April 24, 2004

Basslines? We Don't Need No Stinking Basslines!

The hallmark of a 21st century musical genre might just be is its ability to incorporate every other genre, without losing its own unique cohesiveness. And if that's true, I'm watch for Baltimore house getting its 15 seconds of fame real soon.

First off I'll admit to doing more then just sleeping on this music. House music without bass is the hollywood pitch for the sound, and really can you think of anything worse sounding? As a basshead the concept is appalling...

Thankfully Baltimore house is neither house music nor is it completely bass free. What it lacks is basslines, but there is still plenty of bass punch in the kick drums. And while the tracks might be at a house tempo, they are breakbeat driven, free of house's insistent mechanical syncopation.

Somehow somewhere in Baltimore a set of producers, DJs and partiers have reached a collective realization that bass is a grounding force, and as such its can subtly undercut a dancefloor, even when acting as the main driving force for all that dancing.

Psytrance have long known this and have turned it into a philosophy making music designed to release partiers from the earth and leave them stuck in some astral plane hallucination for as long as possible. However the removal of the bassline is only the start of the psytrance equation, the driving force behind it all are acidic synths that sound like they go on forever and ever, music sans ricochet.

Baltimore house has no use for leaving the earth, its only concerned with leaving behind the drudgery of the day to day. But they are quite content to stay within the room, thank you. The removal of the bassline only needs to unground the dancers enough to get their hands above their heads and their feet blurring a few inches in the air. While psytrance never wants to bounce unless perhaps it collides with some solar entity, Baltimore house shrapnels off every available surface. This is carnival music, manic beats and whistles, screams and shouts. Its party ya!

The absence of bassline it seems also makes the art of song splicing all that much easier. This music can have entire songs layered on top of it while still retaining its distinctiveness. Unlike most sample music, the splicing is not measured in bars, but in minutes. Throw the entirety of "Please Mr. Postman" on top of a Baltimore track and you've got a Baltimore classic. Repeat till everyone is sick of the sound... All that's missing is a <a href="Malcolm McLaren to hype it all.

Posted by William Blaze at April 24, 2004 04:30 PM | TrackBack

It sounds like acid house to me, dude ;)

Posted by: tobias c. van Veen on April 25, 2004 11:10 AM

yeah acid house without the acid and without the house...

Posted by: Wm Blaze on April 25, 2004 11:13 AM

i like the b-more track that samples the "muppet show" theme. there's another good one built on motorola pager noises.

Posted by: nick on April 26, 2004 01:40 PM

I became a House DJ because that's where the basslines were. Why anyone would want FEWER basslines is completely beyond me.

As to the easier splicing, that's why God gave DJs EQ.

Posted by: Matt Davis on April 26, 2004 02:11 PM

Matt, that's the same impression I had when I heard it described. But its music, it needs to be heard, really it works, it makes sense, its good. Think ghetto tech meets "hardcore" in the 1991 british breakbeat sense and you're halfway there.

Posted by: Wm Blaze on April 26, 2004 04:09 PM

The tracks I heard through that web site sound like a cross betwen Two-step Garage and Ghetto House. I don't hear much similarity to early 90s Brit hardcore, which is a shame, because I really think of that stuff as rave music's Golden Age.

I don't think this stuff will last. But I do hope that some of the relentless loopedness of it makes its way back into house.

Posted by: Matt Davis on April 27, 2004 08:20 AM

I'm from B-More,

off top B-more house has been here for years, so fuck ya'll who say it's dying

It's just like other local music. A lotta people fail to realize, Jazz was once a local music, and Hip hop was a local music, Go-Go is a Local music, Crunk music WAS a local music, you as long as you have a culture that it caters to, it will always live. If it dosen't blow up on a national level, so what, but unless Bin Ladin flies a plane into Ravens stadium, Our shit will always be hear. Stop commenting is it gonna last or not. You like it you like it, you don't you don't

Posted by: C-Will82 on April 27, 2004 02:15 PM

I've lived in Baltimore since '95 and as long as I can remember this stuff has always been on the radio in pretty much the same form. I don't think it's ever going to be the next big anything. It's just too...stupid, for that. I mean it's just a breakbeat loop and a sample repeated 100000 times.

Funny that you bring up psy trance too. That may have been the case in '96 but these days it's full of basslines and much worse for it. They are strangling the music.

Posted by: DigitalDjigit on April 30, 2004 01:36 AM

this is rediculous, i think you should check out the basement boys who hail from baltimore.

Posted by: mr love on July 4, 2004 11:28 AM

Hello nice people.
Do you know a shop or a website where I could buy some Baltimore Ghetto House on line. Please help. Kazey

Posted by: kazey on September 15, 2004 06:39 PM

Hello nice people.
Do you know a shop or a website where I could buy some Baltimore Ghetto House on line. Please help. Kazey

Posted by: kazey on September 15, 2004 06:41 PM

You guys are all morons. B-more blows...what a ghetto POS city...

Posted by: Hater on September 4, 2005 01:32 PM

You guys are all morons. B-more blows...what a ghetto POS city...

Posted by: Hater on September 4, 2005 01:33 PM

You guys are all morons. B-more blows...what a ghetto POS city...

Posted by: Hater on September 4, 2005 01:33 PM

Think of B-more club music as the Miami Bass of that area. It is an amalgamation of overmodulated breakbeats using a call and response format to get the listener involved. It probably wasn't meant to blow up nationally, but wherever I go, I expose people to it and they love it. Those of you who hate, continue to hate. That is your perogative. And to the one called Hater; what music has your city created? Get at me--Touch

Posted by: Touch on September 22, 2005 10:07 PM
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