Liquorish Records is a forward looking label, curated by DJ and scene builder Oomboi Lauw, who is always a step ahead in signalling what is missing in the music scene, globally but especially in the home city of Amsterdam. Initially this started with creating an outlet for the unique, grime inspired twist on footwork by the Surinamese producer J(ay).A.D. This love for uniqueness and boundary pushing club and bass has grown into an impressive series of EPs and compilations where Amsterdam based talents like J(ay).A.D and Noam Kamal appear alongside international artists from a broad spectrum of scenes and genres.
Usually focused on the higher BPM range, Riddim All Stars dives into the dancehall roots of contemporary club music, with half-time downtempo and mid-tempo riddims that freely blend tresillo patterns with double-time percussive filling and a wide variety of synths and atmospheric effects. Also exciting about this compilation, on the brink of 2017, are the different music scenes and genres from which it brings contributors together. There is ‘avant-garde club’ producer Zgjim from the Angry Youth collective, as well as barefoot pioneer and global bass OG Stereotyp (vienna), Generation Bass afiliated footwork producer Sarantis, dancehall minded UK club innovator Cardinal Sound and dub junglist SeekersInternational and more, all on the same compilation.
I had the honour to spin some tunes together with Zgjim, Zoltan J(ay).A.D and C_DR_C on the release party in Amsterdam last week and especially the brooding, budding scene energy made me realise that if there is any release that gives me a positive insight in the new directions music can take in 2017, it is definitely this one!
Halloween will kick off this year with an unlikely forward looking blend of electrifying EDM and deconstructed dancehall and club vibes, all with a dark twist rooting in the full spectrum of the rock genre.
Monsters On The Horizon, a NYC Collective of Musicians, Artists, and Producers, bringing back the dark vibes. Like reading an H.P. Lovecraft story while UNKLE’s Psyence Fiction plays in the background. These are Remixes of the songs from the FIRST COMING ALBUM by none less than Chooky (Australia), Hataah (Hungary), Ackeejuice Rockers (Italy) and Aluphobia (Hungary). The remixes will drop during the following days.
The monsters are coming…
For who can’t wait, grab The Haunting 95 BPM dembow VIP>> HERE <<already !
Half a year after the first edition, DJ FASTA’s long awaited second Ultimate Trackpack is up for download!
Fans of the Dutch urban-eclectic sound have already been able to enjoy some of the tracks, pre-released on the producer’s Soundcloud page over the past months. But the Ultimate Trackpack has something everyone: 25 tunes in total, ranging from pumping moombahton to dancehall-club to festival-flavoured afrohouse – remixes as well as original productions, riddims and club tracks as well as songs. DJ FASTA’s remarkable approach to the Dutch urban-eclectic umbrella creates a perfect bridge between vastly different worlds of music: equally mainstream as underground, equally ‘festival’ as ‘club’, equally nostalgic as forward-looking!
FDM is the new moniker of the Brooklyn based multi-talented broad oriented musician who has been an extraordinary hiphop artist for many years, delivering beats as well as vocals and lyrics. Additionally, he designs cover art and directs music videos, both for his own music and for others.
Under the alternative project name Immortal Instruments, he has been experimenting with dancehall riddims since back in 2009, many of which were used at battles and one even caught the attention of Vybz Kartel and Popcaan. Now he rebranded his dancehall project into FDM, kicking off with an incredibly innovative pack of riddims dedicated to the Greek pantheon of gods.
‘Riddims From the Gods’ combines elements of epic cinematic music with earth shattering dancehall beats, hypnotising sci-fi synths and ingeniously selected samples from RnB & pop. The powerful style that results from it is an intense emotionally gripping experience from beginning to end. And this is only Volume 1…
Over here, the weather is slowly starting to get better and when sun feels warm on your skin for the first time of the year, you know festival season will be there sooner than you think. Time for a teaser roundup with the first hot summer tunes that I’m really feeling. I tried to draw stuff from some different corners of music, varying between dancehall, EDM and the avant-garde club – already-famous as well as lesser known stuff.
The spotlight is on the dissappearing gap between bass & club flavours and vocal songs, not just in the realm of watered-down pop music but now everywhere between the mainstream and the deepest underground. True, the divide is artificial to begin with. As Gaika said in the not-yet-published Sonic Acts interview: dub, dancehall and hiphop are very digital genres where a separation between electronic productions and vocal songs has never existed. But the growing number of collabs where producers team up with vocalists to create songs opens up exciting new possibilities that we will definitely hear back in this year’s sound.
