One of the tragic side effects of always being tuned onto the most innovative and culturally challenging music is that you’ll get bored ever more easily. Nights revolving around one specific genre, like techno or DnB, can annoy me to death. But also in the worlds that I’m active in, like global bass or ‘avant-garde club’, there isn’t much that canamaze me with the same power any more as when I was still new to all these things. Between my early Soundcloud days and now, the “‘this BLOWS my mind” feeling has gradually faded from multiple times a day to often months without. Simply because I’ve heard so much of the most fantastic stuff already. But last month I had a life transforming experience in a way I haven’t had since my early days of music digging, not while surfing Soundcloud in solitude for a change, but on the middle the dancefloor, walking into a liveset from Renick Bell.
Immediately when I heard the robotic abstract beats and alien ambient scapes while seeing the hypnotising coding lines glide and morph over the big screen, I knew that I would write a Generation Bass post as soon as I had the occasion. And doing a quick search I also realised that this is the first-ever Generation Bass post about algorave. Developed in the underground of tech enthusiasts, the technique of using software code commands to generate live music has been around for more well over a decade, yet hasn’t crossed paths too much, not with the ‘post-internet undergroud’ and let alone with global bass. It’s logical why.
What has fuelled the internet hypes over the last decade has mostly been driven by the products of the democratised accessibility of simple production and sharing techniques, which has enabled teenagers from around the world to develop new styles and subcultures that are often quite simple in the production process but creative in the way they bring together cultural elements available via the internet. The development of a whole new kind of instrument, especially one that requires very specialised knowledge only shared by minor section of the population, is a diffent world. In 2013, when the algorave first caught attention as an upcoming scene, Vice notoriously called it the “future of music, for nerds”. This esotheric character is one that algorave hasn’t managed to shed so far, at least in my perception, interesting mainly as a mere nice idea for people passionate about exploring the possibilities of coding as a human craft with vast latent cultural potential. All of this might well change soon, both because the coming generation will hopefully have much widespread knowledge of programming, but also because, as the craft matures, its fruits will improve and diversify. The previous generation has witnessed the shift of electronic music in general from an experimental niche genre pioneered by a small bunch of wire enthusiasts to the most widespread, popular way of making music. And with the potential of open-source software, in principle accessible to anyone anywhere with an internet connection, coding as a new form of musical expression may well be on its way to be embraced by marginalised people to articulate political realities that go beyond the privileged bubble of nerd culture. After all, the ongoing historical development of music is essentially cultural heritage x socio-political context x technology. And that is why, on the brink of 2k17 it is more urgent than ever to start talking about algorave on Generation Bass.
Enter Renick Bell, a Texas born, Tokyo based programmer, musician and teacher. His abstract, visceral sound, shared by artists like Partisan, Morten HD or Sentinel, has attracted the attention of avant-garde platforms such as J.G.Biberkopf’s Unthinkable series on NTS, Quantum Natives and Infinite Machine and has doubtlessly also been shaped back by these movements. More importantly, the amalgam of sounds combined in these music scenes has brought algorave in direct contact with the musical heritage from marginalised global club & bass undegrounds as well as with the socio-political contexts of the struggles of oppressed people for alternative futurisms. This happed very literally on Native Self, where Renick’s set was immediately followed by Terribilis playing baile funk and Lisbon batida.
During Native Self there were, as is common in the Algorave scene, no additional visuals apart from the real-time projection of the live coding process: a form of opennes to visitors with knowledge of the technology and an invitation to contribute.
His most recent official release Empty Lake EP, which came out in October this year, on the London based experimental labelUIQ.
His most defining works: a series of tracks called “fractal beats”, drawing from genres like footwork, gabber, psytrance, techno and noise, but with the improvisational chaos of experimental jazz.
Moving into melodic territory, with poppy vocal samples, his sound becomes essentially identical to the sonic palette that I typically categorise as ‘avant-garde club’
Renick’s collab from half a year ago with the Japanese experimental club producerKΣITO
“Beats for traditional dancing”, a composition where live coding and otherworldly electronic sounds become antirely one with the spirit of Jazz
Since the release of their debut EP, the extraterrestrial synthpop duo Lucifer’s Dream have worked hard to put themselves on the map, both IRL and URL. Following the success of ‘Remember‘, they are now back with a video for another track from the EP.
