Radio: Bass & Beats
by Mosi Reeves | March 8, 2013
First, an apology is due for the inelegant title of this radio station. However, I would argue that it describes exactly what the station sounds like.
Stylistically, there's no other way to describe it. The format is purposely all-encompassing, ranging from the West Coast's progressive beat-makers to the fitful bass scene in the United Kingdom and elsewhere. This isn't a dubstep/bass/garage channel -- we've already got one of those in The Lowdown: Dubstep and Bass. Instead, it identifies a certain hip-hop sensibility in various strands of underground music, whether that means the electronic retro-funk of Dam-Funk or the IDM-inflected ambiance of Boards of Canada. That goal may appear overly ambitious. But if you've ever been to a Low End Theory showcase and seen Hudson Mohawke, Kode9, Jel and Odd Nosdam, Lazer Sword and Blu & Exile; or followed Flying Lotus' Brainfeeder and its expanding roster of Jeremiah Jae, Matthewdavid, The Gaslamp Killer, Teebs and TOKiMONSTA, then you'll understand how such a mix can flow harmoniously. (And yes, I know that many of these artists have begun to distance themselves from the musically confining beat-heads/MPC-slappers/weeded-blappers stereotype.)
Flying Lotus is something of a patron saint for this world, as he's dabbled in so many genres, from spacey Sun Ra-like soul-jazz on Cosmogramma to Burial-like dub poetry on Los Angeles. Machinedrum, who initially began his career as a Prefuse 73-styled glitch-hop producer before expanding into footwork, R&B, electro and even techno, is another.
I also threw a bunch of avant-garde rap into the mix to confuse matters further. To be frank, I had nowhere else to put this stuff. But it proved a wise choice. A gonzo rap from Death Grips sounds refreshing after the amniotic cloud beats of Blue Sky Black Death, while a Serengeti cut sounds intriguing when it follows an AraabMUZIK banger. I've also selected a few mainstream rap joints by A$AP Rocky, Odd Future and even Drake, but not too much. We hear that stuff all the time already, and this station is about the new and unexpected.
Of course, I can't promise that you'll hear these pairings on a dynamically generated station where tracks pop up at random. So I've also culled a brief playlist to give a sense of which songs you may catch. Call it the Sons and Daughters of Dilla.