Bassline house arrives at London's clubs

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Time Out discovers that bassline has shaken off its violent northern past and is about to blow through the Big Smoke‘s biggest clubs

  • Bassline house arrives at London's clubs

    The Night Slugs crew do cool, amicable and MCing! (© Kate Moross)

  • Over the past decade, UK garage has almost totally reinvented itself, largely due to the creative drought caused by an over-popularisation of the scene and its much publicised association with ‘trouble’. The result was a very swift mutation into the chaotic clatter and gloomy thud of grime and dubstep.

    However, while Londoners have been smugly congratulating themselves for these new adaptations, our northern friends have been working on bringing the original bounce back into UKG via a darker, more bass heavy, thumping mutation of their own.

    Bassline house has been wobbling out of big clubs and battered Citroën Saxos all over the north for six years now, to very little reaction from us in London. That’s not to mention the bassline house track, ‘Heartbroken’, that reached number two in the chart thanks to Leeds figurehead, T2, last November. But despite this and the genre’s dominance of the club scenes in Leeds, Sheffield, Birmingham and the like, many nights here in the capital are only just beginning to take on bassline artists. What’s taken London so long to catch on?

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    Dexplicit (© James Pearson-Howes)

    'Many Londoners feel that if we didn’t invent it, then it doesn’t matter,’ explains Alex Sushon, one half of DJ duo, Faggatronix, whose Night Slugs event champions the genre fervently. Despite radio support from the likes of Sinden and EZ, and some of the scene’s best production emerging from London courtesy of Dexplicit, the man behind Lethal Bizzle’s ultraviolent masterpiece, ‘Pow!’, bassline hasn’t found it easy to get airplay down south, either. Grime impresario and Kiss FM DJ, Logan Sama dismisses bassline as a pale imitation of ’90s garage, and, according to Hackney promoter Rekless, one London pirate station forbade playing bassline because it ‘didn’t want to take any risks’.

    In addition, there is the concern that the scene breeds violence to contend with. Sheffield club, Niche (the genre’s spiritual home), was closed in 2005 amid fears that it was attracting gang crime, suggesting that bassline might receive the same ‘approach with caution’ stamp that has tarnished the capital’s garage and grime scenes. But London promoters reject the idea that bassline induces trouble. Rekless maintains that ‘problems only arise when MCs are involved, as they become the focus, not the music’, and subsequently books mainly DJs for his London bassline events. Sushon – in his effort to open the genre up to a trendier, Shoreditch crowd – is clear about his detachment from the northern scene: ‘I want to de-stigmatise it so people can see it for what it is – great party music.’

    In its emigration to central London – via events like Night Slugs and Always Frydaze – bassline is finding a different home for itself from grime and dubstep because, well, the genre actually makes you want to dance (not shuffle!). But will this formula take off in London? ‘Nights like FWD>> have become less experimental and, as a result, less entertaining,’ says Sushon. ‘Londoners are hungry for exciting new bass-driven music.’

    We should be content that it’s here; it’s different, and ultimately – as Sinden points out – in a scene that is becoming less and less club-friendly, ‘It’s really good fun'.

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9 comments
Natalie'djmuzie'musgrove
Natalie'djmuzie'musgrove

Miss muzie Add me on FB got a free bassline cd on there :) I've just moved to London and wanting to get back out there, bassline night sounds good to me :) x

mo
mo

olli mate u need to halla at me if ur gona be playing bassline in london!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! lol

Ollie benton
Ollie benton

Bring on that bassline sound, im a birmingham dj now livin in london lookin for a decent club to play the heaviest basslines and the biggest organs out there, anyone got any ideas? Cheers.

ebo
ebo

BASSLINE NEEEEDS TO COME TO LONDON!!!!!! IM FROM CENTRAL LONDON AND IM 22 AND I AINT GONE CLUBING IN CENTRAL (WHICH IS 2 MINS AWAY FROM ME) SINCE I CAME ACCROSS BASSLINE THERES SUCH A GREAT DEMAND FOR IT THAT ME AND ALL MY BOYS AND GALS HAVE TO PLAN A NIGHT OUT IN BIRMINGHAM, LEEDS, SHEFFIELD, MANCHESTER, COVENTRY!!! THE SCENE IS TOOO TOOOO SICK AND THEN WHEN MIXED WITH GRIME ITS EVEN MORE SICK!! SOMETHING NEEDS TO BE DONE ABOUT THIS PRONTO. CUMON DJS ITS THE RECCESSION AND THE PETROLS KILLING IT LOL

BrummieChris
BrummieChris

Where are all the good bassline/4x4/ speedgarage/niche nights in London? I come from Birmingham, where there is decent club music everywhere, but in London I've got to put up with crap indie nights for stupid students. Indie music does not belong in any club. dubstep and grime are fine, but there's just not the same "choonage" factor to the songs, it gets a bit samey, and no-one at dubstep nights ever looks like they're enjoying themselves. Also, if anyone does know of ANY where in London playing Bassline/4x4/speedgarage/niche please tell me where! Thanks, rant over.

Danny   [Leeds}
Danny [Leeds}

speed agarge is the future !, it really does wana make you bounce about all night and you have a variation of heavey warping basslines & your organ/vocal tunes , niche was the best club ive ever been to even if it wa a dive , and yes you get trouble,but you do down the local pub or at any club !, braapp braapp you wot you wot

Dj phoenix
Dj phoenix

Ive been mixing ukg since i was at school back in the late 90s. Bassline is so more exciting then the old 2 step sound i Love it. If u like ur Bassline catch me Dj phoenix on Klashfm.com every sunday or if ur in Essex its on 92.8fm.

davey c
davey c

iv been listening to bassline/speedgarage there is nothing better to dance to its mega!!!!!!!

seb jefferson
seb jefferson

lol @ the thought of smug londoners shuffling to dubstep. tru dat!