A History of Bass Music in Los Angeles
The term bass music is a catch-all for darker, urban breakbeat electronic music styles that include drum n' bass, dubstep, trap and some of the more aggressive takes on electro. The phrase only came into use recently but has quickly become the accepted umbrella term for a slew of genres that share a low-end aesthetic.
flickr.com/themusicFM Rusko's performance at Contol in 2009 is considered a major moment in the history of L.A. Bass
The history of the movement breaks down like this:
1999: Respect and Konkrete Jungle
flickr.com/shemalem Drum n' bass legend Goldie recently returned to Respect at The Dragonfly
In Los Angeles, the story of bass music begins in the 1990's with two very disparate scenes: hip hop and raves. Out of the latter scene came jungle music, a frenetic and dark pre-cursor to drum n' bass. It stood in stark contrast to the blissed out, repetitive thumping of trance and techno found at the underground desert raves common at the time.
In 1999, an underground crew named Junglist Platoon began hosting weekly drum n' bass shows in Hollywood under the name Respect. (Founders Machete and Scooba were on the
original Electric Daisy Carnival line-up back in 2000.) Around the same time, an ambitious young Angeleno named Kevin Moo -- who would later found Low End Theory -- graduated from passing out flyers for raves to promoting a short-lived weekly named Konkrete Jungle at Spaceland. He merged his two loves of hip hop and drum n' bass, booking Busdriver and Infiltrata (aka John Dadzie) when they were barely old enough to drink.
2002: Dub Club
L.A's thriving drum n' bass scene was put on ice after the death of MC Robert "3rdeyestylez" Bautista outside of a show in 2002. According to witnesses including 11-11 Agency founder Sara Ajiri, he was murdered during a gang initiation gone awry, sticking up for his friend in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Meanwhile, Dub Club at The Echo gathered steam and introduced the sub low rumblings of reggae and dancehall to a new generation. It became an essential mixing ground for LA Bass and had an unquestionable influence on drum n' bass, hip hop and a new sound developing across the pond.