Amrit Bansie, a.k.a. ARK, is a beatmaker from Amsterdam about whom I know almost nothing else than that he has a Soundcloud and a Youtube account and made many beats until a year ago.
Most of his tracks are instrumental hiphop, experimental crossovers between hiphop, jazz and electronica. But next to that he has experimented with dembow and zouk beats, fused with ravey, angelic trance melodies and produced tracks which are totally fresh and relevant today. As far as I can tell from followers and comments overlap he has just experimented with these sounds by himself, without influence at all from either the global bass or the current avant-garde club movement.
Yet, his most recent tune totally sounds like it could be from Dinamarca!!
His bubbling-ragga-trance experiment has a very similar afreobeats vibe as Theoscicloff’s banger ‘Ritmo Dogg‘ which we blogged last week.
And another angelic oldschool trance flavoured bubbling/afrobeats tune I’m really feeling!
It’s a pity that the instrumental hiphop community is still quite separate from electronic music production, even now with the trillwave/post-trap stuff it’s coming closer together. Here a great track with the Indian influences we love so much, which at the same time totally fits in this exciting blurry area between instrumental hiphop and trap/twerk/drill influenced electronic and club music.
A dreamy melodic track, tagged as zouk, but holding the middle between dembow/moombahton on mid-tempo BPM range and the angelic sound of #Future Tarraxo…
I am a slow blogger. I usually rake in as much as possible of everything that pops up in my soundcloud feed or on Facebook and if I dig it, repost, comment, or thumb it up.
But as usual, I´m behind with important posts so that all the important new stuff disappears to the end of the queue of everything I still need to (or sometimes even promised to) post. In the end, it always ends up in big roundups with deep background reflections – because novelty isn’t really the point any more when a track came out a month ago – which is what I am focusing on and nicely sets apart the value of blogs compared to faceboom groups. But inevitably, there are always too many things that escape the radar, some of which I keep being reminded about as they release new stuff or if I notice that other platforms do give them the recognition that I would like them to give as well.
Therefore, here a selection of stuff, mostly artists, who always sticked around in the back of my head and should have had a shoutout long ago. Some of them may be familiar to you, others less so, dependent on the kind of music you’re into, but all have something unique that makes it something Generation Bass should have blogged. We didn’t, but it’s never too late for a second chance.
If there is one producer who should have been a Generation Bass household name since the very beginning, it is the enigmatic producer Abu AMA. His unique style is possibly the most Generation Bass thing ever: a fusion of Middle Eastern music, portuguese tarraxo and an experimental electronic twist, coined #ArabXo. More than simply experimenting with sound, his music carries a powerful message against todays rampant plague of islamophobia and Western belligerence the Middle East!
A warm shoutout from the blog that so closely matches every aspect of your passion and style. From now on you WILL be our household name!
Stomping uptempo portuguese batida with Middle Eastern samples and industrial ambient noise!
Downtempo organic tarraxo with a some baile funk/rasteirinha flavour
In the club underground, KABLAM, from Berlin’s JANUS collective, is one of the most essential artists as well as a main favourite of tastemaking music platforms like THE FADER and FACT. And rightly so, because her abstract flavoured productions are among the most unique even in the scene of which she is part. What strikes me most about her style is the skillful minimalism, carefully cutting out the ‘soft middle filling’ of music, retaining only the skeletal essence of rhythm and the aerial cloud of melody. I know that, with these wordings, I am kind of parroting much better reviews of her music on other sites but I simply can’t but entirely confirm these analyses. Next to her home base at JANUS, she is also closely connected to the Staycore117 family.
Comforting devotional string loops interrupted by unpredictible echoeing claps create an incredibly powerful state of mind, best comparable to a moment of slowly calming breath and heartbeat after an intense experience of agony
Another unique, ostensible juxtaposition, as contrasting as could ever be possible: late medieval choir chants, created to reflect the rational perfection of the heavens against the oceanic, apettitive ID-unleashing baile funk sound ofMc Marcelly‘s ‘Vem Sarrando‘ (“come lick”) – yet it makes perfect sense, creating a powerful spiritual reunitement through female sexual energy, utterly destroying the fascistoid, patriarchical Platonic-Freudian tripartite hierarchy of the Western world-picture
Another important member from the Staycore 117 family, also living in Berlin, mentioned a couple of times in earlier posts already but so far never got a specific shoutout. Her combination of dembow beats, RnB and conceptual club music is the ideal balance between accessibility and cutting edge, forward looking attitude.
Dembow-club bootleg of Jennifer Lopez’ hit ‘Play’!
Her oldest track on Soundcloud which I somehow never noticed at all before writing this post: an incredibly beautiful crystalline melodic track with an unmistakable moombahdeep/luv vibe, yet with incomparably many times the creativity of most generic stuff that passes as moombahton
A third important Staycore 117 family member, based in Croatia who should have received our support since a long time ago. Mapalma also uses mid-tempo BPM range dembow as a backbone but has a much more energetic, even subtly dark melodic sound. One of the questions still puzzling me is why it could be that a sound so close to moombahton, or global bass in general, is kept so separate from that. There must be a reason. While she must certainly be aware of the global bass sound and movement, not even eshewing the term subtropical, she and the wider Staycore scene are clearly and probably consciously not associating themselves with it. I talked about this with Munchi and he was of the opinion that it is a very good thing, arguing that heading it under anything ‘global bass’ or moombahton would charge it with so much ballast expectations and not do justice to its uniqueness. Good point, ‘club music’ is a much better umbrella in so many ways, but it’s still fascinating me.
One of her newer tracks: dembow, baile funk and melodic synths
Amazing collab with mobilegirl, going for a much heavier, futuristic club sound
Impressive to realise that this is really two years old and still sounding so fresh, even among all the conceptual ambient trap/trillwave tunes I hear every day
I discovered this producer about half a year ago when I tried to find out whether there were any serious blends of kuduro, afrobeats or with psytrance/goa or any kind of underground trance music. As expected, I found loads of ‘pseudo-African’ 4/4 trance with some djembe added to make it sound “tribal”/”exotic” (LOL!!). Also was there an occasional poppy, EDM flavoured afrohouse mixtape tagged as ‘trance’, without having much of an actual trance sound at all, until I noticed the Principe Discos logo on one of the tracks in the list, uniquely tagged as afro-trance and even psytrance!
Mystereously, the producer, who used to have an active soundcloud account and only one release with Principe, removed all of his online presence apart from his YouTube account. Even the Principe account removed the track and I have really no idea why. Let’s hope he’ll come back this year, continuing this exciting style. If not, I hope the YouTube will remain online at least.
His release with Principe: a magnificent banger blending Portuguese batida with oldschool psychedelic acid-trance
An even harder scorcher of kuduro with hardtrance!
One of the things with vaporwave and trillwave producers is that usually they keep their information very enigmatic and delocalised, usually not disclosing where they are located. In such way I’d been knowing CYBEREALITYライフ for a while already when exploring vaporwave, trillwave and the wider post-internet scene. Until I came across him on Facebook and realised that he is from Mexico and right at that moment, really into experimenting with as many different genres and sounds as possible such as jersey club, juke and synthwave. I was stoked to hear that he was now drafting a 3ball tune, even allowed to check out the preliminary version. I promised and truly wanted to give this a major shoutout on the blog, which I eventually never managed to do and I still feel bad about that. It’s even one of the most lit 3ball tune that have come out in 2015 and I hope more of this will follow this year!
Closer to his core-style: his amazing fresh album ofSESH-flavoured suicidal shoegaze-hiphop beats (>> BUY <<)
Talking about the post-internet music scene (which we never covered extensively enough on Generation Bass in the first place), I entirely overlooked the unique Dutch exponent of this movement, based in The Hague; torus! While his visual style is very similar to the broader trends in the post-internet/net-art community, moving from marble renaissance architecture and art to office plants and surreal virtual objects and now, in the wake of health goth and the club movement, sports clothing & gear aesthetics, his music is extraordinarily personal and unique, holding the middle between vaporesque, ethereal melodic soundscapes, recontextualised abstract influences from 00s RnB or eurodance and even some ambient trap and future beats. I met him at Progress Bar a couple of weeks ago and found that he is also a great enthusiast and endorser of the new club movement, which means that he may well turn into one of the most essential musicians in the Netherlands this year. Don’t sleep on this!
His most recent EP, ‘temples’, from a year ago, combining all the different colours of the spectrum of his style (>> GET IT NOW <<)
And a short 2 track bundle focusing more on one specific sound of aquatic ethereal ambient with crystal clear, crispy percussion
When I stumbled upon PIVOTAL while making my wanderings through the Soundcloud networks of the new club scene, my mind was blown immediately. Here is somebody who, as it seems, combines the abstract rhythmic backbone and cybernetic grime synths of the new club formula with harder, more explosive drums than I ever heard before in that scene, as well as unscrupulous scorching distortion and noise, creating a unique sound that approaches the brutality of crossbreed or industrial hardcore. On the artist’s soundcloud page there are tracks in many different styles, few of them coming even close to this. This unique fusion seems to come out of the blue. I definitely hope to see more of this stuff this year!
Siete Catorce is one of our all time favourite artists since the beginning of the blog. Been there since the early days, before the rise and fall of global bass, lived through the budding and now bloom of Mexico as a hotbed for innovation in music and youth culture. And he’s still there, pushing his uncompromisable hypnotising style of experimental polyrhytmic beats with sparkly melodic synths and deep ambient soundscapes.
It’s just that my own personal sour-hipster mood sometimes witholds me from posting and promoting stuff released by big labels that are surrounded by an air of commercial success and mainstream vibes. Jealousy…? Maybe. Childishness…? Certainly. Because Paisajes EP should have been a unquestionable #ESSENTIAL right when it came out. I hope it isn’t too late yet to make that sure!
I really do like techno but barely blog it on Generation Bass for the sheer sake of focus (any techno bloggers, be welcome to join our team!). I found out about this while exploring the soundcloud networks around Psychick Warriors ov Gaia’s amazing ‘1989 EP‘ which I blogged back in may last year. Like the Psychick Warriors EP, this EP too heavily involves polyrhythmic elements breaking away from the 4/4 + swing syncope formula that is still uncontestedly dominant in the genre. The first track, ‘Dissociate’ sounds like an industrialised version of Siete Catorce’s take on the prehispanic triplet, while ‘Weasels’ is the 100% perfect fusion banger of acid-techno with bubbling! Can these similarities be unintentional, coincidence? I have absolutely know idea who these artists are or whether there is something like a scene around this exciting approach to techno but I do know that, as soon as I heard it, this blew my mind hard. I’d like to educate myself more into this and pay more attention to it on the blog!
It may sound paradoxical but in some cases, the biggest compliment can be to see that your own work has become superfluous. In an age where blogs as a medium are becoming superfluous everywhere, this brings along double feelings as well, but when I saw on Gingee’s Facebook page that her new EP, Tambol, ranked #2 on the reggae/dub charts on Beatport and #16 in Hiphop, I could only be happy that an artist who means a lot to us, is moving forward without chancing her unique style.
We’ve supported Gingee, a Filipino-American producer-DJ, vocalist and percussionist based in LA, since the beginning and were always enthusiastic about her creative fusion of diverse global bass flavours with live singing, rapping and organic, often traditional Filipino percussion such as the kulintang (small pitched gongs).
‘Tambol’ means ‘drum’ in Tagalog, the Filipino language. The EP’s cover design features drums next to kulintang gongs and other traditional percussion like the long tinikling bamboo clapper poles and cowbells.
The 5 track EP is built around dembow as the central vibe, diversifying into different tempos and grooves and involving synth as well drum elements from genres as diverse as house, dancehall, hiphop, meditative ambient and even feature some oldskool turntable-scratching. Gingee is one of the pioneers of electronic hybrid music with full lyrics rapping and singing and indeed three of the tracks are songs.
‘Tinikling Riddim’ is an instrumental twerk-house tune inspired by tinikling bamboo choreography and was released as exclusive free download for YourEDM, who also wrote an enthusiastic review. ‘Hear the Drum Beats’ is an uptempo bubbling tribute to the global bass movement as a celebration of cultural diversity and empowerment. For ‘Sound System’ Gingee teamed up with electro-reggae OG MC Zulu, fusing dancehall grooves and powerful bass sounds with hypnotising kulintang patterns. ‘Gong Spirit’, a song about the ancestral spirituality of music, continues this meditative vibe and involves a didgeridoo-like sound as an organic replacement for bass synths. The final track, ‘Escape’ is instrumental again and my personal favourite for its subtle dark and futuristic approach to zouk bass. Gingee shows once again her independent creativity which will definitely set an example for everyone in the global bass movement!
Generation Bass has been introducing innovative music developments all over the world since 2009. Over the last years, the focus of the blog has shifted more and more towards connecting and integrating them, rather than throwing them out in the air. ‘Trailblazers’ will be a series of interview-portraits which give a deeper insight in the people who are doing something infuential in the avant-garde of contemporary music.
The Sacramento based songwriter, producer and performer Savana Painter is such a forward-looking artist who has developed her own entire new branch of dancehall over the last years, which is now starting to gain influence, in the dancehall scene as well as the club music underground.
Her intense, emotional sound labelled #DANCEHALLEMO is a blend of dancehall with rock, symphonic metal, punk and dub poetry, and is suitable for live performances as well as for a diverse variety of club and soundsystem settings and would even blend in seamlessly at a rock concert.
Since then, #DANCEHALLEMO has drawn elements like electric guitars, epic symphonic orchestral and choral soundscapes, stunning dark-romantic piano melodies and boom-bap hiphop beats.
GB: What is the most important thing we missed from you?
SP: The most important thing you’ve missed from me would have to be my mind control project pieces named ‘Project Chatter’. So far I’ve worked on four parts in which I’m very pleased with. The canvas behind my vocals is creating a new wave in dancehall. I’m humbled. A swift change is coming and it’s the Omen, Good or Bad, fear not.
I speak on religious division and what angers me in this crisis which our world is facing, a spiritual warfare that has absolutely no gain. I’m just expressing myself, not like I’m trying to force countries to believe in my ideology. Ha ha hmm.
GB: At a certain point, this self-expression evolved into the tag #DANCEHALLEMO right? Can you tell a bit more about how that happened?
SP: #DANCEHALEMO is not just a tag. It’s a new genre for the unorthodox dark souls in dancehall. I merged it with emo, in which is a subgenre of rock. I produce and deliver confessional hardcore lyrics and dancehall is already aggressive so I thought it would be a fantastic merge.
I live for guitars, strings and choirs in my rhythms. When the vibration transcends through my system it feels like the ultimate orgasm. Heavy drums, bass, grunge and screams.. Oh god, that’s the art of seduction! Ya!
GB: In the dark-music article I compared you to Tommy Lee Sparta. Is #DANCEHALLEMO the new gothic dancehall?
SP: Man ´dark music´ was a great article, thanks for making me a part of that. Tommy Lee is an exceptionally talented visionary so I wouldn’t compare the two. Comparison may begin to sound like competition and I’m running no rat race.
GB: Dancehall and reggae are major motors for the development of music, with a huge impact worldwide. What can you say about the current developments in the Jamaican underground? In which directions do you think it will move?
SP: Dancehall overall is a movement that’s been around before I was born, so yes with great pride I can say I’m part of this musical journey in which I can make my contribution to and impact on our worldwide fraternity.
The underground music in Dancehall and Reggae is on the come up. It’s not like back in time when you had to burn a numerous amount of cd’s to sell a record or give away songs in order to be heard. You can pretty much stream your music on a number of different media outlets. The only con with it that is most artists don’t spend time on getting quality over quantity, so it makes it hard for the audience to want to open an ear for an impeccable talent.
A positive thought on any direction it decides to move in… I cannot predict Dancehall and Reggae’s changes. One-minute dance songs a run di place ha ha, next could be one drop, who knows. I just stick to my blueprint and keep it pushing. You feel me? I love every aspect of the genres so I’m in good faith that we can only elevate.
GB: You are a very multi-skilled artist, creating artistic concepts, producing music, writing lyrics and performing live on stage. Which role is most important to you?
SP: Thank you, Thank you Victor. I must be bright as day, dark as night. He he aaah if I could live on stage I would. Creating is awesome but there’s nothing like being on stage transcending ones message so the universe can receive it chant and dance in harmony. As a master in the universe of thou majesty, one must know their true divine purpose. Omen.
“Savana performing with a live band”
GB: You have collaborated several times with producer-DJ Champion Rocka, how would you describe your artistic bond with him?
SP: Yes, Steve is not an ordinary producer. His dreams are very extreme. And you can hear it in his sounds; really grand I admire his drive and motivation. Working with him has always been a great pleasure. Mad minds are masterminds so we kick ass. Ya dig it?
GB: Could you give us some hints of things we can expect from you in the near future?