The track has been out for about a month already but last week they released the long promised music video. KD Soundsystem (f.k.a. Kuddedieren) from Haarlem and the Ghent based crew Soul Shakers are both pioneers in the terrain between global urban & bass rhythms, dancehall and reggae and accessible mainstream party vibes. Easily compared to Major Lazer or Buraka Som Sistema but, I would say, much more interesting and diverse in style. For their freshest hit, they teamed up with the formation ZwartWerk from Mechelen, who fuse the sounds of afrobeats & kuduro with Dutch rap. ‘Met Mij Mee’ is the best example of how sounds & approaches (tropical bass, EDM, urban mainstream dancehall, rap) that were still totally different worlds a few years ago, are coming together and shaping the popular sound of today.
DJ FASTA has been pushing this fusion since the beginning. His music is the quintessence of the sound that is heating up dance floors all over the clubs in the Netherlands. Especially now the influence of bigroom and American pop-deephouse is fading away, moombahton and afrohouse are now dominating in the urban-eclectic scene. His new banger ‘Soundboy’ together with DJ Superior, released this week, is one we will definitely hear all over the clubs and festivals this summer.
In the avant-garde club underground, this track has already achieved absolute anthem status in the two months it has been out. But this is one, like many of the NAAFI edits and tracks from the likes of Murlo, that have the potential reach much wider audiences this year. The incredibly catchy melody is the most perfect mainstream entrance into experiencing the unique conceptual texture designs – this one feels like the sonic representation of a lubricant gel substance – that make this kind of music so fantastic.
The Egyptian-Canadian rapper, RnB & dancehall artist Ramriddlz is an important newcomer who has been drawn into the spotlights last year by none other than Drake. I stumbled upon this banger through a repost and was immediately hooked on the vibrant blend of future-dancehall and OVO-esque cloudiness. Judged by the number of plays, likes and reposts, this track is already massive but it could and probably will become even bigger. I could totally see it reach absolute hit status, with a VEVO video. Hopefully we’ll hear this all over the place very soon.
Dotorado is back with a brand new banger, that came online just today. Since his eclectic Maluku EP, he has continued his multi-genre explorations with tracks ranging from dubstep-drill-kuduro fusions to kizomba ballads. But now he is back with the signature-sound that made him famous. #Afro-melodico is ready to evolve into a promising subgenre that combines the rhythmical subtlety of afrohouse, the explosive energy of kuduro and the epicness of popular hiphop and EDM. ‘My Song’ is the ultimate successor track to ‘African Scream’: a natural anthem with the potential to grow even bigger.
Gualtiero and Ray Mautar are names I’ve mentioned since the very beginning of my blogging time at Generation Bass and later again in my monumental moombahton zombie series. I’ve been enthusiastic about them ever since because they are, among several other important names, keep showing that the Dutch urban club sound that evolved out of bubbling, is still very much alive. The influence of Munchi is obvious, but it’s fascinating to see how subtly but deeply different Munchi is interpreted here, compared to most of moombahton out there. Loud and blunt, but nothing like bigroom house or festival trap, staying true to the roots in oldschool dancehall with a rawness that reminds of the original Portuguese underground. With ‘Panya’, the Dutch underground has fully embraced moombahton as its own and from that point, it can only get better.
Back in 2010, MC Nino collaborated with the influential crew K-Liber4life on the kizomba ballad ‘Geen Stress‘ that became a big hit on Curaçao. His dembow banger ‘Mi Kier Bo’, with Prince Maiki, was again an excitement on the Antilles in 2013. That’s why it’s extra exciting to see him join forces with Gabriel Rowano, still of of the most underrated producers in the area of mainstream oriented global bass. Rowano himself too has made a style switch over the recent years, from oldschool trance inspired, emotional moombahton to a more catchy, accessible party sound, ready for the big clubs and festivals. Big chance you will hear this around in the coming months, especally in the Netherlands. The long announced music video will be also released soon.