Where ‘Remember’ was reflexive and melancholic, ‘Elixir of Isis’ has a hint of passionate energy and desire, breathing especially in the beginning of the track, that, I think consciously, almost sounds like the buildup for towards a catchy radiopop hook. But instead of delivering predictable pleasure, the track dissolves into a wavier, more melancholic and indeterminate vibe. Reality, or meeting your crush, is always different from expectation, full of confusion and conflicting emotions. At the end, the insecure atmosphere melts down into something more cute and playful, accentuated by the video and the almost dembow-like drum pattern. It may be because I can relate to it so well right now but I can’t help but putting the song on repeat.
Casa Babilon is Utrecht’s most elaborate global bass night, where the vibe diversity of Kako Da Ne and the cosy party energy of Safari in het Bos are blended with a wider, more accessible bass sound and even live performance.
This Saturday they are back in RASA, Utrecht’s cross-cultural music & arts podium with in the line-up the Portuguese-Angolan kuduro-rock formation Throes + The Shine (live), the Paris based Brazilian organic-electronic tropicalist DJ Chico Correa and of course the local hosts: the Kako Da Ne crew together with Booze em (Safari) and Frenquency (Foot Juice).
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.
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!
It’s been two months since our previous selection of mixtapes that give the best insights in the directions in which music is moving. I wrote, without knowing what would happen: “summer is usually one of the most crucial periods that shape the course music will take that year.” As the summer unfolded, it became clear that the club trax avant-garde, in all its different forms, is truly THE new excitement of 2015, defining the sound for at least the second half decade ahead of us. And from this movement, it has been the unique, industrial ambient flavoured protest sound of NON, picked up by Rabit‘s new label Halcyon Veil, that has hit the music world like a bomb. But there are more sounds and movements that keep reshaping the cytoplasmic goo of free-floating bits and pieces of music, aesthetics and culture that surround us. We will present one of Soundcloud’s major new repost-channels as well as a number of upcoming artists who have never before featured on Generation Bass.
But we start with what will be remembered as the most essential piece of music of the decade:
1.Rabit&Chino Amobi–THE GREAT GAME : FREEDOM FROM MENTAL POISONING (The Purification of the Furies)
The Great Game, first episode of Halcyon Veil’s newly launched mixtape series, is a masterpiece in all aspects, a watershed in the history of music and culture that is currently being written. Not only does it contain the musical apotheosis of the purging, transfigurative industrial sound pioneered by Chino Amobi (Richmond, US) and the other NON-crew members, it is also absolutely sublime on the literary, aesthetic and intellectual level.
The title consists of a main title, a subtitle and a alternative title, and that cryptic combination is the first key to a treasury of meaning, which unlocks itself bit by bit with additional clues that are given as the music proceeds. The first one is a reference to M.E.S.H.‘s recent album “Piteous Gate“, which deals with the digital age’s information overload, rapidly unraveling of perceptive coherence. It suggestively refers to Gene Wolfe’s other-worldly, far-future fantasy setting depicting the last ruins of a human civilisation against a dying sun. The Piteous Gate, a space-time portal which can spit out anything that has existed in the history of the world, raises similarities with the current experience of the internet as a crucible of molten information, gushing out things from the past into an incomprehensible cultural wasteland. “There is a thin line between Piteous Gate and The Great Game” says an ethereal, robotic voice, with in the background menacing dark ambient soundscapes.