SP: Oh yea, in the near future please look out for my Album called OMEN. It was set to release this year but I’ve stumbled over some minor obstacles; that caused a set back. But I’m shooting to have the release early next year. I’m always dropping new joints otherwise so keep it locked and tuned into my media outlets. I have a few music videos’ that’ll be dropping pretty soon for songs like Ancient Warrior, Possessive and Chant N Sing.
I was too late to announce the plug.dj virtual live showcase which was held last week Sunday, but the 10-track Soundcloud compilation came online this week and the tracklist is gold!
The theme was ’emotional electronic music’, which was translated in a multitude of different styles and flavours from retro-gothic synthpop and Jersey club to breaktbeat, moombahdeep and ‘vapor-noir’ flavoured hiphop, delivered by familiar names and newcomers to the URL Future family!
Remember thepost where I gave you that map of Global Basswith some thoughts about where it’s heading? This post will be kind of a ‘PART II’ to that one. One of the buzzwords you may have heard me saying over and over again in discussions on Facebook (before I went on a Facebook break for some months) is ‘global bass integration’. But what is it and why should we even care?
For the ones who haven’t heard the yet I’ll make a long story short. There are basically three forms of ‘global bass’ existing today (I won’t get into a discussion whether or not the roots of the movement today go back to the 1990s Dutch and UK multicultural music scenes and African and Latin urban-electronic movements and or rather to transnational pop-rock that has been around since the 60s and 70s and even further back, I leave that to experts with more music experience than myself):
1.) the original scenes behind the non-Western dance genres (kuduro, tarraxo, baile funk, cumbia, 3ball etc.)
2.) bloggers, DJ’s and producers, often from the West, bringing these genres under the attention of new audiences who do not themselves belong to those original scenes..
This distinction is important because when you talk about a scene, you’re talking about a group of people rather than a style of music or aesthetics who recognise themselves as part of one group, associated with a certain name (or often, that name is given to them by outsiders). If you want to talk about a global or transnational (or, for that matter, a tropical) bass scene, you are only talking about those people who consider themselves as part of the movement that combines non-Western dance genres, most often for different, Western audiences. It is, no matter the intentions, an activitiy where the pitfall of cultural appropriation is always just around the corner. Especially when the genres are adapted to fit the formula of EDM, tailored for consumption by American festival crowds.
Stereotypically, over the past ten years, there have been two types of parties where you can hear genres like kuduro, tarraxo, cumbia, dembow, baile funk, etc.:
1.) Parties from the scenes of those genres, so, in Angola, Lisbon or even the kuduro scenes in the metropoles in France, all over Latin America’s working class neighbourhoods and in the hispanic neighbourhoods in US cities etc.
2.) Indie-tronic parties labelled as ‘tropical’, with white hipsters indulging in a tropical fantasy-world filled with palmtrees, big shaking butts, seductive fruits and menacing wild animals..
Of course I am exaggerating, but the big difference is that only in the second scene, you could hear the different genres together, instead of just one (or a limited number) of them. On tropical parties, moving from cumbia to moombahton, to rasterinha to trap has been bread and butter for years. But I doubt if there has ever been a cumbia track played at bailes funk in Rio or a tarraxo track at a 3ball party in Monterrey. And when some years ago, Venezuela’s Tuki became known via the global bass movement, the creators were amazed to find out that the sound they had developed was so similar to kuduro or bubbling, which they weren’t aware of when they created it.
I think it is clear today that the ‘tropical formula’ as a way to popularise these genres into the new EDM craze has failed. It couldn’t compete with trap and twerk’s hood-fantasies of guns and money and bling. But it was not just controversial, it also failed to involve the scenes around the people who created it. Most of them didn’t even associate themselves with concepts like global or tropical bass. If the transnational bass scene could reinvent itself into a movement that does not grab every non-Western dance flavour as raw material for the newest fad in American EDM but exchanges ideas and sounds between the original scenes themselves, the future may look very different.
Since the early days, a lot has changed in this direction. Much of the younger generation of producers in any of the indigenous genres has grown up with the internet, global bass blogs and, especially in Latin America, many producers nowadays know about all the ‘neighbouring sounds’ existing elsewhere in the world and often start to associate themselves with the global bass movement. In this way, a ‘reverse movement’, taking other sounds from the appropriating hipster avant-garde back into indigenous scenes sometimes occurs.
The thriving urban-electronic-eclectic scenes 0f multi-cultural youths in the metropolitan cities the UK or the Netherlands and on the island of Mauritius, can be an example for the new transnational bass to be.
The producer-dj duo Smash & Aries are an upcoming act in the Dutch urban-eclectic scene who smoothly fuse RnB, hiphop and house with genres like afrobeats, kuduro, kizomba, dancehall, moombahton and more!
Wanna know what’s going on in the Mauritius scene? Check out this mixtape from DJash Ley, supporting the upcoming talents DHARISH, AVI S, FUNKJ and DJash Ley himself! It’s mostly Afro-Latin house but a look at the producers will show that they produce everything from house to kuduro, baile funk, moombahton and trap..
Mexico City is one of the most innovative places in the world for music these days and not just on the hipster side of things. One of the most important developments next to cumbiaton is the rise of an urban-eclectic scene much like in Europe, where urban-Latin sounds of reggaeton and dancehall are combined with EDM. DJ Krizis, a big name in Mexico City’s reggaeton scene, introduced moombahton on such an urban-eclectic night last year which even in design looks a lot like what’s going on in the Netherlands..
I already shared his moombahton mixtape before but in case you missed it, here anoter shoutout!
From the very start, I’ve been a supporter of moombahton as a future branch not of EDM but of reggaeton, especially with live MC’s.. ‘moombahton urbano’. In Sweden there is DJ Cuervo who pushes the urban-flavoured combination of moombahton, reggaeton and dancehall. Check out his mixtape he made together with Dj Blass!