Yet another banger from the Dutch scene. Stiekz-o-matic is a new but already surprisingly established name I’ve somehow never blogged before. He became more active on soundcloud since a year ago, right at the time when I was getting fully consumed by the avant-garde club scene, at the expense of other things. I realise that’s a pity because in the mean time I’ve been missing out on the shift in the Dutch underground towards a blend of afrobeats, dancehall and moombahton. What strikes me most in this fresh collab with the eclectic EDM duo Dutch Flavourz are the synths: refreshingly different from the long worn-out lazer squeeks, yet electrifying and catchy. Combined with the vocals in papiamento by MC Roke makes ‘No Caba’ one of the most innovative moombahton tracks I’ve heard year. Add this to your sets and spread the new sound of the Dutch underground everywhere this summer!
Maxx Gallo, a vocalist and producer from Los Angeles who early on developed his catchy, vocal interpretation of tribal guarachero back during the heydays of the genre in a way that is much more underground than the 3BALLMTY’s pop hits, and at the same time much more subtle and accessible than the heavy peppered Texan sound. His newest release is part of the multi-genre ‘Electronica Global EP‘ by the Monterrey based label Worldwide, with tracks from Erick Jaimez, Yelram Selectah, Wost, Noizekid and El Catorce. ‘Equipo’ is a lush and sultry track that blends the summer-night atmosphere of deephouse with sensual vibe cumbia and dembow and the characteristic urban-latin underground flavour that makes Maxx Gallo a very promising artist, not just for 3ball or cumbia but in the current reinvention of Latin music as a whole.
Another deep, even more soulful tune here from none other than Ricky Vaughn, freshly uploaded on his new soundcloud channel after his old one apparently got taken down by Soundcloud. ‘The One Tonight’ is a unique track, combining the breezy beach flavours not only with an esquisite dembow beat but also with some of the ethereal, even angelic atmosphere found in sad and vapor trap. Whereas last year, there was a great divide between on the one hand great, exciting innovations remaining exclusively avant-garde and on the other hand the big bulk of accessible mainstream music stuck in its own commercial staleness. Tracks like ‘The One Tonight’ give me the feeling that this year, innovation and the potential to reach wider audiences will go ever more hand in hand.
The fantastic things that the Mexico City based bass formation Ghetto Kids has done for the popularity of global bass in Mexico, integrated with the homegrown sounds of 3ball and cumbiaton is something we’ve praised many times before. This year teamed up for the first time with a member of the famous 3BALLMTY, Dj Otto, for a perreo stomper that fuses the best of oldschool dembow, moombahton and Mexico City’s cumbiaton.
I preserved this one for the end… Nothing works better for a track to become an anthem than an incredibly catchy melodic hook that people on the dancefloor wil recognise immediately. This easy-listening banger from the Aalen (Germany) based global bass producer DjK-ev has everything to give it this effect on the dancefloor: the dancey chords, the flute and of course the delicious Indian sitar. With enough exposure and momentum, ‘India Takata’ can be THE summer hit of 2016!
14 February and no red cards on my doormat smelling of rose petals and perfume. I’ve got a strange love-hate relationship with romance. So heartbroken and cynical that it can passionately disgust me, while at the same time I keep suffering from an incurable weak spot for the intense sparks of tender emotion found in its aesthetics and sounds.
I can totally lose myself listening to the RnB and bachata songs that resonated with my feelings throughout my coming of age years. Tender and sweet like cotton candy. The cheesier and kitschier, the more beautiful and intense. Escaping, without a grain of irony, into a strangely comforting world which, I am aware at the same time, does not exist. Not for me. Like a convinced atheist who can’t help but sneak into the back of a church once in a while because of the organ sounds, candles and the smell of old wood.
Exactly that is the feeling evoked by Murlo & Florentino‘s free Red Bull exclusive ‘Come Back’, made for broken hearted romantics on a lonely Valentine’s Day to disappear into the music in the club tonight. Sparkling bells, soft lead and dancehall-esque club beat accompaning the repetitive cry ‘please forgive me’ powerfully create the sensation of romantically dancing and caressing a phantom lover who has evaporated into the air.
Unfortunately, the track is protected my Red Bull and can’t be streamed, but be checked out and downloaded >> HERE <<, together with a nice short Valentine’s interview with the producers.
As a special extra for Generation Bass romantics, I picked another, angelically beautiful kizomba track which is perhaps even more touching than ‘Come Back’: Equalz x FMG – Believe, produced by Babel-Ish.