The second clue one is the cover design, which views a close-up scene of Auguste Rodin’s sculpture ‘Gates of Hell‘, viewed from below. Rodin’s massive bronze gate, depicts a few recognisable characters from Dante’s inferno, surrounded by a multitude of anonymous lost souls sinking into hell. It is said to have revolutionised the art of sculpture. Charles Baudelaire’s criticism that late 19th century sculpture‘s dead aesthetic perfectionism and recycled classicist narratives had reached an absolute dead end, reduced to mere luxury objects for the salons and gardens, foreshadows the vaporwave movement in relation to contemporary music and culture. As a powerful response, in both ‘The Gates of Hell’ and ‘The Great Game’, aesthetics and narrative are violently torn apart, relentlessly swallowed by the unscrupulous abyss. Only through such mythical, ritual destruction of the poisonous scripts that have infected our brains, can the passageway into freedom be unlocked. “Welcome to The Great Game.”
But it doesn’t stop at this destruction. The passageway to freedom leads through the inevitable, cosmic enforcement justice. The Furies are chtonic, female deities in Greek mythology. The chtonic deities have survived from the largely erased pre-ancient Greek culture, which was matriarchical and has been wiped out by patriarchy, represented by the Olympian gods, in the formation of classical ancient Greece. The mythological defamation resulting from this invasion has distorted and vilified the furies, who originally represent the resistance against oppression and erasure, into the most ugly misogynist and racist stereotypes of irrational cruelty. Restoring the Furies, purifying them from centuries of accumulating contamination by a narrative rooted in rape, genocide, enslavement and colonialism, reflects the driving philosophy of NON.
Do perhaps the transhuman sounding female voices represent the Furies themselves, guiding the listener on a self-confronting trip through a modern-day version of Dante’s inferno, exposing the continuing perpetration of injustice dominating today’s world, as well as the all-pervasive mind-control designed to obscure it? “Do you see it? Bear witness..” Is it perhaps the case that now, through the digital abundance of information obscured by conventional narratives, the perpetuating lies can finally be exposed? Can the Piteous Gate set free the chtonic powers, reassemble and resurrect the legions of those whose voices have been suppressed throughout the ages? I don’t know. It would be too early to claim a final, complete interpretation of The Great Game, which is up to future generations of cultural critics, but it is clear that all of culture is currently accelerating towards a complete transformation into something new. This mixtape is the gateway, the singularity, the filter through which everything shall pass and be transformed.
Even if you won’t spend a second longer reading this post or even this blog: press play and listen to this, uninterruptedly, from beginning to end.
ANGEL-HO (Cape Town, South Africa), whose Ascension EP we spotlighted shortly ago, is another member of the NON-crew. For a deeper contextual reflection on ANGEL-HO or of Exouçie (“powers”), which is a showcase of the best of his own work, read the post or his interview with THE FADER. But if you just want to get another taste of one of the most important sounds that will shape the near future and haven’t heard it yet, check out this great mix.
Gqom, Durban’s unique club sound, has been one of our favourite genres for a while now. We’d been kind of sleeping on it and were taken by surprise when it first the blogosphere last year. But we’ve been passionate supporters ever since. And, luckily, so is the new club avant-garde and its leading platform Classical Trax. Here three episodes of a mixtape series, of which the most recent one appeared last week, presenting the best gqom from both well and lesser known producers, mixed by Classical Trax captain Matt.
Expect more, MUCH more, from Classical Trax in the near future. Here on Generation Bass and in general!
Expect a lot soon as well from URL Future head honcho Corey a.k.a. Unknown Artist (US). Lush Selects, one of the central labels of the URL Future platform, hosts its regular Sunday School plug.dj sessions, the most recent one of which was last Sunday. Contributing artists deliver a showcase mixtape + visuals. Unknown Artist’s contribution was leaked in advance as a teaser, which I immediately knew I wanted to feature on the blog.
The wildly eclectic combination of vivid underground sounds ranging from future beats to zouk bass, post-trap and psychedelic DnB shows the great opportunities for music communities to inspire each other online!
The rapidness of the internet is starting to take its toll on blogs. Music is constantly being pumped around in Facebook groups and on Twitter and Reddit, 24 hours a day. Blogs simply cannot keep up and the ones who do are shifting towards the format of tastemaking ‘channels’ or ‘portals’, presenting you with just the music: picks of the most exciting things that appeared that day. Soundcloud has several of such repost channels and some of them are really influential, inspiring producers with fresh influences from all corners of the web, shaping the direction in which music develops by connecting the dots.