DJ SmokeMachine from Lisbon is an exciting innovator who pushes the wider global bass genres, mostly zouk bass but also some tuki, and even cumbia & 3ball into the Portuguese ghetto-zouk underground!
So then what about tracks, are producers from different scenes exploring each other’s sounds? Well, yes they’re starting to do that more and more..
One of the things I’m most strongly hoping for most that the funk scene in Brazil and the Afro-Portuguese underground will get more involved with each other in the near future. They speak each other’s language so there’s definitely potential there. And I’m always on the lookout if I perhaps see producers from each side liking and commenting on each others tracks. This has already happened a couple of times but unfortunately I couldn’t find the examples back to share them here.
DJ Dotorado recently made a funk tune for his Maluku EP, pushing funk into the Portuguese underground! He took the EP off his soundcloud, I don’t know why, but the demo is still online..
And of course don’t forget Anderson Teixeira‘s tribute to funk from last year.. Tarraxo das Brasileiras! I hope that somebody from Brazil reads this and will play this track at a baile!
Funk itself too is evolving a lot lately. Next to beatbox sambles and horn stabs, percussion beats are back and there’s a lot of experimentation going on with synths. Innovative funk producer duo RD da NH & André BPM made an exciting track last month which perfectly closes the gap with Portuguese underground flavours!
And this is from last week, rasterinha-twerk with lots of bass!
And if there is any other genre many producers from the Portuguese underground are into, it the hiphop side of trap & Chicago-drill. This two rad tunes from DJ Babaz Fox and DJ Estraga fuses drill with kuduro!
One of the most unexpected examples of global bass integration I came across randomly is this amazing collab from the Argentinian bass alrounder FDA The Producer and the Detroit based future-trapper ▲ZER, which mixes Argentinian urban cumbia villera with trap. That is already cool in itself but the most exciting thing is that this is released on the prominent EDM-trap label Defco Records, who have seldomly touched global bass flavours before, let alone cumbia!
Once and a while the EDM-trap scene shows some interest in global bass and I predict this will grow stronger in the future. Check out this massive, arabic flavoured banger from the German talent Karl Hungus. Traphood Family tagged it as ‘twerk’ but the moombahton element is just as strong here!
It is not just the Portuguese underground which is getting more interested in baile funk. Bass producers, and not just the hipster ones, from the Spanish-speaking part of Latin America are discovering it too..
3ball OG Clap Freckles made this exciting funk-guarachero (3baile!) track a year ago and I’m actually surprised that nobody else has followed this example yet..
The 16 year old mexican alrounder DJ ChuCko is a quickly rising global bass talent with potential to follow in the line of names like Bacondo, Wost and Billion Dollars. And the promising thing is that he experiments with all different kinds of transnational flavours. Check out this electrifying funk-3ball-latinhouse banger!
But by far the most exciting cases of global bass integration are from the Dutch underground legendsDj Sueside and DJ Lockie.. I was blown away when I found out that they have made some 3ball!
These tracks made a dream come true. When I first found out about 3ball after travelling in Mexico, I immediately wished I could somehow connect that sound to the urban-eclectic scene here in the Netherlands, together with bubbling, kuduro, reggaeton, Dutch house, grime etc. But there are very few Mexican youths in the Netherlands so I doubted it would ever happen. But this idea got me in the global bass scene and the rest is history ;-)..
I should have blogged this stuff right away when the tracks came out but I didn’t manage and have been waiting for this moment ever since!
Even though DJ Lockie is an absolute hero for everyone interested in bubbling, both inside and outside the Netherlands, his biggest ever fan is the hard-Latin-tronic experimentalist from Santa Rosa California, DJ Broken Record. This enthusiasm resulted in a mini-EP, dedicated to the town of Santa Rosa, fusing zouk bass & cumbia!
And don’t forget that the rhythm in some Portuguese underground kuduro tracks come very close to 3ball as well. I remember that Anderson Teixeira had a track once which was almost identical to tribal prehispanico, but he took it off his soundcloud so the closest I can find now is DJ Nigga Fox‘ unique style. If we haven’t blogged his newest track yet, shame on us, it’s RAD!
And while bubbling is coming back in the Netherlands, the Dominican dembow scene almost reinvented it with tracks like this banger from DJ Scuff!
If from the central global bass genres, this eclectic attitude diffuses further to shape the future not just of Western genres but also of urban-Latin music, dancehall, soca, kizomba etc. the future of music can be very thrilling.
The LA based netlabelLush Selectspresents the first edition of a new compilation series with a very diverse selection of open-minded, high standard future beats.
Future beats or future bass, what’s in a name, is definitely the most accessible and mainstream movement of the post-EDM world and often anointed EDM’s successor by many mainstream blogs. That may explain why we haven’t been following it very closely at Generation Bass. Which is a pity, because in Global Bass’ move away from the focus on EDM festival bangers, there’s no need to re-invent the wheel. And we’re missing a lot of great music too.
The fact that Lush Selects has not only a leg in the mainstream future beats movement but another in post-internet avant-garde gives this label a unique underground character which clearly shows in their releases. ‘LUSH: 001’ is an impressive compilation with music from mostly American producers, with some contributions from France, Turkey, Hawaii and New Caledonia.
It is too lengthty to review every track, but the influences and sounds truly vary from classic hiphop, house and UK bass to ambient jazz, 80s spacedelica, shoegaze and surprisingly a lot of ‘tribal’ percussion which make some of the tracks the perfect bridge towards transnational vibes.