The Amsterdam based dj, producer and remixer DJ FASTA is one of the most defining artists in the Dutch urban-eclectic scene today. His sound, flexibly varying between energetic moombahton, dancehall, nostalgic bubbling and catchy afrohouse, is one of the most successful bridges between different worlds of music around. His BOOTLEG PACK from last year was listened, liked, shared and downloaded thousands of times, not only in the Netherlands but also all over the caribbean and Latin America, by reggaeton, dancehall, EDM and global bass djs alike, mainstream just as as well as underground. His music even found its way into club trax avant-garde. After a year of high expectations, the long announced Vol.2 is about to be released now, celebrated with a fresh final teaser track!
For BAMBAM, a moombahton-dancehall fusion DJ Fasta teamed up again with the Amsterdam based dancehall/reggae artist Nitai Charan. This time not for a remix but now for an original collab tune. One that I am convinced will be an absulute dancefloor anthem, in the Netherlands and hopefully everywhere!
Also a major shoutout to Nitai Charan. With our love for dancehall here at Generation Bass, which doesn’t always get the attention on the blog it actually deserves, it is kind of a shame we’ve totally been sleeping on him before. Especially since he likes to make crossovers with different kinds of electronic sounds as well. This unique dancehall-dubstep fusion tune from last blows my mind and sounds still fresh!
FASTA THE ULTIMATE TRACKPACK VOL.2 will be out soon and and featuring on the blog! Already check out some other teasers here >>
Dwight Rass & Samo are a promising, up and coming DJ-producer duo in the Dutch urban-eclectic scene, based in my own hometown Utrecht. Yesterday they announced a fresh original production to be released this Sunday to celebrate the 2K followers they gathered in less than 2 months on both Soundcloud and Facebook!
Since last year they’ve been building a name in this continuously evolving, vivid Dutch scene, which keeps being both underground and mainstream at the same time. First as DJ duo in the lineups for influential club nights such Latin Riddem, since two months as remixers and now the first original productions are in the making.
Their New Years Pack with afrobeats and dembow bootlegs blew my mind. Just when I had almost given up the Dutch scene altogether, seeming to converge ever more onto the Mad Decent/EDM formula or becoming pure house or pop, Dwight Rass & Samo show again how powerful an accessible mainstream flavoured sound can be that combines styles like dancehall, afrohouse and dance music but maintaining the real vibe of both worlds.
Leaving 2015 behind it is time to do make some first predictions about what we can expect in the coming year. Last year we saw the massive breakhroughs of some people both under and outside the radar of Generation Bass, such asNidia Minaj,Kamixlo,ANGEL-HOandSanta Muerte. All artists who demonstrate how the underground club scene has become the new centre of gravity for music and how the rebirth of culture from the perspectives and identities of people neglected by the dominant narratives in Western culture, has become the most essential themes. In 2016 these trends will certainly continue and will mutate into new directions. Which ones are not clear to tell yet, but there are some questions that may hint at the possible futures that may give some clues.
(SCROLL DOWN FOR THE LIST OF ARTISTS WHOM I THINK WILL MOST PROBABLY BREAK THROUGH INTO THE SPOTLIGHTS THIS YEAR!)
What will happen to the club trax underground community once its own sucess definitively throws it into the (semi-)mainstream, with its dilemmas around commerce, ethics and ego’s?
We’ve seen this with many other movements once they become popular. Almost certainly will there be copycats at some point who try to benefit from the success formula, with as little dedication as possible. How will this stuff be marketed to larger audiences, and which audiences exactly? What will this do with the high ethical standards concerning race, class and gender which have been unquestionably respected in this scene so far. All these questions we’ve been confronted with before in our history, as the global bass underground was undergoing a similar phase, splitting off into Mad Decent and its following on the one side and.. well.. some small, non-commercial snippets of underground who survived on the other side, including ourselves.
What will happen to the‘dark turn’in genres like trap, dancehall or even more importantly, in the club avant-garde?
More importantly, will it really ‘merge’ with the innovations in dark music like crossbreed, rhythmic noise or abrasive ritual ambient techno? Until now there’s only a negligible fraction of the two sides scene really ‘coming together’, either in online groups or with IRL events (I’ll be playing a set of dark industrial flavoured trap & global bass and avant-garde club at a kinky dungeon night this month, magnet for the post-goth alternative scene, and I’m really curious how it will be received!)
A collab from three absolutely essential names from the new dark generation you need to check out:Volkanos(USA), |CRPT| (Poland) & TRNAH (Poland) !