GRRL, from North Carolina US, is one of the most, if not the single most influential channels in the Soundcloud underground and, not so surprisingly, an active member of the Classical Trax community as well. Recently, the influential webmagazine Nest HQ has lifted GRRL into the sub-mainstream spotlights with a great minimix and an interview. Now it’s the Paris based avant-garde label and club night Tobago Tracks hosting this exciting innovator with a 38 minute mix full of alround club, grime, futurebeats, bubblegum bass, angelcore and more! (Check out more mixtapes from GRRL > HERE!)
We’ve been totally sleeping on the Berlin based producer KABLAM and in fact on the entire Janus collective she is part of. While we weren’t paying attention, she quickly developed into one of the most promising talents of 2015, interviewed and spotlighted by the major web-magazines.
Tropical Waste is a London based blog and party focused on avant-garde club music and they host a radio show on one of the best radio channels out there today, NTS Radio. Last month, KABLAM appeared on the show together with Kepla and Tropical Waste curator Seb (go to the full podcast > HERE!). Her 26 minutes make exactly the combination of sounds and flavours that we at Generation Bass are into right now and which are coming ever closer together as the new sound of electronic music for at least the upcoming half decade!
This is a new “avant-garde club”/”trax-underground” platform & party, also based in Germany, curated by the four-headed crew Sucuk und Bratwurst. They’ve hosted many upcoming artists on their events in Berlin’s forward looking Chesters club and they only kind of just started, so expect much more later this year and next year.
This was a teaser mixtape for their most recent event last Friday, with in the line up Ideal Corpus, Silkersoft, Aggo York, AZN Girl, I M M U N E(live set recording HERE!) as well as the three hosts. The party doesn’t have a separate name apart from the hosts, which seems like another example of the habit in this scene to refuse to label or tag anything such that it can be pinned down.
Check out the teaser here! Unfortunately the event was last week already, next time we’ll notify you in advance!
This is already the second episode of our befriended KUMBALE‘s new GRRRLS series, specifically showcasing female artists specialised in next-generation Latin and Caribbean bass music. Following DJ Carie last week, this week it’s the Barbados based Venezuelan DJ Ñaña, an upcoming sensation in the Caribbean dance scene. Her mix as well as her Soundcloud bio show that the multi-genre rhythmic bass sound from the global/tropical bass movement has found a permanent, solid place in the Caribbean nightlife and music scene.
Expect more from Kumbale to drop on the blog very soon!
It has been so long since we blogged something from our friends at Regional, Chile and I realise we’re sleeping on so much excelent new music! One example is the Peruvian formation SoNora Machaca, whose first Soundcloud activity is from this year, so long after Sexxy Saturday Cumbia went practically dormant (more news on Sexxy Saturday Cumbia to be announced soon as well..). They specialise in live performed psychedelic-dub-chicha flavoured Latin bass and featured last week in the 26th edition of Regional’s mixtape series!
CLUB VIRAL is yet another brand new avant-garde club initiative, which seem to be popping up like mushrooms. They are based in Monterrey and show that the continuous innovative wave in Mexico goes well beyond Mexico City only. They have had three events so far and the line-ups so far look like they’re onto very big things, think about folks from the NAAFI crew and futurist zutzut but also international sensations like Venus-X and Monterrey’s own superstar Erick Rincon.
The line up for last party, two weeks back, was completed by Lil Tantrum and Gvajardo, who also delivered this exciting teaser mix with the specific Mexican future club sound, where reggaeton, experimental grime and cybernetic futurism become one!
With all the hype going on on Generation Bass, first about the post-internet underground and now the ‘club trax avant garde’, (all working-terms by the way that I made up myself to describe movements and developments I see on the internet while not being even close to fully understand what’s going on), you may wonder, what happened to the good old global- or tropical bass? Wasn’t that scene still a promising underground thing waiting for its moment only about a year ago? What happened to the vibrant scene of young underground producers like Billion Dollars, Jet Airess, Purple Monkey, Wost, STARK, Washiwasha, Dj Giovanni Rios (to mention some of the most important ones), whom everyone expected to be the next generation innovative names in global flavoured electronic music..?