And with every passing year, ever more people all over the world are finding out about this frightening creature that unleashes chaos and darkness in the streets of cities and villages at the onset of December. There was a Krampus Walk and Krampus Fest in Rotterdam to which couldn’t make it so a Youtube clip is all I can give you until upcoming year…
This is what regained my interest Krampus, a radiopodcast from Rotterdam, hosted by forward looking minds from the dark-alternative electronic scene who have been pioneering in the borderlands of hardcore, industrial, schranz and more. Since this year they’ve launched a campaign to introduce krampus in the Netherlands to show that an alternative to the Dutch idiotic blackface tradition doesn’t need to be a character-less, watered-down-consensus figure, but can also be something vibrant and exciting. As a teaser for the krampus walk and krampus fest, they made this podcast with a 2 hours of mindblowing brutal dark beats and background information about krampus (in Dutch).
At the same time, I’ve witnessed a rise of dark, apocalyptic vibes in many areas of music, including global bass genres. We’re in the midst of a transition and ever more revolutionary chaos is spreading in music and in our understanding of virtually everything in the world around us. I’ve been talking with people about the idea of dystopian futurism and darkness in music, fashion, art and wider culture for about a year now and mainstream vids like Skrillex ft.Ragga Twins‘ ‘Ragga Bomb‘ and Skrillex newest video‘Dirty Vibe‘ confirmed that gut-feeling.
As I explained in my skullbass post, there are three main innovations going on in our times: 1.) fusions of different dark/hard genres music such as hardcore, breakcore, drum ‘n bass, dark dubstep, dark techno, industrial, hard electro, noise music and metal; 2.) global bass; and 3.) fusions between urban flavours with dark music and aesthetics.
Fusions between styles that are known as dark and those that are not that much known as dark have, in fact, always been there, but throughout the 2000’s, the hey-days of animosity between scenes, it has never grown out into something more substantial. But towards the 2010’s, a fusion emerged between southern Chopped n screwed hiphop and gothic flavours which became hyped by the music media (in parallel with global bass) as which house. Remeber those days? Witch house was kind of the ‘thing’ before seapunk and vaporwave and a lot has been written about it that seems to be iconic for music in the internet-age: is it an actual genre? when did it become a ‘thing’? was it just an empty bandwagon?
So what’s the idea.. Global bass is the source of innovation for EDM while dark-alternative music incorporates ever more flavours of dance music (for an excellent history of how goth incorporated EBM and trance and transformed it into cybergoth and then died of a lack of innovation listen to this podcast!) and urban music is innovating by incorporating dark, abrasive flavours. Considering that global bass itself are often urban inspired rather than dance inspired music, an eventual convergence of dark music and global bass rhythms and flavours seems almost unevitable. And with internet trends like Healthgoth now also embracing the idea of cross-genre dark music, there is only more potential for this to happen in 2015.
To actively speed it up, I created the Facebook group Dark Bass Underground, later turned into (for the lack of a more accurate name) Dark Electronic Music to share stuff from both sides, trying to inspire people. And especially now we at Generation Bass started the NXNW section, we also moved more solidly into dark terrain. Time to celebrate it with a massive dark bass post, with picks from the best of what has been shared in that group so far.
One of my main loves when it comes to dark music is the 80s retrofuture-noir atmosphere of cyberpunk, which I call ‘a mirror’ for our own world. It is the sound that emerged as people were thinking about the times ahead of them that we are now living in, and it is only logical that this music will rise again after the euphoria and consumerist air castles from the 90s are stripped away. Perturbator is one of the most important new generation of artists who is bringing dark, often analog, synth music back to the forefront of electronic music today! Check out this amazing set from November!
What’s especially promising about analog oriented styles like ebm, early electro, early techno, synthwave and synthpop is that they can be performed by bands and can break the current dominance of DJing in electronic music. As I found out while writing this post, the line between live and pre-recorded is often very blurred when it comes to performances of electronic bands, but nevertheless, this performance from the Detroid based electro band Dopplereffekt shows what kind of things we may see much more in the future.
Now compare this to the legendary Boiler Room performance of the ruidosón OG’s Los Macuanos, and imagine what may happen if band-based electronica and global bass will merge on a larger scale!
The Enigma TNG is one of my all-time favourite producers, with an eclectic retro-futuristic approach that varies between cinematic electronica, industrial and hiphop!
GR∆V3☦ROBB∆ is currently one of the most active and experimental names in witch house. He doesn’t follow fixed formulas but always explores diverse sounds, from dark dubstep to ritual ambient to techno!
For more of most forward-looking witch house, check out one of my absolute favourite YouTube cannels: Nightmares & 808s. This mindblowing, industrial-inspired tune from the Russian dark avant-garde producer Greycity is a good example of the fantastic stuff that you will find on this channel!
Before I move to the next genre, here an stunning, genre-crossing tune from Wanage Ska, an industrial & witch house producer from Rosebud Sioux Tribe reservation Lakota!
A whole different kind of fusion of dark sounds and southern hiphop is dark trap. As an antidote to the brainless euphoric laser-sound of festival trap, dark trap could be called ‘funeral trap’, combining distorted 808s with ritual chants, mysterious pads, trans-dimensional synths and brutal bass stabs.
If there is anyone who should be credited as the originator of dark trap, it is the cosmic trapgod Gameface. Check out his newest, apocalyptic track that pierces a hole in the veil between life and death, in the middle of the harshness of the streets!
Another rising dark trapper is the Portuguese producer Bruno Alison! That subtle percussion is just perfect and my deepest wish is that he will collaborate with the Portuguese tarraxo underground one day!
Avant-garde producer Flint Beastwood from Amsterdam made this stunningly dark for his grand Blasphemy Age album that was just too good to leave out.. It’s definitely the darkest track on the list but if you want to hear some of the best post-internet underground vibes, you should definitely check it out!
