Trapped: Adventures in bass


The biggest contrast between dance floors of the early 2000s and today isn’t the music; it’s the amount of sweat. In that there’s gallons less of it. As a girl who suffers from all sorts of wet patches (including the cleavage which is impressive considering how small my boobs are) I am truly grateful for this turn of events. It’s not down to clubs having better air con, or fewer people cramming into small spaces. This dry revolution in night-life, is down to one thing: the evolution of bass.

Before we get stuck into talking Trap, let’s go back in time. When DnB was king in the 90s, this involved dancing to tempos of between 160-190bpm. When inside a club, it was a common occurrence to find yourself way wetter than an otter’s pocket, and fully clothed. Dancing and chemical consumption was sweaty work. Wide eyed and wet faced, toilet trips were more about drying your hair and pulling faces in the mirror, as opposed to actually having a wee. We certainly didn’t need to go to the gym to get a cardio work out back then.

Crudely speaking, DnB gave birth to Dubstep in the mid 2000s, taking EDM down a notch, averaging 140bpms. Still, this style of music requires a certain amount of losing one’s shit. Which goes hand in hand with sweaty balls, arses, tits etc. Then Skrillex came along and created dubstep for the masses, and thus killed the underground scene for the more discerning listener. Which I’m very happy about, as it made room in my life for Trap.

Trap can be as slow as 75 bpm. I danced for about 5 hours solid on Saturday night, and didn’t lose an ounce of fluid through my skin! Loaded with attitude, those thighs had a massive workout though! I’m not going to claim to know about the history of trap – I don’t! I’m just going by what my ears have picked up. Trap has been around for years in the southern US and has close ties with UK Grime. Artists like TNGHT (notably the release of their EP in July this year) pushed the boundaries of future bass and made this particular sub-genre of bass music more popular in the club scene.  There are now hybrids popping up all over the place, making it more listenable, danceable and less ‘rap’. The less rap, the better in my humble opinion.

From the aggressive sounds of Baauer…

To the minimal beats of Kaw…

To the female vocal samples of Celestial Trax…

And even the likes of Lockah who makes Trap so melodic, you could even call it lovely.

Characterised with super cutting snares, note specific kicks, and sternum-shaking bass lines, Trap is proving irresistible to long-term bass fiends like me. It’s certainly not for the timid on the dance floor. Rap and hip hop are two genres I’ve historically stayed away from. But as interesting things have been happening in the world of experimental, left-field hip hop for years (Flying Lotus, Clams Casino, yadda yadda) I figure my ears had their warm up session.

People are saying that trap is the new dubstep. And I’m inclined to agree. There’s no denying the energy Trap music creates when it’s booming through club speakers.

So now dancing is slower, night times are dryer, and there’s not a sweat patch in sight. And soon I’ll have leanest thighs a girl could wish for. The next problem to work on is my bass face. Which is infinitely more horrible dancing to Trap than any other genre. I’m not sure I can fully work the gangsta-bitch frown. Sigh.

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