Bass music connoisseurs could tell you that Baauer is far more than just that guy who had a viral hit back in early 2013. Since his Harlem Shake single rocketed him to EDM-trap superstardom, he has been expanding his style, perfecting his sound design and lacing his productions with Basement Jaxx levels of intricacy as well as brute force.
2016’s Aa was very promising, although it used vocal guests as a crutch in the second half, and Planet’s Mad delivers on that promise by turning everything up to 11. Put simply, there isn’t a single misstep on the record: dizzyingly inventive tracks that draw from styles as diverse as baile funk and techno, dubstep and drum’n’bass, pacing that never lets an idea grow stale, and the drops hit with enough force to put a hole through the wall.
MAGIC alternates between a subtly eerie chord sequence and kitchen-sink percussion that rattles, stomps, claps and clicks. Its second build-up is particularly effective, short, sharp woodwind chirps backed by synth pads that take over before spinning out of control. REACHUPDONTSTOP is an uptempo banger, Jersey Club kickdrum patterns and an Amen break loop that seems to achieve the musical equivalent of perpetual motion, topped with an infectious vocal sample.
HOT 44 explores the sounds that have dominated UK tech-house recently – booming bass and percussive sounds that tread a fine line between syncopation and random oscillation – but it has a charmingly wonky feel to it, much like when Chris Clark first fell in love with techno all those years ago. By the time HOME rolls around, a 7/4 beatless ditty with the only vocal guest of the album, its light pop sensibility is a beautiful palate cleanser.
Planet’s Mad is an intense listen, a runaway train devouring everything in its path. It’s also an absolute tour de force from an extremely talented producer who is only going from strength to strength.