Even genres as close sound-wise as witchhouse, trillwave, dark trap and dark/agressive subgenres of hiphop share little fanbase or producer-base. Now the boundaries between original genres and subcultures have effectively eroded, what WILL be the new lines dividing scenes and cultural expressions in the coming year? That immediately leads to the next question..
How will the culture-wars develop this year and what will that mean for music?
If one thing is clear from last year, the culture wars have just started yet. Online underground scenes, in almost any field like gaming, tech or fashion blogging, have now been acquainted with the critical call for more diversity and inclusiveness for people of colour, women and LGBTQ people and have witnessed the unfolding of a ever more heated debate between cultural critics, mocked as ‘Social Justice Warriors’, and their opponents, ‘Free Speech Bigots’, who want to maintain their privileged status-quo with an appeal to free expression. This debate has started to surface ever more into mainstream politics, and with the unstoppable impact of the internet and online underground cultures, I expect this to sore to full-blown heights this year. My expectations are bleak. What will happen if the mainstream political spectrum definitively diverges into Tumblr’s mercilessly militant cultural Marxism and 4Chan’s evil anarcho-nihilist glorification of everything we know to be evil, including racism, sexism and LGTBQ-phobia as the ultimate mark of true rebellion. How will this affect avant-garde music, an alternative cultural area in which sharing revolutionary political ideas is bread and butter? The dark-industrial sound and aesthetic is one that can readily be adopted by either camp and in fact already has been.
EDM is dead, but why does psychedelic rave culture still seem to be boiling in the underground in many places of the world, waiting to have its moment?
Something less bleak but still relevant. Since about 2014, I have witnessed the popularity of deephouse in the US and techno in Europe as a clear response to the loud ‘bass-drop-gasm’ formula of festival EDM. Especially in the case of techno, it was the air of exclusiveness and status-boosting elitism that fueled the magic. Once it reached a critical mass, it really took off in the course of several months, with copycat-techno raves mushrooming everywhere. And with the growing mainstream attention for a concept like Burning Man in 2014, I would have bet a fortune on my prediction of a sudden explosion of a Burning Man-inspired crossover mainstream movement in which techno-hipsters could readily take a ‘next step’ into psychedelics, neo-hippie culture, transhuman-futurist philosophy and a crossover of deep techno, psytrance and potentially supplemented with psychedelic bass music, electrofolklore or transhumanistically flavoured post-vaporwave. But, guess what, nothing of that did happen. On the contrary, Burning Man was loudly declared dead this year and an important initiative to denounce the festival and it’s culture as pseudo-open, culturally insensitive, privileged snobbery came precisely from the club underground. Burning Man may have lost its magic, but psychedelic rave culture still seems to be strong and growing in many new places like Brazil and Mexico. Could it still become a potential new centre of gravity for music to move towards?
Future bass producers likeR23Xblend elements together like ‘deep’, the ‘dub’, the ‘tech’, the ‘trill’, the ‘wave’, the ‘tresillo’, the ‘dream’, the ‘vapor’ and the ‘psychedelic’ into something from another dimension
What will happen to Middle Eastern electronic music?
Back in the days, every newly hyped genre was immediately incorporated into the broader movement of ‘tropical bass’ and that in turn into ‘festival EDM’. Now since there was no strong ‘centre of gravity’ any more in 2015, all the amazing Middle Eastern electronic music that we have pushed passionately this year with artists such as Deena Abdelwahed, 8ULENTINA, Dj Haram, Mutamassik, C Production and Streamer and genres like shamstep, arabtronix and desertwave, remained kind of on their own. Not that this heavy incorporation was always a good thing, not at all, it usually squeezed a genre into a prefabricated direction before the producers could even get the deserved recognition for what they had created. 8ULENTINA, Dj Haram and now also Deena are solidly part of the new club movement, but that doesn’t obviously go for all the Middle Eastern electronic music that we’re interested in at Generation Bass.
HABIBIBOI, an upcoming name in the club trax underground who is weaving Arabic elements into club music
Are there still any ignored underground scenes left, or have new ones emerged while we weren’t looking?
The question which new ‘centres of gravity’ will be of influence this coming year will not only influence Middle Eastern electronic genres but in fact any new genre or micro-movement that comes under the attention of the blogo- and Facebookgroup-sphere. But then the obvious question is, after half a decade of introducing new genres from all over the world: are there still any such underexposed sounds left anywhere? Has the internet perhaps made the formation of new local undergrounds impossible?
