Well folks, the time has finally come. During what has seemed like a veritable eternity, trap legend Baauer has kept the entire bass music community and beyond waiting with baited breath for any sign of his debut album, Aa. During the past few months, several of its most notable singles have been uploaded with nearly universal praise. “GoGo!,” Sow,” “Day Ones,” “Temple,” and “Kung Fu” had all already seen the light of day in some form before the album’s official release last week, most of them coming as a more laid back, hip hop/grime-oriented tracks that display Baauer’s production prowess in a new light. Now, with the release of the full album, fans are finally able to catch a glimpse of the work that Baauer has been putting in behind the scenes.
Aa is comprised of 13 tracks, nearly every one set in a wide and expansive sonic environment similar to those in Rustie’s 2015 work, EVENIFYOUDONTBELIEVE. Songs like “Body,” “Pinku” and “Good and Bad” draw much of their energy and setting from heavily filtered vocals that are transformed into distant-sounding whispers. These shimmering, far-off elements are only made more impactful when paired up with Baauer’s sharp and unconventional percussion throughout the work. The result is a completely unique aural space and underlying feeling that maintains itself during the length of the album.
One of the most important elements of Aa was the sheer number of collaborations that Baauer employed. Not only did half the songs feature one or two vocalists, but they were crafted completely around their contribution. For these tracks, Baauer’s role became far less about his straightforward production and more about how well he could support the vocals as a secondary component. This aspect, combined with the fact that most of the songs were less than three minutes in length, made the entire work feel slightly less like a true display of Baauer’s songwriting potential and more of a step outside of what he’s known for creating.
Despite the unfamiliarity, however, there’s no question that the album is an excellent achievement both in the evolution of Baauer’s style and the level of production itself. From the gentle, percussion-less tracks to the most sophisticated and heavy-handed, the album is a wholly satisfying listen – unless what you were hoping for was an hour and a half of nonstop festival trap.
Stream Aa in full below.