March 3, 2011

Sach O just wanted an excuse to post that logo.

The word “Rave” evokes remarkably different things to different people. For aging British music critics, it’s that wonderfully idyllic moment in music when everyone was dancing to the same, musically progressive, anti-Thatcher beat. You know, before Oasis came and reminded the world that dude…the Beatles ROCKED! For most Americans however, it evokes memories of the ugly, annoying druggies in high school that even the Goths wouldn’t touch with a 10 foot pole. The discrepancy lies in imagery and critical mass: whereas American rave was some alien-festooned hippy shit limited to a core audience, the UK original was a mass movement that swept past class distinctions while promoting the universal idea of getting fucked up to good music instead of Roswell conspiracy theories. Also, the US had about 20 years of awesome Hip-Hop to listen to and a bad experience with disco. Fair enough.

In any case, memories of Rave music’s ‘Ardkore stage resonate far more intensely in England, particularly given the rising electronic tide again sweeping the nation. Obvious factors aside, there’s still a remarkable amount of symmetry in between the bass music massive and the original rave generation: UK center, 140BPMish tempo, incredibly fast pace of mutation and in the case of the more populist strands, a dedication to noise and rabble-rousing that quite simply pisses off well-heeled tastemakers.

Online start up Mutant Bass’ free introductory EP seeks to make this connection explicit, reinforcing classic rave tropes with Dubstep-approved bassweight while retaining the giddy, drugged-up energy of the original movement. The results are a head rush: explosive percussion, ridiculous vocals, brain searing intensity and a drug fueled lack of subtlety that would give ODB* pause. Describing the tracks individually would be a waste of space, suffice to say they all embody an all-or-nothing abandon that chucks any notions of tastefulness in the trash before blowing up the bin with a rocket launcher. If you’re reading this post in the morning, I strongly suggest some extra sugar in your coffee before listening.

Crucially, what should be yet another tired retro-revival could also offer an interesting way forward for the harder side of the Dubstep scene. With literally the whole world sick of wobble, producers Kanji Kinetic, RRRITALIN, Submerse and The McCash Clan present a 140 compatible sound that’s just as intense but far more colorful and sonically varied. It’s the kind of sound that can grab the masses while offering a more open and adaptable formula and pissing off the aforementioned well heeled tastemakers. It won’t win much critical praise and it won’t get signed by American major labels but it WILL cause people to go apeshit and will soundtrack many a drug trip. That’s high praise for any music in my book. As for the glowsticks, pacifiers, neon clothing and alien mysticism? Let that shit be: some things are meant to stay in the past.

[MUTANTBASS001] V/A – Abrasion Invasion EP by mutantbassrecords
MP3: Various Artists – Mutant Bass EP (left click)

*Admit it, you thought I was going to go with a Charlie Sheen reference there, didn’t you?

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