I am cautious to use the word ‘discover’ for the obvious appropriator-colonialist attitude that comes with it and I definitely don’t approve of that. Yet I think that the way Generation Bass has been an integral factor in many scenes in the past locally and globally, especially in countries like Chile, Mexico and Brazil is very valuable. Could there still a future for Generation Bass in this role for new movements and genres? I think the answer is and should ‘yes’. I spoke to Munchi lately and he told me that the entire internet has been sleeping on very interesting things going on in Puerto Rico’s reggaeton underground that have already started to fade away due to the lack of interest. It’s a shame because this is what Generation Bass has been created for down to the essence. We’ll keep you updated!
What will the urban-eclectic scene do now EDM is dead?
We all know the histoy: music today would not be what it is without the urban eclectic scene in the Netherlands, which started with the Antillean bubbling movement, where DJs started remixing dance tracks, which grew into a vivid crossover scene of electronic music blended with Afro-Caribbean styles like dancehall and reggaeton as well as hiphop and R&B which is much broader than ‘Dutch house’, the main sound that it produced. The multi-culturally driven scene scene effortlessly incorporated new genres like kuduro, azonto, kizomba, went through a latinhouse period and is now all about the new wave of afrohouse, without any ‘help’ from the blogosphere at all. Lately though, sadly enough, the lure of the Major Lazer’s bro-ified formula, which has turned acts like Boaz van de Beatz and Shaun D into semi-superstars, has had a big influence. But that whole magic will quickly die out this year if it hasn’t already. But then, what will be the next centre of gravity for this unique scene?
Grime, once kind of an obscure hobby in the Netherlands for alternative hiphop and UK bass fans, is having its moment in Amsterdam right now. This may perhaps, in the long run, pull the broader Dutch scene towards the club trax movement… but that is still far away, even as the club underground is making its first entrance into the Netherlands right now (HERE & HERE!). A more likely guess is that the scene could first transform itself into a reinvented version of the ‘tropical’ movement. The paradox with todays internet culture is that something seemingly worn out online can still be fresh and new for other crowds. True, ‘música tropical’ is a traditional synonym for Afro-Caribbean music in many parts of Latin America and it will probably stay that way, but in Europe it used to be a gimmick umbrella concept to combine Afro-Latin styles and brand them to hipster crowds as an exotic curiosity. A couple of years ago, the concept had its moment of high expectations and then sank away into the abyss of things passing by also on Generation Bass. But right now it seems to be making a comeback and this time free from the EDM hype machine, being more the truly harmonious fusion of electronic sounds with Afro-Latin genres in the way the Dutch scene has already been since the beginning. Much of the sounds from the tropical movement like moombahton and zouk bass have firmly found their way into the Netherlands by now, turning it into something much more authentic and permanent. My guess is you’ll definitely hear more about this ‘tropical 2.0’ this year, especially if you’re in Europe and are following KUDDEDIEREN (if you weren’t yet, you should be now). More info will follow soon!
Les Rownessbrings the contemporary sound of the urban-eclectic scene and shows how small the distance has become with what blog readers know as ‘global/tropical bass’
Where is the all the live electronic music actually?
Last spring, I was absolutely convinced that 2015 would be the year to say goodbye to not just the EDM industry but DJing as a whole. After all, producers making the tracks and DJ’s playing them on the dance floor is something that seemed to have reached its absolute dead-end with EDM’s superstar-DJs. I expected to see all kinds of different ways of electronic music, especially live bands. The underground club trax movement’s allergy against big entertainment the appreciation of producer-DJs as conceptual artists and storytellers rather than celebrities is certainly a counter-reaction. But the ‘back to the basics of club culture’ attitude still isn’t a true break away from the DJ-formula. Of course there are many new electronic bands pioneering right now but then I don’t have the feeling that they’re getting the amount of attention and recognition as I hoped they would. It may also be that it’s just ME not having my eyes open enough but I hope to see electronic bands get back to the centre of attention again in 2016. This is what I came across in the area of live electronica towards the end of last year and it’s making me very excited for the future!
Appeared earlier on the blog but I can’t repeat it enough, Bedtime Stories(alter ego ofShinji) is an extraordinary, completely independent musician with a style unlike anything else, blending the neo-dark classical touch of legends like Venetian snares with introspective gothic ambient wave into an intense, despairing yet angelic well of emotion.. all recorded and performed live
Featured earlier in theAfrofuturism Festival serieswhere I witnessed her performances live, Camae Defstar a.k.a.Moor Mother Goddess is an artist whom I should have included in the list below because she is not only a magnificent live electronic artist and but also somebody who I think is on the brink of being lifted into the spotlights of the big forward looking music magazines, her recent interview in THE FADER is only the beginning
And.. finally, of course, which specific artists do we need to keep an eye on this year?