A specific genre of ‘dark urban music’ to mention is drill, Chicago’s dystopian, ice-cold cousin of Atlanta trap, which has been on the rise over the last years as one of the new major waves of hip hop, known for acts like Bobby Schmurda and Chief Keef. The harsh lyrics go hand with the most spine-chilling dark sounds that sometimes comes close to a industrial ambient flavour, fused with downtempo 808 beats, like this throat-gripping instrumental by Dj Hitkidd!
Industrial music, the prototype of all dark electronic music, seems to be in a state of confusion for a while now, torn between innovators and purists who do everything to keep existing sounds subgenres the way they are. Meanwhile, fans hop into ther scenes, such as hardcore or goa.
But in all different corners of the umbrella term ‘industrial’ there are interesting things going on. Especially now the early and heydays of industrial are being rediscovered in the wake of internet hypes likehealthgoth, I’ll expect it to get only better in 2015!
For me personally, this massive yet thoughtful electro-metal flavoured stomper from the German band Chrysalide was the best industrial single of 2014! Download it from their webpage!
The experimental producer Grimstatic keeps impressing me with a eclectic blend of dark electro, harsh EBM, industrial noise and complex rhythmical patterns. I’ve been reposting him for a while and I’m happy I can finally support him on Generation Bass!
Electronic Body Music and industrial music are not the same thing but they are often heard together, especially when it’s harsh EBM. Generation Bass on an 80s underground synth trip and EBM is definitely a fascinating movement of electronic music rooting in the 80s that you will hear more often on the blog in 2015. Here an great example of an 80s flavoured EMB tune that blows my mind!
Spectral Incision is an experimental producer who calls his own style ‘industrial filth’: a fusion of industrial, metal and dubstep. His newest track explores a whole new sound, an abrasive, percussive DnB-flavoured beat with a vibe that goes into the direction of zoukbass!
And here another experimental industrial track, from eclectic dark producer Beat Driven Insomnia, fusing a typical industrial cyber-electro synths with an uptempo, distorted breakbeat!
And from Argentina we’ve got PSICOTOP, a very interesting experimental producer who fuses industrial and EBM with dark ambient, noise and Latin influences. I originally wanted to blog a track where you could clearly hear elements of cumbia and salsa but he took it off his soundcloud so here another amazing example. Not exactly industrial, but dark ambient with flute sounds from the Andes!
In you are interested in what’s happening at the front-line of innovation in hardcore and all its sub-branches, check out the magnificent labelNoisjand new events such asN.O.R.A.D., where excellent crossovers between hardcore, DnB and hard techno are starting to form a whole new generation of hard-dark music fans from many different directions. People from the cyber-industrial scene, the still substantial gabber underground, from DnB, from raggacore, acid and tek, from hard techno.. all have found their way into this new and exciting world.
Let’s start with crossbreed, a hybrid genre of hardcore and DnB, which I heard is still far from embraced both by the hardcore scene among DnB fans. First an example which is still close to the darker side of DnB, by the Russian dark-hard eclecticist DNE!
With more complex breakbeat patterns on the high frequencies it becomes breakcore rather than crossbreed. There’s some very interesting experimental stuff out there which tries to bring the drum insanity from breakcore and the brutal harshness from hardcore closer together.. Check out this stunningly futuristic track by Maza (Russia) & The Infernal Brothers (Russia)!
Other experimental vibes go more into a melodic, quiet direction, like ‘dreamcore’. With soothening pads & piano work, Ragnarok (Norway) & Starving Insect (Sweden) manage to fuse abrasive, distorted kicks with a toughtful, post-apocalyptic chill-groove!
A genre where dark sounds are living a strond and passionate underground life is techno. There is a network of connected subgenres like doomtechno, dark techno, industrie techno, mainly located in Germany. I can’t cover it all but I can share an example of the amazing stuff that is coming from this underground..
Here brutal fresh release from the Düsseldorf based producer Klangtronik!
The Belgian producer Ethan Fawkes is a producer-dj who stands with one leg in the world of industrial and with the other leg in the world of dark techno and a lot of amazing industrial flavoured techno is being released these days by him and producers around him. I picked this remix by the duo E-Squad, because of the groovy tribal flavoured percussion!
Of course there cannot be a Generation Bass post with dark techno without a major shoutout to Generation Bass godfather Drvg Cvltvre.. Check out this fabulous dark, almost Latin-flavoured percussive techno track!
We’ve seen that there’s a lot of experimentation going on in different dark electronic music scenes, especially with rhythm and percussion, and urban music embracing dark flavours on an ever larger scale. So what about ‘global bass’?
The duo Deadstare is the most outspoken dark-global bass initiative, who referred to their style as a the middle between the Owsla signed, occult-cyberpunk themed black metal dubstep act Phuture Doom (one of my favourite dark music acts, which I couldn’t blogged here because they haven’t released in a while), and global bass! They fuse sounds like cinematic horror ambient, terror and speed- and breakcore with latin rhythms like cumbia and 3ball. This is one of their newest releases that you might have missed: a moombahton rework of one of the tracks from their New EP!
NAAFI signed Mexican avant garde producer LAO made an absolutely stunning 3ball rework of a horror ambient piano track!
The innovative 3ball bass duo Los Innsurgentes dedicated an entire, evil-themed EP last year to energetic dark sounds, drawing from dark trap, metalstep and witch house! This should have received a massive shoutout from us long ago already, but it’s never too late I suppose.. Grab the EP here!
SP Deville is a London-based Portuguese producer with Angolan roots who specialises in hiphop beats, Luso-African styles as well as eclectic bass music with a dark edge. Check out this fabulous track which draws influences from drill, dancehall, kuduro and grime!
I remember from my Sexxy Saturday Cumbia time that there are many amazing dark cumbia tracks out there. This is the newest example I could find: a black metal flavoured electronic cumbia tune from the Argentinian tropical alrounder Fede Trip!
Deliciously dark avant-garde dembow here, from the upcoming eclectic underground formation Santa Muerte!
Under my new artist name S x m b r a, I try to experiment some different dark global bass blends myself as well. Here a quick demo where I try to capture a typical cyber-goth atmosphere, fused with moombahton. Try to picture a choreography that holds the middle between industrial dance and perreo!
Closing this mega-post with some uncategorisable but mindblowing dark tracks!
iLLu!, dark trap duo from London, released this powerful, apocalyptic DnB track!
Another new trend of 80s inspired electronic underground music you will come to see more often is ‘minimal synth’. Also analog and melodic, but more minimalistic and groovy than synthwave or EBM. Ortrotasce is a musician who is specialised in this sound, which can be mellow and dark. This absolutely perfect, surrealistic underground track is his newst creation!
Alternative hiphop producer Mike Sore, from Warsaw, Poland, makes beats for rappers as well as dark trap, witch house and experimental stuff. This menacing instrumental hiphop tune blows my mind!
Another dark eclectic hiphop producer,Dark User, is one of my most interesting recent finds on Soundcloud. This symphonic-electronic-blastbeat-ambient-industrial track is one of the best things I’ve heard lately!
A third experimental avant garde dark trapper who deserves more attention is AyyJAy, from London. This horroresque, mellow dark pearl of a track is one of my favourites of is productions! Close your yes and feal the fear..
Where his fresh fusion of classic cumbia with trap and twerk started as an experiment, on this EP it is fully crystallised into a strong and mature signature style.
Noche de Cumbia, a mid-tempo twerk vibed, adds some delicious extra percussion that is just as much moombahton as it is cumbia or twerk!
Lejano Campos is a short intermezzo-like track with a nice, minimalistic accordeon line, rich vocals from Calle 13 and rolling 808s!
Noche de Luna slows down the BPM counter to authentic mexican rebajada speed, including its characteristic morphed vocal sound, accompanied by a perfect beat that invites everyone with a slight background in rap to freestyle some lines over it!
Mi Machete is one of the most powerful fusions of classic Colombian cumbia and trap (or hiphop in general) not only that I’ve ever heard but that I can ever imagine. On so many levels, this track embodies everything from both genres: the everyday-yet-passionate joy-despite-of-hardship vibe of classic cumbia, the subtle street flavour and again the kind of beat that begs for some good rhymes!
And as an exclusive extra, not available via Soundcloud, there is Fuck it I want a Billion, a banger which combines elements from cumbia, trap, 3ball, house and jersey club, featuring the Mexico City based global bass producer Fake Moustache!
Gameface (left), with the singers Pculture and Novena, producer Daudi a.k.a . Daz Naledge and Incubate project leader Maarten (right)
Last month, we announced a collaboration of the Tanzanian hiphop crew Watengwa with the Dutch dark-trappers Gameface and BLVCK, organised by Hivos, Incubate Festival and ourselves. A month later, we look back at the project with Incubate project leader Maarten and Gameface.
“The first surprise was that most of the crew-members of Watengwa didn’t actually come,” Maarten tells me. “They sent a producer and two female singers, who weren’t part of the core-crew but regularly performed with them. But there were no rappers. That made the project a little bit different from what we expected, but not in a bad way of course. More reggae-oriented than strictly hiphop, for example.”
Gameface agrees. “But just the fact that we were able to work with people from a whole different part of the world and be connected in music was already an amazing experience.”
One of the first things that Maarten remembers is the first night. The members of Watengwa had arrived just some hours before and were almost immediately dragged onto the stage to perfom with complete strangers they had barely exchanged a word so far. “But as BLVCK was playing, the producer of Watengwa started MC-ing and interacting with the crown, wich gave a really nice vibe.”
The next day was more quiet, the first moment to get to know each other on a more personal level. “The connection on the level of music was definitely there,” says Gameface. “It was funny to find out that, no matter how different our styles, we both use FL Studio to make our beats for example.” When I asked him if he knew anything about African hiphop or African music in general, he came with a nice story about the experimental track ‘Tribe’ he made a while back. “That track uses a sample from a popular African song and it turned out that one of the singers knew the original and loved the way I give it a second life in this way.” The producer, in turn, just happened to have downloaded some first EDM-trap tunes to his computer.
Gameface is very down to earth about the sometimes controversial relationship between trap music and hiphop. “I see it as a bridge. I’ve been producing hiphop for many years, including a lot of dirty-south beats, the ‘hiphop-version’ of trap. Besides I’ve always loved heavier electronic music like hardstyle and techno. When I first heard about ‘EDM trap’ I liked the idea and nowadays my tracks have become very synthy. The only thing I don’t like is ‘lazer trap’. It’s a sound we’ve been hearing in the Netherlands for s0 many years even before it became big in the USA.. I just can’t stand the sound any longer.”
But there’s a new generation in the air. “Espepially at their performance in Rotterdam, the crowd was very young and they seemed to be quite into the music of Gameface and BLVCK,” tells Maarten, with a tone that reveals that it surprised him, in a positive way. The other crowds they played for were again very different. Both at Inclubate festival and in Amsterdam (where they eventually performed, instead of going to Belgium), the crowd was largely made up of older folks that lingered around after seeing bands, without a specific connection to hiphop or trap. “But they were genuinely interested in our music and we had them dance,” which was a great experience.
A week together is an increadibly short time to get to know each other, let alone to make enough music together for an actual joint performance. Yet, a start has been made. Gameface started with a beat for Watengwa’s singers to sing to. “I showed them my basic idea,” recalls Gameface, “and they immediately started to improvise, to try what would fit best. And it worked out very well.”
Currently, the track is being finished, put together with the vocals and mastered, to be released soon. We will of course keep you updated!