stääf) is showing fans that this year could be just as big. His new EP, Ascension, is a short but generous helping of new tracks and accompanying tour to usher fans into spring. Featuring collaborations from other Wakaan artists such as Luzcid, LSDREAM, and Hydraulix, this EP is both a representation of the label and of Liquid Stranger himself. It sounds both familiar and wild, a beautiful mix of Liquid Stranger’s older sound and a taste of his evolution into a newer soundscape.
The first track, “Psychonaut,” is a tribute to psychedelic users everywhere. It comes loaded with in-your-face bass, strobe-y builds, and vocal samples hailing these heroic dosers. The song launches us right into Ascension much like a rocket ship takes off with a fiery explosion.
The title track, “Ascend,” is second in the progression. Fans of Liquid Stranger’s downtempo music will enjoy this one, with a dreamy melody building into deeper wubs and ending on an adventurous note. Much like the title suggests, it feels like ascending into clouds would.
As the EP progresses, we begin to get into a heavier dubstep sound on “The Hammer” with Luzcid and “Laser Beam” with Hydraulix. These two songs are the heavy hitters of the EP, with driving basslines perfect for anyone looking to rage. The BPM stays relatively low, but the energy and forces are high.
Next the collaboration with LSDREAM, titled “Sunken Technology,” is a grimy and riddim-infused adventure that sounds as though the bass has traveled through space to reach you. It’s less forceful than the last two, and begins a journey into more unknown territory while still using elements listeners are familiar with. It brings us back to earth with slower bass and vibrant rings to lead us into the final chapter of the project. LSDREAM has been another artist to watch on the radar, and this song speaks to the talent of the producers and their cohesive sound under the label.
Finishing off is the third solo track, “Over N Out.” As a bittersweet end to a journey, Liquid Stranger uses interwoven synths and tones to balance out a subtle drum beat and a long fade out at the end to gently return listeners to this realm. It’s a fitting closure to another successful work, and evokes a calm and satisfied feeling once over. Ideal places for a song like this include a sunset drive while it’s raining, or a room with soft colorful lights. Wherever it is played, Ascension is sure to make it a more memorable moment.
Stream Liquid Stranger’s Ascension EP, out now on Wakaan.