This was perhaps the hardest part of the post because I have my own focus and am not aware of everybody in the reach of Generation Bass who may nevertheless do big things this year. Even within my focus scenes combined, there are many more promising upcoming artists than could be included here. Also, there is a big difference between people whom I might personally HOPE to break through and whom I EXPECT that will do so. I tried my best to balance it out but couldn’t escape my disproportional focus on the club avant-garde. But don’t worry, the focus will broaden this year. The dark underground series will finally be launched, with extra attention for the comeback of witchhouse, and I’ll hopefully be able to keep you updated about the Dutch urban-eclectic and new tropical scene, pay massive attention to electronic bands and solo live acts in as many genres and scenes as possible and will also try to actively promote a future generation of psychedelic/transdimensional music.
If there is one artist that I’m 100% sure will make it big from virtually out of nowhere in the same way as KAMIXLO, ANGEL-HO or Chino Amobi did last year is GAIKA, a multi-talented producer, vocalist, songwriter and visual artist from London. Not surprisingly he is also afiliated with the NON label, which will certainly stay one of the most influential labels in 2015. DAZED recently described his unique style as a blend of grime, dancehall, garage, hiphop and R&B with a gothic touch. What makes him particularly unique is that he is with one leg in the club avant-garde scene but at the same time delivers a live stage act that breaks with the DJ-producer formula and can appeal to a much broader audience in scenes like dancehall, grime and hiphop.
I don’t know what it is about the UK. It’s not just London but also other cities where the new club scene is flourishing and three steps ahead of almost everybody else. In Manchester the forward looking Swing Ting night, already one of Manchester’s best club nights back in 2014, is the big motor. The Colombian producer Florentino went from being a practically unknown bass producer to one of the most promising newcomers with the release of his Tu y Yo EP in October last year. His unique, subtle blend of reggaeton, Latin drums (surprisingly similar to what has been going on in the Dutch underground to my own ears), UK bass and club music became an instant hit in the club underground. Funnily, the EP came out just shortly after I wrote this pasionate post about all the great things that moombahton could potentially be but unfortunately isn’t, and would have been the most perfect illustration of what I meant with that post. As Florentino himself also said in a recent interview with FACT MAG, his lightfooted, romantically flavoured style is complementary to the cold industrialism of Kamixlo, both interpreting and expressing their own connection to Latin America’s most influential subculture (reggaeton) in the context of multi-cultural youth life in the UK today.
Probably the most underrated producer of 2015. As the producer for many hit bangers from Dutch acts like Bollebof and Broederliefde (who are also massively underrated outside the Netherlands), most of the credits still go to the vocalists, the faces you see in the music vids and on stage. His productions draw heavily on tarraxo, kuduro and afrobeats and he is in frequent contact with producers from the Portuguese underground, which will hopefully bring more recognition for Portuguese producers in the Dutch scene and the other way around in 2016. Expect big things this year.
His newest production ‘Kwasten’ featuringBollebof&Joyba, THE hit in the Netherlands right now
The Swedish talent Toxe was with pain in my heart not included on my ‘Best of 2015‘ list, even though she, as well as other very promising Staycore 117 affiliated producers Mapalm, Mobilegirl and Mechatok are among the most impressive new talents right now. Right when I heard the ‘Muscle Memory EP‘ and the way in which she is able to transmit something intensely deep and meaningful with very mechanical ambient sounds. Everything, from the subtle polyrhythmic elements, crispy sounds, sample work and cryptic multi-layered titles, is in the right place and creates a unique and magical experience, at the same time incredibly conceptual and incredibly powerful on the dancefloor.
Sometimes I have no explanations for why something does not happen the way I am almost convinced it must happen. The Paris based, Principe Discos signed genius DJ LyCox has been one of the most unique upcoming talents (and one of my permanently favourite producers) for more than a year. Exactly a year ago I would have sworn as confidently as now that he would be heading towards a massivbe worldwide breakthrough, joining the ranks of names like Dj Nigga Fox and Dj Marfox. But compared to other names from the Portuguese underground like Nidia Minaj, he remained completely underrated last year. So now I am saying, yes shouting out loud again that 2016 should and will be the year of Dj LyCox. If you’re still doubting, check out this recent, otherworldly forward looking track. The question is, why isn’t there a monumental, recognisable debut EP yet? If it were up to the productivity of the producer, uploading new music almost every week, he could have had an impressive discography on his name already.
