Artwork: Vince McKelvie – ‘Separate Faces’ (via Tumblr)
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:
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.
2. ANGEL-HO – EXOUÇIE
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.
3. Classical Trax – Gqom Mix Series
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!
4. Unknown Artist – Sunday School #18 (Summer 2015 Promo Mix)
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!
5. GRRL – TTM:010
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!
8. DJ Ñaña – KUMBALE GRRRLS #2
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!
9. Sonora Machaca – Latido Regional #26
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!
11. Desafinado – Bassed Tapes Vol. II
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!
12. ANUBIS – SANCT.FM MIX
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!
13. Luibser Producer – Guest Mix For Brother Sister Records
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!