I hope you haven’t stopped following these names and more just because we were exploring some different things, because they’re still at it and huge. Svmus Bass‘ befriended blog Global Bassed has taken over the baton being the main channel now for anything rhythmical as well as energetic, electrifying and bassful. We will get back soon with a more in depth recap of the most important things that have happened in this scene while we were sleeping. But no better recap than Global Bassed’s second showcase session, mixed by Desafinado!
Something we haven’t posted as much on the blog as we should have. There isn’t enough space to go into all the details where this scene comes from, but there is a vast loosely connected scene on the internet that occupies the borderlands between post-trap, vapor-trap/trillwave, sadboy-/cloudrap and the broader post-internet music world. In that diverse scene, many labels and collectives have appeared, all in some way focused on a vibe best described as futuristic, ethereal, crystalline, hypnagogic and, sometimes, uncanny, fused with trap beats. Some of these initiatives are now dormant, maybe because a major part of this music hasn’t evolved much over the years. But sanct.fm is an important exception. They have gathered some of the most innovative and creative producers from the scene and have built a name with the mysterious microgenre-tag #sanct which I still need to explore more deeply to say anything further.
ANUBIS is one of my favourite producers from this scene whose cyberpunk/neo-tokyo flavoured ambient-chill beats I’ve been in love with for more than a year now. A mixtape from him should be the perfect introduction to #sanct and the whole patchwork of scenes surrounding it!
This wan’t planned to be part of the post but came online just as I was finishing it. Based in Mexico City, with roots in the capital’s vivid cumbiaton and urban-latin scene, DJ Luibser is one of the new excitements that have come under the radar of several blogs, platforms and scenes. He featured here before as a positive example of electronic dembow in my moombahton post and I saw that many people from the club trax scene are also following him. But it are our Australian friends from Brother Sister Records who are now hosting him in a great guest mix with the freshest cumbiaton..
Expect more from Luibser producer here soon as well!
We’ve told you about Guvibosch before about 6 months ago HERE!
He’s originally from Jerusalem but now based in Berlin. He has collaborated with Rocky B as “Neft” on an EP which we’ll be releasing soon called “Dead”!
Guvibosch is back with some new tracks that highlight his individual take on dark industrial beats bordering on the experimental and Dubstep. This is really captivating material and so take it in and prepare yourself for the upcoming Neft release.
I can’t say it often enough: what global bass and electronic music in general needs is live music. Live MC’s and vocalists, but especially bands, bands and more bands!
The idea that electronic music is made by invisible producers and performed by DJ’s (preferrably by people who can or at least pretend they can do both) is an institutionalised product of the club era. We grew up with the idea that there are three kingdoms of music: bandmusic (rock, metal, latin etc.), pre-recorded, live performed by a vocalist/MC (‘urban’ genres like hiphop, dancehall and reggaeton) and electronic dance music, starring producer-DJ’s. This seems an unchangable fact of nature and crossovers seem to be the exceptions that confirm the rule. In combination with the megalomania of the conteporary EDM industry you get absurdities like producers who need to prentend being DJs by performing a prerecorded set of their own tracks. And worse, the other way around, where DJ’s who don’t necessarily have producing talent, release other people’s music under their own name. I believe this situation has reached a dead-end.
True, many rappers or RnB singers have worked and performed extensively with a live band behind them, or have collaborated with already famous bands. Collaborations between EDM DJ’s-producers with hiphop & RnB vocalists has been a mainstream pop-formula ever since David Guetta & Akon. And yes, there are electronic music acts who perform in a band-setting, like The Prodigy or Depech mode are still famous. But most of those acts stem from a time when the formula for electronic music as we know it now hadn’t crystallised yet. In a world after EDM, one of the main things to do therefore is trying different formula’s by combining different things.
This is an area where ‘global bass’ has a lot to win but also a lot to offer already. Especially in Latin America, most music, from Mexican and Argentinian cumbia and champeta, to more mainstream genres like bachata and even a lot of popular reggaeton, involves live-band elements that can freely be combined with both electronic influences and MCs.
I picked some bands, with vastly different styles and sounds, that show how such a post-EDM global bass can move beyond the limits of the DJ-producer club formula.
A band which I wanted to blog as soon as possible anyway is the Berlin based electronic AfroLatin-funk band Checkpoint Guanabana. We featured them more than a year ago already when their former single came out. Now they are back with a fantastic new single Merecumbe, which is a unique, almost unlikely fusion of funky Latin percussion, melodic guitars and the Berlinesque groove of deep techno.
If you dig their sound, you should definitely check out the band Pimentón from Buenos Aires, who also deliver a laidback combination of funky Latin grooves, catchy melodies and deep flavoured electronica!
Mamba, duo of DJ-producer Reptilian Commander and vocalist Pe Pa, also from Buenos Aires, has been celebrated on Generation Bass as an example for the future of transnational electronic music for more than a year now. It is not a live band yet, but for this energetic live performance they added percussionist Don Plok and it is easy to see how flexible different live elements can be combined.
Ghetto Kids are one of the leading acts of the innovative melting pot that is Mexico City’s music scene. Their drummer always jams live to all kinds of global bass beats like moombahton, cumbia, kuduro and here, to trap-bubbling with Ookay!
One of my all-time personal favourite electronic bands is the N.A.A.F.I.-signed Mexican ruidosón formation Los Macuanos. Ruidosón, 3ball’s dark, experimental cousin, already had its moment somewhat before I entered the global bass scene two years ago, so I didn’t become interested in them until I stumbled upon this Boiler Room performance exactly a year ago.
Immediately when I clicked ‘play’, I knew that these guys truly are on to something that opens huge possibilities for the future of music. Los Macuanos aren’t just another latin band spiced up with a DJ adding some electronic bleeps here and there, or a DJ with a live percussionist. The way they create their music in a live jam makes them closer to the experimental electronic bands from the pre-club era than to conventional bands as we know them.
Another genre where live and electronic elements are widely fused is electrofolk. The Chilean band Matanza is probably the best known act, who represent the genre all over the world.
But there are more examples, most of which will be familiar to Generation Bass readers, such as El Remolón…
Tunche Soundsystem from Hamburg, who performed on our own party Esperanza in Berlin, make the perfect bridge between Latin electrofolk on the one hand and genres like reggae, dub and reggaeton on the other hand. Check out this excellent video-portrait!
A genre that we blog less often but whith equally promising chances for live + electronic fusion is tarraxo’s mellow, RnB-flavoured cousin kizomba. Electronic bass influences are becoming a big thing in kizomba so big chance you’ll see it more often on the blog in the near future. For now, check out the multi-talented musician P. Lowe, whose live Saxo-kizomba sessions will give you goosebumps every time you listen it!
Making a very VERY rare live appearance tonight at the LA GRAVIERE CLUB in Geneva is our cat SONIDO DEL PRINCIPE. representing the GENERATION BASS SOUNDSYSTEM, he’ll be spinning som serious GB vibes between 01:30 and 03:30 AM! Expect some heavy duty cumbia of course, but also some banging Tarraxo, Borneo Bass, Moombahton and all that good stuff inbetween…!
so if you are around, drop by and hang out! GENERATION BASS SOUNDSYSTEM will be joined by Schnautzi- Argent Sale-CH // Waterproof-Phono Mundial-FR // Mambo Chick et Jean Toussaint- Gravitation-CH and you can expect some all over the place stuff by them as well. Everything from Une grosse dose d’Afrique de l’Ouest (Highlife, Afro-Funk, Soukous), de musique tropicale (Cadence, Compas, Cumbia), lusophone (Cap vert, Angola) et de rock oriental (Psyché Turc, Libanais, Funk Iranien) qui croise la Disco de Bollywood et le Séga de l’Océan indien!!!
How did that SONIDO guy sound again??????? something like thissssssss:
SONIDO DEL PRINCIPE – CUMBIA DEL FUTURO EP:
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SONIDO DEL PRINCIPE – NUEVA CUMBIA RONDA 2:
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