He was at the forefront of a whole new experiment in the Portuguese underground sound: Portuguese batucada/kuduro enriched with hammering distorted 808 bass ..and almost nobody noticed..
Promising new talent GIL from Switzerland was lifted into the spotlights with an incredible release on THUMP half a year ago and has further released via Staycore 117 that same summer. In the meantime he has only released two tracks, nevertheless magnificent, and the last one is three months back already. Like for Dj LyCox, Gil’s unique, energetic blend of dembow, dancehall, baile funk, mechanical sounds and sample work just cries for an EP in the same way as we have seen for most of the other newcomers. If it isn’t in the making already to be announced by surprise, Gil, if you’re reading, we at Generation Bass are excited to release an EP from your hand at any time! (More soon about the Swiss underground scene too…)
Formerly known as Dj Miss Devana, is probably the most underrated producer of everybody in this list. She hasn’t yet been lifted into the big spotlights by any of the major platforms, nor in the Netherlands, even though she is making incredibly unique stuff for more than a year now. People from the moombahton scene and the wider global bass folks like the KUMBALE label have definitely shown love for a while now and that is a great start but (and that surprises me actually) she is still virtually unknown in the underground club scene. I’m really looking forward to see her get the recognition she’d deserve by platforms like the Staycore 117 fam or the Classical Trax community, as well as by the Dutch urban-eclectic scene. Preferably at the same time. The passionate dedication, unique style and talent is definitely there!
We may know newcomer JKZ, formerly know as Rain Jx or JAKZ, from our massive DoomBahTon compilation and from the Favela Trap House EP but he isn’t even a fraction as known as he should be. Expect a post soon about him and the underground scene around him: a collective of friends who are into experimental music, dark sinister stuff and just doing things differently in a way that creates something unique. JKZ is his producer project, focused on energetic dark trap with a touch of vapor/trillwave and baile funk. Shortly ago, he launched a second project as a rapper rapping over self produced beats: $KA. Where JKZ is about dark energetic bangers, $KA pushes a mystical, smokey ambient chill sound where again, traces of baile funk come back in a way never done before. Much like GAIKA, he creates a format where the producer and the MC blend into a live act formula with the potential to appeal to push the music into whole new directions.
When I got into contact with Munchi a couple of months ago he told me, prepare for the secret EP of Godwonder, carefully prepared and crafted under his direction, dedicated entirely to making music that bridges the gap between the contemporary street sounds of the Dominican Republic and of Amsterdam. 2016, without any doubt, will be the year of Godwonder and not just because Munchi has attached his name to it. With this new EP, out within a couple of days, Godwonder shows that he has found his direction and sound and is ready to leave his lasting mark on the development of music for the coming years.
Closing with yet another producer from the club underground whom I’m both very enthusiastic about and also convinced he will definitely break through this year. Interestingly although well appreciated in the club trax scene, he is not affiliated to any of its major labels but recently released a magnificent debut EP (‘Manuscript EP‘) on the forward looking label Infinite Machine, which is certainly ‘avant-garde’ in attitude but definitely not limited to club music, also releasing a lot of great experimental techno and house flavoured music. It is precisely this open connection, beyond the immediate borders of the new club scene, that make Thomás Urquieta’s music a powerful example to imagine music in a near future when the current fresh club trax sound has transformed and durably influenced everything.
Producer and designer Vaphoree from Madrid is one of the promising upcoming artists for 2016, a member of the club trax avant-garde who hasn’t come to full bloom yet this year. With Flakka EP, he showcases the wide range of his experimental sound, which we will be hearing a lot more of next year.
The main constituents of Vaphoree’s signature sound are dancehall and grime, with subtly dosed concentrations of club music and dystopian futuristic ambient, together crystallising into a brutal dancefloor energiser. Hence the playful reference to the memetic, experimental horror drug Flakka.
Next to the two original productions, the heavy ‘Flakka’ and the more light-feeted ‘Mayah’, Classical Trax afiliates Callosum (Italy), Lunar and MINA (UK) have have resynthesised FLAKKA with other experimental flavours from the underground club spectrum.