The newest record from Baauer, a DJ almost entirely known for his one-hit wonder, “Harlem Shake,” is an otherworldly electronic listening experience.
By Gavin Majeski
In 2012, American electronic music producer and DJ, Baauer, released “Harlem Shake,” a track that created a short-lived, yet humorous viral video trend. Since being placed in the spotlight, Baauer released a single EP in 2014 and debut LP in 2016 titled “Aa.”
It has been four years and listeners are treated once again with another project from an artist with such a marginal catalogue for the amount of time he has been around. “Planet’s Mad” is a twisted, electronic record that fits snuggly in between trap and jungle subgenres by blending the heavy breakbeats of jungle and incredibly thick bass of trap.
“Planet’s Mad” is an immediate assault from the opening track “PLANCK,” which features light trumpets that build into a vast crescendo, booming bass and warped synthesizers.
We then move into the self-titled, “PLANET’S MAD,” a trap-metal hybrid with roaring guitars and once again, more burgeoning bass. From this point on, “Planet’s Mad” gives audience members a glimpse into both its best and worst qualities as a record. The best being its vast influences sprinkled over each song, and the worst being its predictability.
Tracks like “YEHOO” and “PIZZAWALA” are prime examples of stand out tracks for their unique sampling, as “YEHOO” has a Caribbean feel with its use of steel drums, whistle tune and high pitched bird chirps. “PIZZAWALA” on the other hand has an almost tribal atmosphere to it, with strange chanted vocal samples, clicks and primitive drums.
“REACHUPDONTSTOP” was the last single to have been released before the album’s drop. It is understandable when you imagine how perfectly it would fit in a club with its buildups, catchy refrain and ethereal backing over the bass and claps.
“HOT 44” and “AETHER” both utilize heavy breakbeats that drive the tracks, with “HOT 44” having an incredibly catchy, looped vocal sample that says only two words: “rhythm” and “sound.”
“COOL ONE SEVEN ONE” is another banger with awesome vocal samples and distorted bass, but the song mellows itself in the last leg in order to transition beautifully into the palette cleanser, “REMINA.” While “REMINA” is a gorgeous breath of fresh air for an otherwise off-the-wall record, the following track “HOME” featuring Bipolar Sunshine sticks out like a sore thumb in the track listing.
“HOME” is polar opposite from anything that was previously established on the record and feels more in line with the vocal accompanied tracks on French producer Petit Biscuit’s 2017 record “Presence,” which also featured Bipolar Sunshine.
“Planet’s Mad” wraps up with one of the more underwhelming tracks, “GROUP,” which doesn’t transition well from “HOME,” being that the previously mentioned is the slowest track on the record.
Despite a few hiccups, “Planet’s Mad” is a diverse showing from Baauer, proving wrong anyone who may have called him a “one-hit wonder” back in 2013.
Favorite Tracks: PLANCK, PLANET’S MAD, MAGIC, YEHOO, PIZZAWALA, REACHUPDONTSTOP, HOT 44, AETHER, COOL ONE SEVEN ONE, REMINA