Bass music is difficult to pin down, more a primordial soup than a classifiable genre. Its offspring are many and varied, and often the only trait they share is that they were conceived in the virile darkness of the nightclub. While the music’s origins historically reside in the U.K., the Internet facilitates such rapid cultural exchange that regional styles don’t stay local for long. Websites like Boiler Room (boilerroom.tv) have enabled parties to exist on a global stage.
Creating under the moniker Nguzunguzu, Asma Maroof and Daniel Pineda have garnered high praise for their swelling, ominous sound, a nuanced cocktail of domestic and international flavors ranging from Chicago footwork to Angolan zouk. The pair’s knack for deftly combining underground forms with household genres like R&B and rap has secured its reputation as trusted architects of darkly compelling dance jams, establishing Nguzunguzu as a leading act of bass music’s U.S. faction.
Since its 2010 debut, the L.A. duo has released five EPs, performed around the world (Maroof was M.I.A.’s tour DJ throughout 2010), and collaborated with up-and-coming artists like Kelela, Le1f and Fatima Al Qadiri. Last month saw the release of Skycell, a cinematic, pulsating effort and a clear indication that Nguzunguzu doesn’t plan to stop exploring the universe of underground dance music any time soon.—Kristen Zwicker
Follow Kristen Zwicker on Twitter: @djdopeshoes