The guilt I feel for letting two months pass without writing anything can only be assuaged with one thing – a slamming bass line. To be fair, the stress of moving into a new flat and dealing with all sorts of impossible humans in the process is the main reason I didn’t sit down. But it wasn’t because there weren’t enough tunes that didn’t hit me between the eyes – may as well curl up under a mound of boiled spaghetti and sleep for a few years if you haven’t discovered any good music to save your sanity every other day!
The one element that always gets my vibe back on track is a memorable bass line. Especially when I want to blur out incoming static. The calming (and reviving!) nature of repeated, visceral, low frequency sounds can remind you what to focus on in your own cluttered mind, or zone out everything around you with their persistent power. Or dance like a grizzly bear that’s just sneaked out of a zoo and found a forest to leap in. Sometimes all three. Who doesn’t want THAT?! I can trace my obsession with bass (and bass lines) to two songs that are both, creepily enough, track no 7 on their respective albums.
The first is possibly one of the most famous and well loved – The Police’s ‘Every Breath You Take’ from their fifth studio album Synchronicity (interestingly, the first album I listened to from beginning to end and copied the lyrics from at the wise age of ten). The second is Bakithi Kumalo’s bass solo on Paul Simon’s ‘You Can Call Me Al’. Again, song no 7 on the seismic, life-changing album that is Graceland, which my mum made me listen to on a road trip when I was 12. Later absorptions were Queen’s resounding, rainbow-flavoured bass lines on pretty much everything they did, amplified by Freddie Mercury’s voice which sounds like a deep dish pizza baked for about ten years. Soon, the combination of bass and synth took over my life, no points for realising why I’m married to all sorts of categories and sub categories of electronic music now.
Here is a teensy playlist of three recent (and one slightly older) songs whose bass lines make me want to run up to a terrace and dance like the above mentioned grizzly bear. Except more sexily. A unicorn maybe? Hot Creations is one of my favourite dance labels out there; not only did the 2012 smash ‘Benediction’ turn me into a forever fan of co- founders Jamie Jones and Lee Foss (who also happen to be members of the talent behind the track, Hot Natured, along with Ali Love with recent additions Luca C and Annabel Englund), but the art on some of the releases looks like some sort of next level circus ballet kaleidoscope.
Three of the tracks in my bass cake are Hot Creations releases. The first is from Jamie Jones’s recent EP, ‘Siberian Express’. It’s called ‘Captain Kirk’s Battle Dance’ – I don’t want to describe it because the glorious name can tempt any one (if not, you don’t deserve to listen to it or enjoy candy).
The second is ‘Pinball’ by Paul C & Paolo Martini. I heard it when I was packing up my old flat into card board boxes to escape a crazy flatmate and couldn’t concentrate because I heard this. It was the perfect accompaniment to my mood. The song deep fries late seventies disco, coats it in a weird but delicious synergy of hot sauce and maple syrup and serves it on a spaceship bound for 2015.
The greatest woman in the world, the unicorn queen of dance playlists and good vibes, Annie Mac, played track number three A LOT this November. And I fell in love with it. This one makes me forget everything for six minutes and want to dance covered in bad ass glitter. May as well, since it actually asks you to ‘shake your tail feather’. ‘Chunky’ by Format:B
The fourth one is actually around four years old and one I’ve loved for a while, but the bass on it and the careful way it maintains its speed at a constant, deliberate plateau makes me want hug Nicolas Jaar for a week. Like anything Nico, it makes me wonder at how so many elements and the consequent feelings they create can fit in to one track and make them sound like a family since time began. ‘The Ego’ is also one of the sexiest songs in the world – a category Marvin Gaye invented.
Click here for a unicorn times: