Subdetritus ~ july 2011

August 13th, 2011

This month in Subdetritus we take a snapshot of where things are at in the world of bass music right now. While we are all huddling around heaters, it’s the height of the northern hemisphere’s summer and much of the scene’s big hitters are out on the road peddling their sounds at festivals and clubs the world over.

James Blake took on the Park Stage at Glastonbury last month to rave reviews fuelling anticipation of his imminent Australian tour. The electronic music Mecca that is Sonar Festival descended on Barcelona the week before Glastonbury with a bass line-up only dreams are made of. From many friends of mine who were there, it seemed there was almost too much good music to absorb. While the more pop-leaning bass acts like dubstep supergroup Magnetic Man, Katy B and Zinc reportedly sounded pretty dull and uninspired, there were astounding sets turned in by the likes of Aphex Twin, Downliners Sekt, Raime, Teebs, oOoOO, Buraka Som Sistema, Shackleton and Illum Sphere.

Radio queen and bass champion Mary Anne Hobbs played a 2:30am set to an estimated crowd of 15,000 people at Sonar and backed it up by a sunrise set to 20,000 at Benicassim Festival last weekend. Hobbs has a lot to be happy about at the moment with her much lauded return to radio two weeks ago on Xfm. While her BBC Radio 1 Experimental show (a favourite of this column for years) was in a mid-week timeslot in the wee hours of the morning, her new show on Xfm is a primetime 7-10pm slot on Saturdays. “This is such a victory,” Hobbs said in a press release. “Not just for me, but for all the artists I believe in and all the live listeners who care so deeply. My aim… to create some truly mind-blowing, redefining radio on Xfm.” Her first show featured guest mixes from Deep Medi Musik’s Silkie and LuckyMe’s Machinedrum, while last week featured mixes from Ninja Tune’s Daedelus and Planet Mu’s Falty DL. Highly recommended if you’re hungry for fresh underground bass music.

Speaking of which there have been plenty of new releases to heat up those speakers this winter. Zomby has just dropped his second album Dedication for indie label 4AD which builds on the woozy, synth-heavy Nintendo-step of his highly regarded early releases for labels like Hyperdub, Ramp and Werk. Zomby is an artist who has always operated outside of the status quo and while this album is relatively short, it contains so many great moments and ideas. The latest transmission from Flying Lotus’ Brainfeeder collective is the proper debut album from Samiyam. While the LA-centric “wonky” hip hop sound is starting to sound tired in the hands of many, Sam Baker’s Album possesses a funk and fidgetiness that sounds more exciting than most of the woozy, bass-heavy Dilla knock-offs making the rounds. Following two self-released CDRs, recent visitor Pursuit Grooves has also released her debut album Frantically Hopeful. Interestingly released on the Bristol-based label Tectonic run by Pinch, the record is an eclectic listen still firmly rooted in future soul with a definite Dam-Funk vibe that flirts a little with pop music in a good way. Other hotly anticipated bass music releases on the horizon include the new full-length from Ras G on Ramp and the new EP from Scotland’s Hudson Mohawke on Warp Records.

On the Brisbane tip, it would be remiss of me not to mention local duo Science Project who seem unstoppable at the moment with upcoming shows in Melbourne and a support slot for Los Angeles-based Nosaj Thing this week. Their deep love of dub and reggae has been the focus of a couple of beat tapes that are available on their Bandcamp page – one a tribute to Bob Marley and the other to Osbourne Ruddock (a.k.a. King Tubby). The beat tapes feature versions by the boys themselves and locals such as Erther, Syntax, Walrii and Puzahki.

By Brad Swob

(Originally published in Time Off)

 

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Subdetritus

October 19th, 2010

It has been a while since I posted up a Subdetritus (my monthly bass column in 3D World) on the Morass site and for that I apologize. I thought I’d remedy the situation by posting this month’s column which is my little tribute to Mary Anne Hobbs after her recent decision to leave her position as host of the BBC Radio One Experimental show.

From here on in I will be posting them each month as they are published in 3D World (hopefully). Hope you enjoy!

In news that saddened many bass music fans – last month Mary Anne Hobbs hung up her headphones with the broadcast of her last ever show on the UK’s BBC Radio One. Hobbs had been with the radio station for almost fourteen years hosting her weekly two-hour Experimental show (formerly known as the Breezeblock). Over the course of that time, her ear and penchant for hyperbole helped break countless electronic music artists, and indeed entire genres. It’s hard to imagine another figure that single-handedly did as much to break the dubstep and wonky movements (and all their mutant strains) to a global audience. This month in Subdetritus, we pay tribute to the breathy-voiced queen of bass and beats.

Mary Anne Hobbs was not always on the cutting edge of electronic music. Her first passions were metal and motorbikes, so at the age of eighteen having ran away to London she ended up living in a bus with the band Heretic. She helped out as a mechanic and designed sets and cover art for the band. A year later, Hobbs landed a gig writing for Sounds Magazine in the UK and not long after found her way on to the pages of the revered (and loathed) British music press NME. When James Brown, former deputy editor of NME decided to leave and co-found Loaded Magazine, Hobbs went with him before falling into radio work on XFM. It was there that she got noticed by the powers that be at the BBC.

Being a massive fan of the late John Peel and his tireless work breaking new artists on the BBC airwaves, Hobbs jumped at the chance and has enjoyed a long relationship with them ever since. Over the history of her Experimental show, its hard to think of a forward-thinking electronic artist, label or subgenre that she hasn’t explored. Once claiming that she listens to about ten hours of new music a day, Hobbs’ quest to present the finest two hours of sounds on the planet each week was relentless and inspiring. Her ‘Dubstep Warz’ special back in 2006 was a watershed moment for the genre presenting mixes from the leading producers of the time and her final show featured an exclusive mix from Kode9 and Burial which was simply stunning.

Far from retiring, Hobbs will continue to DJ globally as well as taking an internship at Sheffield University, curating stages for Sonar and Bloc festivals and is currently helping Darren Aranovsky with the soundtrack to his new film Black Swan. We wish her all the best!

Download – Final MAH BBC1 Show feat. Burial+Kode9 mix – Tracklist

By Brad Swob

(orginally published in 3D World)

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